Country Correspondent"

Minutes of the 10th annual meeting of the
Silver Creek Cemetery Association in 1885,
published in the National Democrat newspaper in Jeffersonville, Indiana on May 22, 1885

Transcribed by James D. VanDerMark, April 1995
Proofread against the original by Rhonda Couch Clapp, October 1998
Republished in the Bicentennial History of Silver Creek Baptist Church (now known as Stony Point Christian Church), published November 22, 1998

     Saturday, May 16, was the day set for the annual meeting of Silver Creek Cemeterial Association, and thither accordingly a great throng of people from the surrounding country travelled to honor their dead.

     At 10 o’clock fully a thousand people were gathered under the shade of the beech grove near the cemetery, and many walked among the mounds, scattering flowers upon them. It was a notable gathering.

     The Association met at 10:45 with the singing of a hymn. Among the audience were many of the old settlers of the surrounding country, while the young people had turned out also in large numbers.

     Dr. Coombs, President of the Association made a few remarks after the singing, convening the meeting. Secretary W. H. McCoy, of Franklin, then read the programme.

     Rev. McClain of Charlestown, read the Scriptures and Elder Andrew offered a fervent prayer of thanksgiving for the pleasure of meeting again. The meeting then sang: “All Hail the Power of Jesus Name,” led by Elder Harry Jackson, of Charlestown.

     Mr. McCoy next read the proceedings of last year’s meeting which were approved.

     The Committees then reported.

     Elder Jackson made a report on Committee on music. He stated that the committee had been much dispersed by removals, but he thought it was not necessary to take any steps.

     The Committee on speakers reported.

     The Committee on Obituary reported that there had been a greater mortality in the Association last year than for many years. The deaths during the year were:

  George, infant son of George Jacobs, died, August 6, 1884.
  Mrs Sallie Mitchell, died August 20, 1884.
  Victor Bottorff, died September 11, 1884.
  Infant of Wm. Creamer, died October 8, 1884.
  John, son of Wm. Powell, died October 15, 1884.
  Maud Jackson, November 17, 1884.
  Infant son of James Carr, November 26, 1884.
  Infant of Joel Coombs, December 2, 1884.
  Mrs. Mary Walker, December 20, 1884.
  John Coombs, January 15, 1885.
  Mrs. Jennie Hill, December 2, 1884.
 After the report of the Committees Rev. T. B. McClain addressed the Association. He said, that in life all have a view to the possible overthrow of their plans. This lightens disappointment. Life and its plans are uncertain. One thing is certain, life will end. It will come sooner or later. Why is it, that so much of our life is spent for its uncertainties and so little for the certainties. Man should plan and work, but always with the fact in view, that all may end at any moment.

     But people object to think of death. It is believed to be a gloomy subject. It is not. We should be so familiar with it, that we may think of it with complacency.

     It is a sad thing to part but we shall meet again.

     Every man should prepare for the last event.

     While this is true, there is more happiness in life than mourning. The sun shines many more days than it is hidden.

     We may imagine ourselves much worse afflicted than we are. This meeting will do you good. A wise man said, it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of mirth.

     Your society is entirely unique. It is probably the only one of its kind in the county. I have never met with a similar one. It’s a good one, its purpose is right and proper. The dead may here sleep undisturbed in a pleasant spot.

     There will however, come a time when this graveyard shall be useless. This is a happy hope, that one day there will be one to raise the dead and restore them to life, the better life. It is a grand thought.

     At that great time we shall not regret any suffering, any toil for Christ’s sake. All thinks shall work for the ultimate good of them that love him. We look forward to a city that has its foundation in God.

     “Friends, as we come here to the graves of our friends, let us come as wise persons, prepared and ready to go to the Great Reunion at any time.”

     The address was a fine one and was attentively listened too, and a vote of thanks tendered the speaker.

     He was followed by Elder Thomas Jones of Little York, who expressed his pleasure at meeting with the Association and at its purpose in neat, effective words.

     With the singing of hymn 200 the meeting was then adjourned for dinner.

     D. Coombs, before adjourning, stated that during the dinner hour a collection would be raised, to build a road to the church, so that it might never be shut off. The cost of the land and improvement would be $70.

     Elder Jackson also stated that on the Saturday before the third Sunday in June, at Stony Point church, a trustee of the Association would be elected to fill the vacancy by the death of John Coombs.

     The people then scattered over the grounds to enjoy the bountiful store of good things brought along by the ladies. Big baskets filled with cakes, pies, chicken, ham, biscuits, etc., made their appearance, while tablecloths were spread and appetizing luncheons covered the ground as if by magic.

     At every spread was a happy group of young and old, smiling, talking and eating, making one of the prettiest picnic groups imaginable, under the shade of the beech trees.

     Hospitality ruled the hour, and no stranger was permitted to remain hungry.

     After dinner the people visited the cemetery, where almost every one had some relative buried, and every grave had its group of visitors.

     The Association re-convened at 2 p.m. and Mr. W. M. McCoy read a historical paper on Silver Creek church and Cemeterial Association, which was highly interesting to the old people who were present.

Mr. McCoy’s Historical Sketch

     Every thoughtful and intelligent person is interested in the history of the future, but of the future we can know nothing only as it is revealed to us by the revelations of God through His word or spirit.

     Every thoughtful and intelligent person is also interested in the history of the rest, of the past we can know much by observing the things of the past. A study of the future and of the past encloses us in the present. All things become as if present, we have the present, we live in the present. It seems that the early settlers of this section had a remarkable interest in matters pertaining to the future; they did not from the first “forsake the assembling of themselves together” for the study of God’s word, and early organized a church for the abode of the Holy Spirit. All having reference to the future. In doing this very thing they were making for themselves a history. Let us study this history in part today making their past history our present, their day our today.

     Truly this is historic ground. First, it is historic because of the character of the people themselves who first settled here. They were not adventurers seeking chance fortunes, those curious for the new and novel; they were not a set of frontiersmen, going to a new and wild country, settling for a few weeks or months, making a living the most dishonorable and expecting to move on farther into the wilds as civilization should come up with them. They were none of these. They were people of enterprise, thrift and intelligence. Standing first in the communities from which they came, as noble and good citizens. They came here to stay. They came here to make for themselves and their families permanent homes. They brought with them civilization, character and Christianity.

     We shall say more in particular of these people farther on in our paper. Second, the place is historic because of the times at which these people settled here. It was in about the year 1797 that the first settlements were made in this vicinity. All was then a dense wilderness, a gigantic forest. Wild and ferocious animals roamed at large, wolves, bears, panthers and venomous serpents. Not only these of the dumb brute creation were here to frighten, terrify and destroy the first settlers, but here was found an enemy in human form, an enemy most to be dreaded and feared by all enemies, the Indian. An enemy ever on the alert to pillage, burn, kill and massacre. The English incited and encouraged the Indian to his deeds of enmity and treachery which made him the Indian, all the more to be dreaded and feared, his diabolical deeds being begotten by the most formidable, strategic and intelligent enemy of the American people and reaching most effectively the frontier settlers of the country. Forts or block houses were built in the various neighborhoods for safety from the Indian. He was the constant dread both by day and by night. The people were ever on the lookout for him. A man never went to his place of labor without taking with him his gun. The gun was the settlers implement of defense as well as a means of procuring food in the way of wild game. A neighbor visiting a neighbor always had along with him his gun, expecting at any moment on his way he might meet with an Indian. The preacher preached with his gun by his side, and, we guess, that when he prayed he laid as firm a grasp with his hand upon his gun as ever did his soul lay hold of the doctrine of God’s efficacy to answer prayer. Every strange history would suggest the coming of Indians, and often they did come too. The woman trembled in awe of them; the little ones thought every strange comer an Indian. In their sleep they had horrid dreams of him.

     One of the most painful massacres committed by Indians, occurred near here in September 1811, the Pigeon Roost massacre, a most dreadful tragedy.

     Of the wild animals, many of us here today can well remember hearing our fathers and grandfathers tell how the wolves would annoy them, killing their hogs and sheep, and often threatening the settlers themselves; how many bears they had killed, how nearly they came being killed by bears; how bears and panthers had run them home to their houses. Just the other week, I chanced at the home of a neighbor, John P. Nicholson, and he told me that some years ago my grandfather, John McCoy, stopped with him, and while there, cited him to a certain place near his house, the place where the Sinking Fork sinks, and said, “There in 1806 I shot and killed a large black bear.”

     So also, have we heard of the poisonous snakes, mad dogs and other dangerous animals which constantly gave annoyances.

     Third again. This place is historic, because, here was located the first Evangelical church organized within the limits of our State. Of this church we shall give a brief history. This church was not organized in this immediate vicinity, but was organized on Owens creek, some five or six miles east of Charlestown, though then Charlestown did not exist. From the records of the church we have the following concerning its organization: November 22, 1798. The Constitutions: We, the church of Christ, on Owen Creek, in the county of Knox, and territory northwest of the Ohio river, in the Illinois grant, was constituted as a church on the principles of the Baptist Confession of Faith adopted in the year of our Lord, 1765. Being constituted by Brother Isaac Edwards, we have hereunto set our hands this day and date above written, Signed, John Fisler, Sophia Fisler, John Pettit, Catherine Pettit. The church was called, “Fourteen Mile church.” The constituent membership consisted of four persons, two men and their wives.

     Isaac Edwards who organized the church was a Baptist minister from Kentucky.

     On February 16, 1799 the church held its first business meeting at the house of one of the constituent members.

     On July 6, 1799 the church received its first addition to membership consisting of three persons, namely, James Abbet and Margret Abbet by letter and Stephen Shipman by experience and baptism. July 8, 1801, the church received Elisha Carr into membership by experience and baptism. By request of Brother Carr the church consented to hold meeting August 27 and 28, 1801, at his house on Sinking Fork near Silver Creek. At this meeting six persons joined the church by experience and baptism. From this time on, it seems that the church met mostly or wholly in this vicinity, meeting at the houses of either Brother Carr or one of the two William Combs. It was a sad thing for the members on Owens Creek, when they gave consent to hold meetings at Brother Elisha Carr’s for by it the church was removed permanently from them, but several years after this another church, of the same faith, was organized in their locality and named “Fourteen Mile Creek.”

     On October 11, 1801 James McCoy was received into the church by experience and baptized. Shortly after James McCoy joined the church, he was chosen its clerk, which office he held until April 27, 1876 when he removed to Washington county, Indiana. Rice {Royse} McCoy, James Downs, and David Drummonds also filled the office of church clerk many years.

     In 1804 the church built a log church house on or near the site where the old brick used to stand just at the farther end of the cemetery. The church occupied this log house until 1824 when, on November seventh, of that year it moved into a new brick building 27 ft x 46 ft. This brick house was erected in the summers of 1823 and 24 by John Bowel, Jonah Harris and John McCoy, as building committee.

     This brick church many of us here today can well remember, with its fire place in each end, stove in the center, the large front doors in the center of the front side and the high box pulpit in the side opposite the doors. The bricks which composed its walls are in the walls of the house which we today occupy.

     About the year 1803 the name of the church was changed and was called “Silver Creek” instead of “Fourteen Mile”.

     In 1812 the Silver Creek Association was organized at this place. This Association was the first Baptist Association in the State.

     This church was of marked influence in and throughout this part of the State. The territory of membership extended from Hamburg and Bethany on the south to the Zebulon Collins stand and Pigeon Roost on the north, from Fourteen Mile Creek on the east to muddy Fork Creek and New Providence on the west. Many other churches were organized from its membership and of these churches other Associations were formed. “Silver Creek church” truly was the mother of many churches in Southern Indiana. Some of the best men and women were members of this church. This church led out in Christian work and enterprise. In 1815 we see that the church assisted in the matter of Foreign Missions and continued this many years. Soon after the building of the log church, the graveyard was laid out. The church ordered a spade and mattock bought for grave digging. The church built a post and board fence around the graveyard twice or three times and the members frequently met to clear off the graveyard.

     In 1829 a division of the church took place on account of the confession of faith. The majority voting to do away with it and the minority holding to it. The majority contended that they were the church proper, and the minority contended also that they were the church proper. So each division separated the one from the other, each claiming the house, and so each held its meeting on alternating Saturdays and Sundays of each month. In 1834 the “Confession of Faith,” division had a division on account of the mission, Temperance and Sabbath school questions, which resulted in what is know as the Worrall church and the Charlestown Baptist church. The non-commission of faith division or Christian church, held and occupied the house for some years, which becoming old and unsafe for use, built “Stony Point church” where it now holds its meetings.

     As before stated, some of the best men and women belonged to old Silver Creek church. It might be asked, who were they? Let us read from the church roll and see. I shall read from the roll up to about 1825, beginning at the first.

     John Fislar, Sophia Fislar, John Pettit, Catherine Pettit, (Constituent members) William Coombs, Sr., John Dunlop {Dunlap}, Jeremiah Dunlop {Dunlap}, Elizabeth Shipman, Elisha Carr, Nancy Carr, Sarah Boyse, James McCoy, Hezekiah Applegate, Rachel Combs, William Combs, Hannah Combs, Nancy McCoy, William Goodwin, Nancy Goodwin, Thomas Downs, Priscilla Downs, Rachel Worrall, John Boyse, Jincy McCoy, Jane Biggs, Spencer Collins, Catherine Collins, Rebecca Safiers, John Peyton, Charlotte Peyton, Christiana McCoy, Isaac McCoy, Ann Combs, Jesse Tuel, Elizabeth McGuire, Zebulon Collins, Joseph Pound, Tenny Peyton, John Biggs, Elizabeth Peyton, Martha McGuire, Isaac Burge, Sarah Payne, William Moore, Elizabeth Moore, Boyse {Royse} McCoy, William E. Collins, Phoebe Collins, Thomas Broadstreet, Lurene Broadstreet, John Skelton, William McCoy, Elizabeth McCoy, Joseph Cunningham, Peggy Cunningham, Joseph Skelton,Sarah Skelton, Lydia Nugent, John Stuart, Elizabeth Short, William Huff, Robert Sellers, Amos Littell, John Norris, William Watts, Jane Gray, John T. Littell, John Griffin, Isaac Worrall, Jeremiah Payne, (of the old roll):

     Daniel McDonald, Elizabeth McDonald, John Bowel, Betsey Bowel, Anny Netherton, James Worralls, Absalom Littell, Micajah Peyton, Lucinda Peyton, William Gray, Joseph Biggs, Nathan Kelly, John Jackson, Moses Sellers, Elizabeth Stacy, Hannah Carr, James Worrall, Jr., Edward Goodwin, John Williams, Hannah Coombs, John Netherton, Elizabeth Carr. (List of 1816) Polly Goodwin, David Drummonds, Mary Coombs, Obediah Richardson, Amos Goodwin, Millie Goodwin, Lydia Wells, Jonah Harris, David Gray, Polly Gray, William Perry, John McCoy, James Downs, Rebecca Drummonds, John McDonald, Jeremiah Perry, Millie Carr, Margaret Coombs, Samuel Tilford, William Harrod, Mary Harrod, Joseph Perry. (To 1825)

     Would you know who are buried yonder, especially the leading families? Come with me to the graveyard; here we see a tombstone, grown old by reason of age, which marks the grave of Mr. Francis McGuire. He died Oct. 1805. He was the first person buried in this cemetery. His death occurred before the birth of the oldest person present here today. We can learn but very little of Mr. Francis McGuire. He lived on the farm known as the Anson Farm. We do not know if he was connected with any church or not. We find the names of Elizabeth and Martha McGuire on the roll of Silver Creek church, and we are inclined to think Elizabeth was his wife. Mr. McGuire died suddenly of fever.

     Going a little farther on into the cemetery we find many tombstones bearing the name of Carr, a very familiar name to many of us. This grew to be quite a large family and many of the names were of special note and worth. Marked leaders and aggressive in matters social, of the church and of the State.

     There were four brothers of the Carrs as first known, namely; Elisha, John, Elijah and Thomas. These were born in Maryland, but when young moved to Pennsylvania. Here they grew to manhood, married and having families, early moved to Kentucky and from there came to this State and neighborhood, then a Territory.

     John however, never came West from Pennsylvania, he was in the Revolutionary War, taken prisoner and nothing more is known of him.

     Elisha Carr was the first of this family to emigrate to this then new territory. He came here in about the year 1800. He settled on the farm which Wm. Ball now lives, and also owned by Jacob Walker, John Harrod and a part of the farm of John D. Lister. He was the father of Colonels Joseph and John Carr. He was received into the “Fourteen Mile” Baptist church, by experience and baptism July, 8, 1801. All during his entire life he was a consistent Christian man, a warm and earnest friend of his church. August 27th and 28th, 1801, the church met at his house, and at this meeting six persons joined the church by experience and baptism. Frequently after this, before building a house, the church held its meeting at his house. When a church house was built it was built upon his land, which is now included in our cemetery. The church lot upon which both the log and brick houses were built, together with the graveyard, he donated to the church. In 1822 Mr. Carr exchanged farms with Jonah Harris, then took his church letter and moved to Washington county, Indiana, where some years afterwards he died.

     During the time of his connection with the “Silver Creek” church he held one or more offices in the church namely: Elder, Deacon, Moderator, or Singing Clerk. His wife was Nancy Coombs, sister of William Coombs, Sr. Col. John Carr, the son of Elisha, many of us remember. He lived on a farm one mile North of “Slate Cut.” He was the father of Jack and Mahlon Carr and the wives of ex-Auditor Elam Guernsey and Norris Littell. He stammered in his speech. He was Colonel of the Militia, and filled some of the offices of his county and township. He died at his old homestead some years ago. Col. Joseph Carr, a son of Elisha was a the Miller of Silver Creek, he having built no less than three mills on this stream. One where now is Mr. John D. Coombs. A second near here on the site of what was known as the “Harrod Mill,” and a third on the site of W. E. Strauss Mill. He owned the farmed now owned by Mr. John Harrod and here the majority of his family was born and raised. It is said that he was the first to make gun powder in Southern part of Indiana. He was by trade a cabinet maker. He died at his lower mill, the “Straws Mill.” He was the father of the wives of Wm. Nickels and John Hill. He, his wife, and most if not all his children are buried in this cemetery. (Storey of Col. Joseph.)

     Mr. Elijah Carr never came here from Kentucky, but lived and died in Shelby county that State.

     Col. Thomas Carr, the last of the four brothers, was born in Maryland June 23, 1755. Moved to Indiana Territory from Pennsylvania by Kentucky in April 1806. He had twelve children, six sons and six daughters. The major part of his children were born in Pennsylvania. The names of his sons were Absalom, John, Joseph, Thomas, Jefferson and Elisha. One of his daughters married John Bowel, a leading member of “Silver Creek” church. He settled on a tract of land east of Sinking Fork, where afterwards were the homesteads of his sons Thomas and Jefferson. Col. Thomas Carr Sr., was a man of more than ordinary ability. He was a member of the Indiana Territorial Legislature, of the Constitutional Convention and represented his county one or more terms in the State Legislature. He died October 26, 1822, and is buried in the cemetery here. His wife was Hannah Combs, sister of William Combs Sr.

     Absalom Carr was the oldest son of Col. Thomas Carr, Sr. He was born in Pennsylvania September 12, 1786. He was the father of Dr. Carr, now living in New Market this county. He was a member of the Regular Baptists, and died in its faith. He died at New Market and is buried at or near there.

     Gen. John Carr, the second son, was born April 6, 1793, in Pennsylvania. He was a man of quite a considerable note. He represented his district in Congress for eight years. The last time he ran for the office of Congressman he was elected by a majority of 1892. He ran first in 1831 and last in 1839. He was elector on the Jackson ticket 1800. He was an office in the battle of Tippecanoe, and was a General of Militia. He died January 20, 1845. He is buried in the Charlestown Cemetery. Joseph Carr was the third son of Col. Thomas Carr Sr. He was generally known among his neighbors as singer Joe. He was a great singer, and taught many singing classes. Though not a member of church, he acted as singing clerk for the church, and he was a most excellent leader of the music. He was the father of James David and Elisha Carr, whom we all know. He was a kind man to his family; when they desired to attend church, he was ever ready to accommodate them and most frequently went with them; not only on Sunday but on week days. He died in 1844 and is buried in this cemetery.

     Col. Thomas Jr., and Jefferson Carr lived on the land settled by their father. Col. Thomas, Jr., was an office of the Militia and took great interest in the Master Drills. On occasions of public gatherings he made a most excellent Marshall of the day. He died only a few years at an advanced old age and is buried in the cemetery at Charlestown.

     Jefferson Carr died some years ago and is buried here.

     Elisha Carr, the youngest son lived at Laporte, Indiana and died in 1826.

     The next most numerous family buried here is that of the Coombs. They came from Pennsylvania in 1797 or 1800. The first of those to settle here were William Sr., and William Jr., and their father was Jesse Coombs, brother of William Coombs, Sr. This Jesse was killed by the Indians. William Sr., was an uncle of William Jr. They married sisters Nancy and Rachel Bowel. William Coombs Sr. settled on the farm near here known as the Taggart farm and now belonging to the heirs of Mr. Wm. Kirkpatrick. He died many years ago and is buried in the Worrall graveyard, about one mile east of this. His wife lived many years his widow. She is also buried in the Worral grave yard. Both he and his wife were members of the “Silver Creek” church. There were four brothers of this particular family namely; William, Jesse, John and Joseph, and, it is said they all settled in this part of the country. There were also two sisters, Hannah and Nancy. Hannah married Col. Thomas Carr, Sr., and Nancy married Elisha Carr, Sr.

     William Coombs Jr., settled on the farm known as that of Uncle John Coombs, who died this last winter. He was a great church man, frequently the church held its meetings at his house before it had a chapel house. His wife was “Aunt Rachel Coombs” who lived and died his widow. He was the father of Uncle Jesse and John Coombs and of Aunt Sallie Mitchell. Both he and his wife are buried here.

     The brothers of Wm. Coombs Jr., soon followed him to this country from Kentucky. They were John, Jesse, David, Joseph and Joel. John settled first near Work’s Mill, then afterwards removed to near Utica. He was the father of Felix and Fielding Coombs. Joseph died in early times down the river. Joel Coombs settled on the farms of where Wm. Nickels now lives, from here he removed to Washington county, Ind., where he died at a good old age. He was the father of Ex-Sheriff Hannibal Coombs. Jesse Coombs settled on the farm where Mr. John Lowman now lives. He was the father of Eden Coombs deceased, Dr. D. H. Coombs, our President, and W. C. Coombs, of Memphis, Indiana. David Combs settled on Sinking Fork north and west of his brother Jesse. His first wife was Miss Drummond. She died twenty years after their marriage; he then married Miss Lorena Reynolds, whom he left a widow. Jesse and David Coombs are both buried here.

     We find here the name of Drummonds on many of the tombstones. They are a family of Scotch descent. James Drummonds is the representative head of this family. He came here from Virginia and settled on the farm now owned by James and George Mathis. He was the father of twelve children, three sons and nine daughters; John, David and James were the sons. The daughters were Mrs. Col. John Carr, Mrs. David Coombs, Mrs. Nellie Brown, Mrs. Joseph Carr, Mrs. Matilda Biggs, Mrs Polly Davis, Mrs Lettie Mathis, Mrs Jesse Coombs and Mrs. Rebecca Coombs.

     John Drummonds lived near Work’s mill. He was a Colonel in the battle of Tippecanoe and was killed there.

     “Uncle” David Drummonds lived on the farm adjoining “Stony Point” church. He was a great church man, a good and excellent citizen. He was clerk and Deacon of “Silver Creek” church many years. A few years ago he sold his farm and moved to Iowa, where he died a few weeks since. He was living with his third wife when he died. Two of his wives and many of his children are buried in our cemetery.

     James Drummond is living in Laporte county, this State. We find here the name of Davis on a beautiful family monument. Mr. Wm. Davis is the father of this family. He was born in the year 1800. He came here in about the year 1823. He married Miss Polly Drummond. He died in 1879, and his wife died in 1880. Mr. Wm. Davis was the father of General Jefferson C. Davis, who proved himself such a valiant soldier in the war of the late rebellion. I will tell the story I heard of General Jefferson C., just at the close of the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861, and, only the other day I saw the same in print in “Greeley’s Conflict.” The story is this: When Wigfall came over from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter with his handkerchief on the end of his sword as a flag of truce and was admitted to commander Major Anderson, he said, “Let us quit this firing, you are on fire and your flag is down, let us quit?” “No!” said Lieutenant Davis, “Our flag is not down, just step out here and you will see it waving over the ramparts.” At the same time taking Wigfall by the arm, proposed taking him into open view where the rebel balls and shells were falling thick and fast. Wigfall didn’t go, he took the Lieutenant’s word for it.

     We see a number of the name of Mathis buried here. The name is also found on the Silver Creek church roll. This family of Mathis’ is one of German extraction, but were from Pennsylvania here. Two brothers, Benjamin and Charles came here first. We can well remember the old brick house we use to pass on our way to Charlestown, (on the farm where Mr. Jack Mitchell now owns and lives,) the Big M. in each of its gable ends. This was the house and home of “Uncle Bennie” Mathis. His brother Charles lived north and adjoining this. Benjamin Mathis, a son of Charles Mathis was the father of the family of Mathis’ represented in Silver Creek church and cemetery. He married Miss Lettie Drummonds and finally lived where James Drummonds Sr., settled, where now James and George Mathis now own, and live and was their father.

     The name of Goodwin is found on the Silver Creek church roll early in its history, and a number of the name are buried here. William Goodwin was the father of this family. He came here from Kentucky in 1801. He settled on Pleasant Run on the farm now owned by his grandson, Columbus Goodwin. He had three sons, namely; Willis, John and Amos and one daughter, who married a Stacy. Willis Goodwin was known as Judge Goodwin. He owned and lived on the farm where now Mr James Peyton lives and owns.

     John Goodwin lived on the farm where now lives his daughter America. He was a soldier in the battle of Tippecanoe. He is buried in this Cemetery.

     Amos Goodwin lived for eight years on the farm where his son-in-law John P. Nicholson now lives. After this he lived and died on the farm where his son-in-law Dr. D. H. Combs now lives. He took a great interest in the church here in early times. He was one of its Deacons and served in various capacities. Mr William Goodwin brought with him his father, who was born in 1717, 58 years before the declaration of Independence. He died two years after his son, which occurred in 1826, at the age of 108 years. His name was Edward Goodwin and he was a member of Silver Creek church. He is buried in the Goodwin graveyard on Pleasant Run.

     We see here a fallen and broken shaft. It has upon it the name of John McDanald. Several of this name are buried here. The name of Daniel McDanald and also that of his wife Elizabeth appears early upon the “Silver Creek” church roll. Daniel and John McDanald were brothers and were brother-in-laws of Mr. James Worrall Sr., he having married their sister. Daniel McDanald was the father of John and Thomas McDanald, some years ago of this county. Thomas lived some 25 or 30 years ago at Slate Cut on the farm formerly owned by Henry Rodgers but now belonging to the Belknap Cement Company.

     Daniel McDanald lived on the hill farm just beyond Work’s or Green’s Mill. He sometimes preached.

     John McDanald was born in 1780. He came to Indiana Territory in 1801. He settled on the farm now owned by Nathaniel Crawford. He built a log cabin on this place and cleaned off a few acres of ground; but he soon sold out and returned to Ohio. In Ohio he married and returned to Indiana Territory in 1815, having a family of six children. He lived on the farm on the Utica and Salem road, which since his son Daniel owned and now belongs to Mrs. Sullivan. John McDanald died in 1855 on the farm adjoining and above the Josiah Littell homestead. He was for many years a deacon of the Silver Creek church.

     Joel Bowen, a son-in law of John McDonald was killed by one Marshal November 8, 1836. Mr. Bowen was the first County Surveyor of Clark county, and, at first, was appointed to the office by Governor Jennings, for which he held a commission. He also held commission as Captain and Quartermaster of militia. He was from New Jersey and a man of good business qualifications. His untimely death brought sadness to his family and the county lost a worthy officer and citizen. His body rests in this cemetery. In our second chapter of this paper we hope to speak of the Perry’s, Payton’s, Worrall, Bowell’s, Jacksons, Kelly’s, Broadstreets, Whites, Littell’s, Seller’s, Down’s, Nugent’s, Bottorff’s, McCoy’s, McCormicks, Harrod’s, Jonah Harris, John Norris, the Listers, Kahls, Walkers and others.

     Elder Littell then told what he knew of Uncle David Drummond. He said, Uncle David was a hardworking, even-tempered man and he had been known, after going to New Orleans with a flatboat, to walk back the whole distance. He was an officer of the church until he died a few weeks ago. His seat here was never vacant while he lived here. Everybody liked him and he tried to do good to everybody.

     At the conclusion of Elder Littell’s remarks, Dr. Coombs introduced Mr. Herman Rave of the National Democrat, who made an address appropriate to the occasion.

II. Rave’s Oration

     Friends: – Billions of people have lived since the beginning of earth, and among them millions of sages, and poets and orators have thought and sung and spoken upon every subject until there can hardly be a new thought conceived or an old one put into new words.

     Even on this occasion I cannot say anything new, for as you have laid away your dead under the grass and come now to give this day to their memory, so have others done ages before you.

     But bear with me! Love is always new! It is the Phoenix that rises forever from the ashes of age and triumphs over all. Love will lend new fire to old thoughts and old words, and we will listen again, as people have listened for five thousand years to the tale of affection. We will tell it over these silent, grass covered resting places of your beloved sleepers, and it shall be to us a sweet and tender memorial of these who are gone.

     To me a grave is always a hallowed spot, for there is the visible end of that wonderful being – man. There his weakness and his strength are covered up together. There his hopes and aspiration cease. There the fever of life is cooled and the storms of passion are lulled forever. There the gates close upon the mystery of his being and knowledge dawns upon him like the rising sun.

     A grave is always a hallowed spot. It is doubly hallowed when affection gathers around it and hides its tear bedewed eyes in the cool grasses of the mound. Why should we dread the grave? It hides so much we love, so much we long to know.

     Why should we fear the grave? Its inexorable gates will close upon you and I also. They will close upon every man in his time.

     Toward this we all converge. Nay, there is not a thought nor a word, nor a deed, which shall not ultimately come to this place.

     If any of us have done well or indifferent, or bad, the rest of mankind will bring the deeds we left behind us and pile them upon our last resting places with praise or blame and thus build for us monuments, invisible, but far more lasting and often more truthful than are the stones placed over our heads.

     You are building such monuments now in kindly tale and happy reminiscence of your friends who sleep here.

     It is pleasant to do it. If it were only this, that were enough to make it the duty of every man to remember his departed friends for the pleasure it gives. But it also elevates. We forget the faults of the absent ones and dwell upon their goodness alone. We model the poor clay of mortal humanity into immortal, spiritual beauty; with every year we add a refining touch; we clothe it with our own, best thoughts, our purest longings, our loftiest aspirations. All that is good in us we put upon it.

     No man can steadily create for himself an ideal and look upon its goodness and nobility without being the better for it, without being lifted more or less out of his own shortcomings. Therefore I say, it is a sacred duty, not only to your friends but to yourselves which you fulfill and this day will bear for each of you rich fruit in increased affection and strong aspiration after the good and true.

     How fondly memory travels back through the years and lingers under the shade of leaves – long since fallen – speaking to friends – long since gone – and returns a little sadder, but also a little more hopeful.

     I cannot believe that yonder mounds are the end of all. I think that the very fact that our hearts hang to the past is a pledge of the future. I believe, with Holy Writ, that these places are only the inns of a night and that there is a reunion in store for us, more pleasant even than this of today. I believe that a May morning will come when all creation shall be renewed, and with it every old and beloved acquaintance. It is in this hope that you and I are able to come here. If it were not so, the memento mori about us would sink us in unutterable sadness.

     Let us live up to our hope, to our faith. Let us rejoice that these we love are safely housed from storm and stress. That their labor is over and the time of rest has come for them. Let us also rejoice, that there are still days left for us, to reach out higher, to do better, to become fitter to meet them beyond the gates of the grave.

     Dr. Coombs, President of the Association moved, that the Association request the publication in the NATIONAL DEMOCRAT of Mr. McCoy’s paper and Mr. Rave’s address, paying both a high compliment. The motion carried.

     A vote of thanks to all the speakers was passed and the Association adjourned until next year.


     A fact not generally known, is that Sinking Fork disappears at the old Amos Goodwin cemetery and passing below Silver Creek Cemetery reappears at the northwest corner of the latter burying ground, several miles distant, through a rocky portal. Many years ago several men in a skiff penetrated a long distance into the cavern of Sinking Fork, a feat now impossible.

     Elder McCoy will preach at Silver Creek church on the second Sunday in June.

     Among the old people present were: Mrs. Mary Bottorff, Mrs. Lorena Coombs, Mrs. Malinda Coombs, Mars. Rachel Coombs, Mrs. Rebecca McCoy, Mrs. Littell and Dr. D. H. Coombs, Messrs. Wm. Nickels, John P. Nicholson, Louis Bottorff, Sr., John Dietrich, Mahlon Carr, Elder A. N. Little, C. C. White, Alf. Worrall, Sr., Alexander Kirkpatrick and W. S. Ferrier.

     The committees remain as they were.

     At the luncheon spread by the ladies of Uncle Billy Nickels family and Mrs. Dr. Coombs, were gathered beside the family Rev. T. B. McClain, Charlestown; Elder Jones, Little York, Elder Andrews, Sellersburg; W. S. Ferrier of the Record, and H. Rave, of the DEMOCRAT.

     Dr. Coombs advanced a new theory in hygiene. He advocated distension. Accordingly everybody followed his advice and the appetizing vlande contracted visibly.

     Fully a thousand persons were gathered at old Silver Creek.

     Silver Creek Association is the only society of its kind in the world.

     Silver Creek is the oldest cemetery in Indiana.

     The face of Rev. George Schwartz, the venerable pioneer, was missed this year.

     The amount of the collection was then announced, being $32.50.

For additional information on Silver Creek Cemetery (including an on-line index of known burials at this site), see the Silver Creek Cemetery website on the Internet at http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/5881/silvercreekcem1.html.

Return to the Clark County GENWEB main page