Pioneer Cemeteries and Their Stories,
Madison County, Indiana
Pipe Creek Township
Location: south side of CR 1100N, between SR 13 and CR 1000W
Secluded in the middle of a dense woods, the Duck Creek Cemetery was camouflaged by tall grass, encroaching undergrowth, and blackened and missing stones. It was barely recognizable as a cemetery. In 2007, this pioneer burial ground saw a rebirth, as pictured below, through the efforts of several dedicated people.
Revitalized in the 21st century, the Duck Creek Cemetery was originally named for its location: a hill along a tributary of White River, Duck Creek. Like many other pioneer graveyards, it goes by various other titles in Madison County records as given to it down through the generations: Carr, Ray, Roys, Tranbarger, and Frazier. The Madison County Cemetery Commission likes to label the cemeteries by their earliest known appellation, so this one is referenced as the Duck Creek Cemetery.
In the mid 20th century, the Duck Creek Cemetery fell upon hard times. Several local residents began using this hidden site as a dumping ground for their trash. Garbage, old fence, unwanted lumber, metal scraps, and debris were hauled in and pushed over the east side of the cemetery's hill along with a dozen stones that the vandals evidently considered in their way. To dissuade this criminal activity, the township trustee erected a stout fence and a metal gate with padlocks. The gate was partially destroyed when the locals wanted access to their private dumping ground. This vandalism and illegal dumping were halted when authorities retrieved from the debris personal papers and receipts which included the names and address of the perpetrators.
In the early 21st century, circumstances vastly improved for this pioneer cemetery. Developers purchased the surrounding wooded acreage for a housing division and an extension of Elwood's Cattails Golf Course. The cemetery would be surrounded then by the latter and become a landscape feature along the paved cart path connecting tees 5, 6, and 7.
Beginning in late 2006, the Madison County Cemetery Commission coordinated renovation efforts with the Duck Creek Township trustee and golf course owners. Plans were made to clean the heavily overgrown boundary, reset existing stones, and add a decorative fence, gate, and sign. Golf course owners contributed a small drive and parking area for cemetery visitors. Now instead of being abused with refuse, the Duck Creek Cemetery will be well cared for and appreciated by residential neighbors and the golfing public.
At left is some of the debris still littering the east side of Duck Creek Cemetery's hill. A cart path for the Cattails Golf Course can be seen in the background. At right is contractor Larry Brown having inspected some of the stones and foundations that vandals pushed over the side of the hill into the junk. Larry was in charge of cleaning the fence row and the interior brush and resetting the stones. In the far background the cleared area will lead into the new housing subdivision. The picture below shows Larry's efforts: the now visible countryside, the reset stones, and painted iron supports.
Conditions continued to improve for this once deplorable graveyard. In the spring of 2007, the MCCC hired Tim Moore of Graveyard Guardians from Noblesville, Indiana, to professionally clean the reset stones. The results were amazing. Beautiful, detailed carving began to appear from under decades of grime, black mold and mildew.
At right, Sarah Frazier's stone, in the middle of the picture above, was transformed to its original beautiful white marble. The garland and bible at the top stand out, and the personal data can now be easily read. The stone has everything a genealogist could ask for: "Wife of John E. Frazier & Daughter of Riley & Ruth Reagan."
The brownish coloring on the stone's pillars are ineradicable stains from the iron supports placed there for stabilization in the mid 1960's.
The Tranbarger stone is discolored to black at left; the white showing through is the result of scraping at the build-up. At right is the same stone after Graveyard Guardians worked their magic.
The before and after pictures at left show the stone for "Henry Hanshew," in the scrolled lettering, who "died July 21, 1866 aged 83y 4m 7d." That would make Henry's birth year around 1783.
From the burial list below, Benjamin and Emily Benedict were born in the 18th century also. They, like the Fraziers, Hanshews, Tranbargers and other pioneer families here, set up homesteads nearby, helped create a community, and are buried at this location. A Benedict relative's cleaned stone is at left.
At right, the oldest legible stone in the cemetery is for Malinda Ray who lived for only one day in 1840. This stone is somewhat unique in that it is standard size. It was customary in this time period for a child's stone to be a much smaller version of an adult's.
At the beginning of cleaning operations, Tim Moore started with the two military stones. Left, A.J. Burris's stone showed green veins running through the white marble. At right is the finished stone of W.C. Bright who was in "Co. B 75 Ind. Inf."
Tim and assistant discuss what is needed to help the rediscovered column for the now tallest marker in the cemetery, the Jane Starkey monument. She died March 1, 1861, at "68 yrs 4m 15d." Vandals had used the top of her tall grave marker for their shotgun target practice. The top half of the obelisk was then broken off and thrown in a pile of debris at the cemetery's edge.
The top half of Jane's obelisk was discovered during cleaning operations. Graveyard Guardians retrieved the piece, repositioned and secured it onto the original. After a thorough cleaning, the elaborate details on the lower section can be appreciated: the sleeved arm, the hand holding the anchor based on the bible, the adorning rose, and intricate scroll framing. Victorian decorations like these not only symbolized Jane's faith but were also a visual sermon, in this case, to the observer.
Jane Starkey's finished monument is now the center piece for the entire cemetery.
That's former chairperson and Tranbarger descendant John Brundage in the background inspecting an ancestor's stone at right.
James S. Harmon's stone, like a few others, was so badly pitted with mildew and mold that all of the staining could not be eradicated. The vast improvement, though, was well worth the effort.
James died in 1856 when he was twenty-one years old.
Other newly cleaned stones follow.
An interesting story is represented by the picture above. At some point in the 20th century, these two stones were stolen from the Duck Creek Cemetery. Decades later, new owners of a garage in Elwood were tearing through the plaster and discovered the stones between the studding: a small tablet for one year old Webster Quick, who died in 1850, right, and a small column for an infant son of the Hartings, who died at only four days old, left. The new owners called the cemetery commission and returned the grave markers. The stones were re-erected in new concrete in the middle of the cemetery. The Hartings had lost a total of six children between 1861 and 1867. All of them were buried with little columns, like the one above, in their own section behind two trees in the southeast corner of the graveyard. At the time of the reset, the columns could not be read because of the black mold buildup, and so commissioners did not realize that the little column belonged with its fellows pictured below.
While discolored in the picture above, Hugh and wife Catherine Ray's stones are still remarkably intact maybe because they are at the back of the cemetery and shielded behind a tree. Hugh, 1787-1844, and Catherine, 1794-1861, came to Pipe Creek Township in 1836 from Virginia. The Rays lost daughter Malinda in 1840. Her death may be the reason the Rays began this cemetery. Only four years later Hugh, himself, died.
Traveling with the Ray family were the Tranbargers, husband Jacob, 1802-1849,and wife Sarah, 1807-1883. Families that migrated together settled near each other for security and support. The first family to have a member die would begin a cemetery customarily offered for use to the surrounding neighbors. It is not surprising then that when Jacob died five years after Hugh, Jacob would be interred here. Both the Ray and Tranbarger names identify this cemetery in pioneer cemetery archives.
Hugh and Catherine Ray's stones are pictured below after Tim Moore of Graveyard Guardians finished cleaning them.
Madison County Cemetery Commission Chairperson Ranny Simmons, at left, gives a final inspection to Sarah Frazier's newly cleaned stone, and former chairperson John Brundage, right, prepares to take a GPS reading.
|ID||Names||Birth Date||Death Date||Cemetery|
|4057||BENEDICT, BENJAMIN||81Y. 11M. 28D.||AUG. 31, 1866||FRAZIER FARM|
|4064||BENEDICT, EMILY W.||84Y. 9M. 5D.||JUN. 22, 1869 or 62||FRAZIER FARM|
|4072||BENEDICT, LEBBEUS L.||40Y. 7M. 17D.||FEB. 28, 1863||FRAZIER FARM|
|4530||BEVELHYMER, WILLIAM||FRAZIER FARM|
|6503||BREWER, ELIZABETH||70Y.||JUN. 29, 1855||FRAZIER FARM|
|6618||BRIGHT, AMANDA C.||MAY 22, 1861||MAY 30, 1864||FRAZIER FARM|
|6622||BRIGHT, ELIZA F. or J.||JAN. 4, 1827||AUG. 9, 1896||FRAZIER FARM|
|6647||BRIGHT, W. C.||CO B 75 IND INF||FRAZIER FARM|
|8313||BURRESS, GEORGE||2Y.||MAY 24, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|8314||BURRESS, GEORGE W.||MAR. 21, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|8315||BURRESS, HARIETTA||1Y. 1M. 30D.||MAY 10, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|8317||BURRESS, J.||MAY 25, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|8320||BURRESS, LUCY J.||1Y. 3M. 25D.||SEP. 25, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|8322||BURRESS, MARIETTA||MAY 10, 186_||FRAZIER FARM|
|8328||BURRIS, A. J.||75 IND INF CO G||FRAZIER FARM|
|8330||BURRIS, CLORRE W.||MAR. 10,||FRAZIER FARM|
|8337||BURRIS, J.||1Y. 5M. _D.||JAN. 25, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|8341||BURRIS, MARIETTA||1Y. 2M. 3D.||MAY 10, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|11430||COCHRAN, JANE||28Y. _M. 12D.||MAY 16, 1851 or 56||FRAZIER FARM|
|15558||DEHORITY, GEORGE N.||7Y. 9M. 5D.||DEC. 3, 1866 or 63||FRAZIER FARM|
|21321||FRAZIER, SARAH (REAGAN)||26Y. _M. _D.||SEP. 29, 1856||FRAZIER FARM|
|23894||GRAY, JAMES||22D.||JUL. 1872||FRAZIER FARM|
|24287||GRIFFITH, NANCY J.||28Y. 23D.||APR. 19, 1863||FRAZIER FARM|
|24288||GRIFFITH, NANCY J.||28Y. 23D.||MAR. 13, 1863||FRAZIER FARM|
|25568||HANCHEW, BARBARA||FRAZIER FARM|
|25569||HANCHEW, HENRY||JUL. 20, 1900||FRAZIER FARM|
|25813||HANSHEW, BARBARY||AUG. 7, 1855||FRAZIER FARM|
|25825||HANSHEW, JOHN||58Y. 8M. 21D.||MAR. 7, 1870||FRAZIER FARM|
|26130||HARMAN, JAMES S.||21Y. 6M. 27D.||SEP. 22, 1856||FRAZIER FARM|
|26134||HARMAN, NANCY MELVINA||14Y. 10M. 2D.||OCT. 1, 1853||FRAZIER FARM|
|26193||HARMON, JAMES S.||21Y. 6M. 7D.||SEP. 22, 1856||FRAZIER FARM|
|26516||HART, EMMA C.||3Y. 5M. 19D.||AUG. 19, 1865||FRAZIER FARM|
|26543||HART, WILLIAM||28Y. 5M. 19D.||NOV. 5 or 15, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|26542||HART, WILLIAM||26Y. 5M. 19D.||MAY 13, 1862||FRAZIER FARM|
|26558||HARTING, (INFANT SON)||4da.||JUL. 7, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|26559||HARTING, (INFANT SON)||JUN. 2, 1867||JUN. 2, 1867||FRAZIER FARM|
|26566||HARTING, CATHERINE||_Y. 5M. 1D.||SEP. 30, 1867||FRAZIER FARM|
|26565||HARTING, CATHERINE||MAY 25, 1865||FRAZIER FARM|
|26567||HARTING, CATHERINE M.||19Y. 6M. 20D.||MAY 26, 1866||FRAZIER FARM|
|26614||HARTING, MARGARET J.||8Y. 1M. 21D. or 26D.||MAY 10, 1864||FRAZIER FARM|
|26626||HARTING, PHEBE M.||1Y. 7M. 21D.||SEP. 28, 1867||FRAZIER FARM|
|26984||HAVENS, SARAH ANN||29Y. 5D.||FEB. 21, 1864||FRAZIER FARM|
|27318||HEADLEY, WILLIAM C. or G.||MAR. 28, 1864||FRAZIER FARM|
|27858||HENSHEW, HENRY||83Y. 4M. 7D.||JUL. 21, 1866||FRAZIER FARM|
|32413||JENNINGS, CATHERINE||75Y. 4M. 16D.||AUG. 6, 1865||FRAZIER FARM|
|40061||MARTIN, MARIAH S.||8Y. 3M. 25D.||JAN. 18, 1863||FRAZIER FARM|
|43482||MILLSPAUGH, ADA W.||32Y. 9M.||JAN. 1, 1863 or 93||FRAZIER FARM|
|45891||NELSON, PRESTON||3Y. 8M. 12D.||JUL. 22, 1853||FRAZIER FARM|
|46097||NICCUM, JONATHAN||43Y. 6M. 12D.||JUL. 2, 1856||FRAZIER FARM|
|49643||POWELL, (INFANT SON)||SEP. 17, 1852||FRAZIER FARM|
|50246||QUICK, WEBSTER||1Y. 11M. 5D.||AUG. 26, 1850||FRAZIER FARM|
|50600||RAY, CATHERINE||66Y. 9M. 14D.||MAY 14, 1861 or 60||FRAZIER FARM|
|50599||RAY, CATHERINE||66Y. 9M. 14D.||NOV. 11, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|50611||RAY, FLEMING S.||16Y. 7M.||JUL. 2 or 4, 1882||FRAZIER FARM|
|50624||RAY, HUGH||57Y. 7M. 4D.||DEC. 24, 1844||FRAZIER FARM|
|50625||RAY, HUGH||55yr. 3mo. 3da.||DEC. 25, 1844||FRAZIER FARM|
|50636||RAY, MALINDA||1D.||FEB. 12, 1840||FRAZIER FARM|
|51503||RHEUBART, CORA||MAR. 19, ____||FRAZIER FARM|
|51504||RHEUBART, ISAAC||55Y. 6M. 20D.||FEB. 12, 1874||FRAZIER FARM|
|51505||RHEUBART, ROY E.||3Y. 3M. or 8M. 10D.||MAY 27, 1885 or 83||FRAZIER FARM|
|59452||STARKER, JESSE F.||21Y. 8M. 12D.||APR. 31, 1875||FRAZIER FARM|
|59454||STARKEY, (INFANT)||FRAZIER FARM|
|59464||STARKEY, EDGAR||1Y. 6M. 16D.||OCT. 11, 1864||FRAZIER FARM|
|59465||STARKEY, EDWIN F.||3M. 10D. or 3Y. 10D.||FEB. 28, 1860||FRAZIER FARM|
|59468||STARKEY, FRANCIS S.||1Y. 1M. 29D.||MAY 25, 1852||FRAZIER FARM|
|59474||STARKEY, JANE||68Y or 35Y. 4M. 15D.||MAR. 1, 1861||FRAZIER FARM|
|63313||TRANBARGER, EUNICE||DEC. 9, 1832||OCT. 26, 1866||FRAZIER FARM|
|63316||TRANBARGER, JACOB||46Y. 6M.||JAN. 10, 1849||FRAZIER FARM|
|63318||TRANBARGER, JOSEPH E. or F.||22Y. 6M. 12D.||JUL. 1866||FRAZIER FARM|
|63330||TRANBARGER, SARAH||76Y. 5M. 7D.||SEP. 12 or 27, 1883||FRAZIER FARM|