|Last Name||First Name||Maiden Name||Birth Date||Death Date||Age||Source||Remarks||Contact|
|Alexander||Edward, Sr||03-Feb-1847||06-Jan-1931||83||Obituary||Donated by George Drennon Sr.|
|Drennon||Lue||Alexander||04-Oct-1840||17-Jan-1944||93||Obituary||Donated by George Drennon Sr.|
|Searcy||John H. Jr.||08-Feb-1922||18-Mar-2002||80||Obituary|
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It's a matter of respect for family that keeps Albert and Thelma Geisen so interested in the Bethel Cemetery, west of Leavenworth on Kansas 92 at the Springdale curve.
They have been the cemetery's sextons "since about in 1978 or so," taking over the job from Harry and Velma Ketter.
"He's gone now, but when he was getting sick, they needed someone to take over," Geisen said not long ago. "So we just naturally stepped in. My mom and dad were the sextons here at one time, so it's a matter of family for us."
The us includes his wife as a full partner. After the couple pulls up into the cemetery and unloads the mowers and weedeater, they head for the Geisen family plot.
"All my dad's people are buried here. My parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, all line up here. I think it's one of the nicest spots in the cemetery."
His mother's people were named Adams and they, too, are buried in Bethel. The Geisen interest dates to the cemetery's founding. when W. H. and Caroline Forsythe "donated ground for a cemetery" March 18, 1871.
The piece of property sat across the road from the Bethel Methodist Church and "that's probably why they named it Bethel," Mrs. Geisen says, although no relationship existed. The cemetery is operated by an association to which Geisen belongs.
His earliest memories are of the cemetery and he recalled his father using the clippings from mowing the cemetery to feed animals during the Depression.
The family lived over the hill to the north of Bethel, so visiting farms and friends in Springdale required a walk past the old cemetery. Geisen remembers his coldest visit to the cemetery occurred one winter's day in 1936 at the burial of his grandfather.
"The ground was a frozen as they'd ever seen it. It was sleeting and cold. Back in those days, all the graves were dug by hand and the men had quite a hard time digging that grave," he said.
Histories of the cemetery and church have intermingled. The church served as a focal point for the community, not only for worship, but as the center of many social events.
"I have some of the best memories of that old church. People would come for miles around when they had a pie or ice cream social. There was always a homecoming in October," Geisen remembers.
Those early days were reflected across the road at the cemetery. Geisen says graves were dug by hand, and the cemetery was tended by a horsedrawn mower. Chris Harrison's name came to mind as Geisen was speaking.
"I can remember him bringing in a team of horses to mow the cemetery. He had a big interest in the cemetery."
As weedeaters replaced horses, so did hand digging the graves.
"It's only been within the last eight to 10 years ago that backhoes have been allowed in the cemetery. Tending the cemetery is hard work, what with cutting around the stones and all. But we want to keep it up. We still have burials here and there's plenty of room for more."
The earliest graves were located in the south end of the cemetery marked with large rocks jutting from the ground. Several older headstones are of the ornate fashion so popular during the last century bear epithats that give today's visitor a glimpse into the sorrow felt 100 years ago of loosing someone dear.