After the triumph of finding Freddie’s grave we headed back to Wabash County to photograph another cemetery. This one would not have as many ancestors as yesterday but we still managed to take 56 photos! We even found some that had photo requests on Find A Grave.
By now it is midday and my mother was nursing an extremely sore ankle. She had hurt it before we left for the trip and had irritated it by walking down the hotel stairs that morning. It was starting to look like locating America Cemetery may not be in the plans for this trip. However, I was driving and decided to go back to America to see if anyone was home at the house we were told may have the cemetery in the woods behind them. At least we could locate where we should return next trip.
Beyond excited I hurried back to the car to pull it over and explained to my mom and aunt that the homeowner had offered to show me how to find the cemetery and that I was going to follow her. I can’t express the excitement in the air!
The homeowner gave me directions but then decided to join me! She had not been back to the cemetery in years and was not sure I would be able to find it. It seems she had been lost in those woods a couple of times and was worried I might get turned around. Instead it turns out the path was still visible and we set off together.
I’m not really sure how far we went but all of the sudden in the distance I saw a headstone! And then another and another. I left out a whoop of excitement! Among the trees in this woods lay America Cemetery. According to cemetery records the earliest burial occurred in 1836 and the last burial in 1871. Among those buried include Indians which lived in the area. My first thought as I stood there among the quiet of the woods was “how long has it been since one of my ancestors visited this place?” The last of my ancestors were buried here in 1861. Before the civil war had ended. I can easily guess it had been more than 100 years. And with that thought, I began to cry. I felt so blessed to be there among those stones.
I got out my camera and began photographing every stone in the cemetery that was still visible and standing. The homeowner joined me in my quest, pointing out stones among trees and behind shrubs. Some stones had fallen over and we were not able to lift them (another job for my husband in the fall!) so we had to leave those for now. The names we were able to read off the stones came straight out the of Wabash County history books: Garrison, Harrell, Pearson, Rinearson and Scott!
After I photographed all the stones I took a moment and photographed the cemetery itself. And then we started back. Before the cemetery disappeared from my view I turned around and took one last look and promised…..I will be back.