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
with a cemetery near here.
The Waisner-Rickard Cemetery lies along the banks of
one-half mile northwest of the intersection of the Howard/Miami County
and U. S. 31.
It appears on no map the Miami County Historical
Society can find after
"Cemeteries of Miami County," a three-volume edition
found in the Peru
Public Library makes mention of the burial ground, but the location is
revealed in the books. When contacted recently, Vesper Cooke, author of
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
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
prompting a thorough search of the area by volunteers. In the course of
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
|| 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,
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
first name and is now broken, shows only the final letter "H". Below it
the words: "of J. / M. A. Waisner." It then gives the death date and
When asked about the cemetery this week, Cassville
Waisner cleared up the mystery. Without being told of the stone,
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
gravel pit accidentally dug into the plots, or used stones to brace
which needed jacking up. Some stones no doubt were broken by vandals,
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
which it stands and a nearby ravine on several occasions. Only three
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
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
31, 1860, and is buried there. That was four years after the first
the cemetery at Cassville.
The land on which the cemetery stands is now owned by
Development, Inc. When told of the cemetery, David Rinehart of Rinehart
Realty, which does business for the company, said his company had been
of the existence of the burial ground, but the location was not known.
Rinehart said the spot where the cemetery sites is not
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
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
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
individual townships are mowed."
He said he would, however, notify the county cemetery
board of the
existence of Waisner-Rickard Cemetery.