Cemeteries and Their Stories,
Madison County, Indiana
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|
|51867||RICHWINE, ELIZABETH SHELL||APR. 27, 1870||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|
|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|