By Byron Bovey

The I.O.O.F. Cemetery of Craigmont was started by the Chicago Lodge Number Seventy Six of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  The Chicago Lodge soon became known as the Ilo Lodge and then the Craigmont Lodge as it is known today.

On July 14, 1903, a warranty deed was made between the Chicago Lodge, being the grantee, and George and Lizzie Vetter, being the grantors for the parcel of land that was to become the main part of the cemetery.  The deed was duly recorded at the Nez Perce County Courthouse at the request of John G. Lenz on July 18, 1903.

For the sum of two hundred dollars, George and Lizzie Vetter sold to the Chicago Lodge Number Seventy Six a parcel of land in then Nez Perce County,  "Beginning at the South West Corner of the North West Quarter of the North West Quarter of Section Eight (8) in Township Thirty Three (33) North of Range One West B.M. according to the government survey, running East three hundred twenty (320) feet, thence North two hundred ninety five (295) feet, thence West three hundred twenty (320) feet, thence South two hundred ninety five feet (295) to place of beginning containing two and one sixth (2 1/6) acres, to be used for  cemetery purposes."

On January 13, 1904, John G. Lenz recorded a plat for the I.O.O.F. Cemetery at the Nez Perce County Courthouse, which contained lots, numbered from 1 to 220.  This same plat was again recorded on September 23, 1905, and signed by the elected trustees of the Chicago Lodge.  They were John G. Lenz, Frank Vincent, and G. E. Tatko.

Before the original land deed was transferred, there was at least one burial in the cemetery.  That was Geneva Nichols who died July 2, 1903.  There may have been more burials before this time, but if there were, the information has been lost with time.

On September 10, 1920, the Ilo Lodge, I.O.O.F. Number 76 bought from Alexander Miller, a widower, for the sum of five hundred dollars, "Beginning at the Southwest corner of the Northwest quarter of the Northwest quarter of Section Eight, in Township Thirty Three North of Range One West Boise Meridian, running thence East 325 feet to point of beginning, thence due East 148 feet, thence due North 443 feet thence West 443 feet, thence South 148 feet, thence East 295 feet, thence South 295 feet to point of beginning containing two and one half acres more or less."

With the land purchase from Alexander Miller, the cemetery became the size and shape it presently holds.  Alex Miller was laid to rest in the old part of the cemetery in 1931. Of the three original trustees for the cemetery, two are buried here.  George Tatko who died February 17, 1947, and Frank Vincent who died in 1937.  According to the "The Lenz Family" story in the 1984 HIGHLANDS OF CRAIG MOUNTAIN, pages 130-132, Dr. John Lenz moved to Hazelton, Idaho, and later retired to Redondo Beach, California.  The Vetters moved to Alberta, Canada, and took up homesteads there and were gone from here by 1915.

Due to declining membership in the Odd Fellows lodge, the Craigmont IOOF Cemetery was turned over to the City of Craigmont in the 1990s.

For more information, please contact the Ilo-Vollmer Historical Society, Box 61, Craigmont, Idaho 83523 or Shelley Kuther,  208-790-7890 or Byron Bovey,  208-924-7336.








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