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Oak Hill Cemetery "The Hill" in Lewistown, IL. provided the inspiration for Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, and many of the characters in this work have been linked to individuals interred in the cemetery. Oak Hill Cemetery is often referred to as "The Hill," in reference to the first section of Masters' Anthology. A walking tour brochure is available from the City of Lewistown that lists the characters in the verse and their counterparts in the cemetery. This brochure also includes a map of the cemetery layout and the location of the gravesites of individuals linked to the Anthology. The gravesites of these individuals are indicated by numbered markers that are located beside the corresponding gravestones and are shaped in the silhouette of Edgar Lee Masters. There are 40 such markers, representing 52 characters from the Anthology (some of the individuals interred in the cemetery correspond to more than one character in the Anthology). According to Masters, 66 of the anthology characters correspond to persons buried in the cemetery.It has taken 100 years for the local residents of "Spoon River" to acknowledge that many of the people that Masters wrote epitaphs of were actual inhabitants of the town. Many of them were still living when the book was published in 1915.It was a world wide literary success, but the book was banned in the community, schools and the public library until the mid 1970's. Masters knew where the graves were of those of which he wrote. Thanks to local historians and descendants of those buried on "The Hill", we now know where those graves are. I put together this site for those who can't visit but would like to see the graves and read the Epitaphs of the people of whom he wrote. Enjoy.

If you like stories of Murder, Rape, Pillage, Plunder, Blackmail, Abortion, Incest, Adultry, Suicide, and Arson just to name a few, you will love Masters' Poetry of the Dead. Some of those identified were not yet deceased. It is no wonder he was so despised in this town. He was ostersized from the Community and never returned after the publication of "Spoon River Anthology." To this very day, people here do not acknowledge that he was ever welcome as a citizen. I have included just a few of my favorites for your enjoyment.

Oak Hill Cemetery"The Hill"