Thursday, September 30, 2010

Historic Quaker Cemetery Disturbed

From across the Rootsweb mailing list for Hamilton County, Indiana comes the following disturbing news:

In the early-mid 1960's the Westield Women's Club embarked in a "beautification project" that resulted in the removal and stacking of the grave markers in the Westfield Old Friends Cemetery on south Union Street. They contacted Conner Prairie and offered them the stones but were told that the museum wasn't interested in any stones with dates of death after 1836. When a few interested citizens learned of the "project" and expressed their dissatisfaction with the treatment of this graveyard the stones were re-set in four rows on the back of the cemetery along with a single marker with the names of all known burials and a marker commemorating the civil war veterans buried there. All of the burials remained in place with no way of determining the exact location of the dead, since the markers ahd been moved from their original locations.

Fast forward to 2010:

The City of Westfield Parks Department has commenced construction of a new park to be named the Old Friends Memorial Park on the property. This will include constructions of walls, trail ways and water fountains. Initial demolition in the northwest end of the property has already yielded intrusion into a grave. A backhoe sits on top of graves ready to disturb more graves. All of this is within the rights of the City of Westfield as a municipality. The Hamilton County Cemetery Commission is initiating action to at least bring a pause to this project for further consideration by the Westfield city government.

If you are interested in genealogy in Hamilton County and share our dismay that a local municipality would show such utter disregard for the remains of our ancestors, please contact the City of Westfield Parks Director, Melody Jones, at (317)804-3100 and share your displeasure with this project. You may write Ms. Jones at 2728 E. 271st Street, Westfield, IN 46074. In an election year, disfavor expressed about an issue like this goes a long way.

Bob Goode
Hamilton County Cemetery Commission

You can read more about this discovery covered by the local Fox affiliate here.

So many cemeteries have been lost to time and/or development, and the story about this one hits home because I discovered I had ancestors buried there.

A listing of some of the burials known to have taken place at the cemetery are listed on the Indiana Genweb.  Among those buried there are my maternal 5th-great grandparents, John W. and Mary (BARKER) DAVIS.  

In looking over the list of names at the cemetery, I see many Quaker names that I recognize as relatives, including: Baldwin, Bales, Barker, Davis, Hiatt, Jessup and Stout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your blog! I HATE reading posts like this. I just can't comprehend anyone doing this!