Shelby Township, Jefferson County, Indiana

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."

"John Weatherford,
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.
Jeanie Rhodesof Evadale, TX reports that Ryker Cemetery is on land that was once owned by Samuel Ryker, Sr., who died in 1835.

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:

On July 13, 1999, Jeanie provided the following report:
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)

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.

If you are outraged by the condition of this cemetery, express yourself to:

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: Jeanie Rhodes
Jefferson County, IN USGENWEB Page

E-mail: Dee Pavey

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© Nov 2004