Jurisdiction: St. Joseph City Section 26
Location: “Brow of Hill, overlooking mouth of St. Joseph River”
Location of Cemetery Records: None
Size: “1 acre”
From “Early History of Berrien County”, Damon A. Winslow, February 8, 1876:
“In 1829-30, when St. Joseph was first settled, there was a cleared spot of ground of about an acre on the brow of the hill overlooking the mouth of the river that had once been an Indian burying ground. In late years as the bank broke away, kettles, hatchets and various other relics and bones of human remains were unearthed. A few years since the village authorities graded the street that passes over the ground, and in doing so several graves were opened. Some bodies were apparently buried with birch bark around them, and some with what appeared portions of dug-out canoe, the bark and wood being quite sound; one gun entire was found, and various other relics and trinkets. There can hardly be a doubt as to the origin of the graves described.
But the most interesting relics discovered were those apparently of an entirely different race of people, and were doubtless the remains of missionaries or of those connected with the Jesuit Mission. One head was found covered with long, black and quite curly hair, looking quite life-like; the remains of another were found with a piece of light-colored silk about its head or neck. Another was buried apparently in a long silk robe; at the neck was a silver brooch, and at its waist was another very large one. The latter was circular in form and some 3 ½ or 4 inches in diameter, and was formed by a plain circular groundwork, surmounted with a circle of crosses. The crosses were about an inch long and placed close together, the foot of each pointing to the center. Many other ornaments were found, and comparatively in great profusion, some large and small, of various devices. Some of them were pure silver, while others were of a hard white metal, and some appear to have been plated.
This burial place was a most delightful spot, and it is not strange that such a one should be selected by savages or civilized men in which to bury their dead to await the final resurrection or from which to be transplanted to the Indian’s happy hunting ground. The spot was high, commanding a fine view of the surrounding country and the mouth of the river, the broad expanse of Lake Michigan, and an unobstructed view of that beauty of all beauties, the glories of a summer sunset when he sinks, to rest in the bosom of the lake. The interesting question arises, whose remains were buried there, and when were they buried? Were they warriors, or were they humble soldiers of the cross?”
Compiled By Chriss Lyon