City of Princeton 

Home of the Famous Flea Market and Historic Downtown on the Fox

Cemetery Project Vision and Overview

What’s the vision?

The vision for the City of Princeton Cemetery Restoration has many components.

Project #1:   Cataloging and Indexing Grave Sites.   Volunteers from came to the City Cemetery and photographed the gravestones. Those photographs were printed off and each picture was put in a plastic sleeve in binders. Through the city website and local press, information was requested on the people buried in the cemetery. An “information center” was also purchased and placed on the side of the tool shed in cemetery. Articles from the local newspaper about the Restoration Project and Fundraising were displayed in the information center so people visiting the cemetery can read about the project. There is also a donation plaque that is hung in the window of the tool shed with the names of individuals, businesses or organizations donating $50.00 or more to the Cemetery Restoration Project. People have provided information on their families which consists of pictures, death and birth certificates, newspaper articles, military paperwork, and obituaries.   Information has come from New Mexico, Florida and Ohio as well as parts of Wisconsin. The binders are documentation of family legacies which would be lost if not preserved.

Project #2:   Monument and Grounds Clean-up.   The Cemetery is maintained by the City of Princeton, however, the restoration work goes far beyond the basic maintenance. A Volunteer work day was held on September 8, 2014, which 30+ volunteers showed up to clean gravestones and to pull overgrowth, all of which created excitement for the Restoration Project. On September 14, 2015, a second workday is scheduled, which will consist of edging around gravestones. After the first workday volunteers asked when the next workday would be knowing the accomplishments that can be achieved by working together.

Project #3: Monument and Dedication of Potter’s Field. When going through old paperwork on the cemetery, it was discovered there is an area designated as “Potter’s Field”. Potter’s Field is a place for those who suffered poverty or indifference are buried. Many of those buried in Potter’s Field do not have gravestones and most likely had no proper burial. The City of Princeton Public Works Department, when doing a city street reconstruction project, found a huge rock weighing approximately 500 lbs. and removed it from under a street. The rock was taken to the local monument dealer and he engraved on the rock “Remember Me Now, Forget Me Never”. The rock was placed by Potter’s Field and on November 2, 2015, which is All Soul’s Day, it will be blessed in a formal ceremony performed by local clergy of all denominations.

Project #4: Restoration of Monuments and Burial Sites. There are approximately 1650 people buried in the cemetery. The City did not always own/caretaker of the cemetery so many records are not available. Some of the people were born in the late 1700’s and many in the mid to late 1800’s, and there are no family members alive or near Princeton to take care and repair the gravestones. Overtime, the elements have caused the gravestones to deteriorate and the engraving to become a smooth surface, also mold and algae has grown on the gravestones, causing stains. Monuments companies were contacted regarding the repair of gravestones. A Restoration Specialist was contacted and is going to start restoring the gravestone in the fall of 2015.

Project #5:   Restoration of Original Maps.   The City Cemetery has five (5) additions and the Original Grounds. The Original Grounds and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Additions are from the 1800’s. The Original Grounds map is made of cloth with names of people who purchased the lot. The maps were torn, tattered and rolled up and stored in metal tubes in a filing cabinet. The Wisconsin State Historical Society was contacted for information of how the maps could be preserved. Names were given to the city and people were contacted who specialize in cloth preservation. The maps have been preserved in a format that the original history will not be lost.

Project #6: Designation and Monumentation of War Veterans. The City of Princeton contacted the local Veteran’s Services Office, local Historical Society and American Legion, all of whom had documentation of Veterans buried in the Cemetery. A genealogist who specializes in Veterans affairs was contacted who compared and researched all the Veteran information. It was found that Princeton has two (2) War of 1812 Veterans buried in the cemetery and 41 Civil War Veterans with marked graves.   There are five (5) Civil War Veterans who need gravestones, and 14 Civil War Veterans that need Flag Medallion Holders. The City is working with Veteran’s Services and the VA to get gravestones for the Civil War Veterans. The City has been in contact with the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, and when all the gravestones for the Civil War Veterans are in place, they will conduct a Civil War Reenactment Funeral. The City will then work to ensure the WWI, WWII, The Korean Conflict, Vietnam War Veterans, and all other Veterans that they all have gravestones and Flag Medallion Holders, for their service for our Country. All money spent has come from donations or fundraising efforts. To date close to $3,000.00 has be raised. As you can see, this is an ongoing venture for many years. Cemeteries provide a great amount of our cities and fore-fathers history. The City of Princeton has embraced the idea and fundraising will continue, however with the substantial repair costs, outside funding sources are necessary to assist with the cause.  




531 South Fulton Street / PO BOX 53, Princeton, WI 54968 / Regular Business Hours 7:00AM - Noon & 1:00- 3:30PM Mon. thru Fri. (920) 295-6612