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Cemetery is center of attention

A very small cemetery, with only nine gravesites, has become the center of attention. The last burial in this particular cemetery was in 1871.

The Salem Cemetery is located on the west county line road (CR 1200W) between CR 300S and CR 400S in Eden Township. A little research shows that the cemetery has been abandoned for some time. Originally platted in 1869 by the Sugar Grove Methodist Episcopal Church, it was transferred to the United Methodist Church Conference when the church closed.

Fast forward to 2013: Some relatives of people that are buried in the cemetery contacted the township to request that the cemetery be cleaned up and maintained. It has been reported that when Township Trustee Dawn Christner hired a crew to clean up the area a neighboring farmer, Bruce Mann, called police to have the workers removed from what he claimed to be his land. The cemetery has reportedly been at least partially plowed and used as a part of the farm field which it adjoins.

County records show the ¾-acre site is listed as tax exempt and no one has paid any taxes on the parcel for a number of years.

It is noted in the 1982 edition of Cemeteries of LaGrange County, published by the LaGrange County Historical Society, that stones are broken off and are standing against trees at that time. Now those trees are gone and the grave markers are piled up near the road in the southeast corner of the property.

It was reported in the commissioners’ meeting Monday, that the Methodist Church Conference is willing to sign over a deed for the property to Eden Township. When that happens, the township will then have standing to reestablish the cemetery, erect fences, remark graves and maintain the facility as a cemetery.

Those interred in the Salem Cemetery include:

Elizabeth Elliott, Relict (widow) of Andrew Elliott, 63 years old, died April 26, 1844

Martha Elliott, wife of Andrew Elliott, 23 years old, died April 20, 1817.

Frances Ann Elliott, daughter of A. and M. Elliott, 3 years old, died June 22, 1848.

Sarah J. Elliott, daughter of T. and A. Elliott, 2 years old, died March 20, 1849.

Quincy F. H. Kiblinger, son of F. and H. Kiblinger, 4 years old, died March 6, 1850.

Nancy A. Hart, wife of Daniel Hart, 70 years old, died Aug. 6, 1868.

Lovina Chrisman, wife of George Chrisman, 41 years old, died Sept. 21, 1871.