It was in the early history of Marshalltown in 1863 that a movement was started by such public-spirited men as Rev. Louis DeLos, a Presbyterian minister, and Dr. George Glick to establish a cemetery. On April 2nd of that year, an organization was perfected and incorporated as the Marshall Cemetery Association.
On April 6, 1863 the Board, consisting of Rev. DeLos as President, Thomas Mercer as Secretary, Dr. Glick as Treasurer with G.M. Woodbury as W.M. Battin as members, purchased thirteen and 43/100 acres from Rueben Webster. This land was heavily wooded with considerable underbrush. With a small amount of monies and the help of the Ladies Aid Society B.B.C. Society,spirited men as Rev. Louis DeLos, a Presbyterian minister, and Dr. George Glick to establish a cemetery. On April 2nd of that year, an organization was perfected an incorporated as the Marshall Cemetery Association. Auxiliary to the Aid, the land was cleared and a cemetery for pioneer Marshalltown had its birth.
On June 15, 1883 the Marshall Cemetery Association was reincorporated, fifteen Articles of Reincorporation, defining the powers and duties of the Trustees and its Officers and Rules and Regulations were drafted in conformity with the laws of the State of Iowa and adopted a new constitution.
Under the Articles of Incorporation, April 3, 1863 and the Reincorporation on June 15, 1883 the Association became officially known as Marshall Cemetery Association and strictly organized as a mutual, non-profit, Lot Owners Association, to be represented and governed by a board of Trustees, elected from the membership and to serve without compensation for a term of five years.
In 1894 Mr. S.W. Rubee was hired as the first superintendent. It was in this time that Riverside developed along with, at that time extreme modern landscape ideas. It was through Mr. Rubee’s knowledge of Land Engineering that Riverside was developed to conform to it’s natural beauty and the beauty of these natural features is what attained Riverside its national publicity.
The main gates were a gift of the Ladies Aid. For many years Riverside was known as the most beautiful cemetery in the United States.
The first part of the cemetery was in the west, the next portion purchased was swampy in places. This area is now Lake Woodmere. The cemetery purchased more land until it came to North 3rd Avenue. The St. Mary’s Cemetery Association had purchased land east of what is now Lake Woodmere and established a church cemetery, which is now maintained by the Marshall Cemetery Association as a Catholic Cemetery.
As of the present, the Congregation of the Sons of Israel now has their burial grounds within the perimeter of Riverside. Also, the Volunteer Firemen of Marshall County, the Elks Lodge and the Masonic Lodge have separate burial grounds for their members. The Garden of Honor has been dedicated to all those who have served their country so faithfully in the United States Armed Forces.