Huston Family Cemetery,
West Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa

The Middle of the Road Cemetery
by Lynnette Davis

Some of my ancestors are buried in the middle of a now busy intersection not far from Jordan Creek mall west of Des Moines in Dallas County. In researching my family history, I've found some interesting details about the relatives resting there.

My ancestor, James Brown Huston, and two of his brothers came to Iowa in 1849. He purchased 240 acres of land from the government along the stage route from Fort Des Moines to Council Bluffs. James built and managed a stagecoach line, inn, tavern and the first post office in Dallas county on his farm. He prospered and owned nearly 1000 acres.

James and wife, Nancy, had 12 children, the last two born in Iowa. This successful Iowa family was struck with tragedy time and time again. Six of the children were deaf-mute, some from childhood diseases. They also lost two sons in infancy, one in Iowa in 1851 at about six weeks of age. He was the first of many family burials in the cemetery. One of the daughters, Burnetta, died while attending the Iowa School for the Deaf and was brought back home to her final rest. Several of the deaf children met their future spouses at the school.

The cemetery also includes the graves, dated 1847, of two small daughters of a Harper family. They died while on their way to Kansas by covered wagon, and one story is that the father was on the way to Kansas to become a member of John Brown's raiders. James Brown Huston was said to be involved with the Underground Railroad.

When the area became more populated, and the lands were surveyed for roads, it was found that the Huston cemetery was squarely in the middle of a proposed intersection. A county supervisor ordered the cemetery removed, but James' sons resisted and proved that it had been properly recorded years before. So the roads were made to encircle the plot, and that's how it became known as "The Middle of the Road Cemetery".

Cemetery Pic

Photographed, submitted & © by David M. Habben

Cemetery Pic

Photographed, submitted & © by David M. Habben

If you know of someone buried in Huston Family Cemetery,
have a photograph and/or obituary of someone buried in Huston Family Cemetery,
please email me.


  Huston Burnetta Jan. 17?, 18?? Dec. 18?, 1863 ? of ? Huston
Aged 10y 11?m 11?d
See photo
  Huston Elizabeth   Feb. 13, 1880 Dau. of C?. R?. & J?. Huston
Aged 4? 3d ???
See photo
  Huston James B. May 26, 1811 Jan. 29, 1889 Husband of Nancy Huston
See photo
  Huston Josiah S.   Jan.? 16?, 1862 Son of ? & ? Huston
Aged ???
See photo
  Huston Nancy   May 20, 1867 Wife Of James b. Huston
Aged 56y 5m 22d
See photo
  Newby Infant   Dec. 1872 Infant Dau. Of William & M. J. Newby
See photo

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This pAge was updated: Monday, 09-Jun-2014 18:53:26 CDT

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