Cemetery History

The first recorded burial in the cemetery was in 1882. However, some burials from the village of Firesteel were moved to this cemetery due to Firesteel's flooding and the railhead relocation. The village of Firesteel was the foundation for the eventual "City of Mitchell". Some historical information indicates that there may have been burials prior to this, but it is unclear if they were at Graceland or at the old Firesteel site along Firesteel Creek.

Notable Individuals

There are many famous individuals interred in Mitchell's Cemetery. Probably the most noted is Major Israel Greene, a Confederate Marine that captured the infamous John Brown at Harper's Ferry, Virginia during the battle for abolishment of slavery and the ensuing Civil War. When slavery was abolished, he had to move his family away from the South to avoid pro-Union sentiment and chose Mitchell for his residence. Israel Greene was one of Mitchell's first civil engineers and surveyed the first east west road to the Black Hills of SD. from Yankton. Some of his extended family also moved to Mitchell and called it home.

Other Notable Individuals

A few of the individuals with interesting historical information to research are:
  • Rev. Badger Clark was the father of the famous South Dakota poet Badger Clark.
  • James S. Foster was the leader of the New York Colony that settled at Bon Homme in 1864. He was the first Superintendent of Schools for the Dakota Territories and the first Commissioner of Emigration in 1867.
  • Lawrence O. Gale was the co-founder of the Corn Palace.
  • Richard E. Higgs, Corporal U.S. Army, was a soap opera star during the WWII era.
  • Catherine Sumner was believed to be the first female U.S. postal carrier. She delivered mail with her children on horse and buggy with a shotgun in her lap for safety reasons when the Dakotas were being settled.
A tremendous amount of historical work was done by the Mitchell Ladies Cemetery Association long ago. Work continues by the Mitchell Genealogy Society. This information has been, and continues to be, very valuable to families as they research their lineage.