Sunday, October 4, 2009

John Downing, RW Veteran

The stone and military markers for John Downing at Bowers Templeman Cemetery. The DAR marker is cemented in because the first one was removed, apparently as a souvenir. Unfortunately, it has the wrong service on it. He was actually in Capt. James Scott's Company.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Old and New Stone

William Nelson Downing married Delilah Downing [no evidence of them being related has ever been found] and soon departed for service with the 106th Illinois. She was pregnant. He never returned, never saw his son.

He's buried at Downing Cemetery with his father and other relatives. She's buried at Bowers Templeman with her parents, grandparents and other Downing relatives. She and her second husband have an imposing stone. More than 20 years ago some of his descendants decided to give him a better one. His father got a new one also.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Robert and Polly Birks Buckles

These are the stones Robert and Mary "Polly" Birks Buckles at Steenbergen Cemetery, my great great great great grandparents. They are the parents of John Andrew Buckles of the Buckles angel. Robert Buckles served in the Winnebago Indian War shortly after arriving in Logan County, Illinois

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Buckles Angel

This angel marks the Buckles enclave at Steenbergen Cemetery, Mt. Pulaski Township, Logan County, Illinois. Note the "wall" in the background which surrounds this group of stones.

This stone is for John Andrew and Esther Jane Scroggin Buckles, my great great great grandparents. Despite the 1877 date on the stone Esther died December 16, 1904, and John died July 6, 1909.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Thomas Lucas and Wives

The Thomas Lucas Family at Lake Bank Cemetery

The stone on the far right, the tall stone, is that of Thomas Lucas. Thomas had three wives and 17 children. The first wife was Mary Turner. She had 11 children before she died in 1855. Her stone is on the far left. The next stone belongs to her son George. Mary was the maternal grandmother of Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan and sister of Spencer Turner.

Seven of the children were under 15 at the time of her death. This might explain why seven months later Thomas remarried to the widow Harriet Gambrel Lanham. Harriet was 38 and apparently without children. Thomas and Harriet had two daughters before she died in 1867. Her stone is third from the left. Five months later he married the widow Charlotte Bowman East who had three children. Charlotte and Thomas were first cousins through his mother Hannah Bowman. I don't know what happened to her first three children but the happy couple had three children before Thomas died in 1874 leaving a pregnant widow. That child died about six weeks after birth.

Charlotte soon moved to Kansas where she died in 1908 and was buried in Sumner County.

Although his father died when he was 13 Thomas was not a poor man. This may account for his ability to find a new wife so speedily each time.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

War of 1812 Veteran Grave Marked

Darrell Eugene Payne, Gayle French Lessen, Thelma Gardner Eisberg, Mary Payne Barringer, Lindsay Erlenbush Maus, Pamela Erlenbush, Phillip Franks French, Brynne Barringer Monier. All are descendants of John Winans Clark whose stone [with wife Ann "Nancy"] is on the left. [Photo by Jane DeWitt]

On June 13, 2009, the Sangamon River Chapter of the United States Daughters of 1812 joined descendants of John Winans Clark and guests at Laenna Cemetery outside of Chestnut in Logan County for a Dedication Ceremony to mark the grave of Clark as a Veteran of the War of 1812.

John Winans Clark served in Captain Jeremiah Martin's Co. in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteers during the Clark migration from New Jersey to Illinois.

Clark is one of at least 28 veterans of the War of 1812 buried in Logan County. He is thought to be the only one buried at Laenna.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vanishing DAR Markers

Humphrey Scroggin was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Note the DAR markers on his grave in Steenbergen Cemetery, Mt. Pulaski Township, Logan County, Illinois. He also has a flat military plaque. The stone was saved and repaired through the intervention of Dalen and the late Sandra Shellhammer, genealogists who oversaw the cemetery operations for years.

Literally just a few feet away is the stone for Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Lucas. The above picture was taken in 2001. Note the edge of the DAR marker. This Memorial Day that marker was no longer there. There is no military marker. You would not know Lucas was the forefather of many DAR members.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Is Buried in Biedler's Mausoleum?

In Mt. Pulaski Cemetery there is a brick mausoleum. It is unique in that it is the only mausoleum in the cemetery. It is not attractive. But it is more unique because it is sealed tightly. For years I thought it was an abandoned storage building, not realizing it was the mausoleum in my grandfather's story.

This is the mausoleum of Henry Beidler who died in December 1888. I know very little about Mr. Beidler. He escaped mention in the local histories, both contemporaneously with his life and the more recent ones. He comes from a family that married a daughter of Jabez Capps, one of the founders of Mt. Pulaski. Other members of his family were involved in publishing the local paper. He did marry and have heirs because one of them contacted me and basically wondered if I knew who is buried in Beidler's tomb.

All I could relate is a story my grandfather told me long ago. A man was buried in the mausoleum in a coffin containing alcohol. It was supposed to be a preservative. Someone broke into the mausoleum. Officials went into the structure, opened the coffin and noted that the body was well preserved, sealed the coffin and then sealed the mausoleum. Presumably relatives were involved. That was all I knew.

Only one coffin was mentioned. The story, and the mystery, is related on the the Logan County Genealogy blog. Maybe you know something that will help a descendant find the answers.

Photos by Jane DeWitt

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Comfortable Stone?

This stone is not in Logan County. It isn't even in Illinois. Marble Maven Jane DeWitt sighted this tombstone somewhere in Kentucky and had to take a picture. Do you suppose the Duncans manufactured chairs?

Conrad and Eva Maus

This is the stone for Conrad and Eva Maus. They came to America from Germany in 1854 and to Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, soon after with their six children. The significance of the stone and urn is not known.

Photo by Jane DeWitt

Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Winans Clark

John Winans Clark was born in Somerset County, New Jersey, in 1779, traveled to Kentucky and eventually Illinois, and died at Yankeetown, Logan County, Illinois, on March 5, 1859. He is buried at Laenna Cemetery, Chestnut. Yankeetown is long gone but once was about where he is buried.

Along the way John Winans Clark served in the War of 1812 in Captain Jeremiah Martin's Company, Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, mustering in on August 31, 1813, at Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky.

Mary Payne Barringer, one of his descendants, will oversee the June 13 ceremony dedicating the official US Daughters of 1812 plaque is placed on his grave.

More on John Winans Clark at Ancestor Hunting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Real Stone

Photo by Jane DeWitt

This the stone, literally, for Henry Volle at Mt. Pulaski Cemetery. Henry was born September 7, 1874, and lived for 92 years until October 3, 1965. He and his wife Margaret Horn had three children. The children grew up and moved away. I have no idea why he chose this very large rock.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Planning a Cemetery Trek

Each year about this time we start thinking of those cemeteries we are going to walk or at least visit as soon as the weather allows. Visiting a cemetery in the city is very different than visiting a small rural cemetery in the middle of nowhere. If a rural cemetery is on your list here are some tips for that visit. Much of this has been posted before on one of my other blogs.

Cemeteries can be pretty remote with no one to see or hear you and quite possibly no other visitors for a long time, particularly if the cemetery is inactive.

Know how to get there. In some counties you can pick out a cemetery from several miles away [it is the only spot with trees] but that is not true everywhere. Google and Microsoft have detailed online maps. You can search GNIS, the government's geographic names database at: for location and then plot it on the map of your choice with a couple clicks. Don't forget the map.

If there is a map of the cemetery or an online listing of any sort that gives you clues on how to locate the particular stone print it out and take it along. USGenWeb sites often have cemetery listings, sometimes maps or layouts. Make a note of the people buried around your ancestor so if for some reason their stone is unreadable you'll know you are in the right place and can go from there. Stone lists for Logan County can be found at

Wear a hat and take plenty of water. The only drinking available is highly likely to be what you brought with you. Dehydration is dangerous. Someone suggested if you drink too much water you'll need the facilities and the cemeteries have no facilities. I'll leave it to you to figure out how to deal with that situation in the middle of nowhere. If you plan to be at the cemetery awhile you should take some snacks or even pack a lunch along with the water. In olden days people often picnicked in cemeteries. You can too.

Don't go alone if you can avoid it. Take your cell phone. You could have trouble with your vehicle. [This is the voice of experience long before cell phones. It was a LONG walk.] You could fall and hurt yourself or even break something. The ground will not be smooth and level. Stones have been known to topple. Some places, particularly where cemeteries are not mowed regularly, have critters [they dug those ankle wrenching holes] or stinging bugs. Be safe. Take a friend and a cell phone. I always have a first aid kit in the car.

Take your camera with a large memory card but don't forget pen and paper or a recording device. If you record on tape or digitally be sure to spell everything out even if it is spelled wrong. You might want to have your camera date each photo. If it is small cemetery do yourself and fellow researchers a favor and photograph each stone. You are there. It is an act of genealogical kindness. At a minimum draw a map of the stone location area so the next person can find the stone.

Recently I read an excellent suggestion from Jean Hibben. She takes a picture of the cemetery entrance first and then the stones. That way your pictures are partially organized when you download them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Old Clark Stones

This is the stone of Rev. David and Sarah "Sallie" Winans Clark in Mt. Pulaski Cemetery. No, I can't read it either anymore but back when you could it was read and it says:

Sally Wife of Rev. David Clark and Daugh. of Samuel and Hannah Woodruff died Dec 3, 1843 by the 54th year of her age
Also Rev. David Clark Born Aug 28, 1776 Died Jan 6, 1847 In the 72d year of his age

Nice of them to include the genealogy on the stone.

This stone is standing thanks to the work of Eagle Scouts from the area who, as a project, righted and stabilized stones in that old area of the cemetery.

There are other Clark stones in the area including this one for their son Rev. Richard Clark. It is only a seven years younger but it has survived better than the other stone.

I took these pictures but if you have an ancestor buried in the Mt. Pulaski Cemetery it is likely you can get Jane DeWitt of the Mt. Pulaski Township Historical Society to take a picture of their stone for you.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Warrick Cemetery Issues

Warrick Cemetery is back in a field in West Lincoln Township less than a mile south of the Lincoln Correctional Center and the Logan Correctional Center, two "adult facilities" -- in plain English they are prisons, medium security.

Warrick is a small, old family cemetery administered by the Logan County Cemetery District. Bill Stephenson, a Warrick descendant whose Black Hawk War ancestors are among those buried there, complained that the cemetery has been poorly treated.

The district is pretty good at taking care of cemeteries, even those that are rarely visited. Naturally those that get more visitors get more attention but all get mowed at least a couple times a year.

Bill told me the stones in Warrick have been pulled up and placed in a pile. This stunned me. He says he is not aware of any plot map of the cemetery so, even if the intention is to replace the stones, there is no way they can be returned to their proper location. The Logan County Genealogical & Historical Society may have some pictures but no map.

But Illinois law would seem to prohibit such removal of markers. From the "Illinois Historic Cemetery Preservation Handbook" issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency [June 2008]:

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) administers the Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act (20 ILCS 3440; 17 IAC 4170). This Act, passed in 1989, protects all unregistered graves, graves artifacts, and grave markers (including prehistoric burial mounds) that are over 100 years old and are not located in a cemetery that is registered with the State Comptroller’s Office under the Cemetery Care Act. The Human Skeletal Remains Protection Act offers protection from all disturbances including, but not limited to, excavation (including cultivation), vandalism, removal, defacement, or desecration in any way
(20 ILCS 3440/1). It is the agency’s preference that graves or cemeteries be undisturbed and preserved in place.

and further:

It is unlawful for any person or agent representing an individual to knowingly disturb or to allow the disturbance of human skeletal remains, grave artifacts, or grave markers without first obtaining a permit from the IHPA. Any violation of this Act is a Class A misdemeanor. Violators can face imprisonment of up to six months and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Any subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony (20 ILCS 3440/3-11).

I mentioned the two prisons in case the county or state is considering expansion and plans to relocate the cemetery. That has been done before. But the prisons would seem to be too far away for that to be practical and the local farmers are not aware of such a plan.

Stay tuned.