Sue Hemmen, New Berlin Historical Society
Cemeteries are a history of people – a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today. Cemeteries exist because every life is worth loving and remembering – always.
Here in New Berlin we pride ourselves on preserving our past for our future. The City of New Berlin has five historic cemeteries, which are the repositories of much of our pioneer history. Four of these cemeteries are on the far west side and were established between 1841 and 1865. Holy Apostles Cemetery, in the center of the city, was established in 1855. Highland Memorial Park is the newest cemetery having its inception in 1928 and is on the far northeast side of town.
NEW BERLIN CENTER CEMETERY is located at the intersection of National Ave. and Lawnsdale Road. Established on land donated byPublius V. Monroe, the first burial in Feb. 1841 was his own young daughter Harriet.
Other notables buried here include:
- Theodore S. Winton, the Prospect Hill storekeeper and postmaster, followed by his son Louis. Both Winton homes are now located on the grounds of the Historical Park.
- Johan K. Meidenbauer, along with his wife, arrived in the area in 1848 and bought an existing log home. That cabin remained in the family’s possession until it was moved to the Historical Park in 1987.
- Alexander Harris, the only known murder victim in any of our cemeteries. He was shot in the head while milking his cows.
- Seven Civil War veterans as well as veterans of the Spanish American War, WWI, Korean War, and WWII.
SUNNYSIDE CEMETERY is located on Racine Ave. and I-43.This cemetery was created by the Rev. Rufus Cheney to be a graveyard for the Freewill Baptist Church of which he was the founder. The first person laid to rest was the pastor’s own grandson in August 1841. The young boy’s mother followed him in death a year later. Rev. Cheney has a beautiful bronze marker honoring him for his many community contributions.
Also buried here:
- Dr. John Ingersoll. He buried three young sons each named Robert. The doctor is credited with naming Prospect Hill.
- Hiram Hale. Hale built a prosperous saw and gristmill business on Linne Lac and was a deacon of the Freewill Baptist Church.
- Thirteen Civil War veterans. Romanta Peck’s tall marker reminds us of the selfless sacrifice of America’s soldiers.
This was also the site of the first permanent house of worship in New Berlin. The church was built in 1848, but the building was razed years ago. The congregation reformed and moved up the road a bit.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL PROTESTANT CEMETERY is located on Racine Ave. between Observatory Rd. and Swartz Rd. Founded in 1842 it sits atop a small hill. Mostly Germans lie buried here – eight of the Luke’s children, Kramers, Korns, Wildes and Sittels. In fact, there are so many Sittel family stones still standing it is often referred to as the “Sittel Cemetery”.
Sadly, this cemetery has been neglected for many decades. In 2009 the New Berlin Landmarks Commission along with the City Parks Dept. took on the task of clearing and restoring this pioneer cemetery. A history of this pioneer cemetery can be found here. The burial record for this cemetery is also available.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL AND REFORMED CEMETERY is located on Racine Ave. just north of Swartz Rd. This was the graveyard of the second church started by the Lutherans and the last historic cemetery founded in New Berlin. Jacob Korn donated the land in 1865.
- There are two monuments in this cemetery of early settlers born in the 1700’s Carl Wilde (1788-1866) and Angelica Kratz (1799-1881). Here also lie the families of the Grasers, Imigs, Kiekhefers, Koefflers, Korns, Lukes and Beeheims.
- Adam Bernhard is the only Civil War veteran in the cemetery.
- By the 1960’s the church was gone leaving just this final resting place of early pioneers.
HOLY APOSTLES CEMETERY, 16000 W. National Avenue, is on the grounds of Holy Apostles church. In 1855 Bernard Casper presented the Catholics of the community with three acres of land for a church and graveyard. Mr. Casper built a fine large brick home next to the church in 1858 and opened it as an inn to early travelers. It still stands today as the Asia House restaurant. His last wish, to be buried in the shadow of the church steeple, was granted. The first burial was in Sept. 1885.
- Andrew Snyder came to New Berlin in 1843; the first Catholic mass was celebrated in their log home. The original name of the church, St. Valerius, was changed to Holy Apostles in 1889.
- Nicolas Stephens is the only Civil War veteran buried here. There are a total of 181 war vets here covering WWI, Korea, WWII and Vietnam.
- Members of the Jungen, Kau, Kohler, Biwer, Beres, Jungbluth, Snyder, Stephens and Stigler families are laid to rest here.
HIGHLAND MEMORIAL PARK CEMETERY, 14875 W. Greenfield Ave., was established in Oct. 1928. It is privately owned and was originally started by a group of investors from West Allis. In the early 1950’s the company was sold to E. Glen Porter and Harry Kramer. In 1965 Dr. E. Glen Porter joined his father and in 1984, E. Glen Porter III joined the company.
The cemetery was designed using the "Memorial Park" concept, which was a popular way to develop new cemeteries in the early 20thcentury. Grave markers are flat to the ground making a park like appearance. It started out as 30 acres; today it is 125 acres.
- The first burial took place in August 1929. As of today there are over 32,000 people buried in Highland Memorial Park.
- Some notable people interred here are John J. Malone, former New Berlin Mayor; Joyce Radtke, a former Mayor of West Allis; William J. Koeplin, internationally known wildlife artist.
- Highland has five statues that were hand carved from Carrera Marble in Carrera, Italy and shipped over in the 1950’s. The largest is a life-size depiction of the Last Supper.
BURIAL RECORDS: At least a partial listing of burials for these cemeteries can be found at http://www.findagrave.com/ and http://www.linkstothepast.com/waukesha/cemeteries.php#newberlin.