Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Block 1 St. John’s Cemetery

The intent of this article is to honor those who lie in the graves of the New Rockford Cemetery. We remember them for who they were and the life they shared with this community. The community came together when the article was published in the New Rockford Transcript about the many unmarked graves in Eddy County. Thanks to Tubby Bymoen, donations were received for four individuals (Alex Mathews, Archie Jackson, Boyd Kennedy, Pat Malone) who were unmarked and forgotten by the community. These four stones were installed in the summer of 2022.

First a little history of the cemetery. Prairie Home Cemetery currently owns 25.3 acres, and the St. John's Corporation owns 7.16 acres, The first acquisition for Prairie Home was in the year 1894 from William Guile and Eddy County when it was at that time the City of Buell. Later acquisitions were in 1942 from Eddy County and 1986 from Walter Weber. St. John's acquisitions were from Eddy County in 1974 and 2402.

lf I tried to report on all the unmarked graves listed in the Transcript in December 2021, this article would get quite lengthy, so l'm going to break it up by blocks. Prairie Home has 9 blocks and St. John's has 8 blocks. I will start with St. John's, Block 1.

There were four names with unmarked graves listed in the Transcript in Block 1 of St. John's Cemetery: Gilbert St. Ange, R.H. Gergen, Frank Hede and Joe Martin.

1. Gilbert St. Ange was born on June 24, 1888. According to his Draft registration in 1917, his name was spelled Gilbert Peter St. Onge, and he was born at Fort Ripley, Little Falls, Minnesota. He was employed by the Great Northern Railway in New Rockford, N.D. where he was living with his wife Rose and three children: Lester, born in 1911 in Rolla, N.D.; Lillian, born in 1914 in N.D. and Doris born on November 1, 1915 in New Rockford, N.D. The 1920 Census had him living in Ripley Twp. He died on March 8, 1961 according to the Minnesota death index. has him and Rose listed as being buried at Hillside Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minn. According to the Catholic records, Gilbert St. Onge purchased a single grave in Block 1, Lot 15 in the 1915 to 1920 year span. lt is my speculation that it was purchased for a deceased infant child not listed above.

2. R. H. Gergen was born on July 2, 1893 to Peter and Nellia Gergen. His 1917 draft registration listed his name as Raymond Henry Gergen and he lived in Brantford, N.D. with his wife and no children. He worked as an assistant cashier at Security State Bank in New Rockford, N.D. By 1930 the census reported him at Undervood, N.D. living with his wife Elizabeth and four children and working as a manager at a retail hardware store. The 1940 census reported him as working at the FSA office in Undervood, N.D. The 1950 Census took him to Minot, N.D. where he was a bookkeeper for NW Beverage Co. His N.D. death certificate reports his death on December 23, 1952 in Ward County, Minot, N.D. with burial at St. Leo's Cemetery in Minot, N.D. Find a Grave has both R.H. Gergen and Elizabeth listed at St. Leo's Cemetery in Minot, N.D. According to the Catholic records, R.H. Gergen purchased a single grave in Block 1, Lot 15 in the 1915 to 1920 year span. lt is my speculation that it was purchased for a deceased infant child.

3. Frank Hede was born on February 12, 1881 in Hungary to Frank and Sarah Hede. His 1942 draft registration listed him as being single and Glenn Kerr, farmer in Wells County, as his employer. His N.D. death certificate states he died on October 12, 1961 in Eddy County, New Rockford, N.D. and his burial was in St. John's Catholic Cemetery New Rockford, N.D.

4. Joe Martin was born on November 5, 1883 to Joseph and Anna Martin. According to the 1920 - 1950 Censuses, he lived in Overly, N.D. (Bottineau & Rolette Co.) with his wife Maria and several children. His occupation was listed as Carpenter but the 1950 census listed him as a janitor of the Overly School. His death certificate states he died on April 10, 1964 after a 3-month stay in the New Rockford, N.D. City Hospital. How he came to be at City Hospital remains a mystery but the death certificate states he was removed to be buried at Notre Dame Cemetery in Willow City, N.D. also states he is buried there. According to the Catholic records, Joe Martin purchased a single grave in Block 1, Lot 15 in the 1915 to 1920 year span. I have found no known connection of a Joe Martin living in Eddy County in those years. This remains a mystery to me.

Two other unmarked graves have been found in this Block since this listing in the Transcript: William Hammer and Daniel Garrity.

William Hammer was born June 12, 1959 to Richard and Frances Hammer. (Richard is buried in St. John's Cemetery, New Rockford, N.D.) Find a Grave states that William was a single man who took on a variety of jobs before settling in Fargo, N.D. He died on January 13, 2020 in Fargo, N.D. from cancer complications.

Daniel Garrity was bom on May 10, 1960 to George and Lois Garrity (George, Lois and brother, John Leo are buried in St. John's Cemetery New Rockford, N.D.) Daniel shares a birthdate with two sisters as triplets. Daniel died in Carrington, N.D. on June 1, 2009. A biography can be found on

There are approximately 123 graves in Block 1 of St. John's Catholic Cemetery of which 28 were infants age 1 and under. Seven of these infant's graves are unmarked. Family names in this block include: Gehrtz, Gross, Hammer, Meitner, DuBois, Schafer, Haman, Oldberg, DeVoogdi, Hede, Presler, Garrifi Gildersleeve, Beauclair, Mestdagh, Lee, Kort, Seymour, Ziegler, Laber, Romanoski, Rastovski, Gisi, lndegaard, Dolan, Lesmeister, Utecht, Helm, Scherek, McCabe, Plum, Zander, Simms, Risovi, Sheehan, McQuillan, Anderson, Wystrach, Boyle, Duchscherer, Biegler, O'Connor, Bezdek, Bachmeier, Klocke, Gulel Klein, Birkeland, Jordan, and the miscarried babies in Lily's Hope. The earliest documented grave in this Block is William McCabe in 1911.

A record of all these graves in Block 1, including pictures of the grave markers, can be found on (with the exception of 5 of the babies). ln the next article, I will take a look at Block 2 of St. John's Cemetery.