At the summit of Mount Franklin in the Hanson Hills Recreation Area of Grayling, Michigan, is a fenced military cemetery that occupies only 2,100 square feet and contains the graves of two servicemen. It’s quite a unique sight to climb a tubing hill or walk the disc golf course in summer and then discover this solemn military cemetery just off to the side.
The gravestones mark the resting place of Private First Class John A. Conroy and Private George A Laine. Both were part of Michigan’s 125th Infantry Regiment in the early 20th century, stationed at nearby Camp Grayling. Private Conroy died of pneumonia in 1927, while Private Laine drowned in Frog Lake in 1939, just two months before Germany’s invasion of Poland.
The cemetery was largely unnoticed for two decades following Private Laine’s burial, until Captain Garland “Bud” Joyce began taking care of the plot in the late 1950s while at Camp Grayling on a training mission. Staff from Camp Grayling continue to care for the cemetery to this day. Over the years, the Hanson Hills Recreation Area has grown up around the cemetery, which aside from being one of the smallest military cemeteries in the U.S., has an impressive view of the surrounding area from its location atop Mount Franklin.
Know Before You Go
When facing the tubing hill (which is to the right of the lodge), an American flag should be visible at the top of the hill to the right of the tubing course. That is where the small military cemetery is located. Please be respectful of this location.