Mead area cemetery gets new bench to help continue tribute to unknown children – Greeley Tribune


Down a dusty dirt road and nestled between farm fields, Highlandlake Pioneer Cemetery sits behind a black wrought iron fence just west of Highland Lake.

Interred alongside members of the Mead family and early leaders of the Highlandlake area, approximately 120 children lie in a potter’s field. For years, the region has been neglected and overgrown. Without the efforts of local history buffs, the stories of those buried there would likely have remained hidden in the shadows of tall grass and weeds.

The memorial trail honoring the children who were buried in the cemetery. (Cliff Grassmick / Personal Photographer)

The cemetery in 2001 was donated by a great-grandson of LC Mead, the founder of the Highlandlake community, to the non-profit organization Historic Highlandlake Church Inc.

Its members wanted to ensure that those who lie in the cemetery receive due tribute. Since then, efforts to care for the cemetery and trace the identities of those buried there have continued, inspiring other community groups to share the passion of remembering its history.

The Carbon Valley Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolutionary Society will donate a bench at 10 am Saturday at the cemetery, located approximately one mile from County Road 36. Refreshments will be served at the Historic Highlandlake Church at 16896 County Route 5 in Mead.

Connie Masson, the chapter’s second vice-regent, said Trex Company provided the bench. The Chapter collected plastic for six months to donate to the Virginia-based manufacturer of wood alternatives. The company has a community service program who offers to donate a free bench in exchange for a plastic donation of 500 pounds.

“We have always had a heart for the Highlandlake area,” said Masson. “The children’s area was also an interesting story. There were no gravestones.

The effort is one of many efforts to continue to care for a cemetery reserve, which was established in 1878.

Pauli Smith, a local historian and former member of the association, said that during and before the Great Depression, which began in 1929, if people couldn’t afford a $ 1 cemetery land, they had the option to use the potter’s field.

“Most of the children buried there… were children of migrant workers or field workers who were too poor to afford a place in a better location,” Smith wrote in an email. “Many have died of malnutrition when they are just a few days old, or other problems that can usually be treated today. “

A brick path, known as the Children’s Memorial Path, lists the names of approximately 90 children who have been identified. The path is on the west side of the cemetery. Smith said Peggy Brossman came up with the idea of ​​selling bricks to put on the path. The bricks bear the names of those who died and were buried there. The group raised around $ 8,000 for the effort, with group member Wendy Meehan helping set up the path. Volunteers from the University of Northern Colorado also helped under construction on the way, with others from Mead High School and the Cubs helping to beautify the graveyard.

Brossman is President of Historic Highlandlake Church Inc. and, like Smith, shares a passion for caring for the cemetery. Those visiting the north side of the cemetery will find a sign with Brossman’s name and phone number to call for information or report any issues.

As she walked among the graves Thursday afternoon, Brossman described the volunteer effort to maintain the cemetery. Her husband, Allen Brossman, regularly mows and weeds the cemetery. Allen’s parents are among those buried there.

Members of the association also rallied members of the community to help them. The place continues to be a source of education for elementary school students who go on excursions to the cemetery.

Brossman said the non-profit organization’s research to identify and find out more about the people buried there is continuing.

“Everyone deserves to have a tombstone, even if we don’t know (who they were),” she said. “If anyone knows anyone, we would love the stories because we just don’t know (everyone in here).”

The cemetery archives, some of which were kept by LC Mead, were also donated to the association. That information, along with obituaries and family testimonies, identified around 90 names of people buried there, Smith said.

The cemetery also contains markers for several members of the Mead family, such as Helen Mead, a 6-year-old girl who died of diabetes, and Bertha Belle Kerr, who died of appendicitis at 17. One of the first female ministers of Highlandlake Church, Mary Bumstead, is buried there.

The property is managed only by volunteers. Brossman said she hopes the community’s efforts to keep the cemetery maintained and visible will inspire the next generation to continue the work. Historic Highlandlake Church Inc., formerly Historic Highlandlake Group, has a perpetual maintenance fund with the Longmont Community Foundation, which always accepts donations. Brossman praised the DAR’s efforts to help take care of the cemetery.

“The ladies at DAR come out every October and do the housework in the fall,” Brossman said. “They take care of all the dead leaves and flower beds. They are very useful to us because we cannot do everything ourselves. Sometimes it takes a village.

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