The Kitchell cemetery is about two blocks east of the new elementary school on Harrison St. in Palestine (cemetery GPS: 39.001222, -87.617791), and believe it or not, some of the most important people in the history of Crawford County are buried there.

It is a little plot of ground, possibly seventy-five feet square, and under the shade of a giant oak tree, sleep twenty-seven souls. It was for years sadly neglected, the stones having in some instances, fallen over and become broken but the inscriptions are still legible. Wild grape, sumac and other vegetation took over the place but the American Legion Post in Palestine cleared it out and today a fence surrounds the cemetery and a flag is flown.

Joseph Kitchell, donated the land and most of those buried there are Kitchells, Alexanders, and also Othniel Looker.

Gen. Looker as he was affectionately called, died in 1846. One month before his death, he had made a speech at a big Fourth of July celebration in Palestine at the age of 89. A bronze plaque has been placed at the head of his grave by the James Halstead Sr. Chapter DAR, which reads: 1757-1846, with his name below. He served the state of Ohio as Governor for five months. He is the only Governor of the state of Ohio to have served in the American Revolution.

And then there is the grave of Clarissa French and her infant son. They were the wife and son of Governor French, who governed Crawford Territory when it extended up as far as Canada. She was only twenty-two and died four months before her son. They are buried side by side.

And so now you are aware that this little plot of consecrated ground exists. It is well worth while to take a little time and visit there on some quiet Sunday afternoon and let your mind wander back to the time when those folks were alive.

According to information compiled over a period of several years in a book for the Illinois State Veterans Commission by Fred Schroeder, there are 1308 veterans listed in 74 cemeteries in the county, over half of them are Civil War men. There are even some Confederate men buried in this county and ranks run from Colonel to buck Private.

There are a lot of historical events recorded on the tombstones of our cemeteries, if we but take the trouble to ferret them out.