Farm Horizons, Oct. 2016

Piper Cemetery hidden in Lester Prairie

By Caleb Sebora

Located on the edge of town, behind a building and hiding in the overgrowth of trees and grass, is perched a small, almost unnoticeable fence line. It’s bent and rusting, with a small tree growing right in the center of its encapsulation. A person wouldn’t know it was there, unless they were looking for it.

But, if a person were looking for it, they might know that inside that little bent-up and rusty fence lies a cemetery.

Piper Cemetery is small burial site, encompassing 13 graves and even fewer headstones to mark them. Located on the eastern side of Lester Prairie, the graveyard is right off of County Road 9, along the south side of Central Avenue. It lies directly behind Jerry’s Transmission Services, and right across the street from Casey’s General Store.

Piper Cemetery does not have an official creation date. The unofficial start of the cemetery began with the death of John Piper, who was born in 1796, and died in 1857 – and who the cemetery is named after.

While there is no official affiliation with any church, most of the members of the small graveyard were members of the Lester Prairie Methodist Church, which was officially created April 7, 1866.

The church was created by 13 charter members (although, they are not the 13 members buried in the cemetery). Four of those charter members are buried in the Piper Cemetery: John and Ellen Packer, Sarah Piper, and Rebecca Piper.

The church was in existence for 95 years, and after discontinuing services in 1961, the church was torn down and used for lumber.

The cemetery itself features very few gravestones – only five that are easily visible. There is one very tall headstone, the shape of an obelisk, standing around 3 feet high. There is another one that is cube-shaped, cut low and close to the ground.

The other three look to be typical gravestones, one of them featuring the most easily legible name – “Rebecca,” written in big letters, and “Piper,” written smaller and underneath her first name.

Buried in the Piper Cemetery:

Last, First; DOB – DOD

• Adams, Cattie; 5 yrs. 10m. 26d. old – Jan. 26, 1882

• Adams, Genela; 20 yrs. 3 mo. 20 d. – May 20, 1887

• Adams, Katharia; 6 yrs. 11 mo. – Feb. 6, 1882

• Ingerson, male; 1 day – Dec. 28, 1895

• Packer, Ellen Piper; May 20, 1825 – Dec. 27, 1918

• Packer, Isaac W.; Sept. 6, 1859 – March 1, 1921

• Packer, Isabelle Getchel; October 29, 1861 – Nov. 23, 1934

• Packer, John S.; Dec. 19, 1823 – Nov. 23, 1866

• Piper, Alvaratta; April 6, 1862 – August 15, 1864

• Piper, John; 1796 – March 20, 1857

• Piper, Rebecca Crossman; Sept. 4, 1796 – March 21, 1881

• Piper, Sarah Catharine; March 30, 1860 – October 16, 1879

• Yeoman, Bessie; 6 mo. old – no date

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