The cemetery was founded on April 15, 1863, when Lawrence Forvor and his wife, Maria, donated the land on Lake Street just south of the present Route 120. The land was part of an 1843 land grant from President James K. Polk that was to be used for a cemetery and school.
Programs will be held at 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the cemetery on Lake Street. Donations will be appreciated. Free parking is available adjacent south of the cemetery.
The program, which was researched and written by a member of the Grayslake Historical Society, is sponsored by Strang Funeral Chapel and Crematorium. In case of rain attendees are encouraged to bring an umbrella.
Telling Their Stories
Historical Society President Charlotte Renehan self-published an award-winning book, "Absent But Ever Present" in 1998 that tells the story of everyone buried in the cemetery. The 137 plots in the cemetery contain a total of 400 burials. Some of the grave markers and tombstones have disintegrated over the years and there are several graves that never had a tombstone or marker.
This year’s Cemetery Walk will feature costumed actors portraying Elijah Haines, Maria Forvor, Lawrence Forvor, Corenia Kapple, Jane Slusser, Nancy Whitney Smith, Zebulon Freeman, William Lovejoy and Doddridge Byrant.
The costumed actors during the walk will be: Amy Edwards, Virginia Fitzgerald, Daniel Graham Jr., James Hassert, Krista Holst, Tim Holst, Charlotte Renehan, Shawn Vogel and Mark Whillhite.
During the program, "Elijah Haines" will talk to the pioneers who settled along the Plank Road (now Route 120). Attendees will learn about Hainesville, the old plank road, the War of 1812 and more.
Haines, who was a contemporary of Abraham Lincoln, surveyed and plotted the Village of Hainesville. He was a lawyer and often traveled the Old Plank Road to Little Fort (Waukegan). Several veterans are buried or remembered in the cemetery: Two from the War of 1812, 16 from the Civil War, one from the Spanish-American War and six from World War I.
Many of the cemetery plots contain the remains of the village's original settlers including David Rich and Lawrence Forvor. Twenty-two members of the Harvey family, 21 members of the Hendee family and 19 members of the Kapple family are buried there.
The last burial in the cemetery was in 2010. On April 10, 1876, Illinois Secretary of State George H. Harlow issued a certificate to cemetery trustees Sarah Longabaugh, Anna Hendee and Minerva Seesholtz to establish the Grayslake Cemetery Association.
Today the upkeep of the cemetery is a joint effort of the Village of Grayslake and the Grayslake Historical Society. The village has the grass mowed while the Society oversees the raking of leaves and places flowers in urns. The historical society in the past has painted the fence and repaired tombstones.
For information about people buried in the cemetery or about other early pioneers of the area, contact the Grayslake Historical Society at (847) 223-7663 or e-mail ChaRenehan@aol.com.
Submitted by the Grayslake Historical Society.