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Mann/Cherry Grove Cemetery
Greenfield Township
Section 15

Although this cemetery is listed as Mann by USGS, its historic name is Cherry Grove. It has been designated a Pioneer Cemetery.

Click the logo for a detailed map and directions.

by Ron Ruess

This project started in the Spring of 1997, when the Olin FFA members completed collecting over 3,000 used tires and

delivered them to the Jones County Landfill for over $1500. It was decided by the FFA officers and Mr. Ruess to look for a community service project and give some of this money back to the community.

We had received a letter from the Jones County Cemetery Commission to consider adopting a pioneer cemetery. The chapter decided to respond to Pat Shaw of the Cemetery Commission and we were assigned to the Mann Cemetery between the towns of Morley and Martelle, Iowa. We told her that we wanted to inspect the cemetery before making a final decision.

The sophomore Ag Ed Class and Mr. Ruess went to Section 10 of Greenfield township, but could not find the cemetery. We went back the next day and found it in Section 15 of Greenfield township, and there was one stone standing and several broken stones on the ground. The list Pat Shaw had given us showed 11 gravestones. This list had been made by a neighboring farmer, Burdette Holthaus. The cemetery was enclosed by a woven wire and barbed wire fence in poor condition with no gate. At the next meeting the sophomores recommended to the chapter that we take on the project. The chapter agreed and we set a date in June to start restoring the cemetery.

Margaret Tallman, Pat Shaw, Donna Story, Nick Balichek, Ron Ruess, Dolores Sams, Erica Robertson, representing Anamosa FFA at Cherry Grove/Mann cemetery.

Steve Story, witching, and LaVerta Langenberg, Jones county genealogist, recording information from gravestones.

Nick Balichek and Ron Ruess showing off their work.

The Olin FFA members inspect the Cherry Grove/Mann Cemetery in April of 1997. There was one stone standing near the left side.

Some of the broken stones in the cemetery with the old barbed wire fence. The fence had no gate and was all rusty. These are the parts to the tall monument.

The only stone that was standing in the cemetery at the start of the project. It is of Katie Mann.

The cemetery when the FFA was about finished, after we put up the new split-rail fence and repaired the stones.

After the grass was grown out and the rock was set up. We bought two stones and had the words "Cherry Grove (Mann) Cemetery" and "Olin FFA, 1997" engraved on them.

Six members and their advisor spent the first day tearing out the fence, which was buried a foot into the soil. They also removed all the steel posts, and used weed eaters to remove all the grass and weeds. While we were cleaning up the cemetery, the farmer who rented the ground (Allen Wittenburg, a former student of Mr. Ruess, when he taught at Anamosa) came by and said he was glad we were doing this. He offered to help us with equipment and advice and let us knock over a row of corn to get to the cemetery. Allen said the land was owned by Beth Lauren of Fairfield, Iowa.

After we had torn down the fence and cleaned out the weeds and grass, we noticed a stone sticking out of the ground about 2"! Our list did not include a stone in the southwest corner. We started probing near the broken stone and immediately hit a stone about 6" under the surface. Members dug up our first stone--Suza, daughter of David and Nancy Mann, died March 9, 1838, age 16 years, 11 months, and 8 days. We believe this is one of the first funerals in the area, if not in all of Jones County, Iowa. This got us all hooked on this project. We came back with shovels and probes and started exploring for gravestones and foot stones. Each time we worked on the cemetery we found something new.

Nick Balichek attended a workshop to learn more about repairing and restoring the broken gravestones. He came back with lots of ideas and became the chairperson of the project. Nick was also appointed to the Jones County Cemetery Commission. Nick is a Junior in the Olin High School and serves as our 1996-1997 chapter reporter.

Things slowed down about this time as members were preparing to exhibit livestock at the Jones County Fair and Iowa State Fair, plus detasseling corn. The last week of July we got back to work by hauling all the gravestones to Al Wittenberg's farm (1/2 mile away) and cleaning them with a high pressure washer. We had to use a circular tip because a straight stream would cut the stones. This worked beautifully and the stones were gleaming white. With the stones out, we used Al Wittenberg's skid loader to level the ground. On one of the stones was "Tipton, IA." We think that was where the stone was made. Also there was a 9' spire monument on David Mann's grave that was laying in five different pieces (not broken). The top ornament was missing, but when we were leveling the cemetery we hit the top piece—a hexagonal sphere. More excitement! We did not damage it.

We decided to replace the fence with a split-rail fence and also were considering a large granite bolder with the words "Cherry Grove Mann Cemetery" engraved on the face of it to be placed near the Cherry Grove Road, on one of the terraces near the cemetery. We found out through researching the Mann family at the Jones County Courthouse, that the cemetery was really called Cherry Grove. So now we refer to our cemetery as Cherry Grove Mann Cemetery. We truly have adopted this cemetery.

Pat Shaw had given us two relatives' names, Harlan Mann from Idaho and James Mann from Maryland. Nick Balichek wrote a letter to Harlan Mann and in a short time received a phone call from Harlan and his wife, Betty, which lasted a for a hour. Correspondence followed with Mann family history. Mr. Ruess called James Mann and left a message on his answering machine. Two days later James Mann returned the call from Princeton, Iowa, near Davenport. They met the next day and went to the cemetery. He had never been there and was very complimentary on what we had done, even though we were only half-through with the project.

Pat Shaw invited us to a tour of five pioneer cemeteries in the county starting at the Johnsontown Cemetery near Center Junction, and ending at Cherry Grove (Mann) Cemetery. Nick Balichek and Mr. Ruess spent the entire day traveling to the middle of corn fields and pastures looking at pioneer cemeteries.

On this tour we met more members of the Cemetery Commission. Nick Balichek had already met LaVerta Langenberg at the July workshop. She lives near the Cherry Grove (Mann) Cemetery and played in the cemetery as a child. LaVerta had taken some of the Mann's relatives to the cemetery over the years and she had done research on many other cemeteries in the area. Also, on the tour were Steve and Donna Story, longtime cemetery restorers (their hobby). They demonstrated plotting a cemetery, witching for graves and gluing gravestones. They witched the Cherry Grove (Mann) Cemetery on this day and found three graves without any stones. We wondered about the open areas with no gravestones or foot stones. This answered some questions.

The opening of school was fast approaching with football and a lot of other activities for our chapter members. We wanted to finish this project before school started. The split rail fence finally arrived and we spent one day putting the fence up. Nick and his brother, Chris Balichek, and Brad Lasack started to glue the broken stones together. Burdette Holthaus, the farmer that made a list of the stones showed up. He thought there had been two spires in the cemetery, but we never found the other one. We went to the Martelle General Store to eat lunch and Burdette was there. When we went back to pay for our lunch, the waitress said, "Your food was paid for by Burdette." Burdette heard us talk about how we were going to put up the fence without a mall or hammer. He said he would go home and bring back what we needed. He did and he stayed all afternoon to help build the fence. We understood that the neighbors were watching our progress.

School had started and we were not done with the cemetery. Stones needed to be set and cemented in. FFA members spent three Sunday afternoons in September to finish it up. One Sunday the members started a small fire with some old boards and sticks that were used for gluing the stones together when a man called from the road, "What in the world are you doing out there? Don't you know that's a cemetery in there?" Another relative was heard from! It was Chester Dunlap from Cedar Rapids. Chester's great-great-grandfather was David Mann. Chris Balichek hurried over to the road and after some explanation took his truck over to get him. Chester just could not believe what we were doing and why. He had been there in 1995 and taken pictures. He said "I will sleep better knowing someone is taking care of it." The next Monday, Chester entered the Superintendent office at the Olin Community School to inform the administration of the wonderful job the Olin FFA had done and he left pictures that he took in 1995.

About this time Rosalie Ahrendsen, Cemetery Commission Member who had been on the cemetery tour and taken pictures, informed us that we were on the Internet. She had sent information and pictures to Richard Harrison in California and he started a Home Page on Restoring Pioneer Cemeteries. What will happen next!!

We plan to cover some of the cracks in the broken stones with caulking and we tilled the ground with a garden tiller and found three new foot stones. The members put grass seed down and raked it in. Members who have worked in the project are as follows: Nick Balichek (chairperson), Chris Balichek, Brad Lasack, Keith Lacock, Mike Ahrendsen, Shawn Sterk, Ryan Stolte, Jesse Von Behren. Others include Steph Balichek and Nic Wink. We have put one large granite stone near the Cherry Grove Road that says "Cherry Grove Mann Cemetery" and a smaller stone next to the split-rail fence with the words "Olin FFA 1997."

"We truly have adopted this cemetery!"

by Ruth Cantwell

There were many more (related) Manns living in this area from 1837 on. My most direct ancestor, Jacob Mann, (who is not listed as buried in the cemetery, but must be buried somewhere in Linn or Jones Co.) was drowned in Big Creek (also called Linn Creek) during a storm in 1851. He was David Mann's brother.

Jacob was one of the very earliest settlers in the area (1836-1837). Some claim he was the first white settler in Linn Co. as that is where his claim was located, although a good part of his claim was over the border in Cherry Grove. The field where the cemetery lies is apparently on his original claim which he sold to his brother David in 1837 or 1838. David came after Jacob by one year.

There was also a John Mann who was related in some way. Possibly he was a brother or cousin. John came to Iowa in 1841 and he lived in Franklin Twp in Linn Co. He is buried in Lisbon. His daughter, Mary Mann Mann, was the second wife of Joshua Mann, son of David Mann.

Cherry Grove cemetary seems to have been used primarily by David Mann and his descendents. His son, Joshua, has many family members buried here. Three of Joshua and Mary's children are buried at Cherry Grove: Jesse Mann, Caty S. Mann, and Rachel C. Mann. Joshua's first wife, Rachel, and both of their children, Adam Mann and Mahala Mann Barto, are also buried in the cemetary. Joshua and Mary both predeceased Joshua's father. They died in Kansas in about 1869.

Click on the for a photo of the tombstone. This reading was compiled from information provided by the Olin FFA and Ron Ruess, with additional information submitted by Ruth Cantwell. Mann Cemetery is located on land owned by Elizabeth Larson.

Suza Mann9 Mar 183816y/11m/8dDaughter of David & Nancy Mann.
Sarah (Lewis) Mann27 Apr 186767y/11m/23 or 28dDavid Mann's second wife. Stone text: "Remember friends as you pass by, As you are now so once was I, As I am now so you must be, Prepare for death & follow me."
David Mann19 Jul 187279y/3m/4dStone text: "And let our hearts & mind, Continually ascend, That haven of repose, find Where all our labors end." Note: Was born on April 15, 1793. Came to Iowa about 1838. First wife was Nancy Strichler & second wife was Sarah Lewis.
Nancy (Strichler) Mann30 Oct 184145y/5m/23dDavid Mann's first wife. Stone text: "Go home dear friends, Dry up your tears, Here I must be, Till Christ Appears."
Rachel Mann12 May 184125yWife of Joshua Mann (David Mann's son). She left 1 daughter, Mahala, who is also buried here.
Adam Mann1 Oct 18391y/3mSon of Joshua & Rachel Mann.
Sarah C Mann24 Sep 187013y/6m/12dDaughter of Joshua Mann.
Mahala (Mann) Barto21 Jan 186423y/8m/19dWife of Moses Barto & daughter of Joshua & Rachel Mann. Mahala and Moses had one son, Edwin. Moses remarried Mahala's half sister, Eliza Melissa, who was the daughter of Joshua and Mary Mann.
Jesse Mann4 Apr 18469m/11dSon of Joshua & Mary Mann.
Caty S. Mann26 Oct 18597m/28dDaughter of Joshua & Mary Mann.
Leonard Strichler6 Apr 187298yThis is David Mann's first father-in-law (father of Nancy Strichler Mann). He lived with David for some years before his death even though Nancy had died and David had remarried to Sarah "Sally" Lewis.
Margaret Strichler14 Aug 187869y/11mThis is Leonard Stichler's second wife (not Nancy Strichler Mann's mother). Her maiden name was Mann. She and Leonard were married in Ohio in a May/December marriage, she being 35 years his junior. I don't know what relationship if any Margaret Mann was to David, but she was of an age to have been a sister to David, and it seems that she came from PA to Ohio with the Mann clan and then came on to Iowa with her husband and with the Mann family.
Andrew J. Mann21 Jul 184310ySon of Sarah (Sally) Mann.
Anna May Burgett24 Aug 18737m/5d 
Luley Burgett14 Oct 18782y/6m/2dThey are the children of T. J. & M. Burgett.
Henry Mann5 Mar 188559y/4mStone text: "Farewell wife & children dear, Meet me in the other sphere." Note: The oldest of John & Catherine Mann's 10 children, he got married at a very young age to his cousin, Katie, the youngest of David Mann's five children.
Katie Mann21 Jun 189164y/2m/13dWife of Henry Mann.
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