Built By German M. E. Church
Bellefontaine Cemetery History
Bellefontaine Cemetery was founded by the German M. E. Church in 1860. The German church members wanted a dependable place to bury their dead; they concluded their own graveyard was necessary.
Discrimination was a factor that German speaking citizens had to confront.
Most German refugees realized that hard work, speaking English and business ownership created some equality with English speaking citizens. This was also true for Jewish residents. The Mount Vernon Jewish population created Oak Hill Cemetery in 1882 which merged into Bellefontaine Cemetery in 1920.
Several German Methodists met in their church on Jan. 26, 1860 to organize a committee and find cemetery land. A week later the German Methodists were offered two acres of land for $100 per acre by V. J. Shryock; this is the southwest corner of the present cemetery.
A board of trustees was elected in February, 1860; the board was named “Allgemeine Beeroigun Platz,”
(General Burial Place Society). 45 Members subscribed $5 each for $225 to cover the $200 land purchase cost. The grave sites were assigned by drawing lots.
In March, 1887, the name German Graveyard was changed to Black Township Cemetery; the business was thereafter conducted in English language. In December, 1890 the cemetery name of “Bellefontaine Cemetery
Society” was adopted. Reports tell that Bellefontaine was named for Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.
The St Louis cemetery was named after Fort Belle Fontaine that was built in 1805 at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.