Cemeteries and Their Stories,
Madison County, Indiana
Stony Creek Township
Location: south side of SR 32, west of CR 925W
The corner of SR 32 and Main Street in Lapel is the present-day location of the Lapel Medical Center, pictured above. Somewhere in this general shot, the Hidden Cemetery once received the remains of Stony Creek Township's first settlers. It should be noted that the medical center is not responsible for the cemetery's destruction.
The Hidden Cemetery is the resting place for the very first family to enter Stony Creek Township. The Fisher brothers John and Benjamin arrived with "kith and kin" in 1820. Older brother John, c. 1781-1850, is buried here along with his wife Barbary/Barbara, c. 1785-aft. 1870, and their son William. Younger brother Benjamin was a veteran of the War of 1812 and has the distinction of being one of the few white settlers to be killed by Native Americans still in the area at that time. His violent death occurred during the Strawtown Massacre in March of 1821. Fishersburg was named in honor of Benjamin. While he is buried in the Strawtown Cemetery in Hamilton County, his widow is buried at the Hidden. Her first name was Hannah, c. 1798-c.1833; she was one of the first white women in the county and the mother of area leader Charles Fisher, etc. She, herself, had a frightening encounter with Native Americans several years after Benjamin's death, and their son Charles would later chronicle these stories for local newspapers. Eventually, Hannah married Benoni Freel, the first to settle land in Jackson Township just to the north.
While this earliest of Stony Creek Township cemeteries holds the remains of some of the first families to the entire county--Fishers, Freels, Gwinns, and Huntzingers/Hunsingers, etc.--its original location is still in question. Some facts are evident from published histories. The very first death in Stony Creek Township, according to the 1880 Kingman history of Madison County, was a George Shetterly in 1830. He was the son of Henry and Mary Shetterly and from that publication "was buried on the Charles Fisher farm." George's death actually began this early settlers' graveyard. In looking through old plat maps of the area and other historical documents, the location of the Hidden Cemetery "on the Charles Fisher farm" would be in the general area of the southwest corner of the intersection of SR 32 and Lapel's Main Street as pictured above.
The Hidden continued in use until the 1880s; however, by the early 20th century the headstones and boundary markers had long since disappeared, and the cemetery grounds were unrecognizable. In the 1940s and 50s a golf course covered the area and later a residential development was added. While the golf course, itself, had to give way in the second half of the century to further progress, the private homes, of course, remained.
Since the cemetery was in danger of being completely forgotten, the MCCC, in 1976 on the strength of its archives and research at the time, decided to place a commemorative sign for the cemetery north of the burial site of Mary Freel, 1804-1847. Mary was noted as "buried across the road [what is now Main Street] on higher ground" in an apple orchard. This would have been to the east of the Hidden which was flooded at the time of Mary's death.
Mary Gwinn Freel, 1804-1847, does have a commemorative marker, placed by descendants near the markers of relatives, at the Brookside Cemetery also in Lapel.
While the sign for the Hidden Cemetery remains, at this point, a little distance from the general area in which the original graveyard once existed, a few of the members of Stony Creek Township's earliest settlers can be memorialized, at least, at this web site.
The commemorative sign for the Hidden Cemetery is almost hidden, itself, along one of the busiest highways in Madison County, SR 32. The sign, pictured here, is behind a few old growth maples on a little knoll. It is on the south side of the highway and is positioned 100 yards or so north of Mary Freel's burial site. It is believed, at this point, that the Hidden Cemetery's original location was to the west of this sign across Main Street somewhere near the highway. This general location is now occupied by the Lapel Medical Center. The cemetery, destroyed in the early 20th century, held some important first pioneers to the county including Hannah Freel and John and Barbara Fisher, all born in the 18th century.
State Road 32 between Anderson and the Lapel/Fishersburg area was once lined with important places for Stony Creek pioneers: not only this cemetery but also an early log school and the most admired church building of its time in the county.
The burial list below is incomplete.
|ID||Names||Birth Date||Death Date||Cemetery|
|21394||FREEL, MARY||JUL. 1, 1804||JAN. 1, 1847||HIDDEN|
|20011||FISHER, JOHN||@1781||SEPT. 1850||HIDDEN|
|24781||GWINN, ALEXANDER||ABOUT 1836||HIDDEN|
|19913||FISHER, BARBARY||@1785||AFTER 1870 BEF. 1880||HIDDEN|
|21393||FREEL, HANNAH||@1798||ABOUT 1833||HIDDEN|
|41486||MCDOLE, (INFANT SON)||1849||1849||HIDDEN|
|47037||OPDYKE, SAMUEL||BEFORE 1850||HIDDEN|
|41502||MCDOLE, JOHN||NOV. 12, 1845||HIDDEN|