The Cowdrey Cemetery
Little White School Museum, 2017
The Cowdrey Cemetery, located in the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of section
26, Oswego Township, began its existence as the Morgan family burying ground.
Ebenezer Morgan traveled west from New York in 1831 prospecting for land. He and Earl
Adams traveled by steamboat down to the Ohio and then up to the Mississippi to St. Louis
where they purchased horses. Riding up the Illinois River to Ottawa, they continued up the
Fox River to the present site of Yorkville, where Adams drove his claim stakes. Morgan
continued up river another two miles to a small creek where he claimed land. The pair did not
return with their families until 1833, where Morgan claimed 1,100 acres of land bordering the
creek named for him--Morgan Creek--all the way to the Fox River. Morgan built a sawmill
on the small creek, farmed, and became prominent in local politics, serving as Oswego
Township's first supervisor in 1850.
The first recorded burial in the Morgan family burying ground was of 69 year-old Peter
James LeStourgen, who died Sept 15, 1839.
Col. William Cowdrey arrived from New York in 1839, and claimed land near Morgan's.
Eventually, his son, George Cowdrey, purchased the land surrounding the old Morgan
burying ground. The cemetery was officially established in 1845 and slowly became known
as the Cowdrey Cemetery. The wooded area around the cemetery became known as
Cowdrey's Woods, and was a popular picnic destination and summer campground for
Yorkville and Oswego residents in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Cowdrey Cemetery Association was incorporated in March 1891. The principals were
George M. Cowdrey, George H. VanEmon, and Amos J. Parkhurst, according to the March
25, 1891 Kendall County Record.
When the Elgin, Aurora & Southern interurban trolley line was built between Aurora and
Yorkville in 1900, a switch and siding was included at the Cowdrey Cemetery for funerals.
In March 1909, the Cowdrey Cemetery Association bought additional land from Frank
Friebele to add to the cemetery, according to an article in the Kendall County Record.
The Cowdrey Cemetery is an active cemetery.
Click Here for directions to The Cowdrey Cemetery.