Notable Grave Sites
1. Daniel Harmon Brush
Daniel Harmon Brush was born in Vergennes, Vermont, on April 15, 1813. In 1829, Brush’s older sister Mary and her husband, Alexander M. Jenkins, came to Brownsville in Jackson County, and he came with them. Brush held the offices of county clerk, circuit clerk, recorder, and probate judge between 1837 and 1847. In 1852, Brush learned that the Illinois Central Railroad would build a line through Jackson County. He purchased land in the middle of two stations planned for DeSoto and Makanda with the hope that he could persuade the railroad to build another station. He named the new town Carbondale.
After persuading his partners to reserve four town lots for churches, Brush began to build a town. He opened the town’s first general store, sawmill, and grist mill and secured the contract for the Illinois Central freight house and woodshed. To shape the image of the new town, Brush and his partners inserted in the deeds of the town lots a provision that the lot was not to be used as a place for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Should such a use be made on the land, it was to revert to the City, then be sold, and the proceeds given to the schools. Carbondale was to be a nonalcoholic town.
On April 23, 1861, eleven days after Confederates bombarded Fort Sumter, Brush carried an American flag to the Union House in Carbondale and summoned “all lovers of their country” to a public meeting to show support for the Union. When friends urged Brush to cancel the meeting to avoid violence, he replied that he would attend even if nobody else did and “would carry the flag or die in the effort.” The next day, Brush enlisted as a private along with thirty others, which soon formed the nucleus of what became Company K of the 18th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Brush was elected as their captain.
Prior to the Civil War, Brush constructed a mansion which occupied the land where the Public Library currently stands. Adjoining the family mansion stood the Brush School on ground which he donated to the town. On February 10, 1890, Brush went out to supervise some improvements to the school ground. A tree was being sawed down and to direct its fall a rope had been attached to it. Brush wound the rope around his body to assist, but unexpectedly the tree fell in the opposite direction hurling Brush into the air. The fall to earth killed him instantly. Brush died at the age of 77.
2. John Asgill Conner
John Asgill Conner was born in Pomona Township in 1824 and later married Margaret Harreld. Conner joined Daniel Brush and Dr. William Richart in promoting the new town of Carbondale. He and his wife’s family held a considerable number of the town’s lots. Conner built the second residence of Carbondale on land which is now part of the property of the First United Methodist Church.
He served on the board of trustees from 1856, the year in which the town charter was granted, until 1862. In 1862, he enlisted for service in the Union Army and served as a Captain in Company K of the 18th Illinois Infantry. Upon his return to Carbondale, he served as president of the town’s trustee board and was also an executive committee member of Carbondale College. Conner served as U.S. Deputy Marshall for several years as well.
He was a farmer and introduced red corn, red sweet potatoes, several new varieties of grapes, and rice into southern Illinois. He died on April 2, 1875, leaving his wife; two sons, Benjamin E. and James Harreld Conner; and a daughter Frances.
3. Dr. William Richart
Dr. William Richart was born in Pennsylvania in 1818 and came to southern Illinois with his family in 1839. Richart became a doctor like his father and was also a land surveyor. He married Elizabeth Worthen, whose grandfathers were Conrad Will and James Worthen, early Jackson County pioneers. Dr. Richart, one of the three founders of Carbondale, surveyed the area and joined Daniel Brush and Asgill Conner in laying out the new town.
Richart owned a considerable amount of property in Carbondale and built a two-story building on the northeast corner of Main and Washington where he lived on the second floor. The first floor was a drugstore. Richart died in 1868, and although he and his wife Elizabeth are buried at Snider Hill Cemetery, a marker was placed in his memory in Woodlawn Cemetery.
4. Edmund Newsome
Edmund Newsome was born in England on December 21, 1826. He came to America with his uncle while he was a young man. In June of 1856 he married Mary Phifer, and they had two children, Mary and Benjamin. Their daughter Mary was born in1859 and lived less than a year. She is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. In 1860, Newsome became a school teacher in Carbondale. He also did much of the surveying of Carbondale property.
Newsome enlisted in the Civil war as a private in Company B of the 81st Illinois Infantry and was promoted to sergeant, first lieutenant and captain of the unit. He wrote an account of his war experiences under the title: Experience in the War of the Great Rebellion by a Soldier of the 81st Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, from August 1862 to August 1865. Newsome also published Historical Sketches of Jackson County, Illinois in 1882. He died on May 26, 1895.
5. Alexander M. Jenkins
Alexander M. Jenkins was born in 1802 and came to the area with his sister in 1817. He married Mary Brush, Daniel Harmon Brush’s older sister. His sister, Elizabeth Jenkins, married Dr. John Logan, and they were the parents of the famous General John A. Logan. Jenkins was a successful attorney and had a keen interest in political affairs.
In 1834, he was elected as Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois. The Governor, at that time, was Joseph Duncan who also resided in Jackson County. It was during the Duncan-Jenkins administration that the state capitol was moved from Vandalia to Springfield. Jenkins was also the first president of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. He died in 1864.
6. James W. Killgore
James W. Killgore was born on May 20, 1825. To this date, no record of Killgore’s supposed military service in the Civil War has been uncovered, however, the epitaph on his grave marker reads “A refugee - author of the Spirit of Succession and Its Bitter Fruits.” Killgore died during the Civil War years on March 12, 1865.
7. James Monroe Campbell
James Monroe Campbell was born May 22, 1817 near Nashville, Tennessee, and came to Williamson County with his parents. He married Lavinia Sowell Spiller and they had seven children. After discussing business opportunities with Daniel Brush in 1854, Campbell moved to Carbondale and became one of Brush’s most valued assistants in the town’s development. Campbell was active in the administration of the town, serving on the board of trustees from 1856 to 1863, and was president of the board during the years of 1861 and 1862.
He also built a large hotel at the southeast corner of Main and Washington Streets. In 1870, Campbell contracted to build the structure for Southern Illinois Normal College (now Southern Illinois University at Carbondale). On April 23, 1871, Campbell was supervising the building when a timber fell, striking him upon the head. He died the following day.
8. George W Tiffany
George W Tiffany died in Carbondale but not much is known of Tiffany. A marker erected in his memory reads, “One of General Grant’s Scouts. In the early part of the war he contracted smallpox while in service and died at Carbondale, Illinois of the disease, March 8, 1862. Erected to his memory by his friend D.H. Brush who on his way home after the battle of Donolson, wounded and sick, was kindly assisted and cared for by the deceased, may he rest in peace.”
9. Lewis Chambers
Lewis Chambers is the only African American identified by name known to be buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. His marker does not reveal much about his life, not even the date of his death is noted. It is known that Chambers was born in Kent County, Maryland in 1839 and enlisted in the Union Army on September 20, 1864. He fought in a segregated African American regiment from Illinois during the Civil War, with the belief that the country could not be truly united until all men and women were considered equals.