Pellsville Cemetery Prairie

County: Vermilion
Ownership: Butler Township
Size: about 2 Acres
Steward: Paul Tessene

Pellsville Cemetery Prairie, located west of Rankin in Vermilion County, is one of only 29 pioneer cemeteries known in Illinois that appear much the way they did before European settlement during the early 1800?s. The prairie found at Pellsville Cemetery is recognized by the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory as one of the highest-quality prairie remnants in Illinois. The Illinois Natural Areas Inventory is a statewide inventory of the high-quality natural areas in Illinois maintained by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. In the entire state of Illinois, we know of about 640 acres, or one square mile, of high-quality prairie on rich loamy agricultural soils. The state of Illinois is about 56,000 square miles and only about 1 mile worth of black soil prairie survives in widely scattered, small remnants. In many parts of Illinois, pioneer cemeteries and railroad right-of-way are the only remaining examples of the once vast prairie. The cemetery is both a historic site and a natural area. Conserving this pioneer cemetery in its native attire is a fitting memorial to those buried within it. Anyone visiting the prairie or conducting scientific research should call Butler Township at (217) 397-2560 (leave a message) a week in advance of a visit. Please respect the headstones and prairie vegetation.

How to get there: From Champaign-Urbana take US 45 north through Rantoul and Paxton. In Paxton, turn right on Highway 9 and go east approximately 9 mi and turn left on N150E Rd. Take this until the sharp right turn. The prairie is on the right, and you can park along the road.

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