Park Hill Cemetery
This cemetery is located 0.25 mile south, and 0.50 mile west of the intersection of Highway 2/Highway 50. From the intersection, drive south 0.25 mile on Highway 50, then turn right (west) onto 'I' road. Drive 0.20 mile and turn left onto 17th Street, then drive 0.30 mile to the cemetery entrance. The cemetery is on the north side of the road.
The Park Hill Cemetery was organized by the Rev. G.S. Alexander in 1889. John C. Torbit, a druggist, was buried here on September 9, 1889. The fourth burial was that of William Beckman, who had owned the general merchandise on the northeast corner of Fifth and Mohawk. As one looks closely, the cemetery shows the many firm family relationships which have made Syracuse a strong community.
Some graves were moved in from the Warner Cemetery. Among them was that of Mrs. Amelia Sinsabaugh, the daughter of Edwin Andrews. The Andrews monument is unusual-it gives the birth and death dates of all the Andrews’ children whether they are buried in the family plot or are buried elsewhere. The Marcell Bro monument is an impressive stone, but more impressive is the fact that his children, with their husbands and wives, are all buried in the same plot. Close by the cannon, which was given to the Grand Army of the Republic, lie a number of Civil War veterans. Beyond the last driveway is the potter’s field with only a handful of graves.
On October 1, 1946, Park Hill Cemetery was given to the City of Syracuse so that it will be maintained as long as Syracuse exists. As the lots as sold some of the proceeds are placed in the perpetual endowment fund, so that the cemetery is practically self-sustaining. The age of many stones tell the age of the cemetery. Some were made of soft stone and are no longer legible. Some are inscribed in German. One stone simply says, “Van Hornes--Territorial Pioneers 1856.” Many stones could bear a similar inscription.
There is one wooden marker (Charles Masters, d. 1912), which gives us an example of the markers the early pioneer used. There is a stone of petrified wood (Victor Van Horne—1863-1932). It is as if he desired a wooden marker, but made it more permanent. A large natural boulder marks the grave of Joseph Wilson Talbot, who served in the Nebraska House of Representatives in 1869. This was the Legislature which gave the Midland Pacific Railroad it’s ‘share’ of public lands, 100,000 acres and legalized the bonds with $150,000 issued to Otoe County to build the railroad. Talbot was the grandfather of Roger Babson whose financial columns have appeared in the Syracuse Journal-Democrat for many years.
The diversity of the backgrounds of the people who settled this community is again illustrated by Charles Swanson. He was born in 1856 in Westgutland, Sweden, the son of Swan Swanson. He came to the U.S. in 1872, and to Otoe County in 1876. He served on the Otoe County Republican Central Committee and the Syracuse School Board. He died at the grand old age of 96 years—the oldest of all these long-lived pioneers. Hartley Burr Alexander, in his tribute to his parents, had inscribed on their monument: “They were born in New England, they died in Nebraska. They were builders of the new life of a new land. Their trust was in the Lord.”
They were born in New England, and Ohio, and Illinois, and Hanover, and Westphalia, and Missouri, and Kentucky, and New York—these pioneers who were the builders “of the new life of a new land.” (1)
Burial Listing: A complete listing of burials can be found at:
Point of Contact:
Park Hill Cemetery
174 17th St.
Syracuse, NE 68446
(1) Masters, Margaret Dale. For the Record; the Centennial History of Syracuse, Nebraska. Syracuse, Neb.: Maverick Media, 1972. 56. Print.