Green Ridge Cemetery


Operated by the Kenosha Cemetery Association

6604 7th Avenue

Kenosha WI 53143


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Before Mrs. Charles (Catherine) Durkee died in 1838, she requested that she be buried at the north end of her husband's property in Southport (now Kenosha). After her death, Senator Charles Durkee donated several acres of land around his wife's grave to the city for use as a cemetery. Although there were prior burials dating back to 1836, and probably before that date, this constituted the first City Cemetery. In 1906 a nine member Board of Trustees was elected and the Kenosha Cemetery Association became custodians of the historic cemetery. 


From Fall, 1861 to Spring, 1862, men of the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry encamped in what is now part of Green Ridge Cemetery.  Known as Camp Harvey, after the governor, this area was sandy beach.  The stone marker reads: The First Wisconsin Cavalry Rendezvoused Here In 1861. From 1862 To 1865 The Regiment Fought To Preserve The Union On Fame's Eternal Camping Ground. Their Silent Tents Are Spread and Glory Guards With Solemn Round The Bivouac Of The Dead . (1917)


A huge thank you goes out to Barrett Frost for making the Veteran's Circle Restoration his Eagle Scout project.  It looks great and will continue to be a monument for which Kenosha can be proud. 


MARY D. BRADFORD (1856-1943)
First woman to hold the position of Superintendent of Schools in 1910. Modernized school system, adding Kindergarten, manual and household arts, vocational and summer schools.


JOHN BULLEN (1803-1884)

John Bullen, jr. was the founder of Kenosha with the Western Immigration Company, arriving here from Hannibal, NY in 1835.  Originally interested in Milwaukee, the group sent Bullen south where he selected a site along Pike Creek.  He went back to New York for provisions, and returned to Pike Creek in May of 1836.  He build the first house in the settlement with Nathan Allen.

CHARLES COOPER (1867-1903), WILLIS COOPER (-1903), HENRY S. COOPER (1858-1924)
Three sons of Samuel Cooper who took over management of Cooper Underwear (now Jockey, International), moving the company from St. Joseph, Michigan in 1900. Charles and Willis were among many Kenoshans killed in Chicago's Iroquois Theater fire. Henry took over operations upon the deaths of his brothers.

REUBEN H. DEMING (1798-1867)
Methodist minister from Bennington, Vermont. He served on the School Commission, working with Michael Frank for better education. He was a conductor on the Underground Railroad, assisting runaway slaves in their escape to Canada through the port of Kenosha on Lake Michigan.

CHARLES DURKEE (1805-1870)
Durkee arrived from Royalton, Vermont with his wife Catherine in 1836. He became the first territorial legislator and first representative in Congress, elected United States Senator in 1855. He lobbied for the harbor at the mouth of Pike Creek and joined Michael Frank in the fight for free public schools. He donated land to the City to establish a cemetery upon the death of Catherine in 1838.

MICHAEL FRANK (1804-1894)
Arrived in Southport (now Kenosha) in 1839; became first president of Southport in 1840 and first mayor of Kenosha in 1850. Established the first free schools west of the Allegheny Mountains, earning him the nickname, "Father of Wisconsin Education."

Founded Rambler Bicycle Company, then switched to automobiles in 1902. Inventor of the steering wheel. Died suddenly in Pompeii, Italy.

The founder of the S.C. Johnson Wax Company, now called S.C. Johnson, headquartered in Racine, WI, is buried in the family plot.

ZALMON SIMMONS (1828-1910)
Founder of the Simmons Mattress Company, Zalmon came to Kenosha with his father and family in 1842. He formed the Cheese Box Company, and shipped cheese produced on the farm he purchased. He later invested in the Northwestern Mattress Company, changing the name to Simmons in 1899. He started the first library in Kenosha; donated a monument to the memory of Civil War veterans; the family donated Washington Island to the city after his death. It was renamed Simmons Island.

First woman to hold an elected office in Kenosha, she was voted to the Board of Education in 1914. Mother of the actor Orson Welles who was born in Kenosha and went on to become an actor and was most well-known for his radio production, "War of the Worlds" and movie "Citizen Kane."

OSCAR U. ZERK (1878-1968) 
Vienna born inventor of the Zerk grease fitting used to lubricate automobiles and other machinery. Zerk's unique monument is constructed of stainless steel.

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