Finding Minnesota: Winona’s Cemetery Walk

77654_Mike Binkley WEB

Reporting Mike Binkley

WINONA, Minn. (WCCO) – When the earliest settlers arrived in what is now Winona, it was not only the beauty of the surrounding bluffs that drew them in. It was the potential they saw along the Mississippi River.

Many of the founders’ bodies may be buried along a bluff nearby, but the stories of what they started are still being kept alive.

For a few days this week, visitors to Woodlawn Cemetery will get to hear those stories from costumed actors at the various grave sites.

Retired steamboat captain Richard Karnath will be portraying his own father, Walt Karnath, who spent 55 years as a steamboat captain himself.

“The river’s in your blood and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Karnath said. “Without the steamboats, Winona wouldn’t be here.”

At another corner of the cemetery is the headstone of biology teacher Cal Fremling, who died in 2010. He was a river expert who made sure his students understood what they had.

A family friend, Steve Bachler, has volunteered to tell Fremling’s story.

“I used to take them out on pontoons and boats and go in the back waters, and we’d just spend all of our days just studying the river,” Bachler said, portraying Fremling

This is the 14th year for the annual Cemetery Walk, a fundraiser for the Winona County Historical Society.

According to event chair Kathy Turner, it’s scheduled to coincide with Woodlawn’s prettiest season.

“This place, when the leaves change, it’s absolutely glorious,” Turner said.

Sixth graders in every Winona school make it their annual fall field trip.

“The first year, the kids would come and say, ‘Is this going to be scary?’” Turner said. “And of course we said, ‘No, it’s going to be fun and it’s going to be educational.’”

Sometimes they’ll meet the city’s heroes. Other times, it’ll be the scoundrels. Ray Beyers was a hero who will be played by Pastor Sonny Misar.

“We needed to save our city. We needed to make sure we didn’t flood,” Misar said, portraying Beyers.

In the spring of 1965, melting snow and heavy rains sent the Mississippi River over its banks and threatened to overtake Winona’s storm sewers as it blew open manhole covers.

Beyers was a milk man who had been in the Navy. He volunteered to dive into the raging river with an inflatable bag to block an inlet and protect the sewer system.

“Winona was the city that saved itself because of how we acted during the flood of 1965, and it was national news,” Misar said.

It’s a reminder that behind every date of birth and death you see etched in granite was a real person with a real story, stories that Winona honors each fall.

“We’re surrounded by some great nature and some great people in this fantastic historic cemetery,” he said.

Tours for the general public will be on October 12 and 13 starting at noon. Click here for information about tickets and times.

My Maternal 3rd. Great Grandfather, Abraham Linderman Resided in Winona, Minnesota

Sgt Abraham “Abraim” Linderman 
Orange County
Sep. 2, 1893
Winona County
Enlisted in Civil War as Pvt. and promoted to Sgt. when he re-enlisted for the Union. A Yankee soldier. [ABRAHAM] A. LINDERMAN WAS A UNION [YANKEE] SOLDIER, ON 14 AUGUST 1862, A SERGEANT IN COMPANY F, OF THE 117th. ILLINOIS INFANTRY , ENLISTED IN CAIRO, ALEXANDER COUNTY, ILLINOIS; DURING THE CIVIL WAR BETWEEN 1862-1865, BOX #000539, EXTRACT # 0053, RECORD #0000169.
He was born in New York. His parents moved from Germantown Twp, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania to Montgomery, Orange County, New York.
His ancestors settled in Germantown Twp., Pennsylvania in 1740. His ancestors helped found America. Our Linderman ancestors fought in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, American Civil War.
We are proud German descendants of the Linderman family, and the Hammell family were from England.
Abraham married Mary Hammell 26 November 1835 in Newfield, Orange County, New York.
They moved to Minnesota in 1856.
Their homestead was at 231 E. Mark St, Winona, Minnesota.
He and Mary had one child, Mary Linderman.
God bless my poor ancestors, they lost so much.
Abraham survived the Civil War, and lived until 1893 with his beloved wife Mary, in the Linderman Home place at 231 E. Mark St., Winona, Minnesota.
His wife, Maria A. (Mary) (Hammel) Linderman, preceded him in death, in 1884.
They are all buried together in the LINDERMAN Family Plot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Winona, Winona County, Minnesota
Family links:
  Mary (Hammell) Linderman (1815 – 1884)
  Mary Linderman (1859 – 1924)
Woodlawn Cemetery
Winona County
Minnesota, USA
Created by: TEXAS TUDORS
Record added: Aug 21, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21069099
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