The first permanent cemetery was laid out in White Pigeon, in or about the year 1831, where it is still located, in the northwestern part of the village.  There was a burial-place laid off by J. W. Coffinberry, on a tract of land named by him “Carlton”, but which existed as a village only in the airy castles of Mr. Coffinberry’s fancy.  One Chidester, a carpenter, and a man named Day, died in the year 1831, and were buried in this plat, and so, also, were several persons who died about the same time, one of them a son-in-law of Colonel Selden Martin.

Cemetery Information

Township Cemetery is located at 200 West Vermont Ave. White Pigeon, Michigan

Information about the White Pigeon Township Cemetery can be obtained from the Office Coordinator, Jean Tefft during regular office hours or contact her at: office@whitepigeontwp.com or sexton@whitepigeontwp.com

White Pigeon Township keeps all records for the township cemetery and the Catholic Cemetery through 2009.  After 2009 any information needed for the Catholic Cemetery may be obtained at the Catholic Church.  St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery is located on W. Fawn River Rd. south east of the village.

Our Sexton, Vince Schroen can be contacted through the township office.


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New Cemetery Ordinance


The township recently received this email:

My name is Thomas Potts, I grew up in White Pigeon and I am the 4th generation to graduate from White Pigeon High School, class of 1959.  We currently have a home on Marl Lake, off on Indian Prairie Road.  I read with great interest your information about the first burial.  So I thought you might be interested in my Redfearn relatives since they are buried in the cemetery.

John Redfearn, my G,G,G, Grandfather, who is buried next to the Dr. Elliott plot, was born in Yorkshire, England in 1805.  With his wife Jane and son Thomas he arrived in America aboard the ship Golconda on May 25, 1830.  They settled in Tamaqua, Lancaster County, PA. and the mother died soon after their arrival.  John left Thomas with his brother-in-law, Thomas Gray, and went by way of the ocean to the Mississippi River and then up the river to Dubuque, Iowa.  There he was among the first lead miners in the region.  He was driven from the mines by the Sauk Indians and enlisted in the Black Hawk War which ended in 1832.

John came to St. Joseph County following the War and with his son and Thomas Gray where they settled on Section 2, Mottville Township.  John died on January 17, 1858.

Thomas Redfearn, my G,G, Grandfather, is buried on the southwest corner of the Plowman section.  In 1849 he went by ox-team to the California gold rush and returned to Michigan in the spring of 1852 and purchased 175 acres in Mottville Township, in section 2 and 11.  On March 28, 1854, he married Amelia Hachenberg.  They had several children and a daughter, Sarah, married Alberts Potts, they are my Great Grandparents.

Another Human Interest Story

One day I began to think about our cemetery and it’s history.  So many people visit our township and never realize what wonderful history this area has hidden deep inside.

I started by looking on the St. Joseph County website under history.  There I found information about things that started first in our area.  One of those things discovered was the White Pigeon Cemetery was the first in this area dating back to 1830.  That started me thinking about who the first person was to ever be buried in our cemetery.  With all our modern technology we can now find the answers to so many questions at the push of a key on the computer keyboard.  By using that technology I looked up the name and date of every person buried in the White Pigeon Township Cemetery.

The name documented to be the first to be buried in our cemetery was Solomon Whitney.  Solomon was born April 29, 1790 and died November 26, 1813.  The interesting thing behind this would be that Solomon was dead several years before the cemetery was created, per the township records.

There are others buried on Mr. Whitney’s cemetery plot, Sarah Whitney(DOD 3/16/1859), Donald Berwin Tavernier(DOD 8/23/1951), Harry V. Tavernier(DOD 8/6/1973), LuLu Rebecca Tavernier(DOD 6/15/1986), Stephen Ketchum(no date of death) and Albert S.(last name not available).

I will continue looking for information about the people buried in our cemetery so that I may keep the records of our township updated and current.  Whenever new information about a family is discovered I make the additions or changes.

As I have become more involved with the workings of the township office I realize how important it is to have all documents as correct as possible.

Jean Tefft,  Office Coordinator