The Path to Bachelors Grove

Stephen Rexford

Blue Island Sun Standard

October 3, 1929

Left: Heman Crandall

Right: Blue Island Sun Standard 1890 obituary for Heman Crandall

In 1835 Stephens brother Norman made the jump from Philadelphia, PA to Bachelors Grove. Norman only stayed shortly before moving on to where he would put permanant roots that would become the town of Blue Island. 

Front: John Fulton Jr & Hulda Fulton

Back, Left to Right: Minnie Fulton Argile, Bertrand Fulton, Luella Fulton Rogers 

The Crandall name is also among those of the earliest settlers. Heman Crandle was the first of the family to arrive. His son Ben gives some history in the 1929 news article below . Heman walked from New York to Fort Dearborn in 1833 and bought 80 acres of land (see map below)  in Bremen, just a few miles south of where Bachelors Grove Cemetery is now.  

Two brothers followed suit arriving shortly after Heman In the following years some sisters made the brave move west as well.

Mark Crandall (pictured left, back row far left) 

Below: 1862 Map of Bremen. The red star shows the general area  of Bachelors Grove Cemetery. The red arrow points Heman Crandalls 80 acres he purchased in Chicago in 1833. 

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Left: Clarence Fulton

March 4, 1900  Chicago Sunday Times article giving a history of the names of Chicago Suburbs . The article included this piece about Norman Rexford and his pioneering efforts in some of Chicago;s Southern Suburbs. 

 John Fulton and his wife Jane Johnson Fulton left Ireland for American soil in 1839. In 1844 they traveled by covered wagon from New York. They bought an 80 acre farm in what is now known as Oak Forest. They are said to have had a total of 14 children. 

Their eldest Son John Fulton Jr.  in his later years told of the pioneer days when the family resided in the wild. Local Indians would come in the mornings for milk from the Fulton Cows and return in the evening to bring them a hind quarter of venison. It is one of the few existing first hand accounts of the early settlers interaction with the idigenous people of the area. 

​In the 1850's when Rock Island railroad construction began John and Jane opened their home for free to boarders, charging 10 cents a meal.  Family legend suggests that John Fulton also assisted a Mr. Clark in locating a site where it is believed that the first schoolhouse in the area was built. 

At the time of his death in 1883 , John Fulton owned over a 1000 acres of prime farm land in Bremen Township. Some of this land now is occupied by local businesses and homes in Tinley Park. Many acres also became part of the Cook County Forest Preserve System. 
At some point in time the Fulton's are said to have acquired partial ownership of Bachelors Grove Cemetery. This information comes from family legend. There is no known documentation to support the claim but  we do know that members of the Fulton family have been taking care of and advocating for the cemetery for many years.

In 1935 Joseph Fulton, nephew of John Fulton Sr. , walked through Bachelors Grove Cemetery with a reporter and gave a personal recollection of the people buried within. The account was published in the Blue Island Sun Standard and has been a foundation block of burial research at the Grove. 

Clarence J. Fulton, Great-Grandson of original pioneer John Fulton Sr.   was the last independent trustee of Bachelors Grove.  Clarence along with his nephew He Clarence's experiences with trying to take care of the cemetery were well documented by  local news paper articles through the 70's and early 80's. 

The Fulton name stayed prominent in local town positions through the years. Many of Johns descendants still reside in Tinley Park, Blue Island and Bremen Township.  Approximately fifteen members of the Fulton family are laid to rest at Bachelors Grove Cemetery. 

Right: Blue Island Sun Standard

article about the passing of Stephen Rexford daughter. The article gives a first hand reference to Bachelors Grove Settlement

Stephen Rexford (right) arrived in the area in the early 1830's. He was one of the original Bachelors in Bachelors Grove and was said to have given the settlement its name.

In 1843 he initiad the first post office in the area of Bachelors Grove.

In 1850 he  was resposible for the naming  of Cook County Township Governments.


Bachelors Grove

Bachelors Grove

bachelors grove   bachelors grove  bachelors

grove bachelors grove   bachelors grove  bachelors grove  bachelors grove   bachelors grove  bachelors grove  bachelors grove   bachelors grove bachelors grove  bachelors grove bachelors grove bachelors grove  bachelors grove   bachelors grove

Some of the names such as Smith , Everdon and Schmidt can be attributed to change in ownership. They are surnames of families that are well known to the area. The first known legal documentation of the cemetery was in 1864 when Edward M. Everdon sold his land to Frederick Schmidt. The sale documents notate the physical properties of the farm excepting one acre of the land that was to be used as a cemetery. In 1935 in follow up to a previous Bachelors Grove article , a family member reported to the paper that Frederick Schmidt had added additional property to expand cemetery.  No legal documentation has been found that supports that information.

Map of the Bremen area dated 1850

1862 Map of Bremen area

A Cook and Dupage county map from 1851 by James A. Rees claims the woods as "Bachelor's Grove.

Upon digging further into documentation it is very possible the name did come from this first group of "single' men, for in the early 1800's there were already other settlement's throughout the U.S. known as  "Bachelors Hall" or "Bachelors Grove".

A manuscript from 1917 states that Rexfords group of bachelors "kept Bachelors Hall". 
This term was commonly used to describe maintaining the life of a single man or settlements founded by  large groups of bachelors, such as our very own Bachelors Grove in Illinois.


Bachelors Grove- The Name     

Batchelors Grove                                 Batchelder

Batchel                                                  Bachelder

Bachlor                                                  Petzel

Bachellor                                               Berzal

There has been a lot of speculation about the variation of the

name of Bachelors Grove Cemetery. We have discussed this

topic at length and think that the explanation for the many

names is a very simple one.

Smiths Cemetery,  Old Smith's,  Everdens and Schmidt's are a

few others we have seen. Burial documents found at

Mt. Greenwood Cemetery show the name as

Bachelder and Batchelder. Smith and Everdens are listed

on death certificates gathered as places of burial.

The above photo is one of only a few that exist of  any

house or structure within the 

Bachelors Grove settlement area, the Schmidt house.

The area where the  Schmidt house stood is off of the

path as you enter past the cabled entrance. Bits and

pieces of pottery, brick and glassware are still scattered

about the overgrown area of where a once thriving

household once stood.

The many other spellings of Bachelors Grove very well

may be a case of early documentation being scarce

and those that exist are sketchy. Other factors include

the different languages spoken over the years by early

settlers. Our guess is it depended on who was writing

as to how the name was spelled. Level of Education would have been another factor. Proper English and spelling was not as universal as it is today. Most having a basic education and knowledge of the English language would probably spell a word as it was spoken. Considering all of the above and having seen so many discrepancies in documentation we have collected, it is not far fetched to think that the many different names is , simply put, MISTAKES.

In the late 1820's the first documented settlers of Irish , English and Scottish decent began arriving from northeastern states. The flow continued 

steadily through the years, reaching a peak in the 1830's and '40's . The 1840's brought large groups of German immigrants.  

Bachelors Grove is a one acre forgotten burial grounds with a world wide reputation for being one of the most haunted places in America.  Some call it the most haunted cemetery in the world.

Well hidden within the southwest suburban Forest Preserve District of Cook County. It was for many years commonly known for being a desecrated and often vandalized party spot.

If you pull aside the veil of the paranormal,  look past the ghost stories and urban legends there is also history that runs far, rich and deep.  Some of those buried in Bachelors Grove were pioneers, founding fathers of the incorporation of some of the very busy surrounding Townships and

Suburbs. Below is  a little of what is known of the early years of the original settlement.

Settlement History