"Silverbrook On The Web" includes articles and links to webpages across the web that reference Silverbrook Cemetery or those interred here.

Time to Retire Old Flags

With spring upon us and summer coming right next, you might be coming out to Silverbrook Cemetery to prepare and clean up your family's graves. Or you just might be taking a lovely walk through our historic property. As you do, keep an eye out for our United States Flags that might be remaining from last year. Although these flags could be still in their upright position, they may be looking tired, torn and worn. Or some may be lying in the dirt, having gotten caught up in the winds from the storms this spring.

The Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery, along with the Rebecca Dewey Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, is asking that you gather your old flags so they can be properly disposed. If you see worn out flags in the Cemetery that are not on your family's grave site, please inform the cemetery office so that one of the city employees can gather them during their regualar maintenance.

You can deposit your old flags in the receiving tub at Niles City Hall at 333 N. 2nd Street and allow the Rebecca Dewey Chapter to properly retire your flags. The Chapter can be contacted at www.dewey.michdar.net.


For more, click here to see a full interview with Kat Alton on WSBT-TV.

Thank You American Legion for Medal of Honor Flags

The Friends of Silverbrook would like to thank the LaRue Messenger American Legion Post 26 for their donation of two Medal of Honor flags, which will fly over Silverbrook's Medal of Honor winner, Corporal Joseph Nolan, who earned the high honor serving in the Philippines.  

Corporal Nolan's grave can be seen from the corner of South Eleventh Street and Cherry Street.  

The Friends purchased the flag pole, and appreciate the Legion's help in supplying the light blue flags which signify a Medal of Honor winner.

There is a photo of Corporal Nolan's Veteran marker on our website, however, no obituary was found in the Niles or South Bend papers at the time of his death. 

Corporal Joseph Nolan


Friends of Silverbrook Cemetery


2013 Annual Report


It is with great pride and your support that the Friends of Silverbrook with the City of Niles continue to make improvements to honor the Family and Friends who are buried within our Historic Cemetery.

Bob Cooley, Berrien County Genealogical Society, and the Friends worked on headstone restorations in the older sections of the cemetery on weekdays during the summer. Two scheduled works sessions were held with four volunteers.


Martin’s Super Market and Pepsico provided us with a $300.00 grant to honor veterans buried in Silverbrook Cemetery and we purchased fifty veteran flag holders. The Friends purchase two sets of Service Flags, two POW flags, and two Medal of Honor flags annually.

A donation of a truck load of brown premium mulch from Dan Kaiser of Kaiser Landscaping in Stevensville was delivered to Silverbrook Cemetery before Memorial Day. The mulch was used to landscape the Veteran’s Memorial, Silverbrook Abbey, office building, signage, and the tree landscape projects maintained by the Friends.


The Friendsofsilverbrook.org website is maintained by web designer Bob Nightingale and Editors, Mary Ellen Drolet, Debby Barkman and Vicki Caison. In 2013, 9,725 unique visitors visited the Friends website. The Obituary Search now has 5,059 listings with 733 new obits added in 2013. Of our 20,793 grave search listings online, 12,332 are linked to photographs and, 5,377 are link to obituaries. Our 50 public photo albums on PicasaWeb now have 11,861 searchable prints.

Edging around the flat markers was completed in several sections in the Garden of Memory this fall. We held 3 work sessions to inventory and photograph headstones to be edited and added to the website search listings.

Carol Bainbridge, Director of Fort St. Joseph Museum, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the history of the Chapin Family House, formerly City Hall, which is now being converted to a house museum. Friend’s members, Mike and Sue Armstrong portrayed Henry and Ruby Chapin, to greeting visitors at the front door of the Chapin House at several museum events.


The Friends purchased six gallons of high gloss black paint to apply the second coat of paint on the old chain link fencing behind Thomas Stadium, along Silverbrook Avenue, around to the corner of East Main Street. Two work sessions were scheduled with Cemetery Superintendent, Neal Mikel and Morgan Frend to complete this project.

Medal of Honor Winner, Corporal Joseph Nolan’s flagpole was damaged during a wind storm in November. The downed flag pole was removed and the Friends purchased a 20 Ft Aluminum flag pole to be installed in the spring of 2014.

We have seen a decline of theft in the cemetery this year. A donation of four security cameras from concerned citizens and Friends members were mounted throughout the cemetery over the summer. The City of Niles purchased six surveillance signs to be mounted at various locations when weather permits.


The Annual Membership Drive is held in April of each year. The membership roster currently has 169 members.

Your Membership donations funded Projects in 2013: *Purchase of two sets of Service Flags, two POW flags, and two Medal of Honor flags. *Replacement purchase of 20 FT Aluminum Flagpole for Medal of Honor Winner Corporal Nolan. *Purchase of cemetery cleaning and restoration supplies. *Purchase of 6 gallons of high gloss paint and supplies. *Purchase of 48 inch Ultra Flect driveway marker rods for road identification in snow. *Printing of membership letters, thank you note cards, cemetery maps and postage. *Annual Fee for website and P.O. Box.


Thank you for your generous donations and continued support in this endeavor.




Candace Skalla, President



Photo Albums Moving to Picasa Web!

The "Photo Gallery" button along the top is now replaced with "Photos".  As photo albums are moved from our locally hosted Gallery2 software to Google's Picasa Web service, the Photos web page will be updated with new links.  Until the move is complete, the existing photo gallery will still be available as a link off of the new Photos page.  The links in the grave search will be redirected shortly after each photo album is moved.

Hopefully this move will allow us to manage even more than our current 10,000 photos already in our collection.

Let us know what you think!

Bob Nightingale, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.