Deapolis Cemetery & Wayside Chapel labors of love and respect
By Annette Tait
A tranquil spot along a busy two-lane highway, Deapolis Cemetery and its Wayside Chapel bear the memories and history of the area’s past. Not only do its stones bear the names of many settlers, their dates also bear stories of bygone days – long lives well spent, soldiers lost at war, and infants whose time on earth was far too short.
Deapolis Cemetery Association board members Delores Berger and Ada Klindworth have been working for 35 years to make sure the cemetery is well maintained, a labor of love and respect for the people who are buried there. They also help to make sure proper records are kept, and shared some of the history of the site, it’s original church, and the Wayside Chapel, dedicated in 1982, that now stands just north of the original church’s foundation.
According to the association’s records, the story is told that Herman Danielson, one of the early settlers, stopped overnight with his wagon at the site where the chapel now stands. While sleeping that night, he dreamed he was in a place where many people would congregate, which prompted settlers to build the church at that location.
The story goes that the nearby town of Deapolis also got its name from Danielson. He looked through his Bible and picked the name Neapolis, changing the “N” to a “D” and creating Deapolis.
For a time Deapolis thrived, with a lumber yard, grocery store, elevator, livery stable, and post office. A ferry traveled across the river, connecting the town with a Swedish settlement on the east bank.
“The ferry was a big thing there,” said Berger’s daughter, Susan Knutson, noting that the Washburn bridge wasn’t built until many years later, making the ferry the only way to cross the river at that time.