Long before Gypsum Hill Cemetery was ever thought of there was an Indian burial ground on the north end of Glennifer Hill or Indian Rock Park. An Indian grave was first found in 1860 on the west slope on the west side of the Gypsum Hill Cemetery. Some of the early babies and adults may have been buried in their own door-yards or on a knoll in the pasture. Mr. Hugh H. Morrison homesteaded in 1859. His 160 acres laid between South and Prescott (streets) on the west side of Ninth (street). I think it went to the Missouri Pacific tracks. In 1860, Mr. Morrison, Col. Phillips, A. M. Campbell, Sr., and James Muir, laid out a cemetery south of South Street on the wind swept prairies. While most of the graves were on 10th, 11th and 12th streets, some have been found from 9th Street to Phillips Avenue. I do not know where Mary L. White and baby were first buried as they died in 1859. Mary, the first wife of Robert White, the grandfather of Nelle White Newcomb and Arlina White Schwartz. The baby was the first baby born in Salina. Their bodies were in the Morrison Cemetery, but were moved to Gypsum Hill after it was opened. Thomas Robb, parents of Susie Robb on S. 11th, lived on the corner of 9th and South in 1874.
Some people going West had a sick child who died – while Gypsum Hill Cemetery was opened at that time – these people buried their 12 year old boy in Mr. Robb’s back yard. They picked up field stones and carefully covered the grave – started on their way – they intended to return for the body. Nothing was ever heard from them again. Rev. A. A. Morrison (father of Hugh H. Morrison) a Presbyterian minister, was asked to conduct the Dailey’s child services – arriving at the house to learn the body has been taken to the Sharp’s house. After the services the body was placed in a grave on the Sharp’s place. Another baby rests somewhere in that vicinity. Mrs. Sharp lost a baby – the men folks buried the child in a native grove of trees. Carefully camonflaged (camouflaged) the grave so Indians would not know that the settlement had lost a soul. Mrs. Sharp could never find the grave. Sharp’s homestead is where Elmore Center is now. Rev. Morrison, was the grandfather of Mrs. Carlos Williams (Ines Lamer) and Mrs. Verna Perrill Todd (Ralph). One more child’s story on N. 5th Street between Iron and Ash was the grave of an Indian boy who died of consumption. Mrs. A. C. Campbell, Sr., had sent him for food so when he was buried – her bowls were placed in the grave with the body then a pony was strangled to death and laid on top of the grave.
On the southwest corner of Ohio and East Cloud , Mr. Chas. Houltzman, had homesteaded 160 acres. He had a small cemetery where the Houltzman’s and a few other people were buried. Time has erased all signs of a burying plot and the plow has help to cover the site. Mrs. Floyd Newcomb remembers the little grave yard. In 1870, a group of men incorporated a stock company for $2000. Sold shares for $10 per share (as usual all shares were not sold nor all those sold were not paid for). Quote: Know all men by these presents that the citizens and residents of the town of Salina in the county of Saline and State of Kansas have voluntarily associated ourselves together under the corporation name of the Gypsum Hill Cemetery Association for the maintenance of a public cemetery in county aforesaid and do hereby adopt the following articles of incorporation to wit …..The number of directors of said association shall be five and the following named person has been and are appointed directors to serve for the period of 1 year from and after the nineteenth (19) day of Mar, A.D. 1870 To wit D. W. Henderson A. H. Thompson A. C. Spilman R. H. Dihle (Robt. Henry Dihle, grandfather of Mrs. Everett Langel & Jeanette Strickler) Jacob DeWitt All the above named persons being residents of the county of Saline aforesaid these men appeared before C. A. Hiller (Father-in-law of Mrs. Ralph & Edward Hiller) Notary Public 19th day of March A. D. 1870. This had to be filed in Topeka before Thomas Moonlight, Sec. of State, 21st Day of March A. D. 1870 End of Quote.
The Trustees met to advertise and visit lands owned by R. H. Bishop – whose homestead was ½ mil west of Salina. Where the dog pound is now. Robt. Anderson’s land 1 mile east of Salina – never told where the other places were. It was resolved to purchase 20 acres from Robt. And Elizabeth Anderson, at $20 an acre (grandparents of Mrs. Edith Anderson Gilberg, 337 W. Beloit). The East ½ of the S. E. ¼ of the N. E. ¼ of section 18 in Township 14 South Range 2nd West of Sixth Principal Meridan. In other words, the 20 acres is the north east corner of the present cemetery and it lies in Greely Township. May 6, 1870, A. C. Spilman, who had been the county surveyor, was employed to survey and lay out the land by June 6, 1870. A plat was show and approved. The 20 acres was divided into 4 sections or blocks bounded on the north by the hedge on the east by Marymount Road, south by the street from the east gate west by the right hand road as you enter from the north gate. Please remember that is not way it was worded as the hedge road were unknown. The cemetery entrance must have been on the east side as 3 there was no other way till the middle of the 70’s to get into Gypsum Hill. Twenty one more acres were bought from Mr. Northrup which was on the south of the original 20 acres going westward to what is Channel Road now. I remember when the south side of the cemetery was a corn field from Marymount Road part way to the south water tower – an orchard rest of the way to the west hill. This land was gotten in the early 1900’s then some land on the west edge added – about 1918 now Gypsum Hill is approximately 80 acres.
Frank L. Weaver gave 30 feet for a road way from channel road to a block south of the mausoleum. This land to be reverted to Mr. Weaver’s heirs when not used as a cemetery road. This was done a few years ago and the granddaughter, Mrs. Nelle White Newcomb, sold it to Douglas Hill. Back to the original 20 acres – Gypsum Hill Cemetery Association meeting of the Board of Directors, July 11, 1872. A new plat was presented as the original plat had been burned. The N. E. Block was called Plat A; N. W. Block was called Plat B; S. E. Block was called Plat D; S. W. Block was called Plat C. Road on east side was East Street; road on west was West Street, road on north was North Street and road on south was Central Street. Prices of lots were set – a full size lot held 16 bodies –Block A. had 8 lots at $40 each; 7 lots at $30 each and 5 lots at $25 each. Remainders were $15 each – the other blocks were about the same. A few lots were divided so a single burial space could be had. For a long time a circle at the intersection of Main – East-West Streets and North-South Streets had a bed of flowers. I am not sure if a flag pole was there. In the 1920’s this circle was removed for safer driving. The plot for the Grand Army of Republic soldiers was laid out before 1880. I did not learn when or when the first old soldier who was buried there. He was brot down from Culver. The second soldier was Mr. Calvin Gerard, father of Mrs. Anna Williams, 115 S. 3rd, and Mrs. Robert Brown, buried June 9, 1886. Mrs. Gerard lived 9 miles northwest of Salina.
It was the days of wagon funerals. All vehicles were wagons, occasionally a spring wagon carried the casket. The Grand Army Post in Salina didn’t think a wagon was good enough for their comrades and insisted a hearse should carry the body (I only hope the Post paid for the hearse as Mrs. Gerard had 4 small children to raise). I remember when the first lady was buried in that sacred plot. Early in 1900, Mr. Hayden died but Mrs. Hayden would not give permission for Mr. Hayden to be interred there unless she could be buried by his side (there were no children). Several ladies have been buried since then. Mrs. Verner Smith, has 2 sets of grand parents on the plot. Early in 1900, 4 private mausoleums were erected – Bradley’s, Lynches, Ripkes and Amermans. The Hill Crest Mausoleum was built around 1928, not finished when Henry D. Lee died, March 15, 1928, so he was put on the Lee or Staple lot till the mausoleum 4 was ready. Several other bodies were moved into the building. The bodies from the Morrison Cemetery were not moved right away to the Gypsum Hill Cemetery for Henry Weisgerber, father of Neva and Virginia Weisgerber came to Kansas in 1884, his father bot west of the Missouri Pacific tracks and Henry went to the old Central School, which stood in the middle of the ground where Lincoln and Roosevelt schools are now.
He passed the Morrison Cemetery many times and I can imagine, boy like he, often looked at the tombstones as years latter he would tell his family on their rides through the Gypsum Hill Cemetery that stone was in the Morrison Cemetery. Many had a stone a few inches thick, 2 or 3 feet tall – some had narrow pedestals, a few feet to 20 feet tall. The best know is the one still standing in the north east corner “Powers” erected on the son’s grave. He was drowned. A heavy wind storm in the early 1900’s broke many of the columns – some of the bottoms still standing. Then that gate with 2 little lambs – for 2 children of the Rashes. The first fence around the 20 acres was a wooden fence with red cedar posts – $200. In 1873, Robt. Anderson was hired to set out cedar trees. In 1875, he put a row of hedge on the north line – also part way cross the west line. January 5, 1885, some one was given the task to prepare for publication a list of all inhabitants of the cemetery and what caused their death. What a task! Since many of the graves at the Morrison Cemetery were unmarked even as late as 1920- 1930. Bones were dug up when putting in sewers and basements. In 1904, Will Padgett found bones in digging his basement on S. 10th or 11th. Thot at first to be Indian bones, but they were white people. When Putman Avenue was opened about 1920 one basement unearth bones – which so upset the lady she could never bring herself to live in the new home. Several years later a prospective buyer for a house on West South heard about the old cemetery was so wrought up and I never heard if the deal went through. Another body found with government______ so it was concluded it was a soldier. Some of the oldest residents in this city of over 11,000 are David Taylor, 113, colored, died 15 Aug 1901; Fanny Henderson, colored, 110, died 21 Oct 1910 and Matilda Grossom, 103, died May 1, 1898.