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 Colonial Dames Discuss Cemeteries

March 26, 2008 (web only) - Friends Fellowship in Richmond was the meeting site of the Edward Pearson Chapter of Colonial Dames XVII Century on March 14.

Hostess Helen Hudson had the table decorated with St. Patrick's Day decorations and a centerpiece of shamrocks. After sharing a meal with members of the Weetomp Chapter of the Daughters of the American Colonists, an informative program was given by Joe Smith, the Jefferson Township Trustee in Hagerstown. Smith, as the township trustee, is following a mandate by the State of Indiana to maintain cemeteries within the township that have previously been abandoned and deeded to the township.

There are seven abandoned cemeteries in Jefferson Township. Of the seven, the first to be worked on was the Felton Cemetery, which is located west of the airport. There are three headstones that are graves of the Felton family, who were early settlers around 1820. Work began in 2003 and is to be completed in 2008.

The St. Jacob Lutheran Cemetery (west of Hagerstown on State Road 38) has been restored other than fencing. The cemetery got its name from the late Jacob Kimmel, who donated an acre of land for the cemetery.

The Ulrich German Baptist Cemetery on Hoover Road was restored in 2007. John Ulrich, the father of Hagerstown founder Jacob Ulrich, is buried there. He was born in 1764 and died in 1838. The last burial there was in 1953. The location on Hoover Road is very near the Henry County line.

Treaty Line Road Cemetery on Treaty Line Road is mentioned in the late 1800s records, but no stones have ever been found in the area where the location is understood to be.

Another cemetery is referred to as the Unnamed Cemetery and is located on the northeast comer of Brick Church Road and Bear Creek Road. It is estimated there are approximately seven graves but no stones have been discovered. This may have also been called either the Zook or Brethren Cemetery due to its proximity to the Brethren Church up the road.

The Baldridge Cemetery is one of the first English cemeteries located in Jefferson Township. This cemetery is located east of Hagerstown south of State Road 38 behind the Leon Reynolds farm. Steel Baldridge and his wife, Sarah, are buried in there.

The biggest project to date is the Olive Branch Cemetery located off of Olive Branch Road northeast of Hagerstown. The cemetery is land locked although there is an easement that allows a path to the cemetery. There are between 140 and 200 stones that are broken and in disrepair. This was also the location of early Methodist and Brethren Churches.

Following the most Smith’s program, members and guests repeated the ritual of the Pledge of Allegiance, The American's Creed, the Salute to the Flag of the Colonial Dames XVIlC and the Object of the Society. Correspondence from the veterans’ home in Lafayette acknowledging the receipt of clothing, lap robes and valentines was read.

Registrar Helen Hudson reported the current membership stands at 34. The group has lost Margaret Brower, who was a charter member. She joined in 1975 and held many offices over the years. She will be sorely missed, according to group members.

Under new business, The Pioneer Benjamin Mendenhall Chapter has proposed a marking of the Lauramoore House in Richmond. The house was the home of Mary Thistlewaite Birdsall who was a premier suffragist and advocate of women's rights in Indiana during the mid-19th century. They have invited the Edward Pearson Chapter to be a part of the marking at a date yet to be determined.

A motion was approved to have two veteran gravestones cleaned this year.

It was also agreed that the Edward Pearson Chapter make a donation to the Jefferson Township Trustee for the cemetery restoration project. As a National Defense Report, Hudson read a poem entitled Right of Free Elections written in 1792. It is as appropriate today as it was over 200 years ago.

The next meeting will be May 9 at Friends Fellowship. Those present included members Hudson, Norma Jefferson, Melba McKnight and Cynthia Rhoades, and guests Jean Dilley, Marie Foreman and Nancy Merkamp.


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