Tag Archives: graveyard

Walking Through History, Oto Cemetery, Oto

11 Mar
An older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have walked about a number of rural cemeteries I have come across in Siouxland. Reminders of those early settlers and pioneers who came to Iowa couple centuries ago looking for a better life than the one left behind. Walking through the various cemeteries one can never really know why folk left and traveled to an unknown area, then, far away and probably weeks or months in the making of the journey, considering it was done by wagon train.

Oto Cemetery overlooks the small community in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Older grave markers have dates around the mid 1850’s at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But the folk were remembered, and most are laid to rest on a hillside, overlooking an area they settled to begin a new life. In a place still cared for, and with the occasional new occupant that comes to join those before them, laid to rest, for an eternal slumber, until the final calling they all most certainly believed in.

A peaceful resting place to await their next journey.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Older graves markers sit atop a hill at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A detail image of an older grave marker at the Oto Cemetery in rural Woodbury County Tuesday , January 18, 2022 near Oto, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Siouxland’s Ingemann Danish Church and Memorial Day, Moorhead

27 May

I recently learned that once a year, a church in the Loess Hills of Siouxland holds a Sunday service on the day prior to Memorial Day. The Bethesda Lutheran Church of Moorehead, Iowa, holds a Memorial Day service each year at the Ingemann Danish Lutheran Church. Pastor Carla Johnsen has been tending her flock for the past 12 years. Pastor Johnsen explained,” Every year we come out here (to the Ingemann Danish Lutheran Church) because this church is part of our roots. This was the original Danish church built here in the country.” She explained there was a divide over holy Danes and happy Danes and the church’s congregation split in two. “So we come back here every year to remember God’s faithfulness. That is part of our story, and generation after generation God has been faithful and continues to be to this day”, she said.

Pastor Johnsen said during her sermon that people should remember and celebrate their past, their history and remember those who came before. After service inside the church, the congregation comes outside, Taps is played, then a few American songs are song and the group then enjoys fellowship with one another by having coffee and cookies and other refreshments. The Ingemann Danish Church, built in 1884, was eventually listed on the National Historic Register of Places in 2012.

More photographs of the Memorial Day service and celebration can be found here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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