Old Wyoming Cemetery
This cemetery is located in a farm field on private property, 0.75 mile to the south and 0.3 mile to the east of the intersection of 60th and 'A' roads. The cemetery no longer exists. All grave stones have either been removed, or have deteriorated.
A marker and plaque commemorating the Old Wyoming Cemetery stands 1.25 miles south of the intersection of 60th and 'A' roads, on the east side of the road. It is 0.6 mile southwest of actual location of the original cemetery. The cemetery has long been plowed over by years of farming throughout the area. This marker and plaque was erected by the descendants of some of the original Mormon settlers who passed through this site as a testament to the courage and faith of their ancestors.
The plaque, made up of fragments of the remaining gravestones left buried in the field surrounding the cemetery, were cemented together as a memorial to these brave settlers, and as a reminder that this cemetery once did exist, and that its legacy should never be forgotten. The marker reads:
Wyoming, Nebraska, a beautifully situated town on the west bank of the Missouri River, was platted in 1856 by Jacob Dawson. The town center was located at the top of the bluffs, 0.6 mile southeast of this marker. Though buildings have vanished, the spirit of the town may still be felt by visiting it. From this marker, go south 0.3 miles and turn east onto the Market Street, running through the center of Wyoming. Sites such as Marker Street, Public Square, Cemetery Road, and Mormon Tent City can still be observed or imagined. Buildings long gone, included two, three-story limestone Warehouses which were filled with supplies for Mormon emigrants. The Wharf or Levee is still visible at the bottom of the bluffs.
The town grew slowly at first until members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons) established their Outfitting Place in Wyoming, Nebraska, for a three-year period (1864-1866); then the town prospered. Mormon emigrants from Europe usually traveled by sailboats, railroads,, then riverboats to Wyoming where they made preparation to go west by wagon train. Sixteen ‘Church Trains’ were driven from Utah to Wyoming and back, 2000 miles, to transport poor European Mormon emigrants to their Zion in the ‘Tops of the Mountains.’ In addition, nine independent Mormon Wagon Trains journeyed from Wyoming, making a total of 25 wagon trains with about 7,000 emigrants who prepared for and started their trek west from Wyoming.
The site of the Wyoming Cemetery is on a cultivated hill, 0.6 mile northeast of this marker, or 25 ½ degrees east of magnetic north. Over 60 headstones once designated graves in the cemetery. With the exception of the few relocated headstones by this marker, the rest have disappeared. Many Mormons were buried here in 1865, including Lars Petersen, Sidney Biddle (9 months old), and Samuel A. Shaw (3 years old).
In 1865, 70-year-old widow, Ann Marie Chatters Hookway, her two daughters, Eliza and Mary Ann, and 633 other passengers sailed on the Belle Wood from England. The Hookways came to Wyoming to join a Wagon Train going to Utah. While in Wyoming, Widow Hookway died June 28, 1865; her daughter, Mary Ann, age 27, died August 7. Eliza, age 28, continued on to Utah here she married John Watts Berrett and reared a family of five sons.
This marker is placed here in memory of Wyoming, Ann Marie Chatters Hookway, Mary Ann Hookway, and all faithful Mormon emigrants who followed a prophet of God and reaped their Eternal Zion." (1)
Point of Contact: If you desire more information about this cemetery, please contact the Otoe County Genealogical Society and we will try and provide you with as much information about the cemetery as possible.
Gravestone Photographs: http://www.findagrave.com
(1) Marker sponsored by the John Watts Berrett Family Genealogical Organization, October 1998, with the cooperation of the Jim and Harold Johnson families, property owners.