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Rush County, Indiana
Genealogy and History

a small part of the INGENWEB and USGENWEB Projects


History of Bell/Barrett Cemetery, Rush County, Indiana

Semi-Centennial History of the Presbyterian Church, Knightstown, Ind.," a pamphlet produced for the membership in 1882. In it are a couple of paragraphs about the beginning of the church. It is written in the hyperbole of the day and contains a lot of passages expressing religious fervor. However it is a history of the people who founded the church.


"...Harvey Bell, son of John and Sarah, owned a farm just south of his father's farm and extending to Ripley Township line west of the cross roads, just north of the I.S. and S.C. Home. Harvey gave 3/4 acres, more or less to Bethel Presbyterian Church for Cemetery, and most --if not all-- the original members of the Bethel Church -- and others of the Bell Family -- are buried there. Cemetery deed was recorded in Rush County Recorder's Office September 21, 1838. This Cemetery is 2 miles south of K-town..."

Barrett Cemetery is partially in Ripley and Center Township of Rush County, Indiana.  The person who mows the cemetery was there one day when I was, and show me where the road use to go through the cemetery.  There is a clear and definite line through the cemetery where there is no gravesites.


  Its really about the people buried in the Barrett/Bell Cemetery. The Bells and McCutcheons were inter-related because John Bell married Sarah McCutcheon and his sister Margaret Bell married William McCutcheon, Sarah's brother. These two families formed the nucleus of the eighteen individuals that moved to Henry Co. in 1832. They, for the most part were members of the Bethel Presbyterian Church near Greenville, Augusta Co., VA. As I understand from Frank's correspondence, only one woman was from Tinkling Springs Presbyterian, a neighbor of Bethel's. Most of the eighteen people are listed in the early membership rolls which are recorded in, "Bethel and Her MInisters 1746-1974, "Rev. Herbert S. Turner and James Sprunt, McClure Printing Co, Verona, VA.




"...In the early spring of the year 1830, a young man left his home in Rockbridge County, Virginia, with his face westward. His purpose was to seek a place which he would adopt as his future home...his name was William Edmonson. After a few months of employment in teaching school...he returned home and was married to Mary McCutchan (the McCutcheon spelling has morphed into McCutchan and McCutchen which are more commonly used HB) morning in September 1831 as this young man and his wife, Harvey Bell and family, David Byers and family, and a few others made ready for their journey to this Eldorado of the West..."


On the establishment of the Knightstown Presbyterian Church;


"...Concerning this, the church records say: "a number of individuals, who had formerly been members of the Presbyterian Church, having met, according to previous appointment, at the house of John Bell, in West Liberty (one mile southwest from Knightstown, on the 24th day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two. The Rev David Monfort was present, by request, for the purpose of moderating the meeting and to organize a




"After prayer by the Moderator, the following persons presented certificates of former membership, viz: John Bell and Sarah his wife, with their son John M. and daughters Margaret and Rebecca; William McCutchan and his wife Margaret, with their sons James and Samuel and daughters Rebecca and Isabella, who came from the church of Bethel, Augusts Co., Virginia; also Rachel H. McCutchan, from the church of Tinkling Spring, same county and state and from the church of Lewistown, Indiana Harvey Bell and his wife Nancy; David Byers and wife Elizabeth; William  Edmonson and wife Mary...."




after the organization.

In September, of this year, the Church of New Providence, Virginia, (Rockbridge County HB) met with serious loss, but it proved a rich gain to the this church, because fourteen of their membership are received into fellow ship here; of who I still find dwelling among you, James, Mildred, Rachel and Charles Campbell. On MAy 10, 1834, the




Were received, viz: Mrs. Rebecca Johnston,, William Templeton and his wife Elizabeth..."


The item contains more names in describing the latter history of the church, some of which I believe appear in the cemetery of interest. Should you be interested and have not seen this document, I would be glad to scan it and send it to you. Frank Edwards provided the copy to my mother. They may have a copy at the Historical Society there in Knightstown.


The first death they mention, of the congregation, is listed as Rebecca Johnston, the book I have notes such an interment in that Baptist Cemetery.


Oh, the McCutcheons mentioned in the piece moved to Iowa, then onwards to California, taking the Mormon trail across. One girl kept a dairy, stark, not a lot in it, wouldn't make much of a movie, but it is one family's record of the crossing.


There is a David Byers mentioned in the piece and his wife Elizabeth (Horne), from Augusta County; they were married 10 APR 1827, by the rev, James Morrison, New Providence, Rockbridge Co., VA. I believe they are buried in BBC. As is a son whom is mentioned as being baptized early on, John Ott Byers.


From the GenWebSite for Rockbridge County: "Rockbridge County, VA was formed in 1778 from Augusta and Botetourt Counties. However, the settlement within the bounds of present day Rockbridge began in 1737, in Borden's Grant. The area was then a part of Orange County, VA. Augusta County began keeping records in 1745, and covered what is now many states.


In 1770, Botetourt County was formed from Augusta. The present Maury River formed part of the boundary. It was then called North River."


The way the rivers flow between the mountains, it is easy to see how settlement would naturally develop along them. Many of the original settlers in Rockbridge were from Augusta, and maintained close ties. When you consider that in the British Isles, the family farm usually went to the oldest son. The others had to fend for themselves in the clergy, the military etc. If not the original holding would be chopped up until it could barely sustain  even one family. When they came to America and found the lands of Virginia uninhabited and seemingly never ending, that changed. Instead of dividing up the family farm, often the sons would head up or down stream and settle on virgin lands or homesteads that had been abandoned by those seeking even greener lands in Kentucky and Ohio.


Many of the early land deeds for Rockbridge and other later developed counties are at the Courthouse in Staunton, Augusta Co., VA. So, it is to be expected when a family moved that it would include members form both Rockbridge and Augusta (and many others I am sure.)


Oh, something that is rarely mentioned is that when the Bells and McCutcheons moved from Virginia, they brought their slaves with them. They seemed to have had a few that worked on the farms. They were not the huge slave owners like you found mostly in the deep south. You can find them listed in the census. The McCutcheons took theirs to Iowa where they released them. Something else that occured was that when the civil War occurred, there was a large "Copperhead" sentiment in the areas of Indiana that had been settled by the people from Virginia and the other southern states. This influx helps to explain it.


Information received from Harvey Bell (