Our Unplanned Trip To This Rice County Cemetery
Last night was absolutely perfect to get out and ride, and that's exactly what my wife and I did. I had owed her a trip on our 4-wheelers after working late at the Steele County Free Fair last week. Typically, we don't have a destination in mind, we tend to wander the gravel roads of rural Rice and LeSueur County and just take in some fresh air and the countrysides sights and sounds. Last night we were cruising through Wheatland Township and stopped at the St. Louis Cemetery.
We had occasionally passed the small cemetery on our way to Lonsdale along County Road 2. It had always piqued my interest, but not enough to stop and take a look as we generally are on some timetable. We just happened to be riding on the right road and at the right time to stop and take a look.
The cemetery was established in 1865 by Reverend Augustine Ravoux when there was a French Catholic church that stood nearby. At the time of the churches founding, there were about 40 French and Irish Catholic families in the Wheatland area, 40 years later the number of families was down to 15. The property was deeded in 1907 to the Lonsdale Catholic church.
There are some historical figures buried in the small cemetery, like a Native American warrior, named Joseph Jack "Iron Face" Frazer who died in 1869 at the age of 67. Frazer was a US Scout and alerted a US regiment to an impending attack near New Ulm by a group of Sioux. Also buried in the cemetery are several veterans that participated in the Civil War.
The Wheatland Wheaties 4-H group cares for the property according to a sign on the property, and they do a good job of it too. Some headstones are still readable, others not so much. But it's definitely worth a stop if you enjoy history. You can find the St. Louis Cemetery at the intersection of Kent Ave and County Road 2.