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Cemetery Histories

Allen Township

    In Allen township the first burial place was laid out on the farm of Matthias Carvey, in Section 18, a short distance northeast of the present town of Macy. Among the early burials here were a Mr. and Mrs. Bailey, Matthias Carvey and a child of William Hakins. This place is still called the Carvey cemetery. Not long after it was established a graveyard was laid out at Five Corners, in the southwestern part of the township, where Matthias Harmon, Nathan Bryant and a number of the early settlers in that part of the county were buried. Many of the graves in this old cemetery are unmarked and the names of those buried in them have been forgotten.

    The most important cemetery in Allen township at the present time is the Plain View cemetery at Macy. It is located in the southeast quarter of section 13, township 29, range 3, just west of the town, and had its beginning in 1890, when the Odd Fellows' lodge at Macy bought three acres of ground and laid out a cemetery. On October 17, 1908, a new plat of the cemetery was filed for record by Benjamin F. Zartman, John C. Moore and Manoah W. Tracy, trustees of Allen Lodge, No. 540, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The new plat shows two hundred and nine lots, each twelve by twenty-seven feet in size, except a few along the west side, and there is also a section set apart for individual burials. Mrs. Sarah M. Champ was the first person to be interred in this cemetery. The place is well fenced and properly cared for by the Odd Fellows, though persons not members of that order may avail themse1ves of the benefits of the burial place. 

Butler Township

     About two miles west of the village of Peoria, (New Hope?) in the southeast corner of section 7 and a short distance northwest of the Presbyterian church, is a small graveyard that grew up about the time the church was established there in the fall of l863, but it cannot be learned who was the first person to be, buried there.

     The oldest burial ground in Butler township, of which there is any account, is the Clayton cemetery, in the northeastern part of the township. James and Thomas Clayton were among the pioneers that settled along the Mississinewa river below Peoria, and James Clayton died a few years after coming to Miami county. He was one of the first persons to be buried in this graveyard, which still bears the family name. Several Indians were buried here before the Miamis left for their new reservation in Kansas, but their names have been forgotten.

     Another old graveyard in Butler township is located in the northwest corner of section 22, about a mile and half of south of Peoria. A Christian church was built near this point about 1868, but it is not known whether the graveyard was established by the church or not. There is a sort of tradition, not very well founded, that some burials had been made there before the church was founded.

     At the May term of the county commissioners' court in 1903 a petition was filed asking for the incorporation of a cemetery association at Peoria. The matter was continued until the next term, in order to give the petitioners an opportunity to give the proper notice of an intention to ask for such an incorporation, and on June 1, 1903, the Peoria Cemetery Association was regularly incorporated. to have and to hold a certain tract of ground in section 10,, township 26, range 5.

     Alfred Ramsey, former county commissioner, headed the movement for the organization of the association. This is the only incorporated and regularly recorded cemetery association in Butler township.

Clay Township

     In the atlas of Miami county published by Kingman Brothers in 1877, and also on a map of Miami county published by Rand, McNally & Company in 1905, two cemeteries are shown in Clay township. One of these is located near the United Brethren church in section 28, about a mile and a half east of Bennett's Switch, (I believe this is Chittick and is actually in Deer Creek Township.) and the other is a short distance southwest of the village of Waupecong.

Deer Creek Township 

     Near the north line of section 23, in the western part of Deer Creek township, is an old cemetery that was once the churchyard of the Baptist church founded there in 1849. A number of the pioneers of the township were buried here during the existence of the church, but since the congregation was disbanded in 1893 the cemetery has fallen into decay through neglect and is rarely used. In the southern part of section 36, in the same township and not far from the Howard county line, is another small burial place; there is also a graveyard on the middle fork of Deer creek, in the northeast corner of section 29, about a mile east of Bennett's Switch, and another is situated in the east side of section 17, on the south bank of Deer creek and a short distance east of the village of Miami.

Erie Township

     The county atlas and map above referred to show three cemeteries in Erie township. The first is situated near the United Brethren church in section 8, in the northern part; the second is near the old Methodist church in the southeast corner of section 10, and the third is in the southwest quarter of section 21, just north of the Wabash railroad and in what was once the Joseph Richardville reserve.

Harrison Township 

     In the extreme northern part of Harrison township, just north of Pipe creek in the northwest quarter of section 5, and a short distance southwest of the village of Santa Fe, is an old country graveyard in which some of the early settlers of that part of the county found their last resting place. The McGrawsville Methodist church has a cemetery near that village; there is another just east of the village of North Grove; one in the northwestern part of section 8, north of the Pan Handle railroad; and there is an old burial ground in the southeastern part of the township that was once maintained by the Wesleyan Methodist church of Cary, but it is no longer used, except on rare occasions.

Jackson Township

     The first cemetery in Jackson township was laid out on the farm of Thomas Mason and the first burial there was that of an infant child of Thomas and Mary Addington. This graveyard, afterward known as the Xenia cemetery, was the beginning of the principal burial place at Converse, though in recent years it has been greatly enlarged and improved. Second in importance is the cemetery just north of Amboy, in the northern part of section 23, which is the principal place of interment for the people of the town and a large district of the surrounding country. There is an old cemetery in the south side of section 2, on the bank of Pipe creek and on section 1, about a mile farther east is what was once known as the South Grove Protestant cemetery. About half a mile northwest of Converse is the churchyard of the Friends or Quakers, where the members of that denomination and their friends bury their departed.

Jefferson Township

     As narrated in Chapter VIII, the first person to die in Jefferson township was Solomon Wilkinson, who was buried just west of the Town of Mexico. That was the beginning of the Mexico cemetery. Other members of the Wilkinson family were among the early burials here. What is known as the Walling graveyard was established in the southwestern part of the township as early as 1836. Mrs. Burrell Daniels, whose husband built the first gristmill in the township, was buried here. This graveyard was abandoned as a burial place many years ago and the few graves there are now hardly distinguishable.

     The Eel River cemetery, located in section 2, township 27, range 3, about two miles west of Mexico, was established by the members of the Eel River chapel about 1838. On March 6, 1911, a plat of the cemetery was filed in the office of the county recorder, by W. H. Myers, though it has been used as a burial ground ever since it was first laid out three quarters of a century ago.

     There are two cemeteries kept up by the German Baptists in Jefferson township in connection with the church about half a mile north of Mexico and the other in section 27, township 28, range 5, about half a mile east of the village of Courter. In the cemetery at Mexico are several graves of old people and children who were inmates of the Old Folks' and Orphan Children's Home mentioned earlier in this chapter.

Perry Township

    In Perry township one of the oldest burial places is located in the east side of section 15, on the north bank of Squirrel creek and not far from the county line. It was kept up for a number of years by the Niconza Baptist church, but after the church went down the cemetery fell into disuse. Brant & Fuller's History of Miami County (page 719), in mentioning the death of James Bunton-the first death in Perry township-says: "He was buried in the Niconza graveyard, one of the oldest cemeteries in the county."

     There is an old cemetery in Perry township in the western part of section 4, "near the prairie," about a mile and a half west of the Wabash county line and near the northern boundary of the township. Another cemetery is situated in the western part of section 7, just north of Gilead and is the principal burial place for the people of that village and the neighboring rural districts.

Peru Township

     Peru township, being the site of the city of Peru, is naturally better supplied with burial grounds than any other in the county, and its cemeteries are larger, better kept as a rule and more pretentious than are those of the smaller towns and country districts. Mount Hope cemetery was laid out about the year 1845 and comprised about three acres of ground. In course of time this land was all sold for burial purposes and at such low prices that there were no funds with which to keep the cemetery in repair. In 1881 the Mount Hope Cemetery Association was only incorporated by the commissioners of Miami county and in 1884 an assessment of $6 per lot was levied for the purpose of providing funds for the improvement of the grounds. In 1908 another assessment of $2.50 per lot was levied, and some money was willed to the association as an endowment.

     The Oak Grove Cemetery Association was organized on March 30, 1868, and by various purchases acquired about seventeen and one-half acres of land, adjacent to and surrounding the Mount Hope cemetery on the north and west.

     On February 6, 1912, a new Mount Hope Cemetery Association was formed by the consolidation of the two above mentioned associations and was incorporated on that date by order of the commissioners of Miami county. At that time the assets of the old Mount Hope association were $281.42 in cash and $1,900 loaned at six per cent on first mortgage security. The assets of the Oak Grove association consisted of $285.58 in cash and nearly ten acres of unsold land, upon which there was a mortgage of $3,000. By the consolidation of the two associations the lands of the new association were made available for an extension of burial grounds and the cash and endowment fund of the old one gave the new organization a fair working capital for immediate needs.

     New by-laws were adopted by the lot owners of the Mount Hope Cemetery Association on February 3, 1913, at which time the following officers were elected: Charles H. Brownell, president; Frank M. Stutesman, vice-president; Henry S. Bailey, secretary; Joseph H. Shirk, treasurer; Nott N. Antrim, Walter C. Bailey, George C. Miller, Sr., and Henry Kittner, directors. Under the revised by-laws each owner of a lot or part of a lot is a stockholder in the association, but no pecuniary benefit of profit shall come to him by virtue of such relationship. The by-laws also provide that each lot shall pay an annual assessment of $2 and each fraction of a lot an assessment of $1 for the maintenance of the cemetery, and for the same purpose each single burial space shall pay an assessment of fifty cents.

     Mount Hope is beautifully situated in the eastern part of section 28, just north of the city limits and under the new organization the cemetery promises to become one of the prettiest in central Indiana. Provisions have been made for building up a general endowment fund, the income from which will be used for the care of the cemetery, and in addition to this general fund the association has made provision for a special endowment fund to consist of money or securities given to the association with the understanding that the income shall be used to beautify a certain lot or section of the cemetery.

     The Catholic cemetery, north of the Wabash railroad, and some distance west of the city limits was bought early in the '60s, while Father Bernard Force was pastor of the St. Charles parish, and was consecrated according to the ritual of the church as a burial place for Catholics. Adjoining the Catholic cemetery is that of the Lutherans which is a typical churchyard, neatly kept and sufficiently large to answer all demands of the congregation that uses it as a burial ground. In section 32, at the west end of the city of Peru and immediately east of the Catholic cemetery, is what is known as the Reyburn graveyard, so named from one of the pioneers families of the city, some of whose members were buried there in early days. The atlas of 1877 shows an old Methodist cemetery in the north side of section 11, about two and a half miles north of the city on the road leading to Chili, and east of that road is the old Tillett graveyard, where several of the Tillett family and their neighbors lie buried.

Pipe Creek Township

     Pipe Creek township is well supplied with burial places. In the east side of section 5, near the northern boundary of the township and east of the Lake Erie & Western Railroad, is an old graveyard that served as a place of interment for the early settlers in that neighborhood. This cemetery has been supplanted by one established by the United Brethren church about a mile farther west. There is an old burial ground in the north side of section 14, on what is known as the Medsker farm, not far from the Cass county line. About a mile south of this cemetery is one established by the Christian church soon after the close of the Civil war, and there is also a cemetery a short distance west of the town of Bunker Hill.

Richland Township

     In Richland township, near the center of section 1 and about two miles east of the old village of Wooleytown, is what is left of an old graveyard established in an early day. The oldest cemetery in the township, however, is the one at Chili, which was laid out some time prior to 1840. There is also a graveyard in connection with the German Baptist church in section 3, near the northwest corner of the township, and another at the Baptist church at Chili. The last mentioned is situated on the bank of the Eel river a short distance below the town.

     The Paw Paw cemetery, in Richland township, was consecrated as a burial place in 1840 and the first person to be buried there was Margaret,, daughter of Richard and Amy Miller. On January 5, 1904, the tract of land including the cemetery was conveyed to the trustees of the Paw Paw Methodist Episcopal church by Margaret Miller. A plat of the cemetery was filed in the office of the county recorder on August 13, 1913, the trustees at that time being Thomas F. Black, E. B. Miller and Clarence Grogg. This cemetery is located in section 16, township 28, range 5, a short distance west of the old village of Paw Paw.

Union Township

     Referring again to the old atlas and map previously mentioned, three cemeteries are noted in Union township. One is situated in the northeast quarter of section 33, about a mile northeast of Deedsville; the second is near the Missionary Baptist church in the southern part of section 7, near Weesau creek and about three miles northwest of the town of Denver; and the third is in section 16, just north of the old Weesau Indian reservation.

Washington Township

     In Washington township the Wickler graveyard in the south side of section 15, about two miles south of the county asylum, is one of the oldest cemeteries. It was established at a very early day and one of the first persons to be buried there was a child of Robert Love. The roads were in such condition at the time that it was difficult for vehicles to pass over them and the little coffin was carried to the graveyard on horseback by a Mr. Miller. Mr. Love, the father of the child, was also buried here a little later.

     The Rankin graveyard, in the southwestern part of the township, is located on what was once known as the Bearss farm, on Big Pipe creek and about two miles east of Bunker Hill. It is one of the old graveyards of Washington township. Caleb Adams and a Mrs. Harter were among the first persons to be buried in this cemetery.

     Shortly after the United Brethren church known as Crider chapel was built in 1869, a cemetery was established in connection with the church. It is located in the northeast corner of section 24, near Little Pipe creek and is still used as a place of interment by the members of the church and the residents in the neighborhood.

     Near the northwest corner of the township, in section 4, is an old graveyard on the bank of Little Pipe creek, and in the extreme southwest corner, just south of Big Pipe creek, is the old Hawes graveyard. John, Bernard and Conrad Hawes settled in this locality in the early '40s and one of them (it is not definitely known which) was the first persoa to be buried here. Another early burial in this cemetery was a man named Larimer and several pioneer families used it as a burial place for many years.

SOURCE: History of Miami County Indiana Chicago, Brant & Fuller 1887

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