Pioneer Cemeteries and Their Stories,

Madison County, Indiana

Huntsville Cemetery

Home Up

aka  Williams

 Fall Creek Township

Location:  east of Huntsville on the south side of CR 650S

This view is from a newer section of the Huntsville Cemetery, looking south into the oldest section.  The earliest stones are from the 1840s.  William Williams, who died in 1847, is one of the early settlers on this high knoll.

    The Williams family burial ground, pictured above, was the beginning of the Huntsville Cemetery.  The Williams Cemetery in the 19th century eventually included neighbors and friends of the family.  As is often the case, a modern 20th century corporation took over the family graveyard and added land to what was the Williams' farm plot. In doing so, the once small, secluded private burial ground became a special part of a much larger concern that now serves the greater Huntsville area.

 

 Patriarch of the Williams family, "William Williams died November 16, 1847, aged 72 years."  William was born in North Carolina in 1775.  He was one of the first  pioneer settlers to the east part of Fall Creek Township, arriving in 1821.  He settled the land, later called "Billy Williams farm," started the first nursery in the county, and at one point owned over 500 acres on Fall Creek.  William was the father of nine children among them Martin, Caleb, Miriam, and Anna.  Descendents still own the property he homesteaded, making his the oldest family-owned land in the entire county. 

His stone is an excellent example of the type popular in the 1840s--short, square, and thick.  (For a picture of the Williams homestead, go to the Fall Creek Township page.)  

   

   

 

 

Twenty-four others with the last name of Williams are buried in the Huntsville Cemetery.  The stones for three of those are pictured above: L-R, Hannah, wife of William Williams, was sixty-four years old when she died in 1847 one month before her husband; son Caleb was eighty-two when he died in 1888; and little Henry Williams was just "4y 4m 5d" when he died February 21, 1844. 

    Jesse Roberts and his wife Anna, 1807-1869, are included in the Huntsville.  Anna was a daughter of William Williams.  Jesse was born in Pennsylvania in 1801 and came to the village of Huntsville in 1843.  He was the village postmaster for sixteen years.  He was a member of the Society of Friends and a shoemaker by trade.  He died around 1877.

 

    The members of the family for whom Huntsville was named are also, appropriately, represented at this burial ground.  Parents William and Eliza Hunt were from North Carolina, settled in the area in the mid 1830s, and like the Williamses, died only months apart with the wife passing away first. Eliza died July 21, 1855, and William followed October 25, 1855, at seventy-four years old.  They had two sons William and John, both of whom were doctors.  From county historian Samuel Harden's The Pioneer, Dr. William Hunt, born 1822, was "a splendid doctor, of fine make-up and florid complexion...and perhaps the best posted man that ever lived in the county on geology.  At his death [1890] he had a fine library and collection of specimens... Dr. William Hunt was a member and father of the Madison County Historical Society, and all his life, after its organization, was its honored president."    Dr. John Hunt, born 1817, "...read medicine, and his life was mainly devoted to the practice."  His first wife was Miss Elizabeth Bird.  She and four of her children are buried at the Huntsville.

Elizabeth Bird Hunt, left, has a stone unique in Madison County.  On the west face of her stele at the top is a relief of her and two of her young children clinging to her legs.  Elizabeth was born December 27, 1823, and was wife to Dr. John Hunt, son of early settlers William and Eliza Hunt.   On the south face of the same stone, right, is a list of her children who died at a young age and who are buried in the same plot of graves: Isabella died at almost two years of age November 20, 1845; William Ralph was only six months with he died July 28, 1846; Willard Parker Hunt when eight years old died in 1849; and James Solon died at just over two years March 3, 1853.  Elizabeth died three years later--March 1, 1856.

From the larger Hunt family, James Hunt, left, has the earliest legible (almost) grave marker.  He died August 27, 1830; he was "2Y 7M 7D."  (Thank you, early 20th century gravestone transcribers.)

 

Another mother-child combination among the early settlers, Permelia, left, "Wife of John Chapman, who died Sept. 18, 1845, Aged 41 years 2 months and 16 Days," has a remarkably well preserved stone for its age.  Her son Sanford Smith Chapman, right, "died August 19, 1841, Aged 1 year, 11 months, 19 Days."  Most likely both stones were from the same carver as the words denoting age are all spelled out and the phrasing is not centered.

 

Not uncommon for the period is the double headstone, left, for two year old Levina Hartzell, who died July 21, 1854, and three year old Joseph Hartzell, who died four days later.  Two bodies in one grave is also not uncommon.  This was occasionally done for small children who died soon after one another, as in this situation, or in the case of a mother and her child who both died during the birthing process. 

Leonard, right, who died when four years old in 1842, is the only Foster on the burial list from the first half of the 19th century.  Either his parents moved away after his death or are themselves buried here in unmarked graves.

 

Since the death rate among the young in the first half of the 19th century was as high as one in three, it is not surprising that many of the earliest graves were those for children.  George R. Booram is listed as a first land owner, and historian Harden also comments that George enjoyed attending meetings of the old settlers and pioneers of the county in the last half of the century.  Above, Susannah Booram  "daughter of George R." and Sanford Booram, "son of George R." were lost in 1847 and 1848 respectively.

 

Among the early settlers to the Huntsville area of Fall Creek Township were the Hardins.  John, 1801-1861, and Lucinda, left, can be found at the back of the cemetery on the knoll which holds the Williams first family.  Brother Philip, right, is below in the newer section closer to CR 650S.  The Hardins came from Pennsylvania, and Philip was a wagon-maker, an indispensable craftsman in a farming community. Philip and wife Mary Alfonte's children were Lou, Kate, Maggie, Ben, Charles, John, and Evaline.

 

Other first land owners represented by markers are left, P.R. Maul who died in 1867 at fifty-eight years; middle, John Tillson, who has a very readable stone; and right, veteran John Swain who died in 1857.

There are a number of Civil War veterans buried at the Huntsville.  This one, though, has a unique stone.  Other veterans of that conflict have government issue markers: very substantial rectangular tablets with the name and unit done in relief inside the outline of a shield.  This individual's, right, was carved locally since it has a rounded top with molding and the traditional insignia, the eagle and flags, are inside an oval.  Occasionally a veteran will have two markers--one from the family and one next to it from the government.

 

In the foreground, the stone cylinders or "pillows" popular in the early 20th century are for John and Sarah Hull.  Both John and Sarah were first generation Madison County residents. Their family, log home, and farm are pictured on the Madison County history page.  (For more on 19th century memorial styles, go to West Maplewood Cemetery.)

 

    Folks who lived in the Victorian era-- i.e. most of the 19th century and the first few years of the 20th-- loved memorial symbols.  Catherine's bible at the top of her stone, left, represented her Christian faith.  The drapes on the two late century pillars, middle, symbolized mourning for the departed as does  Silas Trayer's weeping willow, right.

 

    Listed as resting here is a prominent early government official.  William Roach was born December 4, 1809, in Ohio.  He came to Madison County in 1832, was elected sheriff in 1849, elected mayor of the city of Anderson in 1871, and also served as justice of the peace.  William was fond of reminiscing at old settlers' meetings often held in the last fifty years of the 1800s.  One of William's stories, which historian Samuel Harden relates, is as follows:

    "He [William] went 'sparking' on a certain occasion, and remained over night.  Upon  retiring, he took off his pantaloons, as most people do, and laying them by the bedside, slept till morning.  On waking in the morning, he reached for his pantaloons, but they were gone.  Where?  While he lay there perplexed, with breakfast waiting in the next room, a search was instituted, and the garment found under the house.  A sly pet 'coon had pulled the trousers through a small crack in the puncheon [wood] floor.  He was soon dressed, however, and ate a hearty breakfast as if nothing unusual had happened."

William Roach, early settler, story teller, and government official, died February 11, 1893.  He and his wife are both buried at the Huntsville Cemetery.  His picture appears in the 1880 History of Madison County, Indiana, page 87.

    Below:  The newer section of Huntsville Cemetery as seen from the Williams' knoll.

Click here for the list in .pdf format of people known to be buried here--