The Bland Cemetery sits in the woods along County Line Rd./ Oviatt Rd. southeast of Empire in the Leelanau Peninsula. It is named the Bland Cemetery because many of the people buried in it have the last name of Bland. It is also shown on some maps as the Jacktown Cemetery and is what remains of the old railroad town. It was built along the tracks of the Empire and Southeastern Railroad.
It is rumored the town died off after the well went dry but it is more likely it disappeared after the railroad went out of business and the tracks were removed in the 1920s. In Larry Wakefield’s book Ghost Towns of Michigan. He tells the story of an elderly man looking for the long forgotten town in the woods. He found out that Oliver Bland who lived in the town had lost his wife and baby during childbirth and was institutionalized in the state mental hospital in Traverse City.
I visit a lot of old cemeteries and this is the first time I saw a small metal grave marker for an infant. It is sad to see a marker for a baby that only lived for a month. If you are into old cemeteries and out for an adventure be sure to check out the Bland Cemetery and who knows maybe you will see the spirit of Oliver Bland.
PS. If you like reading about Michigan ghost towns, be sure to check out Larry Wakefield’s books. They were published several years ago and many locations have changed since they were published but they are a fascinating read. You can see them on Amazon HERE but you could probably find them in a used book store.
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