Forest Hill Cemetery (est. 1890)

The mausoleum of Samuel S. Walbank in Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery. (Image: Ava Francesca Battocchio)

Winding one’s way to the top of the hill, one finds the unique brownstone family mausoleum of Samuel S. Walbank. Walbank was a prominent doctor in Duluth and developed a large section of the West End, where a park is named for him.

Further down in Section C one can find the brown granite gravestone of John D. Howard and his family. Howard owned the Old Howard Mill, which presided over the logging of much of the rural area in the Amity Creek watershed. Nearly across from the Howard stone in Section D is the squared-off family monument of the Hunters and MacFarlanes. The Hunter brothers and Angus MacFarlane are responsible for the development of Hunters Park and the Scots-inspired names of all that neighborhood’s streets.

The grave marker of John D. Howard in Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery. (Image: Ava Francesca Battocchio)

At the peak of the hill there is a large array of uniformly white military stones. Forest Hill boasts the largest number of Civil War veteran graves, including that of Dorus Martin, who lies seven stones from the left in the front row. Martin was a well-known figure in early Duluth, living in a shack out on Park Point. When the war broke out, Martin was forty years old and sported long white whiskers. He walked to St. Paul, where he was turned away on account of his age. Undeterred, he walked to either La Crosse or Madison, Wisconsin, where he presented himself with a haircut and dye job and was accepted into service. When he returned after an honorable discharge, Martin told everyone he intended to die in his uniform, and so wore it constantly. He got his wish, and was first buried in the old cemetery that was located in Franklin Square, on Park Point. When the new Forest Hill was opened, he was disinterred and moved.

The large memorial cannon that decorates this plot, called the “Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument,” was placed on Memorial Day in 1898. The gun is a 30-pound Parrot rifle, gifted to the local Grand Army of the Republic post by the United States government. The base is adorned with the dates of the Civil War and shields honoring the Army and the Navy.

The grave marker of Dorus Martin in Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery. (Image: Ava Francesca Battocchio)

Across the lane in Section D, one finds the bust-decorated stone of the Reverend Doctor Charles Cotton Salter, who came to Duluth in 1871, and organized the Pilgrim Congregational Church and the Duluth Bethel, which has served various needy populations for over a hundred years.

This section also bears the unassuming gravestone of Robert E. Denfeld, superintendent of Duluth Public Schools who died in December of 1921. Denfeld High School is named for him. Across the lane near Denfeld’s grave is the gray granite wall of the Guilford and Caroline Hartley family plot, which is locked behind a gate. Some of the stones within are carved with poems.

The grave marker of Reverend C. C. Salter in Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery. (Image: Ava Francesca Battocchio)

On the other side of the hill, one can find the imposing and unique Celtic-style monument of the Chester and Clara Congdon family. Here lie Chester, Clara, and their children, including Elisabeth Congdon, the last family member to live at Glensheen.

Nearby in the same section is the four-column monument of the Tyler Moore family. Twenty-two-year-old Irving Tyler Moore is buried here with his family. Irving Moore died in 1918 while serving in the Navy. Though his death is listed as pneumonia, he likely was one of the victims of the Spanish flu epidemic, contracting the illness while aboard a submarine chaser in the Atlantic. He was a Yale student, and the son of Watson S. Moore, a prominent Duluth grain dealer. There was once a building named in Irving’s honor in downtown Duluth, the Irving Moore Memorial Building, which stood between the Alworth and Torrey and was torn down in 1966.

The temple-like structure marks the gravesite of the Tyler Moore family in Duluth’s Forest Hill Cemetery. (Image: Ava Francesca Battocchio)

Moving down the hill toward Vermilion Road, one finds the oldest stones in Forest Hill, likely most of them moved from the previous cemetery. On the uppermost corner can be found the elegant white arched marble monument of Emeline Sherwood and other family members. Emeline Sherwood was the Spiritualist wife of saloon owner George Sherwood, and her inscription bears witness to her faith in the afterlife.

Ava Francesca Battocchio contributed to this article.

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Story by Tony Dierckins. Originally published on Zenith City Online (2012–2017). Click here for more stories by Tony Dierckins.