• 1845 - 1849
  • 1845 Lot Receipt
  • 1846 Sexton Invoice
  • 1846 Cemetery Ordinance
  • 1846 Survey Plat
  • 1846 memo regarding invoice and grubbing
  • 1848 Mayoral Address
  • 1849 Ordinance to Regulate the Burial of the Dead
From 1845 through 1849, in addition to selling lots and burying the dead in the newly-surveyed grounds of the Chicago City Cemetery, bodies were being re-interred here from the old graveyard that was located on the lake shore from Chicago Ave to Oak St. (See the map showing the grounds of the older burial ground in the 1837 - 1844 section.)

In August 1846 a group of Jewish Chicagoans appealed to the Common Council and were granted a 6/7 acre plot for their own burial ground within the City Cemetery. (See the Jewish Cemetery section.)

Also in 1846, the cemetery grounds were surveyed for a separate section to contain family vaults.
The Common Council files do not contain extensive information about who owned cemetery lots until written records were required in 1851. (See the chronological database of lot owners.)

1849 saw Chicago's first major cholera outbreak. (See the Cholera section.)

 

 

 

 

 


Courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

The City of Chicago, In consideration of _____Five_____Dollars and ________Cents to the said City paid by ____Richard Murrey____ doth hereby, in conformity with the Ordinance of the Common Council of said City, in such case made and provided, give, grant, bargain, sell, and convey unto the said __Richard Murrey__ , Lot numbered ___Four hundred and ninety six (496)____ In the plot of the CHICAGO CEMETERY, as laid out and recorded in the office of the City Clerk, and in the office of the County Recorder of the County of Cook. To have and to hold the same with its appurtenances, to him, the said ___Richard Murrey______, his heirs, and assigns, forever, for the purpose of burying therein his and their dead, and for no other use, intent, or purpose whatever. Subject, nevertheless, to such general rules and regulations as the Common Council of said City, may from time to time, hereafter prescribe.

And the said City of Chicago hereby covenants with the said ____Richard Murrey___, his heirs and assigns, that the premises designated as the CHICAGO CEMETERY aforesaid, in an Ordinance passed by the Common Council of said city, on the first day of December A.D. 1842, shall forever be kept and preserved as a place for the burial of the dead of said city: and that all monies which have been or may be received for lots sold therein shall be laid out and expended in paying for said ground, and ornamenting and improving the same, and, if necessary, in purchasing and improving an Addition thereto. And that the said ground shall be enclosed with a good and substantial fence, which shall, at all times, be kept in good repair.

Witness the Seal of said City, and the signature of ______Augustus Garrett____, Mayor thereof, this ___24th__day of __April__ A.D. 184_5_.

Attest, __E.A. Rucker____ City Clerk.

A. Garrett
Mayor of the City of Chicago. ___________


Courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.
The City of Chicago
A.S. Bates for
Ap 4 - one Hundred & forty four Days work grub[b]ing in the City Cemetery from the
4 of Ap up to the 16 of Sept
Sept 16 at --4/per Day 72.00

For Removing 15 Bodies from
the Old Ground to the
New at 16/ Each 30.00
- Repairing fence round
the cemetery &c 3.00
$105.00


All documents on this page, courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

Be it ordained by the City of Chicago in Common Council assembled:

Sec. 1         That the Cemetery Grounds belonging to the City of Chicago shall hereafter be placed under the immediate charge and supervision of the City Sexton whose duty it shall be to see that the same are kept in good order; and whenever in his judgment any improvements or repairs may be required therein it shall be his duty to report the same to the Common Council. Provided that the expenditures shall be made or liabilities incurred for the same, by him except, by order of the Council.—

Sec. 2         The City Clerk shall keep in his office a record Book in which shall be entered a description by their number of all the lots in the Cemetery, with columns ruled therein for the purpose, in which he shall enter the purchaser’s name and the date of sale, which entry shall be made by him in case of any sale hereafter made, at the time the deed is executed and delivered. It shall also be his duty to open an account with the Cemetery fund, in which all expenditures made by the Common Council in repairs and improvements in and upon the Cemetery Grounds, shall be charged, and all moneys received on account of any sales of lots therein, shall be credited.

Sec. 3         Whenever any person shall desire to purchase any one or more lots in the Cemetery he shall make application to the City Sexton or City Attorney, and upon the payment of the purchase money into the City treasury it shall be the duty of the City Attorney to prepare a deed for the same, which shall be signed by the Mayor of said City.


(verso)




and attested by the Clerk under the Corporate Seal and delivered to the purchaser upon his filing with the said Clerk the treasurer receipt for the purchase money: Provided that in the case shall a deed be executed and delivered until the lot or lots therein described shall be paid for as herein provided.

Sec 4. The City Attorney shall be alloted a fee of fifty cents for every deed executed by him under the provisions of the Ordinance to be paid by the purchaser. This Ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage.














An Ordinance concerning the Cemetery of the City of Chicago.


Passed, October 1846

Courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.
This 1846 survey plat shows the original cemetery acreage forming a square, crossing over Green Bay Road (now Clark Street.)

Both documents on this page, courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

(memo from unidentified Common Council members)

Chicago       October 2, 1846

To the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Chicago – Grant

The undersigned in behalf of the Committee on Wharves and Public Grounds to which was referred a communication of A.S. Bates City Sexton together with an order instructing the Committee to investigate the Cemetery fund a/c would respectfully report

That they have examined the report of the Sexton and ascertain that he has received from the Clerk during the present year cemetery deeds to the amount of           
$365.00

That of this amount he has paid into the treasury
$125.00

And returned into the hands of your Com. $165.00.      290.

Leaving a balance collected in his hands, of $75.00

The deeds which have been returned Your Committee have thought it advisable to place in the hands of the Marshall for collection.

The City Sexton has presented a bill and his report, consisting of the following items:

To 144 days grubbing in the Cemetery
from 4th April to 16th Sept. ’46 - 4/ per day $72.00

To removing 15 bodies from the old to the new ground at 16/ each – 30.00

To repairing the Cemetery fence                                     3.
                                         $105.

(REPLY)

The item for grubbing is too large, 1st because the labor is charged at $1. per day, when enough if can be got for the purpose for 75 cts. 2nd because not more than one third of the time mentioned in the bill, to wit 144 days could have been employed upon the Cemetery in as much as The Sexton, as your Committee are informed, is required to keep a man to dig graves and it is for so much of the spare time from this his ordinary avocation which has been employed in grubbing for which the city are required to pay. The great mortality of the present season has of course taken most of his time and consequently not so much of it could have been devoted to grubbing as has been charged.

Your committee therefore recommend the allowance of the bill as follows:

To 48 days grubbing at 75 cts per day
$36.00

To removing 15 bodies from the old to new ground.
$30.00

To repairing Cemetery fence.
$3.00

Total: $69.00

The account with the Sexton would then stand as follows:

Bal due from him on settlement
$75.00

Amt of credit as above
$69.00

Bal due $6.00

Your committee would respectfully recommend that the sum of $169. be credited to the Sexton as also the amt of $165. on a/c of deeds returned

In view of the present funds, account of system in the management of the Cemetery Grounds and your Committee have digested an ordinance for their future regulation which is much required, and recommended its passage.

All of which is respectfully submitted

George Manierre
For Com.

This excerpt from Mayor James Woodworth's inaugural address, given on March 14, 1848, is an early indication of the poor state of the cemetery grounds. During the decade of the 1850s there were many more pleas for the improvement of the cemetery.
(See Woodsworth's entire speech here.)

"I feel it my duty to call your serious attention to the condition of the cemetery grounds, which I regret to say, are, in a condition incompatible with the desires and character of the People of Chicago. Nothing exhibits in a community more clearly a high state of civilization and morality, than a proper regard for their dead, and no improvement will inspire the stranger with so high a regard for the character of our people as a proper and tasteful adornment of the depositories of our deceased friends; and I hope that immediate measures will be taken for their improvement by a judicious expenditure of the money derived from the sale of cemetery lots. As the debt contracted in the purchase of the grounds, has been entirely discharged, we may hope to realize means from this source sufficient to enable you to effect to a considerable extent the improvement so much desired."



All documents on this page, courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

 

 

An Ordinance to regulate the burial of the dead

Sec. 1
Be it ordained by the Common Council of the City of Chicago

That all that part of the South East quarter of the South East quarter of Section thirty three (33) of Township forty (40) north range fourteen (14) East of the third principal meridian, lying east of Clarke Street, excepting four acres not owned by the City, shall be and the same is hereby set apart – for the Burial of the Dead, and shall be known and distinguished as the “Chicago Cemetery”.

Sec. 2

It shall be the duty of the City Surveyor, to survey from time to time, such parts of said land as may be deemed necessary for immediate use, under the direction of the Council, and lay the same out in lots, of not less than twenty four (24) feet in length, by nine (9) feet in breadth.

 

 

And to make a map thereof, upon which each lot so laid out shall be numbered. Which map shall be duly certified and recorded in the office of the City Clerk, and also in the office of the County Recorder of the County of Cook.------------------------------------------

Sec. 3
It, shall be the duty of the Mayor and City Clerk as soon as convenient after the first portion of said Cemetery shall have been surveyed, laid out, mapped and recorded as aforesaid, and after having given public notice thereof, to proceed to sell the said lots at public auction, to the highest bidder therefore, Provided – however, that no lot shall be sold for a less sum than five dollars.

Sec. 4
The purchaser of each lot at said sale, upon the payment of the purchase money, and a fee of fifty cents to the Clerk, shall be entitled to a deed thereof, under the Corporate seal of the City, signed by the Mayor and countersigned by the Clerk.

Which deed shall be in substance as follows – Viz” The city of Chicago in consideration of _______________dollars to the said city paid by ____________ doth hereby, in conformity with the Ordinance of the Common Council of said City, in such case made and provided, give grant, bargain, sell, and convey unto the said ___________________ lot numbered__________________ in the plot of the Chicago

 

 

Cemetery as laid out and recorded in the Office of the city Clerk, and in the office of the Recorder of the County of Cook. To have and to hold the same, with its – appurtenances to him the said______________ his heirs and assigns forever, for the purpose of burying therein his and their dead, and for no other use, intent or purpose whatever, subject nevertheless to such general rules and regulations as the Common Council of said City, may from time to time hereafter establish.

         And – the said City of Chicago, hereby covenants with the said__________ his heirs and assigns that the premises designated as the Chicago Cemetery aforesaid, in an ordinance passed by the Common Council of said City on the_______ day of_______ A.D._1842___. Shall forever be kept and preserved as a place for the burial of the dead of said City, and that all monies which have been or may be received for lots sold therein shall be laid out and expended, in paying for said ground, and ornamenting and improving the same and if necessary, in purchasing and improving an addition thereto, and that the said Cemetery shall be enclosed with a good and substantial fence, which shall at all times be kept in good repair.

 

 

Witness the seal of said City and the signature of____________ Mayor thereof this________ day of________ AD___184_______.

Sec. 5 After the public sale aforesaid the Mayor and the City Clerk shall be, and they are hereby authorised to sell at private sale any of the lots remaining unsold, which have been surveyed, laid out and recorded as aforesaid and to convey the same in deed as aforesaid upon the payment of the sum of ten dollars, and a fee of one dollar to the City Clerk.

Sec. 6
It, shall be the duty of the City Clerk to Keep a record of all lots sold in said Cemetery, in which shall be specified the number of the lot sold, the purchasers name, the amount of purchase money, and the date of sale. He shall also keep a similar record of all transfers and assignments of said lots, and shall be entitled to a fee of twenty five cents for each transfer entered on said record, And he shall also keep a separate account of all monies received or expended for, or on account of said Cemetery.

Sec. 7

It, shall be the duty of the City Treasurer to Keep all monies received for, or on account of said Cemetery, separate and apart, and from other monies in the Treasury. And all orders

 

 

drawn by the Clerk to meet expenditures on the Cemetery, shall designate distinctly on their face that they are to be paid out of the “Cemetery Fund”. And said monies shall not be used to meet any other demands upon the Treasury.

Sec. 8
A portion, of said Cemetery, not less than five acres, shall be set apart under the direction of the Common Council, as, and for a “Potters Field”, and all strangers or inhabitants of said city, other than the Owners of lots in said Cemetery, shall be buried in said Potters Field. And, any person burying or causing to be buried any dead body contrary to this section, shall forfeit and pay to the use of the City the sum of Twenty Dollars ($20). Provided, however that the Mayor may in special cases, grant a written permission to bury dead bodies, in lots which may be reserved for that purpose.

Sec. 9

If any person or persons shall destroy, pull down, deface, or [in] any manner injure any monument, stone, stake, post, fence, trees, ornamental shrubs or other fixtures or plants, erected, placed, planted, or put in or around said Cemetery, or in or around any lot or lots therein, either by said city or any private person or persons, he or they so offending, shall

 

 

forfeit and pay to the use of said City the sum of Twenty Dollars $20-

Sec. 10
There, shall be appointed by the common Council, a City Sexton, who shall have charge of said Cemetery. It shall be his duty to report all violations of this ordinance and he shall direct how, and where, each and every dead body (not belonging to the owners of lots therein) shall be interred, and for such services he shall receive such compensation as the Common Council may, from [time] to time establish, to be paid by the person or persons requiring the same. Any person resisting the said Sexton in his duty, or (other than the Owners of lots aforesaid) refusing to inter their dead as directed by him shall forfeit and pay to the use of the city the sum of ten dollars $10-

Sec. 11
If, at any time any dead body or bodies shall have been interred upon any lot or lots which have been purchased by private Citizens, without the consent of the Owner or Owners thereof, it shall be the duty of the Sexton to cause such body or bodies to be forthwith removed to the Potters Field, and the person or persons interring such body or bodies as aforesaid on causing such interment, shall pay the expenses of such removal in addition to the penalty herein before provided.

 

 

Sec. 12
It shall be the duty of the attending Physician, on the demise of his patient resident of said City, and before interment, to give a certificate, under his hand, to the head of a family in which said death may occur, specifying the age, sex, and cause of death, whether by accident, or disease, and the nature thereof, under a penalty of five dollars for each omission.

Section 13.

It shall be the duty of the head of a family as aforesaid, to give a cause, said certificate to be given to the City Sexton, previous to the burial of such deceased person, under a penalty of Two dollars for each omission.

 

 

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