Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Old Milan Cemetery

For a few years I've driven by this cemetery, the Old Milan Cemetery (think the movie "Hoosiers"), but have been unable to stop, mostly because there is no place to park a car. The cemetery is divided into three sections. The section this stone is in, jump over a small creek and your in a newer section, while across the road on a little hill is another section, which I never noticed until I went by on my bicycle.
This past weekend I was camping near there and decided to ride my bicycle the 12 miles to the cemetery. At least then I would have a place to park as I could just carry the bicycle into the cemetery.
The stone pictured has always interested me as I drove by because of the carvings, at last I got a chance to get up close to it and look at it carefully.
It is the stone of two sisters, Almyra (20) and Minerva (22) who died within 4 hours of each other. What the cause was I don't know, perhaps typhoid, cholera or any number of causes.
What attracted me to the stone to start with is the carvings. Look at the lady on the left, her right arm (holding a cup/bowl), if you look close, the lower arm is not connected with the rest of the carving. It is one of the best carvings I have ever seen in this area. It looks like it was done recently and not 172 years ago.
Not only is the carving good but the lettering is readable all the way to the bottom where the carver signed his name (he was from Lawrenceburg IN). As I sat there looking at the stone I wondered how long it would have taken him to carve this piece of artwork, who decided what was to be on the stone (picture) and how much it cost.
There's also a lot of symbolism within the caring. I have to assume the lady on the right is the mother of the two girls. We have the urn, the tomb, and either two cherubs or the girls themselves ascending into heaven.
The grave just to the left of this one is another family member, while his stone is not as elaborate it is also well preserved.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let me introduce you to what may be Rush County's' most famous grave (the other being Wendell Willkie)

Lova Cline was born in 1902, the only child of George and Mary. She was born an invalid, unable to even sit up by herself. Her father, who was a bridge builder, built this dollhouse for her. One of the things that strike some people odd is that there is no door, only windows.

This was because Lova could only look at it from either her chair or her bed.The furniture that was inside the house was also built by her father. When Lova died in 1908 she was buried in a cemetery on the west side of town and the dollhouse placed near her grave.

When her mother died in 1945 she was buried in East Hill Cemetery. Lovas father wanted to ear down the dollhouse but was talked out of doing so. The townspeople got together and moved Lova and her dollhouse to where her mother was buried and placed her next to her mother.

The next year her father died and was buried next to Lova , she is buried between her parents. A family friend was charged with taking care of the dollhouse (which weighs 400 pounds and stands 5 feet tall). Once a year she would clean it out and fix it up, this has since been passed on to her daughter.

As so often happens, in 1973 thieves broke into the dollhouse and stole all the original furniture and dolls. These were replace, but in 1979 the same thing happened again.

The siding, roof and toys you see are not the originals. The toys of course were replaced and after the last break in, the house was removed and aluminum siding and a metal roof was put on it.

The cemetery is the East Hill Cemetery on US 52 just east of Arlington, IN. It sits in the middle section towards the back, you can't miss it. If your ever in the area, stop by and say Hi to Lova.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

There are times I envy those people, when searching for their kinfolk tell me, "Found most of the older ones all in the same cemetery" I wish. For 3 years I searched for one of my GGG Grandmothers grave. I knew the county (Franklin, IN), I knew the road (Blue Creek) I just couldn't find it. After a long search I found it at last. Look at the tree line to the right going down the hill.

This is a closer view of the end of the treeline. Between the briers, poison ivy, snakes, ticks, chiggers and such, looks like fun times ahead. Once I made it through what you see and over a two foot wall, mission accomplished.

This is Sophrna Herndon Robeson. One of my GGG Grandmothers. 11 Aug 1813 - 9 Feb 1855.
Left behind a husband and 4 children, the youngest at 5 years. Her husband married the next year and had 4 more kids. She is buried on an obscure corner of the farm and the only grave at that location.
If you look at the 1st picture again and imagine a large hill to your left, the rest of the family is buried up there on what is now a dead end road.
I'm happy to say that somebody at the county level decided that all the small cemeteries needed to be marked and mowed. She now has a clean spot and a nice sign: ROBESON CEMETERY.
Of course sometimes they are so easy to find in a strange cemetery that it almost borders on the paranormal. I was looking for a GG Grandfather buried in Mexico, IN. The wife and I arrived at the cemetery (rather large) and not knowing where to start I decide to start at the back in the oldest part. I took the first road back, came to a "T" and asked the wife should I go left or right. She then asked me to tell her the name again. I said "Joseph Ellis". She said "Look straight in front of you" There he was along with his wife, his daughter and her husband. I guess he wanted to be found.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It Had to Happen

While sorting through some family pictures to scan them I ran across this one. The first thing that went through my mind was the opening line from an old Jim Croce song "You knew that it was bound to happen, just a matter of time".

I found the home cemetery of a lot of the family down in the hills and hollers of Kentucky, at a little town called Raywick. Back in the old days you couldn't of swung a dead cat without hitting one of your kinfolk and there are still a few down there, they own and run the bar and grill just across the street from the church.

I'm sure that if you've done enough family research this has happened to you. You're strolling along taking notes and pictures when all of a sudden you are face-to-face with your own name on a tombstone. I don know about you, but my first reaction was "My Goodness, will you look at that!" (or words close to those).

This is a fair sized Catholic cemetery where most of the family that died down there are buried, for the record, his wife is in the Methodist cemetery about a mile away. Since she wasn't Catholic she had to go elsewhere. His parents are just to the left and just past them are two empty spots, where I think my GGG Grandfather and his wife are.

This gentleman is my Great Grand Uncle, that he has the same name that I do was pretty neat, however the neater thing is: his birthday is Nov 22, 1851, mine is May 22, 1951, just under 100 years apart.

He died at the age of 72 of a heart attack on a wagon load of corn, I've decided when I get 72 I'm going to stay away from farm wagons and corn.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In keeping with the May theme "Cause of Death" here are some that I found while roaming Indiana looking for kinfolk.
These are but 3 of about 20 stones in the Salem Indiana cemetery that bears mute testimony to the hazards of pioneer life. In this case it was the cholera epidemic of 1832/33 that swept through southern Indiana. The stones are all in one section of the cemetery and from what I can gather these are the burials that started the cemetery. The youngest stone left was that of a 10 year old boy.
Most that I have seen mention the military, in fact I had an uncle (by marriage) whose parents had engraved on their stone, their other sons name with the words "Died in France while serving his country, June 15, 1944". He was a medic with the 90th Div, and was buried over there.
I ran into another one today while looking for somebody else's kinfolk. It said "Killed in France 1918"