Neill Obelisk - Forestvale Cemetery - Helena, MT
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 46° 39.379 W 112° 02.250
12T E 420618 N 5167495
Quick Description: The Neill obelisk is one of several in Forestvale Cemetery, a large resting place now containing over 14,000 interments.
Location: Montana, United States
Date Posted: 9/13/2017 3:35:10 PM
Waymark Code: WMWJTQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member saopaulo1
Views: 0

Long Description:
In the Arbor section of Forestvale Cemetery, the Neill obelisk is near the centre of the northern end of the cemetery and near the location of a manmade lake, now gone and covered with graves, that once occupied part of this section of the cemetery. See the map below.

The obelisk was erected in memory of John Selby Martin Neill (March 25th, 1860 - March 22nd, 1912) and to his wife Margaret Gillespie Evans Neill (Born at Newark, Delaware March 3rd, 1862, passed away in Helena March 6th, 1951). The obelisk was likely imported, at considerable cost, from the Barre, Vermont quarries, as most in this cemetery are from these quarries. John Neill was Surveyor General of Montana, and also entered the real estate business with partner A.J. Steele. Later, he became owner and publisher of the Helena Independent, a civic leader in Helena and active in state politics as a Democrat.

I seems that Neill happened to be owner of a newspaper, the Helena Independent, during the infamous War of the Copper Kings, a battle waged at the end of the nineteenth century, primarily with the pen. The protagonists here were William Andrews Clark and Marcus Daly, two of the wealthiest and most powerful businessmen in Montana who did not play well together. Each had political aspirations and each bought newspapers with which to promulgate their particular outlandish version of reality. As Neill had sided with Clark during the war, it wasn't necessary for Clark to purchase Neill's newspaper.

Occupying 140 acres, Forestvale Cemetery remains in use today, and likely will for many years to come. Designed by Vermont native Harry Vespasian Wheeler, a civil engineer, the cemetery was envisioned as a "Rural Cemetery", a style coming into vogue in the nineteenth century. Where once there was a lake, part of the design and one of two in the original design, there are now graves. The curved pathways, though, still meander through cemetery. Old photos of the cemetery seem to indicate that it was graced with many more and larger trees in years gone by.

When Forestvale Cemetery opened, many of the prominent citizens of Helena already interred at Benton Avenue Cemetery were reinterred here, as their families felt that Forestvale Cemetery, a planned and landscape architect designed cemetery was more befitting of their standing in the community. Reinterments came not only from Benton Avenue, but, also from the abandoned Catholic Cemetery south of the State Capitol, City Cemetery behind Central School, Catholic Cemetery on Oakes, Mountain Home Cemetery, several ranches in the Helena area, other towns in Montana, and from Beaver Creek when Canyon Ferry Reservoir flooded the area. In total, over 400 reinterments took place at Forestvale in the early years.

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Photo goes Here

Date Created/Placed: Likely placed in or shortly after 1912

490 Forestvale Road Helena, MT United States 59601

Height: 25 feet

Illuminated: no

Website: Not listed

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