Thursday, May 9, 2013


EBENEZER and MACEDONIA Cemeteries were the last two I had started last Fall that I needed to finish.  Morning cemeteries.  I needed a morning that wasn't going to be too dewy.

I took this picture at Ebenezer Cemetery last Fall before the cold set in.

EBENEZER CEMETERY is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of 1100N and Meridian in Union Township, Miami County, Indiana.  Readings were taken by Jean C. and Wendell C. Tombaugh in 1977, 1978 and 1987.  In that work, the rows run north and south, are numbered from east to west, and the stones are read from north to south. These are accessible online at the Fulton County Library site.  Once again I didn't follow the previous reading pattern, I simply went row by row starting from the front to the back, trying not to let the sun prohibit me from deciphering vital information.
This time I chose to take 19 North past Doud's Apple Orchard, and enjoyed the scenery very much.  All I could see everywhere were fields of yellow.  Dandelions! Everywhere Dandelions!. I bet BethAnn's mom would have had enough of them to make quite a few pots of jelly!!! How my mind wanders when I do this!
As I had noted most of the graves at Ebenezer's faced the East so the morning sun helped keep any shadows off those stones but not quite so the ones facing West unfortunately.  Luckily the sun was already high enough in the sky that the problem was minimal.  Hopefully most of the information will be readable and I will be able to use the previous readings as well.
On the South side of the cemetery there was a bird house attached to a tree, not as rustic as the one found at Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Wabash Co) but quaint all the same and I tried myself at some close-ups of leaves etc.  Gotta practice...
Find-a-Grave lists 296 interments at Ebenezer cemetery with 86% accompanied by pictures.  Not sure how up to date this information is as this is still an active cemetery and people are still being buried in there.  Lots of recent stones mixed in with some older ones.  I took a fancy for this one... Why an Anchor?... A quick look up about cemetery art symbolism states that an anchor is used to represent a mariner.  It would make sense if we didn't live in the middle of Farm country and if I had not done a background check that told me that Rebecca KEPLER's husband Jonathan was indeed a farmer...  Some further research indicates that an "Anchor – disguised cross; hope; steadfastness in Christ" - Now, this I can accept as they were Christians.  The Anchor stands out beautifully on the stone...  She died on Christmas Day... I wonder...  Let's make a small detour today...
Sometimes an obituary can reveal a lot about a person too.  Unfortunately the only thing I found that was connected to Rebecca here in terms of news is her son Charles' obituary and she is not even named.

 (Using my subscription to
Victim was Sixty-two Years of Age and a Sufferer of Asthma Which is Supposed to be Cause of Death.
Charles Kepler, for ten years a resident of Fulton county, was found dead  in bed at the home of his brother, Martin Kepler, on Bancroft Ave., this morning, as the result of chronic asthma.  Mr. Kepler was born March-6,1951, in Ohio and has spent most of his life in Miami county, Ind.   For some time he has been making his home with his brother and sister, Martin V. Kepler and Julia Yike in this city and has been a sufferer of asthma for years from which he found but little relief.  For the past week or two the deceased has been troubled considerably by his ailment but yesterday seemed to feel unusually well.  Last evening Mr. Kepler retired as usual and this morning was called to awaken by his brother Martin – sometime before five o'clock.  Not receiving any answer to his repeated calls the brother went to Mr. Kepler's bed and shook the man to arouse him and only then realized that his spirit had departed.
Mr. Kepler was the son of Jonathan Kepler and leaves only brothers and sisters to mourn his demise, Martin V. Kepler, Julia Yike, this city, Mary Bain, Michigan City, Libby Bain, Missouri and Margaret Stopher, Wyoming.  The funeral will be held from Ebenezer church in Miami county, tomorrow.
Rochester Weekly Republican July 3, 1913

So his grave should be there too then... mmm  maybe one of those hard to read ones...  but someone on has a picture of him in their family trees...  I hope the grave will turn up in the Billion Graves indexing! - it has not yet, though...
There really is a story behind everyone of these stones...

I finished taking the pictures at Ebenezer without having to recharge the battery.  That was quite a feat! And so I made my way back, using the GPS to locate Macedonia Cemetery.  I knew it wasn't too far from there, on the East of 16.  It didn't take long to find my way there. 
Also called the "Wooleytown German Baptist", "Dunkard" cemetery, it is located on the west side of 100E between 900N and 1000N. The cemetery sits on a hill on the West side of the road, most graves facing East too.  Some of these old stones however are very hard to read, no matter how the sun shines on them, I'm afraid.

Luckily the lighting was just right for the majority of them, not to say I probably won't have to go back again.  But here again I will very likely use the previous reading done by Judge Tombaugh in 1987 and uploaded on the Fulton County.  These earlier readings can be vital in deciphering the engravings.
One thing I have noticed since I started doing this is that it is sometimes easier to see the words on the digital image than right off the stone in the cemetery.  Maybe it's the lighting.  Some stones are beyond hope unfortunately here too...

As I was taking pictures I noticed a pond South of the cemetery where two swans were swimming...
I could not resist...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

MOYER Cemetery

Later in the day on April 26th I recalled that the MOYER cemetery was an 'afternoon' cemetery ie one with stones mostly facing West.  and I was antsy to go back out.
I hate wasting nice weather sitting in front of a computer screen.
Not that there is not plenty to do there but I must have had Spring fever.
The MOYER cemetery is in Roann, not too far from the Stockdale Mill so again I took my other cameras hoping to take some shots of Indiana Springtime scenery.

The Miami County Genweb page refers us back to Find-a-Grave for a list of people buried in this cemetery.
This cemetery is in very sad shape.
A quick search online for the "Old Niconza Cemetery Miami county Indiana" helped me discover a really nice site: Laurie's Indiana cemeteries covering Allen, Kosciusko, Miami, Switzerland, Wabash and Whitley counties. One of the two cemeteries listed for Miami county is the Old Niconza cemetery. The site includes high quality photos as well and an option to purchase a printed copy for a small fee.  Might well be worth using to compare against some my poorer pictures when indexing them or going over the work of another indexer...
Bad thing, they don't have a better index either...
Once again I started from the front walking in rows from the South to the North.  Buried stones, completely erode stones... It's not that the cemetery is really in bad shape... some of the stones are...
There is a small enclosure within the cemetery with graves inside. They have been knocked down for some time and it is hard to read them.  I hope the pictures help.  Sometimes they do.

I was glad the North Western side of the fence was flattened out  because there was a whole row of stones facing the fence, just a few inches away from it, with a tangle of briars all around them.  I had to climb over the fence to be able to take a picture and I am still not sure how they will be decipherable...

Nobody I knew in this cemetery but the last name is the same as Bruce's cousin Angie's mom.  I wonder how she fits into that family line.  I'll have to ask her some time.
So, it didn't take very long to take this little cemetery...  and to tell you the truth I didn't longer very long after a deer tick fell on my shirt...  Talk about losing it!  I can't stand those suckers!
It gives me the willies just thinking about it!

I shook it off me, jumped back in the car and drove off as fast as I could, stopping off on the Stockdale Mill Bridge for a quick picture... 

The water was very muddy still from all the rain we have had these past few weeks.
It's usually much more scenic, even under less sunshiny skies.  

Same with the Roann Covered Bridge.  There were kids playing under it...  The bridge could use a good coat of paint...  

On my way home I noticed a small cemetery on the side of the road... the East side: the GAMBLE cemetery (Wabash County).  My battery was still sufficiently charged that I should be able to tackle it so I did.  Why not?  It seemed such a waste of gas doing otherwise.

The Gamble cemetery is a well kept, quaint little place, not very many graves, East at the intersection of county roads 400N and 700W. It sits upon a high knoll overlooking a creek.  A listing for this cemetery can also be found on Wabash Co IN Genweb page

More later...

NEW HOPE Cemetery

Having spent quite a bit of time around Seven Pillars, I had New Hope on the top of my to-do list.

Considering it had taken me 4 hours to photograph Gaerter the day before but thinking this cemetery was about half the size, I felt confident I would be home before 10am...  Well...  I ran into the same problem I had the day before.  The battery died about 30 minutes into the session.
I still believe the cold plays a big part in this problem.

I dropped off Michael at school and made my way to 124, observed a heron perched in a tree by Seven Pillars - I didn't know herons perched in trees - and drove up that crazy hill.  I suppose I could have taken another road but I enjoy driving along the Mississinewa.  It is so peaceful and wild.

I parked in the cemetery lawn and noticed a winged friend hopping in the wet morning grass...
What kind of bird was that...  Would it let me take a picture?
Well, he hopped about and flew away and landed on tombstones, which would have made really awesome shots but he didn't stay put long enough or was out of my line of sight So I had to be content with this shot.  As you can guess seeing this picture,  my feet were wet after I left there...

As Debby Beheler notes on the Miami County Genwebpage
"New Hope Cemetery is located northwest of the intersection of county roads 400S and 400E in the southeast corner of section 7, Butler Township , Miami County , Indiana .  It is about 2 miles southwest of the town of Peoria and 5 miles southeast of Peru , Indiana .  The approximately one acre was set aside for a cemetery by pioneer Butler Township resident, Mr. Wiles in 1853 or 1854.
The first person buried in the cemetery was John Noble, who died by suicide on October 17, 1855, at age 35 years, 5 months and 23 days.  Early cemetery trustees were J. Johnson and John Borden."

John Noble's stone is among the 'lost' ones if ever it existed.

I have again taken pictures of all the stones row by row from the front to the back and as Debby says on her page, there are many unreadable and sunken stones in this cemetery.
Find-A-Grave lists 180 people buried there but of course this is only as good as the latest update.  Pictures have also been uploaded there and I strongly recommend using more than one source to decipher the images I have uploaded to Billion Graves, more specifically the hard to read ones.  and you should be able to browse them at least and know how I took them.

Stones don't always face the same way in a cemetery but there usually a majority of them facing one way or the other.  New Hope is a 'morning' cemetery, that is, most stones face East making some of them easier to read when the sun shines on them.  However some stones faced West and for that reason may need to be retaken.

Once again I found stone of people I knew personally: Joe Windsor, my sister-in-law's father...
I always remember picking green beans in his garden when I think of him.   
Then I came across the grave site of James and Barbara Poor.  I wondered what they were doing buried here but really it isn't that far away from their old farm off 124.  They used to be members of the Lions' Club and were well known and well respected around the area.  They died a month apart from each other which was a real shock to everyone who knew them.  He was a stout white haired little old man whose smile could brighten up a room.  He and his wife owned the Poor Farm Country Candy store.  You won't find their obituaries on but you will on the Miami County's webpage .

My battery died just as I was walking back to the car so the timing was perfect.

I drove back by Seven Pillars hoping to catch the heron again but he wasn't there any more but I captures some long awaited Spring colors.  Things are sure turning fast.  It is wonderful to see how one week has brought the green back into the landscape. Hope it stays!

I traded my wet shoes for a pair of sandals until tomorrow...

New Hope pictures were taken April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GAERTE Cemetery

It has been a long time since I went out to take pictures in a cemetery: 4 months. 
According to Billion Graves My last upload was Christmas Eve.
I had a lot of fun taking other sorts of pictures this past Winter with the nice camera my husband bought me for Christmas: bald eagles, especially.  
He still does not understand why I am not using the new camera to take pictures at the cemetery but Billion Graves has their own system and even though my new camera has a GPS, it can't load their application so what is the point taking the pictures twice at the same time.  Updating will need to be done soon enough anyway.
So...  in spite of the strong April wind, I decided to finish one cemetery I found last Fall before the cold set in: the GAERTE Cemetery, located on the east side of 500E between 1500N and 1600N in Perry Township.
My phone battery kept dying while I was taking pictures, probably because I was out of my service area and the search for service was the main drain.  Driving to Gaerte cemetery took me a good half an hour.  I was not going home with only 50 pictures just so I could recharge the phone...  I sat in the car a couple of times recharging but that got pretty boring so I went for a drive and discovered just how far from home I was. 
The Gaerte Cemetery is not only North East of Gilead, which is way North already. It sits almost on the Fulton-Miami-Wabash tri-county line!
I am really glad I decided to recharge the phone in the car rather than go home.  Lukens Lake is nearby too although I didn't venture that far in the blue car...
I took in some scenery then went back to the cemetery to finish the 'job'. 
It took one more recharge even after I got back and it took me longer than I had anticipated but at least I can move one to another cemetery.  I think too that the cold affects the battery life.  I noticed that last Fall when I went to photograph RANKIN and Mt PLEASANT (Wabash Co) and of course this phone is getting old... )=
Getting back to the GAERTE cemetery.  Judge Tombaugh's readings are found online at the Fulton County Library site.  The cemetery is divided into four sections with rows running north and south, numbered from west to east, and the markers are read from north to south.  Readings were taken in 1975 and 1987.  These thirty years were not kind to some of the stones and they may be hard to match against some of the pictures I am uploading to Billion Graves but that will definitely be a tool I will use to help me decipher them or go over the work of another indexer if need be.
I however didn't follow his reading when I was taking the pictures as I didn't think to do so first. Besides some of the stones he read have since sunken into the ground or been knocked off their base, while new ones have been added in between or even replaced some that are now either gone or in a worse state of deterioration.  It was bigger than I thought it was, or maybe it's because my phone kept dying.

One stone was very tricky but would have been worse once there would have been full leaves on the bush...  I wonder why people plant bushes in front of stones...  They eventually stop being maintained and damage the stones... 

And when people try to see what's on them, they can't... 
This bush was already almost too challenging... 
But at least there is still hope for this one.

Some stones just won't release the names they once showed.  I often wonder why I even take the picture.  They  will likely remain unindexed because unreadable...  But Billion Graves said they hope their software will enable better detection... Let's hope.  Either way, the stone marks the resting place of an individual.  A person who walked along these fields and streams, who saw the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, who heard the birds sing, just as I get to today...  This is sacred ground...  People, tread lightly...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shrock Cemetery

SHROCK cemetery is the very first cemetery I ever took pictures in. 
Way before Billion Graves.

At the time (2005) Carolyn Coffman, her husband Richard and daughter Connie had just finished encoding DeReese Clark I's cards from his 1955 reading of Mount Hope cemetery and they were bored.

They had always worked as a pair extracting records from microfilms onto the computer: one reading the record, the other one encoding. Unfortunately as our Stake had opted out of the extraction program we were no longer receiving materials to work on.  We had called Salt Lake City and they had said we could start an individual program but it was quickly clear the true purpose had escaped the people we needed to clear this through here.

The question was "How are we going to keep Carolyn and Richard busy?"  It was more about helping them feel productive as their age and physical health were beginning to limit their movement.

There was and still is an abundance of good projects to get involved in.  We had started the Mount Hope cemetery cards encoding to help out with the Genweb project for Miami County Indiana.  It seemed logical to continue.

They could not go themselves walking through the cemeteries but what if we brought the cemetery to them?!

I had purchased a nice little digital camera back in 2002 and decided it was time to put it to work.
It was obvious Mount Hope would need updating but I wasn't ready to tackle such a big place just yet.
It was also obvious that we would have to come up with a basic set of instructions so first I needed to figure out the steps.

I remembered that my mother-in-law had told me we had family buried at SHROCK cemetery,  a small place up the hill by Indian Oaks Golf Course, and so the project begun.
It was almost 7 years ago to the day as the first picture I took is dated November 11, 2005.
Muriel always put flowers on Bruce's great-grandparents Edwin and Olive (Schroll) Cattin's grave but I don't think she realized how many other family members were there as well.
In part because of my research on the CATTIN family in Erie Township and in Switzerland, I recognized many names: HOSTETLER, WAYMIRE, CHAMBERS, EILER, CLAUVE...
The place was so peaceful and quiet.  Birds were whistling all around. A soft breeze was gently brushing the tree branches.  Call me silly, but that is when I decided Shrock cemetery would be my resting place after I die.  NO, not tomorrow and to be honest with you, I'm not even sure there are still plots available but the view, overlooking the far end of the cemetery was not what i would expect from a cemetery. It's also not that the stones fare better there than in other places.  I just felt 'at home' with so many people I knew already there...  There were also old friends like Sadie HILEMAN and Geneva VANAMAN,  two sweet sisters (HENRY) I knew from church. You may say: "How morbid!"
I have never been one to 'haunt' cemeteries, in fact quite the opposite and I had until then not even given a thought to the business of death.
Anyway, it took two days to photograph the cemetery in 2005 and I sent the index and the pictures to Deb Beheler so she could make them available on her Genweb page for Miami County IN in the cemeteries section.
And I moved on to Mount Hope since I now had a plan.
I often thought of updating Shrock but never got around to it until earlier this year.
The gentleman with whom I combined forces to get Mount Hope completed had asked permission to upload the pictures on Find-A-Grave and I saw no problem with it.  Until this Spring that is.
A quick search for Sadie HILEMAN on pointed to an error that they still have not fixed in spite of my contacting them.
It seems placed Shrock Cemetery in Converse, IN!
Mind you, the link on their site redirects you to the right place since it is the Find-A-Grave site
Still, it is sad that they have not fixed this error yet.

In any case, this was another trigger for me to update the cemetery listing and once again, it is where I began my adventures with Billion Graves. 
I must tell you, the GPS signal sometimes isn't good enough for the phone camera to take a picture and I noticed right away that even though the camera eventually took the picture the location tag isn't always correct.

I was able to take pictures this time around that showed the engravings better than the first time around but there are stones that were really eroded in 7 years and I am glad for the earlier versions Deb still has uploaded on the Genweb page.

The back of Shrock cemetery is a sad sight... 

That's where Bruce's great-great-grandfather is buried, Ulysses CATTIN with his wife Mary (SPERIZEN).  Their daughter Suzanna KITZMILLER's stone is adjacent to theirs

As you can see the one in the back is sinking in.  To prevent the engraved stone to topple down, somebody propped it up with a rock.  In some cases, the stones are propped with crunched soda cans... 

This is Suzanna's in 2005 on the left and the other two were taken in May 2012.

This one is Suzanna's parents, Ulysses and Mary Cattin.  The engraving is so faded it is very hard to decipher as you can see.

There is much worse further back.
It also depends on how the sun light hits the stone.  This last time I was able to capture engravings i was not able to 7 years ago.

Some may think it is a waste of time to duplicate the work but in this case I have found that we are lucky to find more than one photo of some stones because without the extra ones they would not yield their information.  And a funny thing is, oftentimes you will see something better through the camera lens than through our eyes.

One stone intrigued me in there.  That of a young boy: Eli Marion MARKEN.  It is not a very common name in Miami County, Indiana.  My curiosity took me to where I was able to find his family.
Some information was available in the family trees.  Two researchers, one of whom is Henk Wolka, give further information which may explain the rarity of the MARKEN name around here.

"When Gideon was about two years old, his family moved to Montgomery County, Ohio, near Dayton (along with their friends, the Myers and Shively families) where the family resided until Gideon was about 16. In the spring of 1850, the Jacob Marken family moved west to Indiana with neighbor families (Shively, Maugans, Myers, & Erbaugh). They established a farm in Pipe Creek Twsp, Miami County near the Cass and Miami county line. This homestead farm was located on the Onward Road west of US Highway 31, west of the current Grissom Air Force Base.  After his marriage to Sarah Silvius, the couple lived on another farm in Pipe Creek Twp., where three of their children were born (John, Jacob, and Josiah). About 1862 Gideon purchased a farm in Erie Twp., Miami County. There the remaining eleven of their children were born.  Initially, they lived in a loghouse on the property. In 1868 they built a large frame house and in 1875 added a large bank-barn. These two buildings were still being used at last notice. This farm has remained in the hands of Marken descendants for about 125 years.  Sarah died on her 48th birthday from a stroke of apoplexy. Gideon remarried Amanda Brown Daniels, a widow, in 1888. They bore three children. Amanda died in 1911 of heart disease.  Gideon had purchased another farm on the Erie Road, north of the Marken homestead. After Amanda's death, he lived with his daughter Pearl Faust, on this farm.  Six of Gideon's sons caught the "western fever."  In the early 1800's(typo?) Josiah, John, and Jacob moved west to Franklin Co., Iowa. Several years later, Daniel F. and Gideon A. Marken also went to Iowa to live. After 1900 Edward Marken left for Iowa also.  The Marken families were active members of the Erie United Bretheren Church--Gideon served as a founder and church trustee. The church, built in 1900 is still active today, located on the Paw Paw Pike.  Gideon died at age 83. He, his two wives and five of his children are buried in the Shrock Cemetery, Peru Township, Miami County, Indiana."

Shrock cemetery is a peaceful place to spend time. If you have family buried there, Check on Billion Graves to see if you can find them!

Till next time...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Springdale Cemetery

Earlier this year I received an email from FamilySearch Indexing announcing that they had partnered with a new site which published cemetery pictures, Billion Graves.

I had just started to update the work I did between 2007 and 2009 for The Miami County Genweb and had hoped I could just send them my pictures but that was not quite the case.
Pictures for their site had to be taken with a smart phone, using their free app.
I was intrigued with the concept because it put a GPS tag on each grave and I could not wait to try it.

That was back in May. Since then I have visited 22 cemeteries in Miami and Wabash Counties and uploaded 29,664 images to their site.  It made sense I should record my experience as I visit and photograph these cemeteries.  Not sure I'll back track though I might.  I already posted two articles on cemeteries I photographed after deciding to do this blog.  Thus my 3rd article is actually the very first one I started.

Last July Bruce called me from a car dealership to tell me I needed to meet him there to sign papers as he had just bought a new Dodge Ram truck and my name was on it...  I wasn't too delighted but circumstances were such that I knew he was about to do just this... just didn't think it would be that soon.

After signing the papers I decided to take backroads home and instead of turning right out of Schwartz dealership, I turned left on 218.  I had not driven 500 feet when I saw a cemetery...  not a huge one but big enough...  I immediately decided to stop to take a look and started taking pictures.

Springdale Cemetery stretches on both sides of 218.  The heat was so intense that I was only able to photograph the middle portion on the north side of the road before my phone got so hot I could not hold it without burning my fingers.
So I determined to return later and finish.  I checked the south side and noticed the graves there were older than those on the north side.  I also noticed that the way the stones faced is determined by where they are along the inside roads.  This, I noticed is true for many other cemeteries, like Mount Hope for example.
The stones face the roads up to the middle of the section.  This makes it a bit more difficult to pick a good time to take pictures as no matter when you go you will find the sunlight interfering, while at the same time, enhancing the stones, depending on whether they face East or West.

Springdale Cemetery also sits across from Grissom Air Reserve Base but I have only once had the chance to see airplanes practicing their landing and take off.

Anyway, the weather is turning and so I took advantage of this gorgeous day to go finish Springdale.  I was in the middle of photographing the far West section on the south side of the road when the planes began to appear.  They were so low in the sky it looked like they could land in the cemetery...

As I mentioned earlier, the older graves are found on the south side of the road and some are hard to decipher but altogether this cemetery is in pretty good shape.

Some stones must have been replaced like the ones for the family of John W Haggerty.
According to the History of Miami County(1), John W Haggerty was "a highly esteemed pioneer of Miami County, Indiana, was born in Fairfield County, Ohio, February 15, 1824. His parents, David and Sarah (Larimer) Haggerty, were both natives of Pennsylvania. When John was four years old his father died leaving a widow and six children. Until twenty-two years of age Mr. Haggerty’s earnings went toward the support of his mother. He then purchased forty acres of land in Elkhart County, but soon left there and bought a tract of land in Pipe Creek Township. He again sold out and settled in Deer Creek Township. His marriage with Miss Sarah C. McCreary was solemnized in 1851. The result of this union was one child, named George A. Mrs. Haggerty died in 1854. Mr. Haggerty’s second choice was Miss Ellen Hann, daughter of Benjamin and Mary A. Hann, citizens of Pipe Creek Township. To their union seven children have been born: Carey, Annetty, Emma J., Alonzo E., Idella M., Melvin E. and an infant that died unnamed. Mr. and Mrs. Haggerty have lived to see the county develop from an almost unbroken forest into one of the most fertile and populous regions of northern Indiana. He is a Democrat in politics, and he and wife are members of the Baptist Church."
But not all are this way...

I tried to learn more about this Pipe Creek Baptist church but didn't find what I wanted.
I did, however, find a very interesting site talking about the different churches of Miami County (IN)

The photos I uploaded to Billion Graves are not all indexed yet.  If you can't find someone through a search, see if you can look at all the images one by one instead.
What I enjoy most about this site is the fact that you can see where in the cemetery a grave is located.  It seems to 'connect' better...

(1)From History of Miami County, Published in 1887 by Brant and Fuller in Chicago - Deer Creek Township