GC’s Got History!

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When you’re driving down St. Clair Avenue in Granite City, odds are the only thing in your mind is “Stop here. Turn between the medians. Keep going.” But have you ever wondered why those medians are there? Have you ever stopped to really look at them? What if I told you that the medians that divide St.Clair Ave. are really graves?

Emmert family descendant, Karissa Farina, has done research on her family tree and was kind enough to share some of her findings with Granite High World.

Some of them fought in one of our country’s greatest wars. We should appreciate that. We don’t stop to think about the sacrifices they made for us.”

— Stella Tegel

In 1837, a man named William J. Emmert bought land here in Granite City and built what is now the Old Six Mile Museum/House. There, William Emmert raised ten children with his first wife Susan and his second wife Maria, as well as bred prize winning race horses.

Among his ten children, there are only a few who are mentioned by name on the headstones: William Theodore, Brittie, and Ruth Emmert. Among those names is a small American flag. When looking at the headstone for Ruth, you’ll notice she is buried with her husband, John A. Brown, who fought in the Civil War, as stated on the stones.

With all these names and headstones, curiosity struck, who was John Brown? He was born in Ireland and immigrated to America in 1856. Five years later he enlisted in the Union Army for three years, serving near St. Louis even though he lived in Illinois. He served in Company L, 1st MO Cavalry until January of 1862 when he was injured at the Battle of Silver Creek, Missouri. Brown was shot three times through his neck, arms and lung. For the rest of his service, Brown stayed in the hospital recovering.  

So, why should anyone care about these graves? What is so important about them?

When asked, Granite City resident, Stella Tegel said, “Some of them fought in one of our country’s greatest wars. We should appreciate that. We don’t stop to think about the sacrifices they made for us.”

Granite City’s Old Six Mile Museum, located on Maryville Road, actually has some of the family’s personal items on display. The museum strives to keep historical parts of our beloved city alive and well.

Next time you drive down St. Clair Avenue, will you remember our city’s history?