Bidwell Cemetery
Also known as Pewaukee Cemetery
Pewaukee Township
Waukesha County Wisconsin


This inactive cemetery was located on the south side of Summit Avenue at about the junction of North Hine Avenue, now in the city of Waukesha. It was 1/2 acre of section 34 and 1/2 acre of section 33 just at the section line and the road, Pewaukee Township. It was also known as South Pewaukee Cemetery. The site of the Bidwell Cemetery is now private property.


The cemetery was established on September 25, 1843. On that date Zebulon Bidwell donated 1/2 acre of land in Section 34 and Issac P. Judson donated 1/2 acre adjoining it in Section 33 for use as a cemetery. The last burial was circa 1902.

The cemetery remained under the direction of the supervisors of Pewaukee until Waukesha became a city in 1896, and the cemetery was taken into the city limits. Then it came under the direction of the Waukesha City Council and Prairie Home Cemetery. In 1909, 156 burials were moved to Prairie Home Cemetery and the land was sold. The reburials are not all in one place in the cemetery, but family groups were kept together.

Articles when Bidwell was Abandoned

Source: Waukesha Freeman, The | Waukesha, Wisconsin | Thursday, November 18, 1909 | Page 8

Make Announcement Regarding the Bidwell Cemetery.
Waukesha, Wis., Nov. 9, ,1909.
'The undersigned board of cemetery commissioners of the city of Waukesha take this means of informing you that the common council of the city has made a formal order discontinuing and abolishing the old Pewaukee town cemetery on Summit Ave., popularly known as "the Bidwell Cemetery", and has directed the cemetery commissioners to cause all bodies interred in that cemetery to be removed to Prairie Home cemetery at the expense of the city and the land of the old cemetery to be hereafter sold for the reimbursement of the city.

Before proceeding to such removal it has been deemed advisable by the commissioners to notify, where the address could be learned, some surviving relation of persons "buried in this old cemetery in order that the family or some member thereof may, if so wished, take charge of such removal and reinterrment, and bear the expense of the same.

Where any family now owns a lot in Prairie Home cemetery or is entitled to select one free under the ordinances of the city, the remains of any body removed from the Bidwell cemetery will be reverently buried in such lot. Where any non-resident family does not now own a lot, as aforesaid and is not entitled to select one without cost under the ordinances, a lot may be bought of the city for the sum of $25. If a lot is already so owned or is so bought the body or bodies removed will be interred-therein according to the wishes of the family.

Where no lot is provided by the family the bodies removed from, the old cemetery will be reverently reinterred on lots designated by the commissioners. In every case the reinterrment will be entered in the records of Prairie Home cemetery, giving name, age, date of death, etc., where ascertainable, and all . headstones, markers or other monuments will be removed from old cemetery and placed over the proper graves.

On account of the lateness of the season it is necessary that the work of removal should be begun without delay, and the commissioners will esteem it a special favor if you will intimate to them your wishes within ten days from the date of this letter.  

All replies should be addressed to Dr. B. TJ. Jacob, secretary, 407 Grand Ave., Waukesha, Wis.
Very respectfully,
Cemetery Commissioners.

Source: Waukesha Freeman, The | Waukesha, Wisconsin | Thursday, December 02, 1909 | Page 4
Most of Those Buried in the South Pewaukee Cemetery
Bidwell Cemetery Opened In 1843
Land Being Gift of Two Pioneers—150 Laid There.

F. M.
March H, 1844
Aged 23 Mos.
S. J.
July 21, 1846
Aged 16 Mos.
Children of
F. A. & C. S.

This record on a little slab, perhaps eight inches wide and eighteen inches high over a bit of tangled grass which shows no semblance of a grave, is believed to mark the resting place of the little boy whose grave was the first made in the South Burying ground, Pewaukee, or as we call it the Bidwell cemetery—the bodies in which are now being moved to Prairie Home.

Henry Bidwell, who has resided within a stone's throw of the cemetery since it was first set aside for that purpose in 1843, and whose father, Zebulon Bidwell, donated one half the land for the cemetery, thinks the Jewett child was the first person interred in this God's acre of the pioneers. The child's name was Francis and his father, F. A. Jewett, built the old Elon Fuller house. In which, Mr. Fuller later lived and died. Phineas H. Bidwell dug the baby's grave and his own was the next grave excavated in the new burying ground.  He was 28 years of age and taught school. Samuel Bidwell, his father came here in 1839, and served as sexton of the cemetery for many years until 1861.

Records of Early Deaths.
According to the "Book of Records for the South Burying Ground in Pewaukee," two persons who died earlier than the Jewett child were buried there—Wm. H. Becker, whose death occurred August 22, 1842, at the age of sixteen years, and Sallie Brewer who died Nov. 16, 1842, aged 18 years. Notice is made that Sallie Brewer's body was removed here from Delafield and it is believed that Wm H Becker's body and also that of Mary Louise Becker, who died Sept. 30, 1846 aged 19, were brought here from Delafield.

Two limestone slabs, one single, the other double, bearing nothing but initials,—S. B., W. B., L. B.—were
erected in memory of these three.

The first page of the book of records includes, besides these three names, the following:
Phineas Hill Bidwell, died April 4. 1844, aged 25 years, 3 months, 19 days.

Cephas L. Rockwood, died May 3, 1844, aged 58 years.

Elon F. Bidwell, died Jan. 20, 1845, aged 3 years.

John Wilson, died Jan. 26, 1845 aged 1 year, 2 months.

Sarah Jane Jewett, died July 21, 1846, aged 1 year, 3 months.

Mary Amanda Fuller, died Nov. 9, 1845, aged 1 year, 10 months.

Angus McPherson, died Dec. 24, 1845, aged 29 years.

Has Long Been Neglected.

Most of the stones in the cemetery bear dates in the forties or fifties or sixties. There are some in later years but none of very recent date. It is believed the last interment there took place seven years ago, but previous to that there had been few interments for many years. The old cemetery was greatly neglected. It had never been kept up very well and of late years most of the families having members buried there had all died or had moved away. The little acre of the dead was left almost entirely to itself and to the kindly offices of nature. It had a superb location, with a great sweep of view in all directions, but the grass grew unmolested and tangled, the leaves fell and decayed upon the ground, the fence sagged and looked untidy, the stones leaned in one or another angle and some of them fell to the ground.  Some grew gray so that it was difficult to read the inscriptions upon them, while others, which had withstood the storms for sixty years, were still as white as when erected. A few of the stones which are mostly plain slabs became broken. The place looked indeed as if forgotten by the living and left entirely to the dead.

This condition was a source of sorrow to the few families living here, who had friends lying there, and so some months ago a move was started to have the Bidwell cemetery given some of the attention bestowed upon Prairie Home. Alderman 0.P. Clinton brought the matter before the city council and the sexton of Prairie Home, Barry Hayes was asked to make an estimate of the cost of placing the cemetery in good condition and keeping it in good condition thereafter. Mr, Hayes reported that in his opinion it would cost about $500 to fix up the grounds and graves, place a new fence and make other needed improvements.  He said the annual expense thereafter to keep up the place would be perhaps $200.

Decided to Abandon.

The plan of abandoning the old cemetery and removing the bodies to Prairie Home was then conceived and (since it seemed practicable was adopted and Mr. Hayes was directed to proceed at "once with the work, the city bearing all the expense.

Friends and relatives of the dead were communicated with whenever their addresses were known and their wishes are scrupulously respected.

The pleasant weather of the autumn has made almost constant work possible since it was begun and about forty bodies have already been moved.  It was thought at first there were about 120 bodies in the cemetery, but Mr. Hayes finds there are 150. The removal will take about three weeks.

"No particular portion of the cemetery will be devoted to these bodies," said Mr. Hayes. "They will be laid in various places. Some of the families represented in the Bidwell cemetery have lots in Prairie Home. Families lying together in the old cemetery will he laid together in Prairie Home and suitable and pleasant locations will be found for all. The cost of the work will he about $400."

Deeds Passed Dec. 25, 1843.

The South Burying Ground in Pewaukee included just one acre of land.  One-half acre was donated to the supervisors of the town of Pewaukee by Zebulon Bidwell and the other half by Isaac P. Judson. The date of these deeds is Sept. 25, 1843. The Bidwell half acre is described as the west half of the southwest quarter of section 34, town 7, range 19. The Judson half acre as the east half of the southeast quarter of section 33, town 7, range 9.

Mr. Bidwell, who came to Prairieville with his father, Zebulon Bidwell, in the summer of '36, remembers perfectly when the cemetery was laid out.  It was never given much attention, he says, and for some years after it was laid out and after interments had been made there, it had no fence, and when a grave was dug a rail fence was placed around it Prairie Home, which had been laid out a short time previous, was equally neglected at that time and Mr. Bidwell remembers that on the occasion of a funeral in the old Congregational church Mr. Rockwood arose and called the attention of the people to the bad condition of the ground. Mr. Rockwood was among those first buried in the Pewaukee cemetery.

The Pewaukee burying ground remained under the direction of the supervisors of the town of Pewaukee until Waukesha became a city in 1890, when the cemetery was taken inside the city limits, it was thus under the direction of the city council, together with Prairie Home, but little attention was paid it until the present time.

"I served as sexton for forty years, before the city took the cemetery, said Mr. Bidwell. "I was once paid $2 for fixing up a lot and I received $4 a piece for digging six graves.  That was all I was paid for forty years.

Morbid Curiosity Seekers

Mr. Hayes' work is a source of great interest to the morbidly curious and there is always a crowd around the place of excavation. Extraordinary as it may seem, women and children as well as men. gather about the open graves and watch curiously for developments. So many of them crowd around that they bother the men in their work.

Cemetery Records

There are no original known cemetery records. For information about reburials, contact Prairie Home Cemetery.

At the Waukesha County Museum there is some history of the cemetery and some information on a few people who were known to have been buried there.


The following is a partial list of people that are listed as reinterred in Prairie Home Cemetery from here. These are only a few of the 156 reinterments. There are other people with the name Bidwell interred in Prairie Home, however, it does not state those burials are from this cemetery. The plot number listed is the plot from Prairie Home.

[A_54_1_6]	Jacob, Sr./moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[A_54_1_6]	Wife of Jacob, Sr/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[H_11_1_1]	Joel E 	Bidwell/1815-1855/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha
[H_11_1_1]	Juliana/1847-1867f/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[H_11_1_1]	Elon/1841-1845/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha
[H_11_1_1]	Alice/1852-1853/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha

[K_102_2_5]	C J/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[M_7_2_1]	Miss Fuller/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[K_92_2_3]	Rose/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 

[K_92_2_1]	Charles/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[A_68_2_2]	James/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[N_118_1_6]	Levi/d. 1875/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[N_118_1_6]	Levi D/d. 1864/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[N_118_1_6]	Mary/d. 1867/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[N_118_1_6]	Eunice/d. 1864/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown

[A_68_2_1]	Sophia/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 
[A_68_2_3]	Jessie/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 
[A_68_2_4]	John/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 
[A_68_2_5]	David/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 
[A_68_2_6]	Mary/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown 	 

[H_94_1_2]	M/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown
[H_94_1_3]	Ann/1845-1878/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown/interred: January 1, 1878

[K_92_1_3]	Infant one of John/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown/Infant (age 0-2)
[K_92_1_3]	Infant two of John/moved to Prairie Home Waukesha/dates are unknown/Infant (age 0-2)