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Pleasant Twp, Lincoln County, South Dakota
T96N R50W Sec 31
Contributed by Brian Hass, Nov 16, 2001 [email@example.com].
Total records = 13.
The Larsen family cemetery is located a number yards north of
the commercial area at the northwest corner of Beresford, South Dakota.
The seventy-five foot by seventy-two foot cemetery site is bordered by
four fence posts, contains three trees, and is surrounded on all four
sides by an open plowed field. The cemetery has no fences or access road,
but can be seen from a distance from the north side of the Cenex Convenience
store drive-through, located at 1508 West Cedar, Beresford, SD.
In the 1870's, an immigrant from Denmark named Lars Larsen, Jr., started
the cemetery on his homestead, which was located at the southeast quarter
of section 31 of Pleasant Township, Lincoln County, Dakota Territory.
He was also the last person to be buried in the cemetery in 1923.
Lars Larsen was eventually joined by his father and stepmother, Mr. and
Mrs. Lars Larsen, Sr., who came to America from Denmark in the spring
of 1891. The obituary of the elder Lars Larsen (1810-1900) mentioned that
he was buried beside his wife, who passed away in January 1896. The wife
was not listed by name; but, Karen Larsen (buried in the unmarked grave)
was the only woman in the Larsen Cemetery's thirteen recorded burials
who could have been the elder Lars Larsen's second wife, assuming that
the records accounted for all of the cemetery's burials. The first wife
of Lars Larsen, Sr., passed away in 1852.
Different sources disagreed with regard to the number of burials at the
site. The 1989 article by the 20th Century Club reported that approximately
twenty-two individuals were believed to have been buried at the cemetery.
In 2001, Lars' grandson, H. Larsen, reported that approximately nineteen
people were believed to have been buried there. However, recent articles
published by the "Argus Leader" and the "Beresford Republic" reported
that historical records listed the names of only thirteen individuals
who were buried in the cemetery. Markers for only ten of these graves,
as well as a fragment of an eleventh marker, were found during the 2001
Larsen Cemetery has not been maintained regularly for many years. In 1989,
members of Beresford's 20th Century Club reported that the site was overgrown
and covered with dead tree limbs, with only a few tombstones found. In
the 1990's, there was a rumor that the grave markers had been vandalized
and stacked in a pile; but, the president of the Canton Area Historical
Society visited the site and found the rumor to be untrue. In about 1996,
two Boy Scout troups from Sioux Falls visited the site to remove brush
and debris. On two weekends in May of 2001, volunteers from the local
branch of the Lutheran Brotherhood visited the site to tidy it up and
to install the wooden fence posts to outline the site. On the first of
those two weekends, a monument was installed at the site, inscribed with
the words, "LARSEN CEMETERY ESTABLISHED 1875."
In November 1997, Cenex officials announced plans to build a Super 8 motel.
It was soon discovered that the cemetery road used to exist at the proposed
location for the motel's parking lot. As a result, Cenex officials changed
their plans and relocated the motel's building site farther west.
The Larsen Cemetery was surveyed by Brian M. Hass on August 3, October
19, and November 13 of 2001. During this survey, all available grave marker
inscriptions were transcribed, with the only exceptions being some of
the poems inscribed in relatively fine print at the bases of some of the
markers. Inscriptions containing genealogical information were considered
to be of highest priority. A map based on approximate measurements of
the site was made on November 13 of 2001.
According to the article by the 20th Century Club, the bottom half of
Axel Jensen's marker was reported as missing back in July of 1989. And,
it was not visible during the visit to the site on August 3, 2001. However,
the cover due to plant growth was reduced by October 19 of 2001; and,
the bottom half of Axel's marker as well as the entire marker of Johanna
Jensen were both visible by that time.
On November 13 of 2001, a small loose fragment of George Larsen's marker
was found on the ground near two smaller loose fragments at the base of
one of the trees. The largest of these fragments was probably no more
than four inches wide; and, all of the fragments appeared as if they might
have come from the same marker. Only the largest fragment had any inscription.
The condition of individual grave markers was noted during the survey.
The markers for Johanne Hermansen, Axel Jensen, and Karen Larsen were
found to have been broken into two large pieces; and, the marker for Harlan
Larsen was found to have been broken into three large pieces. The bottom
half of the marker for Axel Jensen was detached from its base and was
found resting on top of Johanna Jensen's marker. In all cases, most of
the inscriptions on these damaged stones could still be easily read and
transcribed. H. Larsen reported that most of the damage to the stones
was caused by farm equipment. During the 2001 survey, none of the loose
pieces were relocated from where they were originally found within the
cemetery. The bases to all of the visible stones were still fixed to the
The markers for Johanna Jensen, Lars and Anna Larsen, Lars Larsen, Lauretz
Larsen, and LeRoy Larsen were intact. Lars and Anna Larsen's marker was
slightly chipped and had been repaired at some point; and, the markers
for Johanna Jensen and the elder Lars Larsen had fallen over after detaching
from their respective bases. Otherwise, these last three markers were
in generally good condition and were completely readable.
No markers (or recognizeable parts of markers) for the other individuals
were found during the survey. Cover from dead plant growth was noted at
the cemetery's southeast corner. A closer examination on November 13 revealed
a small mound of soil beneath this growth. If any marker fragments were
buried within this mound, none were visible during the survey.
The above information was obtained from the following sources.
1) "Larsen Family Cemetery survey" by Brian Hass; conducted at the site
on 3 Aug 2001, 19 Oct 2001, and 13 Nov 2001.
2) "Residents fight to preserve small cemetery;" by Randy Hascall, published
by the "Argus Leader;" Sioux Falls, SD; late 1990's.
3) "Taking care of family, Volunteers restore old family cemetery" by
Craig Steensland; published by the "Beresford Republic;" Beresford, SD;
24 May 2001 4) obituaries of Lars Larsen and Lars P. Larsen, published
in the "Beresford Republic."
5) "Larson Family Cemetery," submitted by Marlys Clay, Debbie Conklin,
and Judy Travis of the 20th Century Club of Beresford, SD, Jul 1989
6) "Lars Larsen," pages 202-3 of Memorial_and_Biographical_Record, published
1897. This article was taken from a book which contained the biographies
of early residents of southeastern South Dakota. The book focused on the
counties of Clay, Lincoln, Turner, and Union. The referenced copy of the
book had a worn binding, and was missing the cover and a few pages. As
a result, the publisher was unknown. But, the book's publication date
was listed in the obituary of Archie Duncan, published 18 April 1901 in
the "Beresford Republic," Beresford, South Dakota.
7) The Bureau of Land Management's GLO records
8) Notes from phone interview with H. Larsen, 9 Oct 2001
9) "Project to include Cenex, Burger King, Super 8" by M. Jill Sundstrom;
published by the "Beresford Republic;" Beresford, SD; 27 Nov 1997
The following listing includes all data from inscriptions on all visible
grave markers. Information was obtained from the first four sources listed
above, with the first source providing almost all of the data for individuals
buried in marked graves and the second three sources providing all of
the data for individuals buried in unmarked graves. Source number five
contained some data which aided in the verification of data for three
of the individuals listed in source number one.
- Brian Hass
Hermansen, Johanne Marie, b. 27 Apr 1874, d. 22 Jul 1876, "Datter
of Christian and Ellen K. Hermansen," depiction of dove.
Jensen, Arthur, no marker found
Jensen, Axel Waldemar, b. 30 Dec 1878, age 1m 17d, "Son of Chr
and H. Jensen," depiction of lamb.
Jensen, Johanna, d. 24 Dec 1890, age 44y 5m 27d, "Wife of M.
Chr. Jensen," depiction of gates to Heaven.
Larsen, ?arlan O., b. 18 Nov 1906, d. 10 Jan 1911, "Son of G.
W. and Agnes Larsen," records list first name as Harlan
Larsen, Anna Marie (Peterson), b. 18 Jan 1846, d. 5 Nov 1909,
"Wife of Lars Larsen," s/w Lars Larsen, maiden name obtained from "Beresford
Larsen, George, small fragment of marker found with inscription
"GEO..." and part of inscription of "Son," no fragments with dates were
Larsen, Karen Johanne, b. 24 Jul 1886, d. ?? Aug 1886, "Dau.
of Lars and Marie Larsen," depiction of angel.
Larsen, Karen, no marker found, one of two Karen Larsens reported
to have been buried at Larsen Cemetery
Larsen, Lars, b. 15 Feb 1847, d. 14 Apr 1923, s/w Anna Marie
Larsen, Lars, b. 9 Nov 1810, d. 22 Jun 1900, obit reported he
was buried beside his second wife
Larsen, Lauretz P. Harvey, b. 8 Jan 1877, d. 21 Apr 1889, "Son
of Lars and Marie Larsen," depiction of lamb.
Larson, LeRoy, b. 23 Apr 1911, d. 22 May 1911, "Son of G. W.
and Agnes Larson," marker listed surname as Larson instead of Larsen
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