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Historical Society raising money for markers at Keokuk cemetery

Will Buss

Preservationists are raising money to place historical markers throughout the Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk.

The cemetery opened in 1851 and is located on 40 acres of ground adjacent to the Keokuk National Cemetery.

Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place for Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller and Union Army General Samuel Curtis, who also was the first Republican elected to Congress, and other military officers, business leaders, artists, and athletes.

The Lee County Iowa Historical Society wants to place signs throughout the cemetery to tell the stories of noteworthy people who were born or lived in Lee County and are buried in the Keokuk graveyard.

“We are wanting to put some markers out of the cemetery to pay tribute to some of the people who contributed to the history of our community and to our country,” said Angela Gates, President of the Historical Society.

Gates said the idea came from a member of the historical society who wanted to find a way to share the story of these past local historic figures with the community.

“One of the other people that's on the initiative with me, he approached me and said, so there's really nothing in Oakland (Cemetery) that talks about the people who are buried there, unless you know someone who's buried there,” Gates said. “You go into the cemetery and you just kind of walk around and you see the markers, and you don't recognize the history behind them.”

Gates said her group hopes to raise $5,000 for large bronze markers that would be placed throughout the grounds.

Those who want to contribute can mail their donation to the Lee County Iowa Historical Society at P.O. Box 125 in Keokuk, Iowa, 52632.

Donors can also contact the historical society at

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