My 2nd great grandfather, Nelson Harris, his wife Louisa Cleveland, and their family came to Cato, WI in 1856. He opened a saw mill and built a beautiful home. In the early 1860’s, Nelson and Louisa donated some of their land for the building of a Presbyterian Church and a cemetery. It is the final resting place of many of Cato’s early settlers.
The first person to die in Cato was supposedly Nelson’s father, John Earl Harris – “The death of Harris, an old gentleman, was supposedly the first death”. John Earl was born in Greenfield, Saratoga Co., NY on June 15, 1798. He died on January 6, 1855.
John Earl Harris and his wife, Nancy Ormsbee are both buried in Cato Heights Cemetery. She was born in Barrington, Bristol Co., RI on April 6, 1796 and died on May 28, 1881 in Greenleaf, Brown Co., WI.
The church building is no longer there. The cemetery, however, is well maintained. It is surrounded by the beautiful farmland that once belonged to my Harris family.