Tyner Cemetery

Tyner Cemetery

Tyner Cemetery is all that remains of a rural settlement in Pembina County once known as Tyner.  Cemeteries are not something we usually feature as an entity all their own, primarily because there are plenty of websites out there which focus on cemeteries and family history already.  However, Terry visited Tyner Cemetery to photograph the headstones for some of his wife’s family — the McCurdy’s — and was moved by the solitude of the site.

The cemetery is in the middle of a farmer’s field and no longer even has a road leading to it.  The only access is on foot, there is no fence, and as you can see from the photos, the entire site is quite overgrown.  The site tells a tale that was written a very long time ago.

Tyner Cemetery


Samuel McCurdy, born Aug. 19, 1866, died Nov. 3rd, 1899, aged 33 years.

Mary McEwen, died Apr. 14, 1894, age 20 Y’s, 2 M’s, 14 D’s
Maggie McEwen, died Oct. 19, 1894, age 16 Y’s, 2 M’s, 20 D’s

A.C. McCurdy, Oct. 5th, 1888 to May 17th, 1975
Alice, wife of A.C. McCurdy, July 27th, 1884 to Sept. 14th, 1938

Eliza Jane, wife of Samuel Hillis, born in Ireland, Aug. 17, 1840, died Mar. 31, 1914

Frederick W. Mountain, died Feb. 7, 1899, aged 6 mos. 14 days.

Roy Tuson, died Mar. 26, 1892, aged 7 mos.

Roy Tuson, died Mar. 26, 1892, aged 7 mos.

Tyner Cemetery

Order Books


Alvin, son of John J. and Catherine Hughes. died Oct. 28, 1891, aged 14 years, 4 ms. 7 days.

Baby Symington, born Sept. 28, 1899, died October 15, 1900

Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright 2012 Sonic Tremor Media LLC

30 Responses to “Tyner Cemetery”
  1. alison raheem says:

    How sad that no one keeps it up. Where about is it located. I will be visiting N.D. in November and weather permitting I’d like to check it out.

  2. Thank you for documenting this cemetery, you guys. It’s so important that they are not forgotten. BLESS YOU!

  3. Matt Rothchild says:

    I’m related to some McCurdy’s, so I find this all the more fascinating. But these aren’t the same McCurdys…mine never lined in ND. Perhaps distantly related…

  4. Jane says:

    You would think a church in the area could “adopt”” this cemetery and maintain it. I’ve read that this is how many of our nation’s smallest and most rural cemeteries are kept up these days. So sad that those buried here have just been “put out to pasture” so to speak.

  5. Anne says:

    Beautiful, poignant, photographs. Thank you for posting.

  6. R.J. Christianson says:

    Thank you for adding captions to the photos. It makes viewing the photos that more meaningful. Every life has a beginning and an end. Looking at the photos I wonder about the middle.

  7. Donna says:

    I thought it was the duty of the county to keep cemeteries maintained. Maybe someone from the area will see your pictures and take on the job.

  8. Randy Svenson says:

    I grew up in Pembina County. This is the first that I have heard of the Tyner Cemetary. These little township cemetaries are not uncommon in Pembina County.

    • ron says:

      some of them elderly,so many of them young,flu epidemics etc took their toll back then

      • Ralph Kingsbury says:

        Those are Neche names on the headstones. Neche is on the Canadian border 20 miles east of MN. My mother was born and raised in Neche (nee Glenn). I know many people of this generation with the last names on the gravestones. Imagine what we have because those people left their homes, often alone. One of my great grandmothers was 13 when she came to Dakota Territory with her aunt. Died in her early 30s of “a cold” after giving birth to 5 children, one who died in infancy. My grandmother was the oldest and had just started high school and had to quit and come home to take care of her younger sisters and baby brother. Just think what we have because they did that.

  9. H. says:

    It looks similar to the grave yard I grew up near and my family has helped care for for years. The stones are of a similar style. It too stands alone in a field but is surrounded by a fence and gate.

  10. Bill Marvin says:

    Powerful….in a quiet way…..Well Done…

  11. Bill Marvin says:


  12. Nila Pudwill says:

    I hope someone nearby sees these photos & takes on the maintenance
    Of this special place. What a sacred little cemetary! Such sadness they endured.
    I love the fact that you have pictures of this sweet place. Wish you would
    document more, being it goes so well with everything you’re doing.
    It helps tie families to more info, if they are looking for it? love every story! :)

  13. Kristi Jo says:

    Thank you for posting these photos. Reminds me of the cometary in Kintyre where many of my family members are buried. My Aunt and cousins took care of the upkeep for many years. Although not as many old graves there, there were the sad ones for babies and mysterious unmarked headstones. Wonder what was happening in the 1890’s that led to the deaths of so many young people.

  14. Gene Masse says:

    I”d like to see someone around there turn in a complaint to the county. State law requires that if a cemetery is not maintained by a private group the responsibility it on the county.

    23-06-30. Abandoned cemeteries to be maintained by counties.
    The board of county commissioners of each county may provide for the identification,
    cataloging, recording, and shall provide for the general maintenance and upkeep of each abandoned cemetery located within such county. The board shall, at least once each year, proceed to have the weeds and grass cut, restore gravestones to their original placement, and perform any other general maintenance necessary to maintain the dignity and appearance of the grounds. For the purposes of this section, a cemetery means any tract of land used as a burial plot and which is filed with the recorder of the county as a public burying place. The board of county commissioners of each county shall provide for the registration, with the state department of health, of each abandoned cemetery within such county unless such cemetery has been previously registered. Such registration must take place within one year of notification being made to the board, by any interested party of the existence of such abandoned cemetery.
    Expenditures may not exceed levy limitations as provided in section 57

  15. Jean simon says:

    The Tyner cemetery is documented on the free site Find-A-grave. Any additions would be welcome.
    Check it out.

  16. John Xavier says:

    For this cemetery, I am wondering if there are enough church helpers available. It seems like a shame that a wealthy Red River Valley County would have to resort to county government for this cemetery.

    I notice, also, that Ralph Kingsbury has posted. The Kingsbury family I knew was from Grafton, and the connection was through Park River Bible Camp. (This is “Jocko” writing).

    Thanks to Ralph for his thoughtful post on this.


    • Mr. Xavier, thank you for your kind comments. I believe it was either my dad and step mother, or my brother and sister-in-law whom you knew.
      In any case, to those who have provided comments, especially comments in error, including the web authors, I believe some corrections are in order.
      First, Tyner cemetery is located straight north of Cavalier, and straight west of Bathgate about four miles west of ND 18 as it runs north to Neche and the border with Canada. The interesting thing is that it is in the middle of a section. There is no road to the cemetery. Look it up on Google Earth.
      As I mentioned in my first comments, all those names are “Neche” names. I would guess this the area those families settled in when they came to the area, most from Canada, mostly Ontario and Quebec.
      As for being abandoned, I don’t think it is. If you look at the floral and fauna in Google Earth you see it is not overgrown. Tall, yes, but not overgrown. Then if you read the ND law on “abandoned” cemeteries it reads that they only must be mowed once a year. Again looking at Google Earth you can see tracks in the cemetery where maintenance was done. I believe Pembina county has done a good job of maintaining these cemeteries.
      For those who think a local church should do the job, the reality of all the rural counties in ND is that the only churches left are in the two or three (at most) largest towns in the county, and most of them struggle to pay their church bills. The state is doing it the only way feasible, that is, the responsibility is the counties and they raise the money mostly by property taxes. Property is the only source of wealth, especially in a township. There are many, in fact most townships without any towns to collect local sales or income taxes, and there are many townships without any farmsteads in them. However, all the land is farmed, or at least in some format the land receives income of some type. If not the land taxes are not paid and then title passes to the county. The rest of the county land then makes up the difference.
      Abandoned cemeteries were a real issue, and I am sure there are some counties who haven’t done the job the law requires. To the best of my knowledge that is not the case with Pembina county. If you know your ND history you know that Pembina county is where European history began in ND. Pembina knows it and are proud of their heritage. So does the state. Take the time to visit the state museum in the village of Pembina located right in the NE corner of ND.
      Even though there are occasional mistakes in your website you are doing a great job of adding to the history of our state. Thank you.

      • Daley says:

        You know what irks me, Ralph? When I find a website I love and some know-it-all comes along being disrespectful to the people that run it, and that’;s you, right now.

        Did you read this piece before you wrote your comments? Where id the web authors make comments in error? They said there’s not a road. You said there’s not a road. They said it’s in Pembina County, and it is in Pembina County. You may have a different opinion on what words like abandoned or overgrown mean, but that’s a matter of opinion, not “an error” as you claim.

        I’ve seen way too many people being disrespectful to the operators of this website lately, and I’m speaking up on their behalf. Apologize, and correct your accusation.

        • Nara says:

          Thank you for saying something. If I had a website like this for my state, I don’t think I’d be as eager to tear down the thing I love. I’ve seen alot of it too, here and on their Facebook page, and it’s ugly. I think there are some North Dakota people who need to be reminded you can comment on something without being negative or critical because you have a different opinion. I also think Ralph should apologize.

          • For what? I concluded my comments and correction with a statement complimenting the writers of the blog, and the value of the site.
            I did say it was wrong to call it abandoned because it is not abandoned and I know my Pembina county neighbors do more for ND history than any other group in the state with the exception of the state historical society and their millions of state appropriated dollars, which by the way they do a great job with.
            I make no apology for defending my neighbors and the great job they have done in preserving our history, and I make no apology for stating facts and doing so in a polite manner-which it was.
            I didn’t criticize the bloggers about the road. All I said is that this is the first cemetery I have seen that is in the middle of a section. There must be a unique and interesting history associated with this cemetery. I wrote the location because some commenters had asked where it was, more specifically than Pembina county. So, to be helpful I told them.
            I have made several comments on this site over the years and in no case have I been critical. It has been sites that I knew something about and I added to what was written and sometimes the facts were different than what was written.
            So, again. It is a great site. I look forward to postings, but if I see an error, especially when it means people I know and respect are treated unfairly I will comment and correct.
            Take Pembina county to court. You will lose. By the definition of state law this cemetery is not “abandoned”. Looking at Google Earth it is obvious this cemetery is not abandoned.
            The End.

        • Nara says:

          He’s shown he’s too arrogant to apologize, Daley. He accused Troy and Terry of having incorrect facts in this post and then couldn’t point out a single one. All he has is a different opinion on what “abandoned” means.

          • Jim Weiland says:

            I like how Mr. Kingsbury is using what he sees on Google Earth to counter the description of a guy who visited the site, looked at it with real eyes, and photographed it. :-)

  17. Amie says:

    I know I’m in the minority here, but there is something beautiful about the abandoned and natural state of this cematary. Just a little reminder of how fleeting it all is, and how someday we will all return to the land.

  18. Mike Campbell says:

    There is an old cemetery here at the edge of the town I live in that was abandoned and so overgrown that no one knew it was there. A development of houses with large lots and even a golf course went up next to land covered with heavy vegetation like vines, bushes and some large trees that covered the old headstones dating to pioneer times. But none were visible, and no records of who even owned the property. Once it was discovered, some volunteers cleaned it all up and reclaimed the old resting place of many folks that one lived in the area.

  19. Shirley says:

    I know this cemetery well. I used to live by it. I see that even the evergreen trees that marked it are gone too. It has never been kept up as far as I know. In the 1970s the brother told animals had gotten into the graves and there were bones laying around so I got scared and never went there. I always thought it was sad that it wasn’t kept up.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] someone else steps up  to care for the cemetery, lest it become another forgotten pioneer cemetery like this.  If you know more about this church and the associated cemetery, please post your comment […]

  2. […] also: Tyner Cemetery See also: A Quick Stop in […]

Leave A Comment