Center Cemetery, in Liberty Township, is one long ago abandoned. The earliest date on a stone is February 27, 1854 and the latest July 11, 1887. People living within the mile do not know of its existence. A grove of trees, in the center of the section is the only evidence to any traveler on the four roads which bound the section that there is a cemetery there. The Atlas of 1877 refers to it as the "old cemetery on the James Scott Farm."
A road east and west, passed thru the middle of this section many years ago but has long since been closed and there is now no ingress to the cemetery. I walked over the plowed ground and thru two fields of tall corn before reaching it.
As one would expect, tall trees, vines and some grass make locomotion difficult. The markers are fallen or broken and many may be hid by the fallen vegetation of the years.
The Center Christian Church is at some distance from this cemetery. A deed to this plot of land was made to this church and they are still the owners of it. The Grant County Deed Book, P pp. 254 reads as follows:
"that James Scott and his wife Annis Scott of Grant County Indiana in consideration of the Christian love & feelings toward the human family generally, have granted, bargained, donated and set apart for public use as a burying ground to inter any and every person that has not forfeited the laws of their God and Country and the further consideration of one dollar to us paid by Dugan Wall, Elwood Arnett, Marmaduke Mendenhall and John Harrold trustees of the Christian Church - Deer Creek, Grant Co., Indiana, and to their successors in office as trustees of said church forever the following tract or parcel of land" then follows a description of the tract. This is signed by James Scott and his wife Annis Scott. William Neal, Surveyor May 1, 1856.
Note: Upon further investigation, I have found there were actually two Christian Churches. The following information comes from the "Grant County Atlas of 1877" and information from the present records of the Center Christian Church. I also have a copy of the deed listed above. "In about the year 1850, the Christian Church (New Light) built a church in Section 28, and organized a lively congregation; but of later years a number of the leading members moved to other localities, and the church has been discontinued. Rev. Cain Mullen was pastor. The second Christian Church was started in 1874. The cemetery was given to the first one. None of the records I have examined so far have given a clue how the second church inherited the cemetery, however in about 1920 the second church (from their own records) relinquished ownership of the cemetery to the township. From the Atlas of 1877, I found the following about the second Christian Church; The Church of Christ organized a church at Center School House in 1874, with a membership of thirteen; they now have a membership of seventy-five. They have a church edifice of the capacity to seat 400 persons, valued at $1600. The church is in a flourishing condition, and has a Sabbath school established at the place of worship. Rev. F. M. Collins is pastor or evangelist; William H. Ayers and William I. Millner, Elders; John Herrald, Cyrus W. Gibson, Jasper Wilson and William Jones, Deacons." This is the same Center Christian Church in existance today. (2000) Actually I believe the first one was called Christian Church (New Lights) of Deer Creek, not Center as was written by the DAR above. Investigation to find the name of the McCombs whose stone is in this cemetery brought this information from Miss Cornelia McCombs of Fairmount who is his grand daughter, "my grandfather is buried in the Scott Cemetery. His given name was John Young McCombs. I am not sure that grandfather was in the War of 1812, but think he was for he was about the right age for service at that time." The above was written by the DAR in the 1940's.
I visited this cemetery in the late summer of 1996. It's not much different than it was 50 years ago when read by the DAR. There are no trees left standing today. There is only a small plot out in the middle of a bean field. There is ground cover called Vinca, growing profusely, mixed with Poison Ivy and various other weeds. We had to walk down a fence row past a corn field and almost all the way across the bean field to reach this cemetery. It is located in the S.E. 1/4 of the N.W. 1/4 of Section 23 N. Twp 23 N. Range 7E. Liberty Twp. Grant County, Indiana. Leave Marion on State Road 9 South and go to county road 800 S. turn right or west and go to 200 W. The cemetery is in the middle of the mile between 800 and 900 S. - 100 and 200 W. It was a very long walk back to the cemetery, but is was worth the effort. If you plan on visiting this cemetery you should get permission from the owner of the land surrounding it. The Center Christian Church has long since been abandoned and I don't know who the proper owner of this cemetery is now. Many of the old abandoned cemeteries are in the hands of the township trustees. I did notice while I was back there that some time probably, around Memorial Day, someone had put a number of flags up in memoriam to dead soldiers. This is usually done by the American Legion in honor of soldiers who fought in the various wars.
This is a very small plot. But you can see a number of unmarked graves. I am guessing there are probably at least twice as many graves here, than shows in the readings. The earliest grave I found is Daniel Felton son of S. & M. Felton who died Nov. 8, 1856. The one listed by the DAR turned out to be in error. They had 1854 but it was 1874. I only found 2 other graves that were not previously listed. I am sorry to say there were three graves I did not find at this time. Keep in mind this doesn't mean they aren't there. There were 2 thickets that could have hidden stones. We tried to check these but found nothing at this time.
One more interesting thing to point out is the notation in the deed that states the Center Christian Church was at Deer Creek, Grant County, Indiana. Was there a small settlement or town called Deer Creek at this time? This is the first time I had ever seen mention of this. Also the road that is no longer there wasn't in the middle of the section but in the middle of the half section. Maps of the early 1920's or 30's show this road. The owner of the farm told me it angled over toward the cemetery and crossed over toward the east on the north side of the creek that crosses 100 W.
* Denotes a stone not found at this time.
Edington, Willis A. son of Wm. & C. Edington died Oct. 6, 1885 aged 12y.1m.24d. Felton, Charles died June 30, 1878 aged 75 years Daniel son of S. & M. Felton died Nov. 8, 1856 aged 1y.3m.5d. Samuel died July 19, 1878 aged 42y.6m.14d. Householder, * Andrew died Aug. 19, 1877 aged 71y.10m.10d. * Nancy wife of Andrew Householder died July 11, 1887 aged 75y.7m.3d. Jackson, Elliott H. son of J. & L. Jackson died June 22, 1863 aged 27y.3m. Kilgore, * Infant dau of Eli & R. Kilgore still born Jan. 15, 1857 Kirkwood, Earley died Aug. 4, 1880 aged 7m.18d. Francis died Sept. 6, 1881 aged 2m.18d. Perley died Sept. 6, 1880 aged 8m.16d. All three children listed on same stone as: Children of J.L. & M. Kirkwood McCombs, John Y. died Nov. 8, 1880 aged 97y.3m.29d. Schmuck, Margaret wife of Eli Schmuck died Nov. 12, 1882 aged 57y.10m.13d. "Asleep in Jesus - blessed sleep" Thalls, Anna dau of J.W. & H. Thalls died Nov. 18, 1876 aged 7y.1m.1d. John son of J.W. & H. Thalls died Nov. 2, 1881 aged 1y.3m.13d. "He took thee from a world of care In everlasting bliss to share." Mary Ann dau of J. & N. Thalls died May 24, 1866 aged 17y.8m.16d. Mathias son of John & N. Thalls died Jan. 24, 1867 aged 16y.1m.16d. Williard son of J.W. & H. Thalls died Oct. 6, 1868 aged 11m.5d. Whybrew, John J. died Apr. 28, 1871 aged 27y.23d. Joseph J. son of G.E. & M.A. Whybrew died Jan. 13, 1872 aged 1y.6m.18d. Wilson, Amrozine dau of W. & M. Wilson has passed May 24, 1867 aged 16y.5m.13d. Effie M. dau of J. & E. Wilson died Jan. 16, 1871 aged 4y.11m. Effie had a separate stone, but I only found the top of it. She is also listed on the same stone with Mark R. and Mira E. Emily J. wife of William H. Wilson died Dec. 10, 1871 aged 19y.6m.19d. Mark R. son of J. & E. Wilson died Mar. 1, 1874 aged 3y.20d. S/S with Effie M. and Mira E. Mary Liza dau of W. & M. Wilson was called Jan. 24, 1867 aged 13y.3m.18d. (This stone was hard to read, badly weathered and almost illegible.) Mira E. dau of J. & E. Wilson died Feb. 27, 1874 aged 5y.9m.8d. S/S with Effie M. and Mark R. William H. died Mar. 17, 1877 aged 37y.14d.
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