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Photos of Historic Chippiannock Cemetery Monuments with Fall Colors at Rock Island, Illinois

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

Gorgeous Fall leaves bursting with color

Gorgeous Fall leaves bursting with color

Chippiannock Cemetery

If one is an avid fan of visiting cemeteries such as my mother and I like to do, we discovered a great and historic one called Chippiannock located at Rock Island, Illinois. We got to view this beauty during the Fall of the year. The address is 2901 Twelfth Street, and the zip code is 61201. Be sure and put this one on your list of things to enjoy if you find yourself in that part of the country.

We were visiting my aunt and uncle who live in the quad cities, Bettendorf, to be exact, and this site was just across the Mississippi River from them. I had read about this attraction in a Reader's Digest book that I like to consult before traveling to other areas of our country. It is titled: America From the Road. A Motorist's Guide to Our Country's Natural Wonders and Most Interesting Places. Many of our successful vacation trips have come from recommendations found in this book published in 1982 (Second printing, March of 1984).

My aunt and uncle had never visited this site. It happened to be my mother's birthday, and when they inquired as to what she might like to do that day, we had this suggestion planned and ready to execute. Chippiannock is an Indian word that translates to "Village of the Dead."

History of the Area

This area of the country had a substantial Native American population dating back to the 1730s. About 7500 Indians from the Sauk and Mesquakie nations called this area home.

The cemetery's actual site is on the summit of Manitou Ridge, which overlooks the Mississippi River and the Rock River. It covers about 95 acres of land and has 4 miles of paved roads that meander through the grounds.

Many early settlers to this part of the country left a legacy of accomplishments behind them. Their monuments range from simple to elaborate. There is such an abundance of unique and artistic headstones paired with the rolling hills and gorgeous plantings. It invites numerous visitors and has become quite an area attraction.

Dating back to the early 1800s, Chippiannock is an excellent example of an early rural cemetery and became listed on the National Register of Historic Places in May of 1994. The early settlers' history can be traced here by reading the inscriptions on these imaginative and beautiful grave tombstones. Some private mausoleums are also in the mixture of various internment forms that people have chosen for their final resting spot.

The landscaping was by an engineer named Hotchkiss in 1855, who had the Greenwood Cemetery on Long Island, New York, to his credit. Hotchkiss was also working on the St. Louis cemetery called Bellefontaine.

A professional gardener named Patrick O'Shaughnessy was the first hired superintendent responsible for the many plantings and maintenance of these grounds. According to a brochure, the cemetery has over 150 species and varieties of trees and shrubs planted here.

Since it was in October when we were visiting, we got to see the glorious Fall display of colored leaves. What a fabulous time to be enjoying these gorgeous grounds! Some photos I took that day can give one an idea of just how beautiful and serene is the setting for this historic cemetery. I'll now share some descriptions of some of the monuments in this cemetery.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

When one first enters the gates into Chippiannock Cemetery, this monument greets one's eyes. It is a striking memorial erected in 1915 and commemorates all the military people who have fought in wars representing American interests.

School children from Rock Island who collected their pennies and dollars from veteran organizations paid for this striking monument with their contributions. Amazing what collections of pennies can accomplish!

Dimick Monument

This touching Eddie and Josie Dimick double monument with their faithful dog combination relate to a brother and sister who died of diphtheria the same day at the tender ages of 5 and 9.

Each day when the grieving family visited the gravesite, their dog accompanied them. Then the dog started taking up a vigil from early dawn to dusk by the grave. When the dog died, the family decided to place a statue of him by their children's graves. In perpetuity now, that story is carved into stone for all to see.

Mansill Monument

Mansill Monument

The Mansill Monument

Originally from England, Richard Mansill was only 20 years of age when he arrived in America with his parents. He accomplished many things, which ultimately included owning a lumber yard and coal mines.

He was best known for being an author of The Almanac of Planetary Meteorology and numerous other books related to science and the workings of the universe.

Celtic Cross designed by Alexander Stirling Calder

Celtic Cross designed by Alexander Stirling Calder

The Celtic Cross Monument

The photo above is one of a Celtic Cross. It was created by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder who just happened to be the father of the modern artist Alexander Calder.

The Celtic Cross monument honors naval officer William Harte who lost his life during a Civil War battle when Confederate guns blew up his steamboat. He died when attempting to swim to shore. His family never recovered his body. His father commissioned the cross, which embodies several religious as well as nautical symbols.

The cemetery entrance is where to see the Celtic Cross, and it is one of the points of interest on any tour.

The Cable Monument

The Cable Monument

The Cable Monument

This massive bronze tribute was created in Brussels by sculptor Paul De Vigne and was commissioned by Ben Cable, a congressman in this area.

In the family plot is Philander Cable, Ben Cable's father, who was president of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad. Philander Cable donated the waterworks pumping station at 24th street to the city of Rock Island.

Also found in this family plot is Ransom R. Cable, president of the Rock Island - Peoria Railroad.

Cross simulating logs with ivy growing on it for the Buford monument

Cross simulating logs with ivy growing on it for the Buford monument

Annual Epitaphs Brought to Life Tour

In 1914 they created an Annual Epitaphs Brought to Life tour. There are actors dressed in era-appropriate clothing leading one on a walking tour and bringing stories of the memorable persons buried here in Chippiannock cemetery to life.

We were not there at the right time to be able to participate in this fascinating-sounding tour, but with a brochure in hand, we wandered at will and were able to find and read about many of the people who now lie beneath the earth or in the scattered mausoleums located on these historic grounds.

Victorian cemetery monuments including some from Chippiannock

Since fewer people were visiting there, my aunt, uncle, mother, and I could very leisurely take our time and linger as long as we chose while discovering different and unique headstones along the way.

The Fall foliage was also of prime interest and beauty that day. We do not have the spectacular fall foliage in Houston as we did growing up in the Midwest. That was one reason why my mother and I planned our trip to coincide with the leaves' turning. We were well rewarded that year!

Below see a photo of this beautiful cemetery in Spring.

Spring time in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois.

Spring time in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois.

In the Chippiannock Cemetery brochure describing many of the monuments and other information, there is a quote from the Indian Sauk Chief, Black Hawk. It reads:

"With us it is a custom to visit the graves of our friends and keep them in repair for many years. The mother will go alone to weep over the grave of her child. After he has been successful in war, the brave, with pleasure, visits the grave of his father and repaints the post that marks where he lies. There is no place like that where the bones of our forefathers lie to go to when in grief. Here, prostrate by the tombs of our forefathers, will the Great Spirit take pity on us." --Memoirs


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 29, 2020:

Hi manatita,

If anyone could create a poem to match the music in the video and the stunning scenery, it is you! Thanks for your virtual visit to the Chippiannock Cemetery. It truly is a beauty!

manatita44 from london on October 29, 2020:

I don't know that I'll enjoy visiting cemeteries, but this one with the Hydrangeas and pillared gravestones are stunning! The other designs are amazing and I loved the magenta-hued trees and foliage.

The Celtic cross is a favourite, as well as the cross-simulating logs. How soothing is the music! I'm ready to go with music like that. Just need the poem.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 26, 2020:

Hi Diana Carol,

We purposely planned our trip that year to be able to enjoy the gorgeous fall colors. This cemetery is loaded with spectacular monuments. These pictures show a small sample of what is there.

Diana Carol Abrahamson from Somerset West on October 26, 2020:

Amazing monuments and craftsmanship. I notice that there are so many trees with such beautiful colours. Love Fall with the russet leaves.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 17, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

You are not alone in your feelings. There are probably just as many people who avoid visiting cemeteries as those who enjoy visiting them. I fall in the latter category. I find them interesting, and many are quite beautiful. Thanks for your virtual visit and comment.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 17, 2020:

This cemetery is certainly quite beautiful and the headstones quite attractive. I somehow don't feel comfortable visiting a cemetery as I feel depressed there.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2020:

Hi Paula,

The Chippiannock Cemetery is a beauty, and the fall colors made it even more so! Our timing was perfect that year while on vacation.

Paula on October 09, 2020:

Such a beautiful and tranquil setting. The colors of Fall are glorious in parts of the country.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 29, 2014:

Hi Rebecca,

It was a beautiful day! :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 27, 2014:

Hi Au fait,

Yes it often happens that we do not take advantage of what is right in our own backyards so to speak. Glad you liked reading this about that beautiful and historic cemetery. Appreciate the share and pin.

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 22, 2014:

It looks like you had a lovely walk on a beautiful day. I enjoyed your photos!

C E Clark from North Texas on January 21, 2014:

Beautiful photos and interesting monuments to see and read about. It's so true that we so often miss the interesting landmarks in our own immediate area.

5 stars, pinned to my 'Travel' board, voted up and BAUI, and shared!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2013:

Hi moonlake,

This is a spectacular cemetery as far as beautiful natural scenery is concerned. Lot of history! Thanks for your comment and votes.

moonlake from America on February 15, 2013:

What a nice cemetary just beautiful with all the color. Voted up and more.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 16, 2012:

Hello creativespirit63,

It was a glorious Fall when my mother and I visited my aunt and uncle up north and got to visit this historic Chippiannock Cemetery. So glad that you liked these photos.

creativespirit63 from Omaha, Nebraska on September 16, 2012:

It is fall again! But this fall is not going to be nearly as colorful as the one in these pictures. Thanks for giving me a splash of color!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 14, 2011:

Hello tlpoague,

It would be fun to actually be there when people dress up in period costumes and tell the stories of the residents in the Chippiannock Cemetery. But it is also beautiful just strolling through the grounds. Hope you get to see it in person someday. It is a very historic site. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 14, 2011:

Hi sarovai,

So happy to hear that you enjoyed reading about the Chippiannock Cemetery. Thanks for your comment.

Tammy on October 14, 2011:

This does sound like an interesting place to visit. I will have to add it to my list of must see places. Thanks for sharing this information and beautiful pictures.

sarovai on October 14, 2011:

Cemetery speaks.Your writing about the Chippiannock cemetery is informative as well as briefs about the history of Chippiannock. I learned one more word " village of dead". Good Job. Thank u for sharing.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2011:

Hi Cheryl,

We were talking about Fall colors just the other day. They were certainly beautiful when visiting the Chippiannock Cemetery and it is probably what it looks like right about this time of year. October is a beautiful time of year during Fall in the Mid-West and elsewhere. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2011:

Hi Happyboomernurse,

We have visited other cemeteries including the one in Savannah that you would have seen. The one in Chappel Hill, Texas has some interesting history leading back to the days of the Alamo. One in Calvert, Texas has some gorgeous monuments. (I've written hubs about those.) The one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where some of the great beer barons were buried (along with some of my relatives) has some impressive monuments.

My mother and I always loved visiting cemeteries and have seen some in Utah and even a prison one in Colorado. All are unique and tell a story. Glad you liked this one regarding Chippiannock.

Thanks for your comment and votes.

Cheryl J. from Houston, TX on October 13, 2011:

A very unique and interesting hub on Chippiannock Cemetery. Great information, amazing monuments and beautiful photos with the brilliant fall colors. Great hub.

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on October 13, 2011:

This was a fascinating hub and the fall foliage pictures were very beautiful. My hubby and I took a cultural course about local history years ago and one of the classes was devoted to information about cemetaries. We found it so interesting that we now make it a habit to visit old cemetaries when we're traveling. Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA; Annapolis, MD; West Point, NY are some we've been privileged to visit but we've never seen one as large or beautiful as the one in this hub.

You did a great job bringing this final resting place to "life" on this pictorial tour.

Voted up, useful, beautiful, awesome and interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2011:

Hello ktrapp,

Believe it or not I know of others who enjoy visiting cemeteries. One can learn so much history and obviously it is also a great location to take some unique photos as you saw in this hub from Chippianock Cemetery. The Fall colored leaves were spectacular just adding to the beauty. Thanks for your comment and votes.

Kristin Trapp from Illinois on October 13, 2011:

It has never occurred to me to visit a cemetery for reasons other than the obvious. Although I did go to one on Mackinac Island years ago that made me so sad when I realized all the children in one family died within a short period of time; and growing up in CT I went to a very tiny and very, very old cemetery to do grave rubbings for a class.

Your photos are fantastic and the baby cradle just tugs at my heartstrings. The landscaping and colorful fall foliage are wonderful. I'm glad your mom enjoyed her birthday at the cemetery :)

I am voting this up (for uniqueness, great personal photos, and personal as well as historical text), as well as voting interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 28, 2009:

You and me both, JamaGenee. One can learn so much by visiting cemeteries. I also agree that the older ones are typically more interesting. Thanks for your comments.

Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on March 27, 2009:

Great hub! I absolutely*love* poking around in cemeteries, especially the older sections where (sometimes, but not always) the monuments are much more elaborate than modern ones, and like the dog statue next to the graves of those children, tell poignant stories. The stone cradle is quite heart-breaking.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2009:

Thanks for the compliment, Rolan. Always good to hear feedback like this!

Yes, that cradle monument would be very expensive......especially as it was probably one of a kind. It was undoubtedly hand crafted with love.

RKHenry from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA on March 27, 2009:

The baby cradle stone is unbelievable. Imagine what that would cost today. Peggy your hubs are always so interesting. I'm so glad you found me. I love reading your stuff!! Rolan

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 23, 2009:

Hello again Sally's Trove. I did have some fun with the title as you could tell.

As to visiting things local, it is amazing how often that is overlooked. I have a feeling that this year due to the economy, many people might be inclined to check things out a little closer to home. I know, according to the news, that our Houston zoo was so well attended during Spring Break one day last week that they actually had to turn people away. I have never heard of that happening previously.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 23, 2009:

One more thought: fabulous title.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 23, 2009:

Outstanding tour, Peggy! The photos are wonderful and the narration fascinating. Whenever I visit my rural Ohio relatives, visiting the family burial places is always on the list of things to do.

Good point about not visiting attractions in your own backyard...on a reverse trip, when my Ohio relatives visited here, we took a day to visit historic places very close to me, places, although I've lived here for many years, I'd never visited. It was wonderful to see these places through my relatives' eyes. Their eyes opened mine.

Thumbs up.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 16, 2009:

Hi Jed, It truly is a beautiful setting. We spent a couple of hours there but could actually have spent more time.

Hello Mardi, Thanks for the compliments on the photos. It was fun taking them. Of course, the subject matter made it easy to capture good shots. That always helps!

Mardi Winder-Adams from Western Canada and Texas on February 16, 2009:

Wow, this is amazing. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photographs.

jed grey on February 16, 2009:

What a beautiful setting,well done

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