Contributing Factors in Moving the Cemetery: The Milliman Tract

March 25, 1867: One thousand six hundred thirty five bodies are recorded as removed from the Milliman Tract.
June 12, 1867: Mayor J.B. Rice approves an ordinance to extinguish the titles of the Milliman Tract cemetery lot owners.

In 1866, the city officials diligently vacated the Milliman Tract cemetery grounds, and in 1867 they extinguished the titles of the lots whose owners had not claimed their departed. Those unclaimed graves were reportedly removed to Oak Woods Cemetery.

The City's List of Expenditures recorded the removal of 1,635 bodies from the Milliman Tract. My tally of the removals to Graceland Cemetery, as recorded in that cemetery's Interment Book, represents exactly half the number of bodies removed to Graceland on the City's expenditure list.

There were reportedly 182 unclaimed burial lots within the Milliman Tract. The remains interred within those lots were removed to Oak Woods Cemetery. A Common Council record states there were "some four or five hundred bodies that no claim has been made to by any relative or friend."

More information about individual occurrences within the Milliman Tract can be seen within the City Cemetery Timeline Section for the years 1865-1869.
March 25, 1867: Costs for removing bodies from the Milliman Tract.

Courtesy of the Illinois Regional Archives Depository.

April 26, 1867        

Having had the same under advisement, beg leave to report, finally, that in conformity with the instructions of the Council, your Committee received bids from Rosehill, Graceland, Oak Woods, and German Lutheran Cemetery Companies, and obtained their lowest price per foot for lots in their several Cemeteries. On the release of lots, by the owners thereof, in the said “Milliman Tract” they have been allowed to select an equal number of feet in either of the Cemeteries above named, or to receive their pay for their lots in cash.

Your committee have endeavored to have the owners of lots give their personal attention to the selection of new lots, and the removal of the remains of their friends. To this end repeated notices were given in our City Newspapers and by letter and as far as possible, each owner was called upon personally by our indefatigable Superintendent.

Your committee take pleasure in reporting that with a very few exceptions, they have received the hearty cooperation of persons interested in this tract.

For the deposit of bodies interred in lots, the owners of which could not be found, your committee, as directed by the Council, purchased a well located improved tract of land in Oak Woods cemetery, in which a lot corresponding in size, with the one in the Old Cemetery was appropriated to each unknown lot owner and the remains transferred to these lots and reburied in the same manner as in the old lots, so that friends can find them in the future. A complete record of these lots and transfers has been carefully prepared, to be deposited with the City for future reference.

Should any of these unknown owners, hereafter desire they can receive deeds to new lots by relinquishing their title to the lots in the “Milliman Tract.”

Your Committee were fortunate in securing the services (as Superintendent) of Joseph Ernst, a most honest, faithful and efficient man, who by his persevering energy, and gentlemanly bearing rendered as pleasant as possible a disagreeable duty.

In conclusion we submit a Statement of Expenditures and recommend (as all bodies are removed therefrom,) that possession be given of said “Milliman Tract” in accordance with the decree of the Courts.

No release has been obtained from J.H. Dunham, D.R. Holt and S.S. Morgan for lots owned by them.

An ordinance for extinguishing the title of the lot owners in the Chicago Cemetery

Refd to Com. Sts and Alleys ND & ordered to be published March 11, 1867

Laid over and published - April 10, 1867

Ordered Engrossed - April 26, 1867

Lost – May 3, 1867

Reconsidered - May 3, 1867
Laid on the table temporarily - May 3, 1867

Amended and Passed – June 10, 1867

Presented to the Mayor for his approval – June 12, 1867
A.H. Rodman, Clerk

Approved – June 12, 1867
H.B. Rice, Mayor


An Ordinance for extinguishing the titles of Lot Owners in the Chicago Cemetery

Be it Ordained by the Common Council of the City of Chicago:

Section 1         That the Mayor and Comptroller be, and they are, hereby, authorized to extinguish the titles of the different Lot owners in the “Chicago Cemetery”, by refunding the purchase money paid to the City of Chicago, together with six percent interest thereon, to the purchasers, severally, or their heirs or assigns, upon said purchases, their heirs or assigns reconveying the title thereto to said City.

Section 2         In case any lot owners should prefer or elect, the Mayor and Comptroller may cause lots to be purchased in any of the several Cemeteries near said City, of an equal number of square feet and of as nearly equal eligibility as may be and Cause Conveyance thereof to be made to them, upon said Lot owners conveying, by good and sufficient deed, their title to Lots in said Chicago Cemetery to the City.
This document, to the right, transcribed below, suggests that there were people who were deceiving cemetery lot owners. Apparently some individuals were collecting titles, thwarting the city's exchange system.

To the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Chicago, in Common Counciil assembled.

The undersigned respectfully ask for the passage of the following preamble and resolution.

Whereas equitable and honorable arrangements have been made by the City for the extinguishment of titles in the Chicago City Cemetery, either by refunding the purchase money, with six per cent per annum in trust or by giving lot owners lots of equal size in other Cemeteries, and have appointed Joseph H. Ernst, Supt. who has an office at the Cemetery, and will faithfully discharge all duties entrusted to him, and

Whereas certain parties are attempting to thwart the City in its efforts to secure an adjustment which will be for the mutual interest of all parties concerned,

Resolved, That all persons representing themselves as agents to secure the extinguishment of titles in said Cemetery, are self appointed acting without any authority from the City, and with the intention of delaying, embarassing, and making money out of the City, without securing any benefit whatever to the lot owners, and all good citizens are earnestly requested to discountenance any and all persons thus engaged.

Chicago, Oct 21st/67
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