St Michael Cemetery, Wheaton
About St Michael Cemetery, Wheaton
The first Catholics in the area now known as Wheaton were of Irish nationality. Around 1846, these Irish settlers sold out to German Catholic farmers. To attend Mass, these Catholics traveled nine miles to the nearest church in Naperville. Families found it increasingly difficult to walk or ride this great distance for weekly Mass. In 1851, residents of the now-defunct town of Gretna, which was located north of Wheaton near what is now St. Charles Road, gathered to receive a donation of land from Paul Warner for the construction of a Catholic church and cemetery. This newly established Catholic mission in 1852 was known as St. Stephen, and some of its members would years later start St. Michael Parish. Shortly thereafter, the Village of Wheaton was started by two brothers, Warren and Jesse Wheaton.
The new Galena and Chicago Union Railroad brought the center of a growing population to the area now known as Wheaton. In 1879, a group of families planned the construction of a Wheaton Catholic Church. When the basement of the first Wheaton Catholic church was completed, there was no further construction for nearly two years, while additional funding was sought.