and the early burial grounds

by Vernon B. Paddock

There is a rich history for many of the early residents of the Fort Hill Settlement and the surrounding area that are buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery beginning in 1844. Most of the early inhabitants and their families came from Vermont, New York and the New England area to settle in the northwestern part of Lake County in Illinois. The area they settled in did not have Townships or incorporated Villages. Several farmers stood on top of a hill and could see land for miles around. They called it “Fort Hill”.

Today, that hill is located on Peterson Road in Fremont Township, just East of Route 60 on the north side of the road. On a hand drawn 1852 map by Elijah Haines, the “Fort Hill Settlement” encompassed mostly an area that borders the current townships of Grant (Goodale), Avon, Wauconda and Fremont.

(1852 hand drawn map by Elijah Haines identifying the Fort Hill Settlement boundaries)

The Fort Hill Cemetery became a focal point in the settlement. It was commissioned in 1847 by Soloman Marble with the County of Lake from a portion of his property to provide a burial ground for the early residents. On several occasions the cemetery is known as the Marble Cemetery. Fort Hill School was established on Town Line Road and a Fort Hill Post Office that solidified the name of the Fort Hill Cemetery.

According to the Chicago Tribune (Chicago IL) Saturday, May 5, 1900, page 13:

“LICENSES FOR NEW INCORPORATIONS were issued yesterday by the Secretary of State at Springfield, Ill., as follows:
The Fort Hill Cemetery association. Fort Lake; maintaining cemetery; incorporators, Laura Thomson, Rosa Parker, Kate Cleveland.”

Very few organized burial grounds existed in the mid to late-1830’s and early 1840’s when the first pioneers arrived in Fort Hill and the surrounding areas. The early burial grounds by year established or became active are:


  • Vernon Cemetery (aka Half Day Cemetery) located in Half Day on the east side of Milwaukee Avenue at the east end of Cemetery Road off of Route 22
  • Volo Cemetery located in Volo on the east side of Fox Lake Road just north of Route 120 west of Route 12
  • Slocum Family Cemetery (pre-1838) located in Wauconda Township.


  • Gridley Cemetery in Diamond Lake
  • Ivanhoe Cemetery in Ivanhoe, on Route 176 just west of Routes 60 and 83
  • Union Cemetery (aka Spaulding Corner Cemetery) in Waukegan on Route 132


  • Druce Cemetery was established in Grayslake located on the north side of Washington Street about a quarter mile from Route 45.


  • Lakeside Cemetery located in Libertyville on Lake Street, two blocks west of Milwaukee Avenue across from Butler Lake


  • Fort Hill Cemetery located in Avon Township on the north side of Route 120 about a quarter mile east of Fairfield Road
  • Mount Rest Cemetery in Wadsworth

Throughout the remaining 1840s and 1850s the growth of established cemeteries was evidenced by the growing population in the region.

The Lake County (IL) Genealogical Society issued “Avon Township Cemetery Inscriptions” in 1986, documenting the “tombstone inscriptions read by Mrs. Dorothy Dolph in June of 1980”. This document was a major foundation in my research of the cemetery.

Go to the list of those buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery in the Genealogical section (Click Here)