Pioneer Cemeteries and Their Stories,

Madison County, Indiana

Shell Cemetery

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Pipe Creek Township

Location: north side of CR 600N, between CRs 750W and 800W (west of Pipe Creek)

    The Shell Cemetery is hidden from passersby traveling along CR 600N.  This old family graveyard is situated off the north side of the road, down a foot path, the beginning of which is only marked by a vine-covered gate.  The path winds into a dense woods.  There in the middle of the low hanging foliage is a small meadow where a number of stones once stood.  The few grave markers that remain are dutifully cared for by the township trustee out of respect for the first families to pioneer this area.





    John Shell arrived along Pipe Creek in 1830/1, the very first pioneer to the township.  He and his family had first settled near Perkinsville in Jackson Township in 1826.  With the opening of the Pipe Creek area, John chose to move north.  However, it would be more than two years before any other settlers would join the Shells.  John's death date of 1819 in the list below is inaccurate. 


John Shell's well-preserved gravestone attests that he died in 1849.  The style of this marker is typical of those made in the first four decades of the 19th century.  The stone is tall and rectangular, made from brown or colored stone, instead of white, and has large engravings across the top.  The carved trees and shocked wheat speak of John's life as a farmer.

    The earliest known burial was that of Elizabeth Shell who was fifty-three at the time of her death in 1848.  This makes her birth date around 1795.  She, most likely, is the reason the Shells began this family burial ground.  John had a relative Isaac whose daughter Elizabeth married into the Richwines who, entering land in 1836, were among the first families to follow John's pioneering example.  Elizabeth married Noah Richwine, son of Gideon Richwine, in 1861.  She died in early 1870 and is interred at the Shell.  The couple had two children Marcellus and Maranus in the intervening years. 

Elizabeth Shell's stone, also from the 1840s, is similar to John's in shape but has across the top different figures.  The urns represent decay of the body or mortality; the weeping willows in the background symbolize the mourning of those she left behind in this life.

        Another "first family" into the township is also represented here, the Etchisons.  The Etchisons arrived in Pipe Creek Township around 1832.  Sarah Etchison was Noah Richwine's second wife; they married in late 1870.  Sarah may well be the one listed below as passing away in 1920.  Their young son Charles, who died at one year, is resting here along with the other children of the Richwine, Shell, and Etchison families.


This photo, courtesy of Shell descendant Barbara Blair of Tulsa, Oklahoma, shows the pretty stone of Elizabeth Shell Richwine, discussed above.  Elizabeth's stone is a contrast to the stones first described.  The curved lines, arched top, and scrolled lettering mark it as mid to late 19th century.  During that Victorian era, the hands clasping symbolized the partnership of husband and wife here on earth and their meeting again in Heaven; the little flowers stood for love, of course. 

"Elizabeth wife of Noah Richwine died April 27, 1870 aged 28Y. 5M." is clearly legible.  The photo was taken in August 2001.  Five years later, the stone looked like this:

It was so covered with lichen and mold, it was illegible.  The MCCC appreciates such contributions, like Ms. Blair's, for they not only add to the county's historical data but they also help other family researchers.


    On the 1876 township plat map, a Jacob Shell is shown as owning the land which was first settled by John and which surrounds and helps sequester this cemetery from the public.  It is interesting to note that while this small private graveyard was one of the first in Pipe Creek Township, it was still being used by descendents and friends into the 1920s.


ID Names Birth Date Death Date Cemetery
272 ADAMS, ISAAC 30Y. 2M. 1D. APR. 11, 1880 SHELL
307 ADAMS, MARY 51Y. 5M. 5D. or 2D. FEB. 23, 1879 or 70 SHELL
347 ADAMS, WILLIAM 50Y. 10M. NOV. 30, 1875 SHELL
4087 BENEFIEL, (INFANT)   MAY 13, 1923 SHELL
7507 BROWN, MARTHA J. 5Y. 2M. OCT. 23, 1811 /41/44 SHELL
9216 CARLTON, DORA APR. 25, 1872 or 73 FEB. 14, 1902 SHELL
9217 CARLTON, ELIZABETH SEP. 12, 1819 MAY 25, 1903 SHELL
9224 CARLTON, MENNIE L. 1Y. 11M. 27D. AUG. 3, 1897 SHELL
9227 CARLTON, ROBERT MAY 12, 1829 MAR. 19, 1905 SHELL
18617 ETCHISON, (INFANT DAU.)   JAN. 8, 1888 SHELL
18625 ETCHISON, AMANDA OCT, 13, 1847 JUN. 11 or 17, 1906 SHELL
18710 ETCHISON, JAMES F. 23Y. 8M. 26D. JAN. 26, 1898 SHELL
18711 ETCHISON, JAMES F. 23Y. 3M. 26D. JUL. 26, 1899 SHELL
18777 ETCHISON, RICHARD MAY 15, 1829 APR. 23, 1909 SHELL
32362 JENKINS, AMANDA 4Y. 5M. 13D. SEP. 20, 1814/84/44 SHELL
32369 JENKINS, DANIEL 61Y. MAR. 18, 1874 SHELL
32394 JENKINS, SARAH ANN 38Y. AUG. 27, 1858 SHELL
32395 JENKINS, SARAH ELLEN 14Y. 5M. 15D. OCT. 29 or 27, 1872 SHELL
49660 POWELL, ELIJAH J. 53Y. 10M. 1D. SEP. 30, 1876 SHELL
49699 POWER, MAGARET L. 2Y. 6M. 4D. JUN. 8, 1864 SHELL
51856 RICHWINE, CHARLIE 19M. 10D. SEP. 11, 1874 SHELL
51857 RICHWINE, CHARLIE N. OCT. 22, 1873 SEP. 11, 1874 SHELL
51876 RICHWINE, GEORGE W. 42Y. 5M. 4D. SEP. 30, 1892 SHELL
55183 SEEMAN, ___ F. 35Y. 5M. MAR. 28, 1879 SHELL
55184 SEEMAN, CHRISTIAN E. 85Y. MAR. 28, 1879 SHELL
55185 SEEMAN, CHRISTIAN F. 55yr. 5mo. 5da. MAR. 27, 1870 SHELL
55927 SHELL, ELIZABETH 53Y. 2M. 3D. FEB. 3, 1848 SHELL
55931 SHELL, GEORGE M. 48Y. 7M. 18D. MAR. 7, 1877 SHELL
55930 SHELL, GEORGE M. 23Y. 9M. 1D. or 10D. AUG. 25, 1893 or 98 SHELL
55932 SHELL, GEORGE W. 42Y. 5M. 4D. SEP. 30, 1892 SHELL
55934 SHELL, JESSIE 1848 1925 SHELL
55935 SHELL, JOHN 65Y. 3M. 12D. JAN. 21, 1819 SHELL
55938 SHELL, MARGARET E. 9Y. 1M. DEC. 27, 1874 SHELL
55946 SHELL, SARAH E. 1851 1921 SHELL
55947 SHELL, SARAH E.   1860 SHELL
55949 SHELL, SUSAN 65Y. 7M. 26D. DEC. 21, 1897 SHELL
68181 WILLIAMS, MARY 58Y. 1879 SHELL