The following is a list of the various cemeteries, active and inactive, used throughout the history of Brooks and area. You can also access a gravemarker database for most cemeteries.
Our group regularly updates the gravemarker databases and obituaries so we encourage you to check back in here if you don’t immediately find who you’re looking for.
Alderson Bassano Brooks Cassils Cravath Corners Duchess West Duchess Duke of Sutherland Farm Gem Patricia Rainier Rolling Hills Rosemary Old Catholic Church – Rosemary North Rosemary – Gallup Farm Scandia Tilley (Bethany)
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The village of Alderson was originally called Langevin Siding, as it served as a train stop along the CP rail line. 1910 saw settlers arriving in large numbers and a town arose called Carlstadt. After WWI, around 1915, the name was again changed to Alderson but not much remains.
Travel east from Brooks on #1 Highway approximately 30 miles and turn south at a small sign indicating Alderson. Proceed about 4 miles to a railroad crossing, turn east and travel approximately 1 mile. At the third railway crossing go south across the track and you will see the cemetery on the left side of the road. It is bounded on the west by a rural dirt road. The CPR track is 1/4 mile from the north boundary and the Alderson second Petro Canada Oil Compressor Station is 1/2 mile to the south with pasture land to the east – about 1 mile east from where the town of Alderson used to be.
Bassano and District Cemetery, located adjacent to #1 Highway, has resting spots for many, dating back as early as 1912. Many pioneers from a radius of about twenty-five miles, rest in the cemetery. There is a large number buried in the 1920s – 30s. One reason is the boom Bassano experienced at that time and also as a result of a flu that swept through town with alarming numbers left dead.
In the early 1910s, settlers came to the area to construct the Bassano Dam. Similarly seventy-five years later, construction was carried out at the Dam to rebuild and update this vital part of irrigation for Bassano and area. The cemetery is pleasantly treed on all four sides complete with an irrigation system. Summer employees are hired each year for upkeep and continuing beautification.
The Brooks Cemetery is located near the north entrance to the city of Brooks. From #1 Highway proceed south into Brooks on 2nd Street West and can be found on the east side of the street.
The early history of the Brooks Cemetery is sketchy, but it is known that the land originally belonged to the CPR. In a 1915 edition of the Brooks Bulletin under the headline “Cemetery Plots bought by Town” we read:
“Mayor Purcell was in Calgary this week in connection with the purchase of the cemetery grounds from the CPR. This company claims the town owed interest on purchase price of this parcel set aside since 1914. The Mayor pointed out that the town had never purchased the plots and that the CPR could take the land back. In considering the matter, a very reasonable price was set and the claim for interest dropped.”
In the September 24, 1953 edition of the Bulletin, Dr. C.E. Anderson recalls the first move to obtain a cemetery here. “A keen interest in the early history of Brooks is constantly taken by Dr. C.E. Anderson, the earliest practicing physician in Brooks and now resident in Edmonton. Mention in the Bulletin recently brought to his mind the establishment of the local cemetery and an informal letter to the editor he recalls some of the details. He writes ‘I think it was in the early Spring of 1911 when we had a chap die in Brooks. What his name was, I do not recall. This poor chap was broke and so it became necessary for the lads of the village to take up a collection to bury him. They did not see the need of giving the chap a train ride when there was all of God’s outdoors about, so a cemetery was a necessity. A.S. Dawson was the chief CPR engineer and he happened to be in Brooks. It was a rainy, cold Sunday morning and Mr. Dawson found the corner marker where west road(sic) and he paced off from Wilfley’s farm joining the east and there north (I know this because I held the umbrella over him and tried to match paces with him). When he came to the southwest corner of what is now the cemetery, he pointed to the land and said, “Here is your cemetery, but bury north of here.”
Information from Wilf Hall, who once worked at the Bulletin, and lived in Brooks for many years, is that the cemetery was deliberately located one mile north from the CPR station so it would be out of town.
Les and George Philpott, early residents, say that the cemetery was situated on the east side of the north trail out of town. This trail was used by teamsters, ranchers and homesteaders traveling north. Later when the trail was widened into a road, it would have gone over a grave, so they moved the grave further west. There were several graves at the entrance of the cemetery, outside the fence, which also had to be moved. Les Philpott was famous for his skill as a diviner, not just for water, but also for graves. He used his divining rod in Brooks Cemetery and determined that the southwest quarter is full of graves. He speculated that it held the graves of many people who had died in epidemics, or transients who worked on the irrigation projects in the early days.
The last historical information is from the Brooks Bulletin, 24 July 1915, headed “Cemetery To Be Much Improved”. This is an excerpt: “The matter of the cemetery improvement was discussed and it was decided to fence the front with a picket fence, the pickets to be obtained from the flume, and to put page wire fencing around the sides and rear. This work will be done at a ‘bee’ organized by the residents. The total cost will not be high.”
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This inactive cemetery is west of Brooks near Cassils. From Brooks, follow Cassils Road west, cross Highway #36 and turn north at the first intersection. The cemetery is approximately one mile north on the west side of the road. There is no access by car to this cemetery. It once had a picket fence, with some pickets still lying around. It has now been enclosed by the County of Newell with a chainlink fence and a locked gate.
About 200 yards northwest, over a rise, is a smaller cemetery approximately 20′ x 20′, also fenced in. There is a joint marker at the main Cassils Cemetery put up by the County of Newell that lists the names of the people in this cemetery as well.
NE 09-22-11 W4
A history of Cravath Corners was written by Margaret E. Bell and Mrs. Emil Sandgathe and published by the Brooks Bulletin. A cairn marking the site reads:
Cravath Corners Cemetery
- Cemetery Berry Creek MD 214
To the memory of
The pioneers who homesteaded this area
NW 14-20-12 W4
The village of Duchess is 14 km north of Brooks. The cemetery is located north of the village on the east side of secondary highway #873. It was told that the cemetery began in the late summer or early fall of 1917 when Mrs. Weaver died. The land was then donated by Sam B. Ramer. The village office takes care of the records and maintains the cemetery.
NW 35-20-15 W4
This cemetery is located NW of Duchess near railway tracks. It was previously recorded in 1975 when there were 2 gravemarkers. They are still there but cannot be deciphered now. The names of 9 burials eventually given by various old-timers and area residents have been recorded. The Rosemary history book “Rosemary, Land of Promise” has a map and some burials for this cemetery.
Duke of Sutherland Farm
SE 11-19-14 W4
This inactive cemetery was on the former ranch of the Duke of Sutherland who came from Scotland with many settlers. A fenced-off portion about 200′ x 100′ is overgrown with tall grass and weeds. Only one gravemarker remains but the County of Newell has put up a marker with names of 8 burials which have been recorded.
NE 24-22-17 W4
The Village of Gem is located just off secondary highway #862, about 23 miles northeast of Bassano. The cemetery is southwest of the village.
The land was bought in August 1930 from Peter Thiessen by the Mennonite Brethren, who built the church on the northeast corner adn a cemetery on the southeast corner of the quarter. In 1952, the church building was moved a few miles closer to the village of Gem, but the cemetery remains.
The cemetery is on the south side of the road and is fenced. There are no trees so the wind blows free. The members of the Mennonite Brethren look after their cemetery.
The earlier burial is that of Bennie Hamm, originally buried on a farm and later transferred to the cemetery in 1931.
Names of burials that have been identified have been entered into the Alberta Genealogical Society Master Data Bank.
NE 02-20-13 W4
The find the location of the Old Patricia Cemetery, travel north of Brooks on highway #873 to the Duchess-Patricia intersection then go 9 miles east and 1 mile south across a prairie trail on Doug Hendrickson’s land. There is nothing left to be seen except some sunken plots and a wooden pole marking the spot. The CPR apparently set aside 4 acres for a cemetery around 1920-22. The Eastern Irrigation District (EID) was the next owner. From many contacts with the people of the area, the names of 6 burials have been recorded. The most recent burial was likely that of Mrs. Leah Nunnemaker in 1932.
NE 23-16-16 W4
The cemetery is located a bit south of the Community Hall in the town of Rainier which is about 20 miles south of Brooks on highway #36. The earliest grave seems to be that of Claretta Graham in 1929, the year before the cemetery was officially opened. Five acres of land for the cemetery was purchased from the CPR for $40.00 in May of 1930. The Rainier history book “Settlers Along the Bow” contains further information on the people of the area. Fifty-nine burials have been recorded for this cemetery.
NW 06-16-13 W4
Rolling Hills is located about 70 km south of Brooks on secondary highway #875 (known as the Rolling Hills Highway). The cemetery is north of the school and is well kept. The 4-H Club tidies this cemetery each spring as one of its community projects.
The area set aside for this cemetery is about 4 acres, originally owned by the Eastern Irrigation District (EID). A company of shareholders was formed at a meeting on 10 February 1940, named Rolling Hills Cemetery Company. Original elected directors were F.McMahon, J. Sinclair, R.P. Thomsen, F. Page, H. Finkbeiner, G. Kopperud and R. Daniels. The first caretaker was Ronald Rust and served from 1949–60, and then his son Pete took over, so this position has been in the family for many years. Ninety-one burials have been recorded for this cemetery.
NE 01-21-16 W4
The Rosemary Cemetery is made up of 2 parts separated by a driveway. The west side is maintained by the Rosemary Mennonite Church while the east side is maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Old Catholic Church Cemetery – Rosemary
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The old side is west of the town of Rosemary, across from the Kessler homesite, at the intersection of the Old #1 highway and the East Gem Road. It is not known for sure who is buried in the cemetery as no gravemarkers are to be seen. Twenty names are possible burials and witnesses who are in the records belonging to this church. This was a French community and after an unsuccessful few years, most moved away. More information may be found in the Rosemary history book “Rosemary, Land of Promise”.
North Rosemary – Gallup Farm Cemetery
NW 18-21-15 W4
This cemetery is located about 3 miles north of Rosemary. Before the Rosemary Cemetery was begun, this location was used as a community cemetery. The land originally belonged to Mr. Watson, a relative of the (then) present owner. It is believed the land was donated for use as a cemetery. Mr. Henry Tiessen, of Rosemary, has the names of all the Mennonite burials in this location. There are also two non-Mennonite burials here. There is a non-existing plot plan for this cemetery. All 14 names are taken from the Rosemary Mennonite Church records and a local history book.
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The Scandia Cemetery can be found by traveling about 26 miles south of Brooks on Highway #36 to the Scandia corner, turn west and travel a mile to the town of Scandia and the cemetery is just north of the town. Jacob Westbeg died in December 1932 and was buried on a portion of land that was to become the future cemetery. The land for the cemetery was purchased from the CPR Land Company when L.C. Charlesworth was the Brooks manager. The Salem Lutheran Church has maintained the records and upkeep of this cemetery since its beginning. Presently the records are being kept by Kermith W. Anderson of Scandia.
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The Bethany Lutheran Cemetery is located 8 miles southwest of Tilley. The Bethany Lutheran Congregation came from Nebraska in 1930 and brought their Pastor A.N. Skanderup with them. They bought the land from the CPR for $79.75 where they built the church basement in 1934 and used it for services and get-togethers for 7 years until the rest of the church was built. The cemetery was started in 1933 when Dagny Christensen died that year.