Cemeteries and Their Stories,
Madison County, Indiana
Location: south side of CR 1250N, between CRs 300E and 350E
The view on the left is looking north into the Walker Cemetery's hilltop. Beyond the trees in the background the land slopes to Polecat Creek and CR 1250N. The Walker is well maintained and contains 119 graves of early Monroe Township settlers. Since it is within the pasture land of Par-A-Dice Farm, visitors should ask permission and directions of the owners, Max and Nancy Draper.
The Walker Cemetery, itself, exists today as a monument to the pioneer history that transpired in its vicinity. The cemetery is located on a hill on Max and Nancy Draper's Par-A-Dice Farm east of Alexandria. A thick woods on the hilltop overlooking Polecat Creek on the south side of CR 1250N hides the cemetery from the view of motorists. However, this spot was a focal point for early Monroe Township settlers. The Epworth Trail which ran east to west from Ohio to Delphi, Indiana, skirts the cemetery's south boundary, and deep wagon ruts are still visible in a long strip of the Draper's surrounding pasture. Before the 1840s when "state roads" replaced the trails, the Epworth was one of the few navigable traces through this part of the Hoosier wilderness.
This view is from inside the cemetery, looking south. Between the cemetery fence and field fence in middle ground, the ruts made by wagon wheels on what was once a section of the Epworth Trail can still be discerned. To the left of the sign east of the cemetery is the Indian burial ground and possible campsite; to the right is the Draper's home, the original section of which was built mid 19th century.
An early settlers' log church, named the Epworth Church after the trail, sat just west of the cemetery's location. The Epworth Church continues today with a modern building one mile east at the corner of CRs 1250N and 350E. An Indian burial ground is said to be located just east of the cemetery. The bodies of Native Americans were deposited there after an altercation with early settlers. Perhaps this was originally a camping area for the tribe since many of their artifacts can still be found in and around this location.
John Brunt's stone, although discolored, is in good shape as pictured left. John homesteaded the property and began the cemetery with the first burials: his first wife Elizabeth and several of their young children. John died "October 21, 1846, aged 44 yrs."
On the right is the stone of "Emily S. daughter of Thomas A. and Rebecca Parks, died March 12, 1851 aged 6m 20 da." The death rate among children in pioneer days was often as high as one out of three. The number of children's graves at the Walker supports this percentage.
West of the cemetery along the trail's route is the farm house built between 1858 and 1860. Along with the modern additions is the original portion which retains its mid-Victorian character. Finally, the very first settler to this land, John Brunt, is resting at the Walker. He homesteaded the property about 1837 and died in 1846. With him is his first wife Elizabeth, who must have perished shortly after arriving since her death date is in the 1830s. She may have been the first interred here and the reason for beginning a burial ground on the farm. Near Elizabeth are the graves of several of the Brunt children. Neighboring homesteaders, travelers, and church members would eventually utilize the cemetery's services.
Although the Walkers owned the land for around 100 years, the cemetery is also known as the Lee maybe because there are so many Lee family members interred here. Pictured right is the base of Nancy Lee's grave marker, "wife of I.J.W. Lee died Feb. 25, 1875, aged 31y. 1m. 16d." The scroll work and curving lines along the corners and for the urn platform on top are typical of mid Victorian architectural style. This monument would have cost more than the simple rectangular upright slabs of stone with unadorned information. The latter was the most common form of grave marker.
After John Brunt died, his second wife sold the farm to the Walkers and from them the cemetery received its name. Walker family members owned the property until 1955 when the Drapers purchased it. Fortuitously, it was Nancy Draper who platted the 119 graves in the cemetery in the 1970s and recorded much of her farm's early history. Later in the 20th century, Nancy would become a volunteer member of the Madison County Cemetery Commission.
Genealogists often seek information from gravestones, and in the case of discolored, faded, or partially destroyed stones, basic sidewalk chalk can be used to make the incising more legible. The flat side of the chalk is rubbed up and down and sideways across the inscription. This makes the letters and numbers stand out. Some genealogists add an extra step by taking photographs of the stone from different angles. Then the pictures are compared. Often, different shadings and shadow effects help illuminate the chalked text. The chalk does not hurt the stone and washes off with the rain. The "before" is shown in the middle and the "after" on the right: "Mary wife of Wm. Cunningham died Sept. 27, 1875, aged 61yrs. 5m. 8da."
Mary and William both had been married before. Mary's first husband was Richard Dilts, 1790-1856. They produced Daniel, Margaret, Simon, Lewis, and James. William's first wife was Editha Parker, 1810-1850. Their children were Ransom, James, William, Rebecca, and John. This Cunningham family was from Davie County, North Carolina and that is where Editha is buried. William's second wife was Jane Inglis whose stone is pictured at left: "Jane wife of Wm. Cunningham died Sept. 4, 1859 Aged 36y. 2m. 8d." This couple had George, Joseph, Mary, and twins John and an unnamed sister who died shortly after birth. Since Jane died in late September 1859, a family genealogist would then know that Mary and William were married after that.
The Walker Cemetery and its connection to historical events continues with Mary's stone. Mary's maiden name was Gustin, and her paternal grandmother was Bethany Fuller who was a descendent of Edward Fuller, one of the Mayflower Pilgrims who signed the "Mayflower Compact," America's first document of democracy. Descendents of Mary Gustin Dilts Cunningham, 1814-1875, still live in Madison County, and some of her Gustin relatives can also be found at the Keesling and West Maplewood cemeteries.
|ID||Names||Birth Date||Death Date||Cemetery|
|2222||BAKER, BENJAMIN||76Y. 9M. 10D.||1882||WALKER|
|2443||BAKER, WILLIAM F.||DEC. 11, 1834||OCT. 30, 1909||WALKER|
|6298||BRANON, IDA BELL||8M.||1873||WALKER|
|7625||BROWN, SARAH||36Y. 3M. 22D.||SEP. 2, 1864||WALKER|
|7674||BROWN, WILLIAM||68Y. 8M. 27D.||1889||WALKER|
|8950||CAMPBELL, J. B.||4 IND BATT||WALKER|
|8974||CAMPBELL, JULIA RUBY||23D.||FEB. 2, 1912||WALKER|
|13289||CRAMMER, RUSSEL R.||38Y. 2M.||AUG. 20, 1888||WALKER|
|14078||CUNNIINGHAM, ELIZABETH||24Y. 9M.||1868||WALKER|
|14132||CUNNINGHAM, JANE||36Y. 2M. 8D.||1859||WALKER|
|14156||CUNNINGHAM, MARY||61Y. 5M. 8D.||1875||WALKER|
|29107||HODSON, JOHN M.||NOV. 7, 1836||SEP. 27, 1905||WALKER|
|29853||HORN, GEORGE||54Y. 7M. 4D.||1854||WALKER|
|30303||HUDSON, JOHN||MAY 5, 1834||WALKER|
|32629||JOHNSON, COURTNEY J.||21Y.||1855||WALKER|
|32898||JOHNSON, WILLIAM||APR. 13, 1843||NOV. 24, 1865||WALKER|
|33442||JONES, PAUL C.||MAR. 21, 1844||APR. 25, 1882||WALKER|
|36609||LARUE, JOHN W.||40Y. 4M.||1862||WALKER|
|37189||LEE, (4 INFANTS of WILLIAM & C||WALKER|
|37226||LEE, ELGY C.||40Y. 1M. 29D.||1849||WALKER|
|37236||LEE, ELZY J.||1Y. 2M.||APR. 12, 1867||WALKER|
|37252||LEE, HILLARY||84Y. 6M.||1892||WALKER|
|37254||LEE, I. JOHN W.||JUN. 7, 1830||JUN. 26, 1896||WALKER|
|37294||LEE, NANCY||24Y. 1M. 16D.||1872||WALKER|
|37317||LEE, SARAH||75Y. 7M. 2D.||1849||WALKER|
|37878||LEWIS, JOHN T.||52 IND INF CO G||WALKER|
|38703||LOVE, ELIZABETH||40Y. 1M. 3D.||1874||WALKER|
|38712||LOVE, JOHN & JACOB||1875||WALKER|
|38721||LOVE, MARY ANN||32Y. 8M. 9D.||1881||WALKER|
|39727||MARKLE, CORYELL||DEC. 17, 1872||OCT. 13, 1874||WALKER|
|39752||MARKLE, JOHN D.||DEC. 1829||MAY 6, 1892||WALKER|
|39774||MARKLE, ORA||7M. 22D.||1882||WALKER|
|39777||MARKLE, ROBERT||JAN. 3, 1855||APR. 21, 1882||WALKER|
|39784||MARKLE, SARAH J.||JAN. 13, 1835||1888||WALKER|
|39945||MARSHALL, LOUISE M.||25Y. 6M. 11D.||1852||WALKER|
|40681||MCCALLISTER, CHARLES C.||8 IND INF CO K||WALKER|
|41416||MCDANIEL, ELIZABETH||85Y.||NOV. 17, 1912||WALKER|
|49629||POTTS, ALEXANDER||1826||SEP. 26, 1876||WALKER|
|52060||RIGDON, THOMAS J.||18Y. 5M.||1860||WALKER|
|63643||TUCKER, THOMAS||8 IND INF CO I||WALKER|
|67207||WHITE, EMILY||23Y. 2M.||1866||WALKER|