Little White School Museum, 2017
In June 1850, the newly organized Albright Methodist congregation established by several German immigrant families on the Oswego Prairie about three miles east of the Village of Oswego, purchased two half-acres of land straddling the section boundary between Oswego Township Sections 14 and 23. The land was purchased from Hem, Hafenrichter, Burkhart, and Haag families.
A small, square timber-framed church was built on the western half-acre and a cemetery was established on the eastern plot. The first burial in the new cemetery was the remains of 13-month old George Haag in mid-August, 1850.
Unfortunately, the location proved to be a wetland unsuitable for either a church or a cemetery. So in May 1861, the congregation sold the church and cemetery site back to the land’s original owners, and purchased a new church and cemetery site from George Leonard Haag uphill from the old site to the northeast quarter of Section 23 on what is today Roth Road. The old church was moved to the new site with teams of oxen and log rollers, while the burials in the old cemetery where likewise moved to the new cemetery site. In an unusual bargain, Oswego Township purchased the half-acre on which the church building was to be located. A lower level was dug out at the church’s expense and the church placed atop the lower story, in which the public school was maintained until 1886.
In the summer of 1871, the congregation decided a new church was needed and so decided to build a new church about a mile north of the former church site at the intersection of Roth and Wolf’s Crossing roads. It was further decided to keep the church cemetery at the Roth Road site. When the new church was completed, the lower level public school continued in operation.
In 1886, the new Collins School was built on Collins Road a few miles away and the old lower level schoolroom was no longer needed. The congregation bought the half-acre on which the school-church was located from the township. The old church building was sold to Christian Hem, who removed it from the foundation, and log-rolled it back across the fields to his farm in the west half of the SW quarter of Section 14, where it was a machine shed until 1983 when it was finally demolished. The vacant half-acre was then added to the cemetery.
Shortly after the removal of the church and conversion of the entire one-acre site for cemetery purposes in 1886 an ornate gate with arch, showing in block letters at the top: Oswego Prairie Cemetery, was installed at the cemetery entrance. That remained the cemetery’s official name during the next several decades, although it was also sometimes known as the Hafenrichter Cemetery because it bordered the Hafenrichter farm.
In the 1990s Oswego Township began to show interest in assuming responsibility for small, privately owned cemeteries in the Township. In 1993, the township approached the Oswego Prairie United Methodist Church concerning transfer of ownership. The congregation agreed, erecting a black granite name-monument at the front of the cemetery. It was dedicated at a regular Sunday morning worship service, held in honor of the occasion, at the cemetery itself on Aug. 22, 1993, when the cemetery became official, Oswego Prairie Evergreen Cemetery.
Click Here for directions to Evergreen Cemetery.