Cemetery in the North Cedar area of Cedar Falls is significant
for historical and literary reasons. It was originally the
family plot of Solomon and Martha Knapp, who buried 24-year
old Oscar Knapp here in 1855. The following year, the Knapps
deeded a three-quarter acre area on the sloping hillside
to Washington Township trustees for use as a public cemetery.
A number of early
Cedar Falls pioneers are buried in Hillside Cemetery, which
is now maintained by the city with the assistance of the
Hillside Cemetery Association. Perhaps the best known are
Zimri and Lucinda Streeter, grandparents of Cedar Falls
novelist Bess Streeter Aldrich.
Near the Streeter
graves are those of the Leepers, three of whose children
died on the same day in 1880 during a diphtheria epidemic.
Several veterans of the Civil War are also buried here.
was immortalized in Bess Streeter Aldrich's 1939 novel,
Song of Years. She described the cemetery this way:
rest those first settlers. It is a place of utter peace.
There are times when no sound penetrates but the rustling
of the corn or the dropping of a pine cone. Sometimes, though,
one will hear a combine at work near these sleeping men
who cut their grain with a cradle, or, perchance, a plane
zoom over the heads of these quiet ones who followed the
grassy trail with oxen."
Because of its
connection with Zimri Streeter (Jeremiah Martin in the novel),
Hillside Cemetery is often spoken of as the "Song of
Years Cemetery." A plaque designating the cemetery
as "Song of Years" Cemetery was placed in 1996.