Carroll County urged by descendant to find cemetery
DELPHI -- More than 100 years ago Janell Smith's great-great-grandfather was buried in a potter's graveyard near here.
Since then the cemetery has not only becoming overrun with trees, brush
and thorny brambles, but no one in Carroll County seems to know exactly where
Now Smith, of Dayton, Ohio, says she has located its corner post and is asking Carroll County commissioners to take time, and the money, to positively identify the burial ground, distinguish it, and make it accessible to the descendants of those laid to rest in the unmarked graves.
"I want it to be marked and accessible so family members can go back there and pay our respects," Smith said during a commissioners meeting Monday. "I'm not asking you to identify everyone who is buried there."
Smith, an avid family genealogist, said she is interested because her great-great-grandfather -- George Nape -- was buried there Nov. 3, 1900, with possibly 46, or more, other people.
Nape was a resident at the Carroll County Home, now Carroll Manor, the county's assisted living facility. A plaque at the manor lists Nape and 46 other names of people buried at the cemetery, which is suspected to be off the west side of County Road North 625 West, just north of County Road West 100 North.
Smith said she has been concerned that the graveyard would be sold to Indiana Packers Corp. Since 2008 the hog-production plant has been talking with the county about purchasing 29 acres adjacent to its property and near the cemetery. Those acres have been assessed for about $500,000 and earmarked for Carroll Manor upkeep if sold.
"I don't want a hog plant on top of my great-great-grandfather's grave," Smith said.
On Monday, commissioners said discussions to sell the land to Indiana Packers are ongoing, but there is no intention for the cemetery to be included. "We've been looking at this for awhile and trying to find out where the graveyard is," said commissioner Patrick Clawson. Company officials don't want the cemetery land. "That was never going to happen."
During the meeting, Clawson and commissioner Loren Hylton said multiple people who claimed to know the location of the graveyard have given commissioners various sites. Clawson recently went hunting for evidence of the cemetery and passed over the steel corner marker Smith found.
"There are just brambles all around," he said. "You wouldn't know a graveyard was there. And we still are not for sure this is the right spot." Clawson promised Smith that by year's end work would be done toidentify the cemetery, but he offered no additional guarantees.
"As far as cost, once we get it located that is probably the end of our responsibilities," Clawson said after the meeting.
But that was not enough for Smith, who said she thinks it is the county's responsibility to open the area to the public and to do maintenance. Phyllis Moore, curator of the, Carroll County Historical Society Museum,
said she hopes Smith's insistence will pay off. Moore said she has documents that show the cost of burying Smith's great-great-grandfather and someone else at the cemetery was $9. That included coffins.
"We know they are there," Moore said. "We just want people to be able to visit their ancestors."
BY ERIC WEDDLE • EWEDDLE@JCONLINE.COM • SEPTEMBER 21, 2010
Link to online article is here.