The City Sexton was the official grave digger and was responsible for the maintenance of the cemetery grounds. As these sexton's certificates explain, individuals buying family lots in the City Cemetery, after acquiring a certificate, were required to go to the city Treasurer to pay for the lot. They were then expected to take this certificate marked as a receipt to the City Clerk, who would authorize the purchase of the lot. Some Common Council records indicate that the City Sexton sometimes exhumed bodies to city-owned lots from unpaid family lots. Also, records indicate that sometimes an individual with a newly-acquired cemetery lot would find a body already buried in their lot. As a result of such occurrences, an early cemetery ordinance forbade individuals other than the City Sexton to conduct burials in the City Cemetery.

I do certify that Lot numbered_____
in the CHICAGO CEMETERY, is unsold; that the same is appraised at
_______ dollars, and that _________ is desirous of purchasing the same.

Now, if the said______, shall within five days from the date hereof, pay the sum of money to the city Treasurer, obtain his receipt therefor on the back hereof, and make application for a deed to the city Clerk by the presentation of this Certificate he shall be entitled to such Lot; but if he shall fail to pay such money and make such application within the time aforesaid, he shall forfeit all rights thereto, and to any money he shall have paid thereon.

(back of sexton's certificate, showing receipt of payment for a lot issued on March 22, 1852, to Alexander Montgomery.)

Pamela Bannos © 2021