By Bob Balgemann


Third of 3 parts

BELVIDERE – It’s been a while since there were organized tours of historic Belvidere Cemetery. Self-guided tours are still allowed and they continue to draw visitors.

Plans are in the works to have another walk but they’re preliminary at this point. And longtime sexton Sam Larson said, “I won’t promise anything.”

Should that occur, she said the tour likely would feature people other than those who are best known around Boone County.

For example, one of those interred there is a nurse, Hannah Habedank, who died of the flu after tending to victims at Camp Grant, in Rockford, during a flu epidemic.

The man who invented the air brush is buried here. His family was connected to Marshall Field of Chicago department store fame.

So is Gen. Allen C. Fuller, born in Hartford, Conn., who moved to Belvidere in 1846. After establishing his law praceice, he was appointed adjutant general of Illinois and served in that position from November 1861 until January 1865, when he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Following the death of his daughter, Ida Hovey, he provided $5,000 in her memory to establish a free library and that it be named for her. Hence, Belvidere today has the Ida Public Library at 321 S. State St.

Thomas Hart is one of two veterans of the Revolutionary War buried here. He was born in 1757 in Farmington, Conn., and enlisted as a private with the Connecticut Troops at 18 years of age. During his time of service he became acquainted with Gen. Benedict Arnold and Col. Ethan Allen.

He moved to Belvidere in 1843-44 to live with his son and died Jan. 14, 1847, just shy of his 90th birthday.

Then there’s Christopher Charles Fritz, a Union veteran of the Civil War, whose resting place was located by his great-great-grandson, John Fritz of Phoenix, after a two-year search. John Fritz finally saw his relative’s burial place on June 14, 2014, along with members of his family.

Meanwhile, there are brochures at various locations around the city that provide detail on some of the better known men and women buried there.

But it’s a thing, the Pettit Chapel, which continues to draw the most interest.

Memorial to husband

The wife of Dr. William Pettit commissioned the building to be designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, to memorialize her late husband. It was completed in 1907 at a cost of $3,000.

While they both were from Belvidere, they settled in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where he practiced medicine for 27 years, until his untimely death in 1898 at 48 years of age.

Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the chapel continues in use today. Dr. and Mrs. Pettit are buried nearby.

One of the most famous people buried at Belvidere Cemetery is Gen. Stephen Hurlbut, He was a well known state politician who guided Union troops throughout the Civil War, being engaged in Battle of Shiloh that was credited with “saving the day” for the North.

After being mustered out of the military, he served as a member of Congress for two terms and was U.S. minister to Columbia. When he died in 1882, at 66 years of age, more than 10,000 people attended his funeral.

In 1982, a graveside ceremony was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death.

Barnabas “Barney” Eldredge is buried in one of the few mausoleums at the cemetery. He once served as president of the National Sewing Machine Company and the carriage in which he rode to work is on display at the Boone County Historical Museum in downtown Belvidere.

One of the many heart-warming stories eminating from the cemetery is one concerning the only Confederate soldier to be buried here, Pierre LeFevre.

His grave was unmarked and unknown until local historians Emmett and Bessie Sullivan located it. Through the efforts of Frank Crawford and members of the student Civil War Round Table at Belvidere High School, the grave site now has a U.S. Government marker.

Belvidere Cemeteri is historic in its own right, being established in 1847. The original plot was just four acres but land was added, and today there are more than 13,000 known graves.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.