Saturday, October 15, 2005

Saint Mary's Cemetery, Champaign Illinois

Michael Foley's burial site was on of the quests of this blog site when it was started several months ago. On October 14, 2005, it was our goal as we left home.
I previously blogged about this here.

Communication with Linda in Arizona put me on the trail of the cemetery in Champaign where Michael was reportedly buried. First, a name was determined. The oldest Catholic Cemetery was Saint Mary's Cemetery in Champaign, right on the Champaign-Urbana city borders.

We weren't sure of the exact location and drove to Champaign knowing we would have to do some searching. We exited at Neil Street when we saw a sign for "Tourist Information". Turning north we only saw a big mall and no other likely location. Sure enough, after turning into the mall parking lot we spied another sign. This was our first indication that our path was being determined for us by forces outside of our realm.

Into the Market Place Mall we went and found a kiosk with local tourism info. Kenesha helped us and though she was not sure about the cemetery location, she did have a map. And all of the cemeteries in Champaign were clearly indicated. Our street to travel to the Cemetery? Neil Street where we had turned off the Interstate. "I am not a fan of coincidence" is an adage I have espoused for many years and having two at this early stage had gotten my attention.

After a quick lunch in the Food Court of the Mall, we headed south on Neil Street to Saint Mary's Road where only a few blocks later we found the Cemetery. Saint Mary's is broken into sections and divided by roads. There was no gatehouse or office on site. We decided to find Michael by ourselves. Within about 15-20 minutes Nancy called out "I found them" and she had. The Foley, Hollingsed, Dunbar and Welty burial site. Michael Foley and three of his daughters. Here is what the site looked like on this crisp day.

Above top is Michael's grave and stone. On the right of his stone is the stone for James C. Hollingsed. The picture immediately above is the picture of Saint Mary's Church corner stone in Champaign. It is significant because Michael died in 1889. The Church corner stone indicates it was built in 1888. Michael would have been among the first 50 burials from this church.
Here are some pictures of the other stones on the site and of the Church itself.

And here are the rest of the grave stones on the sight:


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