In 1891, tragedy struck the Wilson family. Sylvester’s son John had traveled to Eagle Rock, Idaho (now Osgood) to meet his sister Rebecca, who had been married and living in Utah. When unexpected circumstances prevented her from making the trip, John decided to continue on to Sugar City, Idaho to visit with his cousins and Uncle Nick. When he arrived, he found the family laid low from diphtheria. Six of Nick’s children would be lost to the illness. Upon John’s return home to Jackson Hole, he burned his clothing and took a bath outside of the house before entering. But despite his careful measures, two of his younger siblings would fall ill. Sarah Ellen (12) and Joseph (10), the two youngest, died within two weeks of each other in June. The small South Park community was distraught over the loss of the two Wilson children. The community had just celebrated their first year, and now they needed to create a cemetery. Sylvester himself picked the location at the top of a bench that overlooked the Tetons and the small valley of South Park. The land was dry and sandy, which was preferred for digging graves. He buried his two children there, and what is today the South Park Cemetery grew up around them. Eventually, both Sylvester, Mary, and several of their grown children were also buried here. The South Park Cemetery would be the first formal cemetery in Jackson Hole.
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