The cemetery is on a slight rise
in a wooded area a short distance to the southwest of Jefferson Presbyterian
Church. From Madison, take Hwy 421 to S. R. 62 towards Canaan. Turn left
on Flat Bottom Road. Left on Thornton Road and a Short right on Jefferson
Road. There are signs to Jefferson Church.
"In memory of Henry Conaway, who died September 28th 1838; aged 38 years and 12 days. Also his son and daughter Hugh and Cynthia Ann."
died March 12, 1857;
aged ?3 years, 3 months, 25 days"
"Sarah, wife of John Weatherford,
born Feb 21, 1809,
died May 26, 1891"
Headstone of Samuel Ryker, who died June 24th 1843. This marker has a tree grown around it. Jeanie's daughter, Miranda, stands next to it.
Mr. Riker also donated the land to build Jefferson Presbyterian Church, across the road from this cemetery.
The map at left shows the location of Ryker Cemetery. It has been variously referred to as "The Riker Cemetery", "The Riker Family Cemetery", and "The Riker Private Cemetery".
This location should not be confused with Riker's Ridge, which was started by another Riker.
Jeanie has a sad report on the present condition of Riker Cemetery:
"I went to the court house in Jefferson County and the one office I needed was closed. Go figure. I called the trustee and he said, 'I know what cemetery you are talking about.' (His last name is the same as the last name of the people who own the land around the cemetery.) I don't know this man personally but it sounded like he really didn't care one way or another about this cemetery."
I have just returned from my annual genealogy field trip. One of my yearly stops is the Ryker Cemetery in Jefferson County, near Jefferson Presbyterian Church. (see http://www.geocities.com/toto?s=76000008)If you are outraged by the condition of this cemetery, express yourself to:
I took my daughter and explained to her (again) that these were her ancestors. She promptly told me that someone who let this happen to a cemetery "needs a spanking because they are being VERY disrespectful" (add one to our side).
She then turned around and found four new stones under a tree that had fallen over. We took pictures and notes and left the cemetery. While we were visiting the cemetery at the Jefferson Church, a man came by and as we were touring the church, he agreed to walk over to the Ryker cemetery. He was shocked to see how bad it is. About 15 minutes later we found ourselves sitting in the kitchen of Lillian Gutherie (76 years old) and Frieda Buchanan (96 years old). They are members of the Jefferson Presbyterian Cemetery Board. We told them what was there and showed them the video we had taken earlier in the day. They were very upset and told me that they had not been to the cemetery in about 20 years. They also asked for a copy of the video so they could show it to some people.
We all decided that they would take the video and show it at the next county cemetery board meeting, and that they would ask for a fence and help cleaning it up. We would still have to repair the stones.
If that doesn't happen, we would get estimates for the fence and organize a work day early next summer. Either way, there should be a fence around it by this time next summer. The farmer that runs his cows on it doesn't want the fence but the cemetery is on the books at the courthouse as property of the Jefferson Presbyterian Cemetery.
Anyway, I had to share this with you all because it is the most positive thing to happen with this cemetery for as long as I have been visiting (4 years, I think, maybe 5). I'll keep you all posted.
Jeanie has provided the following abstract of the remaining stones, observed by her during a visit in the summer of 1998:
BENEFIEL ___y Benefiel (could be Amy Benefiel nee: Riker or Amy Benefiel who did not marry. Further research is necessary) b. ???? d. 07-24-1845
CONAWAY Henry (aged 38 years, 12 days b. ???? d. 09-28-1838
CONAWAY Hugh (son of Henry) b. ???? d. ????
CONAWAY Cynthia Ann (daughter of Henry) b. ???? d. ????
RIKER * Barbara nee Fullenwider (wife of Samuel Riker, Sr.) b. ???? d. 06-16-1829
RIKER * Samuel, Sr. (father of Samuel below, husband of Barbara Fullenwide and son of Gerardus Riker, who fought in the Revolu- tionary war; brother to John Riker of Riker's Ridge in Jefferson Co.) b. ???? d. 1835
RIKER Samuel (a tree has grown around Samuel's stone; see photo below) b. ???? d. 06-24-1843
WEATHERFORD John, husband of Sarah (age __3 years, 3 mos., 25 days) b. ???? d. 03-12-1857
WEATHERFORD P. A. (Co. H., 10th Indiana Cavalry; Civil War marker of white marble) b. ???? d. ????
WEATHERFORD Sarah, wife of John b. 02-21-1809 d. 05-26-1891
___________ Blank stone in good condition (footstone?)
___________ Approximately 15 broken and unreadable stones*According to family tradition and "old family records", the asterisked entries above are thought to be buried in this cemetery.
E-mail: Dee Pavey
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