Waisner-Rickard Cemetery

Deer Creek Township, Miami County, IN
AKA Deer Creek Cemetery

Miami County Pioneer Cemetery Meeting on Hold Kokomo Tribune, 21 April 2011

Cemetery Headed for More State Scrutiny
 Kokomo Tribune, 16 April 2011

End of the road for cemetery?
 30 Aug 2009

Lost Cemetery Haunts Oregon Man
Kokomo Tribune, 22 Aug 2009

"Old Cemetery is now lost."
Kokomo Tribune, 29 September 1993, pg. 4.
The lost cemetery is now lost forever. It is under the house on Lot 78 in Deer Creek Estates in Miami County. There are three people who went over the farm enough times who remember the cemetery and the surrounding hills, hollows, and ravines--- Richard Rhine, a neighbor to the north; my son John Lawrence; and myself.
I moved on the farm in 1950. J. B. Ortman, owner of the land, told me about the cemetery at the time. The cemetery is listed in the abstract; therefore, it has always been listed and on record, not lost. Bob Waisner showed me on maps from the Miami Historical Society the place of the cemetery.
Placing blame for the desecration of the cemetery is easy: myself for not telling Rineharts at the
 time of my moving; Richard Rhine and everyone who had relatives buried there; those who knew there was a cemetery located there; and Rineharts who did not check records.
The cemetery was on a knoll just east of the gravel pit. Several tall, old sugar maple trees dotted the area. It was the most beautiful spot in the woods. There were not briars or weeds in the area. We held several family and church picnics on the south side of the cemetery. There were no stones standing but several broken with the base in the ground. When I first moved there, Arthur Rickard, who lived on 600 North (county line road), would come to look and remember his father, mother, and other family members who were buried there.
Two people told me about digging too close and exposing the coffins; then covering them quickly.
So much for the cemetery--- may those buried there rest in peace. The ones to feel sorry for are the people who live on Lot 78.
Early settlers started on high ground along creeks. The house was nice with a spring behind it. Cool spring water flowed through a trough to keep food and milk cool. There were eight persimmon trees. The seeds were carried home by a boy who lived there following the Civil War. At one time the barn was filled with horses. He traded horses and kept as many as four stallions.
My 20 years on the farm were pleasant and a lot of hard work. Glen Lawrence, Kokomo, IN.

The following article is an excellent report of a few people who were buried at Waisner-Rickard Cemetery. Perhaps since it was written in 1926, more stones may have survived back then than now.

"Find Stones in Forgotten Graveyard"
Markers Uncovered in Pioneer Burial Ground in Woods Near Cassville.
"Place Long Abandoned"
Grass and Bush Cover Remnants That Remain of Fallen Headstones.

Kokomo Tribune
July 20, 1926

A cemetery is seldom spoken of as being "alive," but if ever there was a "dead" cemetery, it may be found on a tiny mound, shaded by great elm trees that sprouted long after the last grave was dug, near the banks of Deer Creek, on the Miami county line, not far from Cassville.
That little village has seen sufficient excitement in the past few days to last the quiet hamlet for some time, having experienced a mysterious burial in its vicinity, and having been the scene of a still more baffling shooting affair. The residents of the town do not seek publicity, but the re-discovery of the little cemetery referred to above has brought about some interesting reminiscences.
The discovery of the shallow grave of a newly born child a week or so ago naturally led to quite a survey of the heavy woods in which the grave was located, and a citizen of the vicinity recently stumbled onto a broken block of marble which was obviously foreign to this section, while exploring the dense woods. Investigation disclosed the word "Born" carved in crude letters along one edge of the fragment. Further investigation disclosed a number of fragments of ancient grave stones, and thinking that he had discovered a real monument of early days, the explorer told his story to the Tribune.
The Tribune reporter who visited the scene is not archeologist, but found a number of interesting epitaphs on stones which he was able to piece together. Not a stone is left standing on the knoll, and only by digging in the soft sod and carefully fitting
together the broken fragments could names and dates be deciphered. Stones that were erected by hardy 

 pioneers of three quarters of a century ago lie broken and disintegrating, and across the ravine to the north is a burial ground of the vanished Miamis that roamed the woods a hundred years ago.
 In 1768, while Washington was in the prime of his youth, a boy was born in the home of a humble eastern colonist named Rickard, who in later life moved to the Indiana forest, rolling over wooded trails and guarding his caravan at night against the possible invasion of Indians. Settling among the Miami Indians, he did much toward the laying of the foundations upon which the prosperity of the community is build, and underwent hardships untold.
This morning the stone that marked his grave was carefully dug from the sod of the old burial place and fitted together. From it the following was deciphered: "Anthony Rickard-- Died October 8, 1846. Age 78 yrs. --onths --ys." Near it was found a fragment of marble marking the grave of his wife, who died in 1855. Other stones were found marking the burial place of Noah Waisner, who was buried in the knoll on July 2, 1849.
Among the stones in the vicinity was one marked "--- McCarty, born in Cork, Ireland, in 1803." who was probably one of the Irish immigrants who helped in the building of the first railroads through the community, and suffered a pestilence in this vicinity which took the lives of many of them.
Other fragments bore undecipherable devices and lettering. On "Requiescat in Pacem" that had become detached from the rest of the stone carried a portion of the cross and crown that had decorated it, which the date "1837" just below it.
Several of the names deciphered from the fallen and broken markers are common names in the vicinity today, and marked the last resting places of the patriarchs of the community. Relatives of some of the pioneers buried in the old ground, who were seen this morning, had never known of the cemetery, although they recognized the names of grandfathers and great-grandfathers, which they had heard of years before.
John Thomas, elderly resident of Cassville, and some eighty years young himself, recalled seeing some of the stones in the old burial grounds years ago, and knew of its location, but stated that Joshua Richey, another Cassville resident, could give further information. Mr. Richey, claiming some 86 years, stated that his father had "laid out" the last of the pioneers to be buried in the cemetery, and that he remembered the funerals well. He also told of the traditional burial ground of the Miamis on the opposite side of the ravine.
Other names found in the cemetery ruins were those of Mary Daggett, 1852, Wm. Stark, died 1853, and Thomas Martindale, 1856.
Even a moderately active imagination can weave wonderful romance into a stroll through the big woods, which probably savor more of the original wild than any other bit of primeval in the surrounding territory.
A thorough search of the location would doubtless find a score or more of interesting markings, as there were about fifty graves located there half a century ago, according to old timers.

"Forgotten Cemetery Found Again"
By Steve Marschand Tribune staff writer
Kokomo Tribune, 12 August 1984, pg. 13
Cassville, Ind.---It's odd the way once-prominent things can get lost through the years, only to be rediscovered time and again. Such is the case with a cemetery near here.
The Waisner-Rickard Cemetery lies along the banks of Deer Creek, one-half mile northwest of the intersection of the Howard/Miami County line and U. S. 31.
It appears on no map the Miami County Historical Society can find after 1866.
"Cemeteries of Miami County," a three-volume edition found in the Peru Public Library makes mention of the burial ground, but the location is not revealed in the books. When contacted recently, Vesper Cooke, author of the collection, was unable to supply that information.
The cemetery appears to have been a truly forgotten one. Forgotten, that is, except by the oldest of the local residents and by a few of the younger ones who have found it while riding bicycles through the woods.
An article appearing in the July 20, 1926, edition of the Kokomo Tribune tells of the discovery of the cemetery that week.
The body of a 1-day-old baby girl was found by a man picking berries, prompting a thorough search of the area by volunteers. In the course of that search, several tombstones were found in the heavily-wooded area.
Some of the names appearing on the fallen stones were familiar names for the area: Waisner, Martindale and Rickard, to name a few.
Thomas Martindale and his brother, Samuel, were among the first white settlers to arrive in the area in the late 1840s. Thomas Martindale was laid to rest in 1856 in the cemetery, which was established on his farm.
The Waisner and Rickard stones represented some of the earliest burials in the graveyard. The article tells of Anthony Rickard's memorial showing a death date of October 8, 1846.
A second stone is apparently wrongly identified in the 1926 article. The reporter believed the stone to read: "Emma Waisner, died July 2, 1849, Age 16 years, 5 months, 21 days."
That stone was rediscovered recently, but the modern day reporter found no mention of "Emma." Instead the top of the stone, which once carried the first name and is now broken, shows only the final letter "H". Below it are the words: "of J. / M. A. Waisner." It then gives the death date and age.
When asked about the cemetery this week, Cassville resident Robert Waisner cleared up the mystery. Without being told of the stone, Waisner related that many of his ancestors lie interred in the burial ground, including Noah Waisner. Waisner said Noah died when he was just a teen-ager in July of 1849. His parents were Jacob and Mary-- the J. and M. mentioned on the stone.
According to Waisner, the cemetery once had a great many stones, perhaps as many as 50. Many were lost years ago, he said, when workers in a nearby gravel pit accidentally dug into the plots, or used stones to brace trucks which needed jacking up. Some stones no doubt were broken by vandals, as often occurs in modern cemeteries.
In 1926 many stones were found, but none were standing. Nearly all of those found had been broken.
This week, a Tribune reporter, a Howard County Sheriff's deputy, and a long-time resident of the Cassville area searched the cemetery, the woods in which it stands and a nearby ravine on several occasions. Only three stones can now be found.

One of the memorials was beneath a large tree. The Waisner stone and another were found in the ravine. Only the Waisner stone shows any sign of lettering. The limestone faces of the other two have been completely smoothed through nearly 130 years of weathering.
 It is not known when the last burial was conducted in Waisner-Rickard Cemetery. According to Waisner, his great-great-grandfather Jacob died May 31, 1860, and is buried there. That was four years after the first burial in the cemetery at Cassville.
The land on which the cemetery stands is now owned by Country Development, Inc. When told of the cemetery, David Rinehart of Rinehart Realty, which does business for the company, said his company had been told of the existence of the burial ground, but the location was not known.
Rinehart said the spot where the cemetery sites is not slated for development at this time.
"I doubt that it will be now that we know where it is," he said. "In the past when we've found cemeteries on land being developed, we've set it aside."
He noted that two such cemeteries, one in the southern part of Howard County and the other in the western portion, were cleaned up, and the company even had a fence erected around one.
"Someone has to make certain that these burial grounds are preserved," he said.
Harold Smith, auditor of Miami County, said it is not known what, if anything, will be done with the cemetery.
"Our money for maintaining abandoned cemeteries is very limited," he said. "Many times the money is gone long before all the cemeteries in the individual townships are mowed."
He said he would, however, notify the county cemetery board of the existence of Waisner-Rickard Cemetery.

Waisner/Rickard / Deer Creek Cemetery
Article provided by Brian G. Broadhurst
Debby Beheler,
Links to:
Miami Co. INGenWeb;
Miami Co. Cemetery List

Created 20 April 1999 - Updated 20 May 2016

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