Beltrami History: Jane Sleight


Beltrami Park was once known as Maple Hill Cemetery from 1857 until 1890 when it transitioned to Maple Hill Park until 1948, and eventually Beltrami Park. The initial dedication of the burial ground known as Maple Hill Cemetery in February, 1857 provided early settlers a resting place for the deceased. In 1890 many bodies were moved to Lakewood and Hillside cemeteries, but some remained. One of three headstones that remain is that of Jane Sleight, located at the Northwest corner of Beltrami Park. Through a recent search at the MN History Center information was found indicting that Jane was born in 1832 in Lincolnshire, England and immigrated to Minnesota with her parents, John and Mary Sleight, and several siblings. Jane would eventually marry Cornelius Woodley, born April 22, 1822, who moved to St. Anthony, Minnesota from Pennsylvania. The 1857 MN State Census of St. Anthony indicates that Cornelius lived in a boarding house adjacent to a boarding house in which his to-be wife Jane lived. Cornelius married Jane in Hennepin County in about 1858. The 1860 census indicates Cornelius working as a blacksmith and plough maker and married to Jane. They would eventually have a child who died at six months of age, and Jane herself died shortly after on September 18th, 1863 at age 30 due to complications from this childbirth. Cornelius would eventually move to Nebraska where he became involved with local politics and there is no record that he married again or had any other children.

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