Group works to preserve history of people in Our Town Luana, Postville, and Monona

Clayton County Pioneer Cemetery Commission
Clayton County Pioneer Cemetery Commission(KCRG)
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 8:26 AM CDT
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CLAYTON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - All this week, we’re celebrating the people and places from “Our Town” Luana, Postville, and Monona. The Clayton County Pioneer Cemetery Commission is a group of people working to preserve this history of people who were in the same places 200 years ago. The centuries of cold winters, hot summers, and all weather in between impacted gravestones from all those years ago. Myra Voss was born and raised in Clayton County. She’s followed her family history back centuries.

“I’m back to the 1700s, early 1700, I’ve got one line back to the 16s,” Voss said. “But that’s back in Germany.” Her preservation work started in the 1980s, before the commission even existed, with a group of volunteers.

“Those dear hearts drove all over the county finding these cemeteries,” Voss recalled. She said that included in cow pastures.

Lee Embretson, the Pioneer Cemetery Commission Chair, said Myra was instrumental in starting the commission. There are 99 known pioneer cemeteries in Clayton County of people who died more than a hundred years ago. Including one, of a woman who died in 1849.

“It’s just important to memorialize them for history,” said Embretson.

“We have to preserve our history,” said Voss. “We have to know where we came, we have to know what people went through.”

People write letters to the commission, hoping to find information on long lost loved ones. They’re able to connect them, and find family.

“It’s fun, just to help people is fun,” Voss said.

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