VERONA -- Time and the elements are slowly wearing away at a treasure trove of local history.
Dozens of grave markers at the Verona Cemetery, a non-sectarian burial ground in use for 154 years, are in need of cleaning and repair, said Art Cresson, treasurer of the not-for-profit Verona Cemetery Association and former Verona mayor. 

Art Cresson looks at some broken 
tombstones in the Verona Cemetery.
   The cemetery lies on 12 acres on County M in the city of Verona, a few blocks east of Verona High School. Its neighbor is a four-acre Catholic cemetery associated with St. Andrew Parish.
   Years of being subjected to Wisconsin's annual freeze and thaw cycle have caused some older tombstones to crack or even fall over, while others have become illegible due to the accumulation of moss and dirt.
   Last year, the association straightened 50 monuments at a cost of $8,800. Donations from the Lutheran Brotherhood and other private contributors covered about 10 percent of those costs, with the cemetery paying for the rest out of its annual budget.
   But there are still 24 markers that are badly damaged, and estimates for repairing and cleaning them run more than $10,000.
   Cresson said the investment would be worth it. By making old headstones legible once again, the restoration would recover parts of Verona’s early history.
   But he added that “these are special projects that we really don’t have the funds for. We really can’t do it without donations.”
   The association’s operating budget, which generally runs around $10,000 comes from interest on conservative investments and pays for office supplies and basic upkeep of the grounds, such as mowing, raking and plowing. The cemetery is run by volunteers.

 A tombstone from 1876 lies broken in 
the snow at the Verona Cemetery.
   “Now with interest rates falling, our income is going to be way down,” Cresson said. “We’re fiscally sound as long as we don’t want to do anything extra.”
   The cemetery goes back to Verona’s earliest days. The state Legislature created the town in 1847, and the following year land owner Josiah Matts donated the land for the cemetery.
   The first burial at Verona cemetery, Joseph Nye, was 1848. Five other members of the Nye family would eventually be buried there, including Josiah Nye, who died on Sept. 5, 1863, at age 20 after a year of fighting with the Union Army in the Civil War.
   Cresson said the Verona Cemetery is the final resting place of several local Civil War veterans, but the exact number is uncertain because of the condition of the tombstones.
In all, more than 2,100 local residents have been buried at the cemetery. Cresson is working on completing a map that includes each of the burial sites along with genealogical references and basic facts about each person.
   “We have maps of some sections, but not of the whole thing.” He said, adding that some of the sectional maps are now outdated.  The association plans to apply for government funds for restoring the tombstones of individuals who fought in the Civil War, and an anonymous donor has come forward with a donation to cover the costs of repairing an ancestor’s monument.
   But Cresson said many of the sites in question belong to individuals whos families no longer live in the area. “We really don’t know how to find them,” he said.

Capital Times - Jan 23 2002

Land for the Verona Cemetery

Two Scotsmen, James Young and Thomas Stewart were the first to establish residence in the township in the late 1830s. With the building of a grist mill on Badger Creek in 1843, George Vroman and William Wheeler established a small settlement around it in the valley just south of today’s present village. The mill was sold to Samuel Taylor and this small community was briefly known as Taylorville. To the north of the mill site, Joseph Flick and H. B. Matts both acquired homestead land grants of large acreage in 1845. These properties included the major intersection of the east/west road (Mineral Point to Milwaukee) and the well-traveled north/south road (Green Bay to Galena). Both gentlemen sold lots along these routes which developed into Verona’s new residential and business district. Matts also sold land for the cemetery, the anticipated railroad and deeded land for a Baptist church. Two substantial brick homes were built at the corners by Matts and and his brother-in-law, John Meyers, their wives [Lydia (Flick) Matts] [Deborah (Flick) Meyers] being Flick sisters. The very early travelers’ inn, The Eagles Nest, occupied one of the other corners.



Verona sent 68 men into the service during the Civil War. The honor roll of those who died during the conflict are:

  John Butler, killed May 22, 1863 (Possible match)
  James Cook, died of wounds from Shiloh, Corinth, Miss.
  James Mosier, died August 27, 1864
--- (NOTE: Co A 23rd WI, Enlisted 12/31/64, Date Out 8/27/64, Died of disease) 
  Josiah Nye, died September 5, 1863

  Rodrick Park, died November 25, Helena, Ark.
  George Pierce, died June 20, 1863
  Joseph Shuman, died July 18, 1864
  Monroe Silver, died October 21, 1862
  Charles Thomas, died July 10, 1862
  David Vroman, died April 23 (24?), 1863, Pvt, Co A 23rd WI    

The following were officers from Verona:

  Robert Henry, 1st Lieut.
  William Charlton, Capt.
  Jacob Leffler, Capt.

From the publication   "Souvenir VERONA CENTENNIAL August 16-17 (1847 - 1947), Page 33-34

Wisconsin 23rd Infantry Regiment

In all, Wisconsin provided more than 91,000 soldiers to 56 regiments: 77,375 to the infantry, 8,877 to the cavalry, and 5,075 to the artillery. They fought in every major battle of the Civil War. New recruits were trained in Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Racine, and Madison. Camp Randall, Wisconsin's major training facility in Madison, also housed Confederate prisoners of war.


Frank J Sharer, 90 died at a Madison hospital, Wednesday, Oct. 16, after a short illness. He was born on May 14, 1856, and spent all his life in Verona township.

Survivors include two sons, Earnest A. Sharer and Rinaldo F. Sharer, both of Verona, and a daughter, Mrs. Sarah Mae (Sharer) (Howard) Zink of Mt. Horeb, 12 grandchildren, and 20 great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held from the Sharer Funeral Home in Mt. Horeb, and at the Baptist church in Verona. Rev. T. J. Gibson, officiating. Six grandsons were pallbearers. Burial was in the Verona cemetery. His wife, Mary Edith “Etta” White Sharer, preceded him in death on March 3, 1945.


Mrs. Agnes W (White) Davidson passed away at her home Thursday. Mrs. Davidson had been in poor health for some time. She was 88 years old on Sept. 8.

Mrs. Davidson, who was the former Agnes White before her marriage 20 years ago, was born and spent the greater part of her life in and around Verona.

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon in the Salem Reformed church, with Rev. Upson, former Methodist pastor here officiating.

Those who are left to morn her loss are three daughters, Mrs. Margaret Agnes (John) Clow, Mrs. Blanche Irene (Albert) Bookhout of Madison, Miss Jessi Davidson, one son, William Davidson of Madison, and four grandchildren.

Burial was in the Verona cemetery.

Those from a distance who attended the funeral were her cousins, Mrs. Hepsa (Black) (George) Bryan Jr. of Neillsville, Mrs. Mary Peck of Nebraska, and Mrs. Rose Cummings of Baraboo.


George Bryan Sr., 95, oldest resident of Verona, died Saturday at his home here.

He had been a resident of Verona 78 years. He was born in Cross Plains. He was an honor deacon of the Baptist church, to which he belonged for 56 years.

Survivors include two sons, George Jr., of Neillsville, and Henry of Madison; six daughters, Mrs. Jessie Dahlk, Hector, Minn., Mrs. Edith (John) Dahlk of Madison, Mrs. Grace (Jasper) Keller, Middleton, Mrs. Lizzie Donkle, Mrs. Otto Paradise and Mrs. Pearl (Gabe) Thompson, Verona; 28 grandchildren and 72 great grandchildren and three great great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon at the Memorial Baptist Church. Ref. T. J. Gibson officiating. Burial was in the Verona cemetery.

Madison newspaper, October 1946