New Ulm, Minnesota is filled with German heritage and history…and plenty of spooky sights. I went down to New Ulm for their famous Oktoberfest and spent a lot of time walking through the New Ulm City Cemetery.
History of the New Ulm Cemetery
The New Ulm cemetery is just north of downtown, about a mile from the main haunts. I honestly had no intention of visiting here when I came down for the weekend, but I am so glad I did.
When I arrived at the New Ulm cemetery I was instantly surprised by how BIG the cemetery is! It looked like it never ended, which is surprising for a smaller town in Minnesota.
There are actually two cemeteries right by each other, the New Ulm City Cemetery (the older one where I spent all my time) and a Catholic cemetery that I did not visit. There is also a section for veterans separate from the main cemetery.
There has to be nearly 5,000 people buried here, some in unmarked graves and others with just a stump left to signify their resting place. There are ornate gravestones from the mid-1800s, and recent gravestones from today.
Some of the best parts of the New Ulm Cemetery are the notable people buried here, like the founders of New Ulm and a famous brewery family. The cemetery also houses a memorial about the Dakota War.
The New Ulm cemetery is also full of tree stones. Each in the shape of a tree depicting different symbols of the family. This one is for the Hermann family.
As for hauntings, there are plenty. From a child-ghost wanting to play games on Halloween night to those who perished in war still battling.
You can feel the presence of many souls here. But what I liked most about the New Ulm cemetery was how welcoming it felt. It wasn’t ominous or hyper-religious. You can tell a lot of care goes into this place!
People Buried at the New Ulm Cemetery
Little did I know there are a ton of stories and famous people buried at the New Ulm cemetery. I started my walkthrough completely oblivious to this fact, and just mesmerized by the beauty of the fall colors and ornate gravestones
Then in one quick instant I saw the first famous person…August Shell.
Schell Gravestone at New Ulm Cemetery
Sound familiar? If you are from the midwest the Schell name should ring a bell! The Schell family immigrated from Germany to Minnesota and started the Schell brewery. The whole reason I went to New Ulm was for the Schell brewery Oktoberfest, so their heritage is alive and well.
August Schell, gravestone follows this paragraph, immigrated to New Orleans and took a steamship up the Mississippi to Cincinnati where he met his wife, Theresa Hermann. August Schell worked in mechanics for several years before traveling further north to New Ulm, Minnesota.
Schell’s brewery was technically establised in 1860, when August Schell teamed up with Jacob Bernhardt, a former brewmaster at the Benzberg Brewery (later known as the Minnesota Brewing Company) along the river. August bought Jacob’s shares later (according the the Schell Brewery timeline). They founded a brewery along the river. The Dakota Conlifct wiped out most of New Ulm, but the brewery was left untouched.
In the later 1800s the brewery continues to flourish. August Schell had health issues and ended up retiring to his home near the brewery that still stands today.
Otto Schell, took over brewery operations. Under Otto, the brewery expanded beyond all their wildest dreams.
Today both August and Otto are buried at the New Ulm cemetery next to each other. If you every get to visit them, bring a beer and cheers to their business sense that still thrives.
My guess is that if you visit during Oktoberfest you might just see them wandering from the graveyard to the brewery for a little libation.
Frederick Beinhorn the Founder of New Ulm
If you didn’t know, New Ulm was founded by a group of settlers from Germany. One of them was Frederick Beinhorn, the other was Wilhelm Pfaender.
Of course, Frederick Beinhorn and Wilhelm Pfaender weren’t the first people to “find” this beautiful area surrounded by twisting waters. In fact the arrival of the two settlers and their German groups to establish New Ulm gave rise to the Dakota war of 1862.
Frederick did accomplish quite a bit for the mid-1800s. He came from Germany and went to Chicago. From there he took a group of Germans up to New Ulm and settled along the beautiful river.
Today he rests next to his wife.
The Dakota War Memorial Stone
In 1862 a turmoilous war broke out between the Dakota and the settlers. Nearly the entire town, established less than 10 years before, was destroyed.
Thousands of people lost their lives – both native and settlers. The city erected a memorial stone to those who fought in the war which stands in the middle of the cemetery.
Scary Stories about the New Ulm Cemetery
Almost every cemetery has ghost stories. But the New Ulm cemetery has much more to offer.
Haunted New Ulm, Allie Peterson the child who haunts the cemetery
Have you heard about Allie? Well buckle in because this is a wild tale well known by the locals.
Allie is a little boy who passed away at only 8 years old. The circumstances of his death change based on who you ask.
Some say Allie drowned in the Minnesota River that twirls its way through New Ulm. Others say that he died after receiving a poor grade.
The most common belief among the locals, though, is that he had a heart condition and was a poorly boy who was very sick up until his death.
No matter who you ask though, it is clear that his parents were devastated. He was so very young! His gravestone reads:
“Our Darling Boy Allie Born June 26, 1875, Sept. 6, 1883, How sweet it will be in that beautiful land, to meet our Dear Allie again, with a song on his lips and a harp in his hand, our darling has gone to that beautiful land.”
The locals bring all sorts of gifts to Allie, especially on Halloween. Teenagers bet each other to walk up to Allie in the blanket darkness of Halloween night to touch his shoe.
When I visited there was a penny resting on top. It looks like someone successfully gave Allie a gift.
New Ulm Cemetery Walkthrough
I hope you enjoyed learning about the haunts and famous people buried at the expansive New Ulm cemetery. Check out my full walkthrough with facts on my YouTube Channel:
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