North Branch Cemetery is located in the North Branch Precinct of Otoe County near the north branch of the Little Nemaha River to the south side of First Evangelical Lutheran Church Avoca Nebraska (ELCA).

Our cemetery is a “private cemetery” you or a family member must have been a baptized or confirmed member to be buried here with accordance to Cemetery by-laws. Our searchable cemetery directory is designed to make it easier to locate the final resting place of a loved one or to identify available plots.

Immigrants from Hanover and Schleswig-Holstein Germany came to American in the 1860-1880’s for many reasons including political unrest; young men avoiding the draft in Germany; eldest sons inheriting the family farm while other sons were unable to purchase land; and the dream of finding their fortune in “the new land.” Many of these immigrants first settled in Wisconsin but did not have strong community ties. After 5-10 years there began a “chain migration” to Otoe and Cass County Nebraska just across the Missouri River which offered strong economic attractions. Several of these families formed the nucleus of a new German community and formerly organized First Lutheran Church and North Branch Cemetery. Each charter member of the church was given a lot in the cemetery and asked to pay $1.00 per lot per year for upkeep of the cemetery.

August Reinhard was the first grave digger for the cemetery and would find remains of others who had been buried from the “Oregon Trail” from Nebraska City to Ashland Nebraska. He would simply take the remains and put them on one corner of the grave and after everyone had left the burial he would scratch the bones back into the grave. He remarked “What difference does it make – for dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.”

If you have a loved one buried here and would like to make a tax deductible donation for the upkeep of the cemetery we would be very grateful as we receive no state funding.

Please make donations to: North Branch Cemetery c/o First Lutheran Church 1434 N 30th Road  Avoca NE  68307