During a recent review of papers included in what is referred to as the McGonagle collection, our Executive Director found a blueprint drawing, dated in 1946, for a proposed airport in the City of Royalton. The print showed the runways, buildings and streets for the airport, in a location west of the railroad tracks, and just south of the present Newmans’ Manufacturing Company. In one corner of the drawing there was a notation that indicated there was an abandoned cemetery in the southeast corner of the property being considered.
Quite by coincidence, in reviewing “100 Years As A Post Office”, a brief history of the Royalton Post Office written and published by Harold L. Fisher in 1954, it was noted that there is a description of property owned by Rudolphus D. Kinney. Mr. Kinney was a missionary and one of the very early settlers in the Royalton area. He was also the first Postmaster, and is credited with naming Royalton after his birthplace in Vermont.
In describing Kinney’s land, Fisher refers to the book, “Historical Sketches of Royalton and Vicinity”, written by Frank B. Logan, and printed in 1930, when he reports that …. “He settled on a quarter section of land which now would start at the Royalton State Bank corner, go east to the Skinner corner, thence south to the Riverside Cemetery, west to the old Catholic Cemetery, and then north to the beginning”. This description would place that “old Catholic Cemetery” west of the railroad tracks, and just south of Newmans’ Manufacturing, which would be about where the cemetery mentioned in the airport drawing was shown.
Since the records included within the Documenting Morrison County Deaths project being conducted by MCHS did not mention this abandoned cemetery, it was decided to do a quick review of courthouse records. That review shows that Barney Fietsam transferred two parcels of land in the southwest quarter of Section 35 of Bellevue Township, each containing two and one half acres, to the Trustees of Holy Trinity Catholic Church on March 12, 1901. This would be about five years after Holy Trinity was organized, and eleven years before the present church was built. The first church was located west of the railroad tracks, so appears likely that the cemetery would have been nearby.
In 1921, the Holy Trinity Catholic Church transferred a two and one half acre parcel of land in the southwest quarter of Section 35 to Daniel Fussy. It is believed at this point that this is one of the two parcels mentioned above. However further research will be needed to verify the description.
It was also found that on July 24, 1922 C. H. Werner transferred one and one half acres of land in the southwest quarter of Section 35 to the Diocese of Saint Cloud. Again, the exact description for this parcel has not yet been determined, and it is not yet known if this parcel is near the parcels mentioned above.
As you can see, we have more research to do in the County Recorders office, and we have not yet contacted anyone from Holy Trinity Church. Those will be the next steps in establishing this piece of property as an active, or as an abandoned, cemetery. Of course, any information we could receive from people who may be familiar with the history of this cemetery would be very helpful and welcomed.
Copyright 2001, Morrison County Historical Society