A virtual Cemetery Tour of the South Park Cemetery, the resting place of many of our Wilson and Cheney ancestors.
My Introduction to this Cemetery
My first visit to the South Park Cemetery in Jackson, Wyoming was in August 2002. Our family had enjoyed vacationing in Jackson Hole for years before I learned enough of our family history to search out graves of our ancestors. For this particular trip, my father joined us. Because he is an early riser and my husband and children are not, nor were they interested in being drug through a cemetery at any hour, Dad and I went alone early one morning.
The cemetery sits on a hill, south of the town of Jackson, in the area known as South Park where Sylvester Wilson settled in 1889. There are spectacular views from this point. The cemetery itself is not large and most of it was rather overgrown. A fence enclosed many of the Wilson family graves.
The First Christmas in Jackson Hole was celebrated with elk steaks, doughnuts fried in bear grease, music and dancing.
The Wilson & Cheney Families
Sylvester Wilson had settled in Emery County, Utah in 1877 at a place that became known as Wilsonville. After almost 12 years in this drought stricken area, Sylvester Wilson decided to move and start again somewhere else.
Mary Wood Wilson
Sylvester and his family left Wilsonville at the end of May 1889. The group included Sylvester and his wife Mary, 9 unmarried children (the youngest being three) and two married children and their families. Mary Alice had married Selar Cheney August 10, 1879. They had four children, but one died before they left. Ervin had married Mary Jane Davis June 26, 1888 and she was expecting their first child as they left. Their son James was born September 12 in St. Anthony, Idaho.
The family left Wilsonville with 5 sturdy wagons and about 80 head of cattle. They also had at least 20 race horses, which Sylvester had taken as partial payment on their Wilsonville property. The trip to St. Anthony, Idaho was over 400 miles. They averaged about 10 miles per day, trailing their livestock.