Malcolm Cemetery

Malcolm, Nebraska

Est. 1879

Cemetery History

Malcolm Cemetery or Malcolm Methodist Cemetery, as it was sometimes refered to in the old days, was established in 1879 as a result of the Black Diphtheria outbreak, which lasted about a decade. Joseph Smith’s young daughter, Bessie, died from the disease. So, he and a few men headed north of Malcolm and dug a little grave on the prairie. Her grave was the start of what was to become Malcolm Cemetery.

Entries recorded in the cemetery archives state that the during the epidemic Louis Barnes and his wife lost all six of their children. Thirty-four people were laid to rest in the cemetery spanning the decade of 1879 through 1889, most dying from diphtheria. Many of the children were laid away in wood caskets made by Simeon S. McKenney and Vern Smith. They were padded with cotton and lined with muslin.

The cemetery association was created in August of 1889, when the first deed was filed for the land. Charles O. Wheden, an attorney in Lincoln, donated the first parcel of land which measured 13 rods by 19 rods. An additional parcel, measuring 23 rods by 19 rods, was donated in April of 1908 by Mary Phillips.

In 1891 Stephen Deitch was President and J. Westcott was Treasurer. The trustees at that time were, John O’Connell, Edward Deitch, Ira Howard, Albert Otterman, Martin Westcott and Alonzo Tremain. Alonzo Tremain served as a board member for thirty-two years.

William F. Benischek, his wife LaVera and their son Bill, were members of the cemetery association for decades, as were Chester Allen and his wife Fern. Edna Fellwock was "keeper of the records" and the local historian. Edna and Fern wrote dedication stories and poems for the Civil War veterans. Those readings can be seen under "The Seven" tab. The poems, were read aloud at the soldiers graves on “Decoration Day”. It is likely that Fern also wrote the poem that is posted under the home page photograph.

In 2015 another land donation of about 2.4 acres was gifted to the cemetery association for expansion. Work began in 2017 with the clearing of trees, installing a perimeter fence and laying out new burial lots. A new flag pole with lighting, a bench and an information box, (which contains the burial listing and cemetery maps), were added to this area. A local artist was commissioned to design the new cemetery sign.

Malcolm Cemetery Association is a non-profit corporation. Income is generated from lot sales & charitable donations. Those funds are used for upkeep of the grounds. The work to keep the cemetery beautiful is provided by the board members.