Guilford Union Cemetery

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1837 [unknown]
Location: Rockford, Illinois, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Cemeteries Illinois
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Guilford Union Cemetery at
Also Known As: Reed Farm Cemetery, Reed Cemetery, Reid Farm Cemetery, Reid Cemetery
Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois

Guilford Union Cemetery


General Information

Guilford Union Cemetery


Google Maps.
6760 Spring Brook Road
Rockford, IL 61114
GPS Coordinates: 42.3064003, -88.9847031

Guilford Union Cemetery is a located on a small lot on Springbrook Road in Rockford, Illinois. It's a little disconcerting because it is right in the middle of a residential area. There is no parking lot, you just park right off the street in front of it.
Park here

As of October 25, 2021, there is a profile for everyone person buried here. Most are connected. Many just need a little more work to be connected. Some I fear it will never be known to whom they belong but they at least are documented with what we know now.


Guilford was its own township until 1923 when it was incorporated into Rockford. This cemetery was established in 1837 and is part of the Read and McFarland farms. [1]

The sexton records were destroyed in a fire several years ago. The North Central Illinois Genealogical Society has transcribed and documented all the graves in this cemetery and that is available in the History room in the Rockford Public Library.

Many of the monuments were damaged by a tornado that landed in the town in 1928.

There are several newer small granite rectangular markers that look like this:

Many of them are in front of older markers that have been buried, like these:

The newer blocks were added in 2008. Many of the older stones did not have birth dates just age and birth dates on some of them are not correct. Fortunately they can be double checked against a 1980 transcription list here: Winnebago County IL Archives History.

This must have been a monumental task. I have discovered a few errors in transcriptions but for the most part they are accurate.

Guilford Union Cemetery

The People who lived and died in Guilford Township

There are war heroes and murderers in this cemetery. Pioneers, well-known politicians and simple farmers and teachers. Recent immigrants and those whose families fought in the American Revolution. They lived and they died in Winnebago County. Old and young. They all have stories to tell if one can take the time to dig a little and listen.

Early Pioneers

Henry Enoch and his wife Mary Hall came from Maryland, by way of Ohio. He built a cabin here in 1836 and is credited with being the first settler in what would become Guilford township. Henry actually died on a visit to Maryland, but his body was brought back to be buried at Guilford.

Calvin Doolittle came west from New York and in 1837. His wife Susannah was the daughter of Richard Cary who fought in the American Revolution under George Washington.

Rial Hutchins and his family came from Vermont a little before 1840. His son Amasa became Mayor of Rockford.

Elisha Chase came from Vermont and settled in Guilford in 1850. He is buried here with several children who died young.

Thomas Lake, born in England, came to Rockford in 1836. He was a carpenter and built many of the earliest homes in Rockford.

The Scots

Category: Migrants from Argyll to Illinois
Category: Illinois, Immigrants from Scotland

Although most of the early residents of the Scotch Settlement at Argyle are buried in the Scottish Cemetery in Argyle, there are some Scotch pioneers in this cemetery. Among them are my great grandparents Robert Colville and Agnes McKay. They farmed in Harlem Township, Winnebago County then gave the farm to their son Robert and retired in Rockford. Edward Breckenridge ( a cousin of mine) and his wife Margaret Mitchell came from Scotland with their children in 1854 and established a farm in Guilford Township. Their children, Edward, Hugh, Janet, Isabella, Elizabeth (Reid), and Robert are also all buried here.

There are many Reids here, the first being James who was born in Scotland in 1777 and came here in 1850.

The Germans

Category: Illinois, Immigrants from German Confederation

Guilford was also home to many German immigrants who are buried here.

Charles Reitzlaff came to the US with his mother in 1865. His wife Joanna was the daughter of John Ollman who brought his family to the US in 1864. His daughter Minnie married Henry Knop who arrived in 1858.

Another daughter Bertha married Lewis Pepper who came from Germany in 1866. He started out as a farm hand on James Ralson, a Scottish immigrant. Lewis soon had his own farm and was very successful.

August Nimtz and his wife settled here from Germany shortly after they were married in 1881. Many descendants are buried here.

Heinrich Thurow came here with his family about 1887. They farmed in Guilford. His baby grandchild, Martha is buried here.

Karl Schmidt and his family came in 1891. They first settled in Caledonia, then moved to Guilford.

The Young People

Mary Alice Kleckner contracted polio in 1951 when she was 12 years old. Both her brother and sister came down with it as well but she suffered the worst case. She spent nearly two years in an iron lung and then died when she was 14.

Mary Price was a beloved school teacher who died of tuberculosis when she was only 21 in 1892.

Another victim of tuberculosis, Edward Seele composed a popular song "My Honey" while in the sanitarium. He died in 1936 when he was only 25.

Calvin Doolittle was only 4 years old. His original stone read:
"He passed away like a tender flower which bloomed and died within an hour"

Seventeen-year-old William Pratt was killed in 1918 when an interurban train he was on after a visit to Chicago derailed.

In 1837, twenty-two-year-old William Enoch who, two years earlier found the place where his father would lay the first claim in Guilford, died of cholera a few days after his younger brother, Richard also died of the disease.

Two infant siblings, Anna, and Edna were buried here before their parents moved to Mason City, Iowa. They were spared the tragedy their six siblings experienced when their mother, Anna shot and killed her husband Horace, then turned the gun on herself.

Carolina "Lena" Pepper, buried here with her family, was only 22 years old. She suffered from depression or "melancholy" as they called it then. "I cannot take it any longer and soon it will be over," she told her mother. In 1899 she killed herself by swallowing carbonic acid. The death of the young woman shocked and saddened the community and there were over 100 carriages at her funeral procession.

Murder Scandal

In 1869, Eliza Lake was pregnant and estranged from her husband Banks Dixon when he kidnapped their eldest child, Philip. When Banks returned to see their newborn, John, Eliza took out a revolver and shot him in the head. She was tried and found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. She changed her boys’ names back to Lake and lived quietly on the farm in Guilford. There's not a word about the killing in her obituary.


War of 1812

Azariah Lathrop fought in the War of 1812 with the New York Militia. He settled in Belvidere a little before 1850.
Corporal Elias Martin signed up when he was 16. Two of his sons fought in the Civil War, one of whom died of disease in Vicksburg in 1863.

Civil War

John Henry Michael, buried here, came from New York and settled in Guilford around 1855. He had twin sons, Isaac and Charles who fought together in the 127th Illinois Infantry.
David Pryse came over from Wales. He spent some time in New York, then farmed in Guilford. He signed up with the 74th Illinois Infantry.
Thomas H. Lake served a year with the 146th Regiment, Illinois Infantry, Co. C.
Andrew Green was born in Virginia. His family moved to Ohio and he fought on the Union side with the 179th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. After the war, he married Catherine, the granddaughter of the above mentioned Scottish immigrant James and farmed in Guilford. He is buried in Cherry Valley however during 1871-1885, he buried four of his children in this cemetery. The youngest was two-year-old Ida, who died about a week after her 7-year-old brother John.
Corporal James Hunter, Jr. fought with the Illinois 74th Infantry. He died in Nashville of complications from the measles after surviving the Battle of Perryville. His mother, Sarah, traveled to Nashville to bring his body home.
David Hunter, Jame's brother fought with the Ilinois 15th Regiment for the duration of the War.
Thomas Horton fought with the 9th Minnesota Infantry. He died in Mississippi in 1865.

World War I

Captain David Hunter, Jr.,' son of Civil War vet, David Hunter, received the Distinguished Service Cross for his service during World War I.
William, son of German immigrants enlisted in 1917. His brother requested a furlough so he could come home and help with the farm, but he was already scheduled to ship off to France in 1918
Vern E. McFarland

World War II

Richard Parnaby

Other Veterans

David Hunter IV, twenty-year-old son and grandson of war heroes, was newly married and just out of basic training when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a gravel truck while home on leave.
David Ferguson US Air Force, Viet Nam era

Unconnected Profiles

These are the profiles in the cemetery who are still disconnected to the Large Tree. Feel free to take a look and see if you can help connect them:


You can find a sortable table of profiles of those who rest in the Guilford Union Cemetery here:



  1. Winnebago County Archives

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Comments: 4

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Very impressive cemetery page. I am sure it took a lot of work but satisfying work.
posted by LG Price
Fantastic work Joelle! I am just starting out on my local cemetery ( 2000 + headstones ) and your work is an inspiration. I will be pinching ideas from you!
Joelle, much work went into this project and it looks great! Thank you so much.
posted by Jo Gill
This looks awesome! Keep up the great work, Joelle!
posted by Eric Weddington