Where Chase, Pinora, Yates and Cherry Valley Townships meet together in Lake County, is an intriguing lay out of high wooded hills and low valleys, and what the locals call Mount George looms over the hill where early settlers have slept beneath the ground for well over a century. The Gould cemetery, located just west of Chase off of State Road, a little over two miles north of U.S. 10, had long been forgotten through a technicality in land sales, and since 1880, no one gave thought or remembrance to these lost graves.

        More recent decades have shown wear and tear on the hill due to ORV’s zooming on it, and heavy equipment to keep up the electrical transmission lines, with new towers recently installed, just barely disturbed the graves; the shallowest being 1 ½ feet deep. 131 years after the cemetery was abandoned, local historian Sid Woods found evidence for a cemetery that no one knew existed. An old obituary for Samuel G. Randall, a resident of Summittville (a ghost town straight west of Chase,) told of Randall’s burial in the cemetery north of town. Sid dug through land and township records, and sure enough, three acres were set aside for a cemetery on section 30, in Pinora Township.

        Willard Gould, the homesteader who deeded the three acres of his land to the township, was a settler who came over from Ontario with his young family. On March 17, 1872, his daughter Priscilla Gould, just an infant, died of croup. She was the first burial on this designated land.

        Although the cemetery was established in 1872, it wasn’t legally official until 1877, when the Goulds received the full title for their homestead.
In December 1880, Willard Gould sold his 80 acres to Silas Hovey of Ionia, Michigan, which led to a series of events by which the cemetery became lost to time. The papers of the sale did not mention the three acres, and thus was sold as an entire section. When Hovey sold it in 1883 to Charles Olney, the section was timbered off and then left for back taxes. The State acquired the property in February 1903.

        When Woods presented his find to the Pinora Township Board, on which he serves as a trustee, this launched a great effort to get recognition for the cemetery; an endeavor that has taken five years to complete.

        The Clerk at the time, Phyllis Deitel, learned she was related to the Goulds, and contacted Don Truax, a direct descendent who also happened to be searching for the cemetery. Deitel began the endeavor to investigate the cemetery, and the incoming Supervisor, Vicki Dennett, took over the project.

        The DNR, who manages the property and was preparing to log it off, was contacted. They asked for proof a cemetery indeed existed there.
Research was needed, and I, Shanna Avery, was contacted. A trip was also taken to the Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant by Sid Woods, Mike Dermeyer, Vicki Dennet, and myself, to try and find more information in old newspaper accounts, but no leads were found using that resource.
During the winter and spring of 2014, I came up with the names of likely burials. There were not many cemeteries established during the early 1870s, particularly not for the area north and west of Chase. I looked through the death records of settlers of the southeast quadrant of Lake County who died between 1872 and 1880, and compared the names with old burial records to see if they were accounted for in other local cemeteries. I also looked at land records to get an idea of which individuals lived in the near vicinity of the cemetery.

        Over 100 names were weeded down to just over a dozen. Further investigation of these names showed most of their families migrated out of the area, which also may explain why the cemetery was so easily forgotten. A lot of these people were laborers, mostly passing through, and may not invested in grave stones, which were a large expense at the time.

        The number of likely burials I found was confirmed when the township commissioned Ground Penetrating Radar survey from Farrier Surveying, Inc. of Kalkaska, who found 10 to 14 possible burials on site in the open area on top of the hill. The charts were eerie to look at, showing old diamond shaped caskets with skeleton forms beneath and eye sockets peering from the skulls, bearing proof of the bodies that lay beneath the Lake County sand.
The DNR and ITC worked closely with the township, and, with advise from the M.T.A., Pinora Township decided to let the state maintain the site. The DNR offered to let the township put up a memorial and they would fence off the area.

        More discoveries soon presented themselves. In the summer and fall of 2014, I happened upon the Lake County mortality census for 1879-1880, and discovered about six Native American deaths that occurred in the vicinity. This lined up with six graves segregated to the east of the other graves off in the woods, which were found after the initial ground penetrating radar survey.

        The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians were contacted, being there was a large presence of Ottawa in Lake County back then. Consulting with the tribal council in May of 2016, an honoring ceremony has been planned. On Friday, August 19, the public is invited to a dedication ceremony of the Gould Cemetery at 11am on the cemetery grounds; which will include a short program followed by an honoring ceremony by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. Refreshments to follow at the Pinora Township Hall. The cemetery is located 2.7 miles north of U.S. 10 on State Road, about a mile west of Chase.

        In addition to baby Priscilla Gould, some others thought to be buried in the Gould Cemetery are Patrick Schougars, an Irishman who died on Nov. 15, 1872, from a tree falling on him. Mary Underwood, born 1870, died at age four in Yates Township.
        Allie C. Allen, died at age two, and the family lived on section 26, Cherry Valley Township, not far from the Gould Cemetery. The family later removed to Isabella County.
        Hannah Johnson Chapman, only 22, died in childbirth with her baby. She was married the year before in Branch County. Her widowed husband moved to Iowa by 1880 and remarried. The mother and baby are likely buried together.
        John Decker, born in 1808 and died on April 15, 1876, on the northern part of section 24 of Pinora Towbnship, east of Saddler Road on 40th, is also a likely burial.
        Clark V. Williams, a lumberman, died of paralysis in the western part of Chase on August 1, 1878. He was born in 1823.
        Samuel G. Randall is known to be here. Born in 1828, he was a prominent member of Summitville, Chase Township. His wife Rebecca was buried at a little family grave at Summitville, along with a son who was accidentally shot. Descendants moved the wife and son to the Nirvana cemetery sometime in the 1930s or 40s. The whole top of the Summittville hill was bulldozed in search of the remains of Samuel, but the people were unaware that he was at an unmarked cemetery north of there.
        A village of Native Americans settled among the western outskirts of the town of Chase, not far from the cemetery. Many of them worked in the early sawmills located in this area in the 1870s. A few of them are thought to have their own burial section in the Gould Cemetery. Walaseenagua, an older woman, died of old age in 1879. The month and day was not recorded.
        Listed next to her is Jacob King, who died in 1879 Chase Township. His age was not recorded, but likely was a child. Mary King, also died in1879. The King children were possibly from the same household, which back then, a number of families experienced multiple deaths of children from fevers and diseases.
        Pa Kah Chck King, a female born in 1820, died in February 1880 from an abscess of the lung, which was first diagnosed in Mason County, showing a connection to that area.
        Pa sha nek yuna King, born about 1879, died March 1880 in Chase township, of fits.
        Tah be dah see Yua Morgan, aged 40, died in 1880 of tuberculosis.       

        It was not meant for these forgotten graves to be vanished from sight and mind forever. A marker the township purchased from Kenitz Memorial now bears the names of the possible burials. On the 19TH of August, these long forgotten lives will be honored by people coming together from Chase, Pinora, Cherry Valley Townships, among other places; descendants of the Goulds; representatives from the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians; and other officials involved in making the publicity of these long lost graves a reality.

By Shanna Avery Lake County Star

Along with a spotlight in the county newspaper, this project was featured in a variety of other Michigan publications.

Little Band of Ottawa Indians representing the Native Americans buried in the Gould Cemetery.

Pinora Township Trustee & Chase Township Sexton, Sid Woods, who originally rediscovered the cemetery.

Don Truax is a member of the Gould family. He and his family were very instrumental in this project, including the provision of the land, itself.