Glen Arbor Community Restores Long Lost Cemetery, Honors Buried Civil War Veterans

Tucked inside the thick woods of Glen Arbor lies a 150-year-old cemetery, long forgotten and hidden over generations.

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The graveyard near the Sleeping Bear Dunes is the final resting place for local heroes, including veterans of the Civil War.

There are at least 13 people there and local records show there could be as many as 40, but it’s hard to know because of the excessive debris and growth around the neglected site. It hasn’t been maintained in years, and a 2015 wind storm damaged trees in and around the site.

For months, activists have been working to clean it up and learn more about the people who lay there. Linda Dewey of Glen Arbor has been leading the charge.

“It’s about these people who lived here, who fought for us, who fought for really important things,” said Dewey. “Truly [the cleanup] has become a community effort.”

In October, 9&10 News first told you about this secret cemetery. Dede DeManigold of Traverse City saw the story and her ears perked up. She has distant family members buried there.

“I was like, wow, somebody knows it’s here!” said DeManigold. “It just brought me to tears.”

DeManigold’s great-great-great-grandfather Edmund Trumbull and two other members of that family served the Union during the Civil War. They’re all buried in the wood lot.

“As you start traveling through, the headstones start popping up here, there, everywhere,” DeManigold said.

Her Uncle Vearl made a promise long ago to always spruce up the family headstones and keep the place clean. After his death, the tradition faded away.

“It was forgotten about because my uncle got very old, and this [cemetery is] way out in the woods, about ¾ mile in through a bunch of trees and everything,” DeManigold said. “We wanted to continue that promise.”

She and a team of local volunteers, historians, and Glen Lake students have all committed to studying the site, restoring the area, and carrying the memory of the people who lay to rest.

They held a special ceremony on Friday to honor the buried.

“The families that put the people here had faith it would be [honored],” Dewey said. “That’s Memorial Day. To honor them.”