The Eels accompanied me to Rushville

This has been a rough week.  I have been sick.  I actually did start to get better, and then went ahead and got sick again a few days later.  During one of my healthier days this week I decided to take a little trip to Rush County to see if I could find some of Andrew’s family who are buried there.  I also thought I might spend some time at the library there.

I got in the car and started going through a book of CDs that Andrew found in the basement.  I don’t know how long they had been down there, but I was so excited to come across one of my favorite Eels CDs, Shootenanny!!  GREAT Album.  It was Saturday morning, which made the song (Saturday Morning) that much more enjoyable for me.

“Saturday morning
And this ain’t the place for me
I’m giving you warning baby
We got a whole big fat world to see”

Just as a side note.  Only the Eels could make a song as creepy as Restraining Order Blues sound so pretty.  If you haven’t heard the album, I’d highly recommend it.

My first stop would be McCarter Cemetery.  This cemetery is literally in the middle of nowhere.  I spent about 20-30 minutes there and didn’t see a car the entire time.  I did, however, see an Amish horse and buggy.

The only traffic I saw at McCarter Cemetery

The closest town is Milroy.  Not much going on there, either.  But honestly, this was a beautiful cemetery.  It was so quiet with a beautiful view of barely-rolling hills, with little one lane roads cutting through the land.  I could have sat here all day.

View from McCarter Cemetery

Luckily, this was a really small cemetery and I found Andrew’s family pretty quick.  His Corey family is buried here, along with some of his Boring family.  In fact, his gggg grandmother lived to be at least 100 years old.  The gravestone said 1776-1886 100 years.  So someone was bad at math, but he’s got some healthy genes either way.  Supposedly this Corey family is of relation to Giles Corey/Cory.  He is the man who was pressed to death by heavy stones during the Salem witch trials.  I have yet to get that far back in the history, but if I have to make a trip out to Salem, so be it.  I LOVE Salem.

I found a nice little spot under a tree where I could sit for a bit and relax.  I just sat and listened to the wind blow through the dying corn plants behind me.  It hasn’t rained here in about 3 weeks, working on 4.  Everything is brown.

I believe that the tree I found was also the spot for some sneaky corn-stealing squirrels to munch down on their stolen goods.

Discarded corn cobs. Those crazy squirrels!

I left my peaceful little world of McCarter Cemetery and headed for the big city, Rushville, Indiana!  Andrew also had family buried here.  His grandmother’s maiden name is Boyce, which I have since learned was Boys about 2 generations before her.  I knew that this Boys family was buried in East Hill Cemetery in Section 3, thanks to findagrave.com.  However, this was a MASSIVE cemetery.  I drove in and was like, “whaaa?”  I found section 3 fairly easily, but even this section alone was massive!  Miraculously, I managed to find the Boys family in less than 3 minutes!  They were right by the road.  I got out to take a picture.

Grave of William Boys and Helen Boring - ggg grandparents of Andrew

Now, sometimes I have an occasion where I think to myself, “If someone was paying attention to what I’m doing right now they would think I was insane.”  I mean this about life in general, not necessarily grave hunting.  There have just been these moments in my life that are like that.  Sometimes when I see someone who I think is acting very strange, I just have to remind myself that I have also had these moments, and there’s probably a very logical explanation.  While I was hunting for the grave I noticed a man and woman in the same section.  The woman seemed normal, but the man seemed frantic.  They had a glass that they kept filling in some water pump and taking it back and forth to a headstone, from what I could tell.  He was dressed nicely, as if he had just left church (It was Saturday) and his lady friend was in like a black cocktail dress.  When I finally got close enough to hear what they were saying.  The man was raving about how great the stone was.  And how when he died he was very interested in this certain type of stone.  He was wild-eyed.  He moved at twice the pace of the woman he was with could move. I didn’t make eye contact.  I was kind of scared of him.  But maybe I was just hungry.

I was getting hungry to the point of light-headedness and decided I should find somewhere to eat.  This is one of my favorite things to do on these little excursions.  I love finding new small-town eateries.  So I pulled out the trusty iphone and searched for restaurants in the area.  I could only find four.  One was Hardee’s.  I don’t think so.  One was Mexican.  Not in the mood.  One was Pizza King.  I can’t eat a whole pizza alone.  And the other was a little Corner Cafe.  That sounded perfect.  I parked, and walked to the door.  CLOSED?!  What?  It was barely after 2!  I thought I would drive around and see if I could find something that might have not shown up on my phone.  I passed the library and thought I would check the hours.  I was pretty sure they were open till 5.  I popped by the sign and, what?!  They closed at 3!  Rushville, you’re killin’ me!  This is the part where I gave up.  I decided to hop on SR 52 and head back to Indy.  There would be a restaurant somewhere along the way.

I was right.  I found a Dairy Queen type place where I could get some chicken fingers and ice cream.

I hopped back in my car and headed home along 52 which is a lovely drive.  A country road interrupted by cute little towns every few minutes.

The Eels accompanied me to Rush County and Coldplay brought me home.  It was a lovely drive on a lovely day.

Recent Americans

I have been helping the aunt of a friend of mine sort out her genealogy material.  It has been interesting to talk with her (and my friend) about their family because their relations came over to America much more recently than my own.  They are some serious Irish.  Like…REALLY Irish.  Like most of them are named Patrick, Bridget, Mary, or Joseph Irish.

While I was at her home on Friday her new son-in-law was hanging out.  He is the son of Basque Cuban refugees.  He knew exactly how his family got from the Basque region to Cuba, and then from Cuba to America.  He didn’t understand how we had to do so much research to figure out how we ended up in this crazy place called America.  “My mom got here on Eastern airlines.”

There is only one branch of my family that came to America after 1830 or so.  That is a branch on my maternal Grandmother’s side.  They’re Welsh and they unfortunately have the most boring and average names you could find.  There is a Jones branch and a Smith branch.  Very helpful.  Thank you.

While we were in New York recently we were lucky enough to be at Ellis Island the day that they were naturalizing new citizens.  I have to say it was kind of moving.  I’m interested to know if two generations down the line the children of these new Americans will know where they came from.

Front entrance to Ellis Island (Museum).

New Americans on Ellis Island

Cole Porter's Cousin in Peru

I was stuck.  A man sat across from me.  I didn’t know how name.  I wasn’t sure how he was related.  But I believe I was listening to his entire family history (which was long…considering he was in his mid-80s).  When we got to the story about how he saw Cole Porter once because his cousin lived across the street from his apartment in Peru I began to wonder, “How did I get sucked into this?”

Andrew’s Reed family was having a reunion up in good ol’ Bremen, Indiana.  No one knows where Bremen is, so when I attempted to describe it’s location, I said, “Plymouth, Indiana is the nearest bustling metropolis”.  It’s in northern Indiana, not quite “the region” but pretty close.  Much of the Reed family has hailed from this area, in or around Marshall County, for generations.  Marshall County is where Andrew’s mom grew up.  So I thought this would be a great opportunity to meet some of the older people in the family who I haven’t met and who might have some info for me that I could add to the tree.  I had no idea what was in store for me there.

It started out with the usual Reed atmosphere.  Lots of nice people and good food (mostly carb-based).  I usually leave an event in northern Indiana feeling very bad about myself and what I had consumed.  I like to pretend that the drive back to Indy actually burns calories.

Soon after the eating Andrew’s mom comes up to me and tells me she was talking to a man about the family’s history and he said that so and so was a colonel in the American Revolution.  Well….I needed to talk to this man.  Take me to him!  She took me to a very nice man.  I showed him the very vague print out I brought with me and merely asked him to look it over to tell me if there were any glaring issues.  He seemed very excited about my tree and said there were names on there he hadn’t really seen yet.  Then he asked if I wouldn’t mind talking to his dad.

I should have known better when it took about 3 minutes to break into the conversation that he was already having.  His son said, “Hey.  Dad!” about twelve times before he decided to acknowledge his presence.  He said, “This girl here is working on the family tree and wanted to know if you could see if what she has so far is right.”

He did!  He checked out the tree.  It looks like I’m on the right track.  That took like 5 minutes.  I talked to him for another 55.  No no….that is wrong.  He talked to me for another 55 minutes.  At least.  I’m not sure what he was talking about for most of it but here is some of what I learned about: the entire history of the state of West Virginia, Cole Porter’s headstone in Peru, Indiana, how many branches of the name Smith are really out there (countless), bodies of water in northern Indiana, and various “scandals” within his family.

I glanced around every so often for help.  I was trying not to be rude but he was talking to me with CONSTANT eye contact.  I could have been handcuffed to the picnic table and my level of “trapped” would have been exactly the same.   Finally Andrew’s mom caught my crazed and anxious glances.  She ran over.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t a run, but she got to my side very quickly (she is truly a gem) and attempted to break into the conversation.  It took almost another 10 minutes for her to help me get out and away from that table.  When I asked for his email address we got a long story about how his email address came to be.  ::sigh::

We finally exchanged names after speaking for over an HOUR and were on our separate ways.

I finally left the table and immediately reprimanded Andrew (probably unfairly).  “Didn’t you see me over there?!?  I kept looking over here! Thank god your mother saved me!” He responded, “I thought you were just learning lots!”  Or something along those lines.  He really was a very nice man.  I shouldn’t have been so peeved, but I had truly become claustrophobic in a open-sided park shelter.  I didn’t even know that was possible.

As Andrew was packing up drinks into the car his new iPhone fell out of his front pocket and sort of broke, a lot.  Ugh.  He had it much worse than I did.

Overall the reunion was great.  I wish I hadn’t been sucked in for so long because I wasn’t able to talk to the rest of the fam that we don’t see very often, but the food was good.  I felt like after that conversation I deserved all those chocolate peanut butter crispie treats.  I earned it.

Sad about genes

Genealogy makes you start to think more about genes…obviously.  When you see old pictures of family members you start thinking things like, “Wow!  That looks just like my brother!”or “Now I know where Bobby gets his red hair!”

There are some pictures of my mother when she was younger that look just like me.  It’s a little creepy actually.  My sisters used to tease me and say things like, “Wow, Erin!  What was it like in the 1950s?”  There is a picture of my grandmother from the 1940s in her town newspaper posing with some people from her class.  It’s almost as if my little sister had been transported in time and was sent to sleep with curlers in her hair.  SUPER creepy.

So every time I go out into the sun I curse my genes.  You see…I am white.  I am very white.  If I’m not wearing sunscreen I will burn in less than 15 minutes.  Even if I am wearing sunscreen…strong sunscreen….I will still burn.  It will take longer, but it will happen.  After researching my family tree it is upsetting that I had this good chance to get nice dark skin from my dad’s side but ended up with the white pasty skin from my mother’s side (a group of people who came almost primarily from the British Isles).

I have known for just over a year that my dad’s side is filled with many dark-skinned people.  The Goings family that orginated in Angola (as far as I know so far).  The Hill family, not descended from the Goings, is the same.  Henry Levi Dorton, a ggggg grandfather was sold into indentured servitude until his 31st birthday and was luckily released early after some untimely deaths of his “owners”.  Much of the census records of my family members of this branch into the early 1900s consider them “mulatto”.

Then there is my brach of Choctaw Indian, also on my dad’s side. Hannah Findley, another great grandmother of mine, had to go to court to prove that she was Choctaw to get her freedom from slavery.

My little sister, Amy, has great skin.  She tans in the summer.  She isn’t afraid of the sun.  She’s probably burned a couple times, but she has good coloring.  And then there’s me.  I get tan in one place on my body, my left arm (the driving arm).  It’s a slow building tan, but by the end of the summer it’s something to be proud of.  But then, of course, I’m convinced I am going to get melanoma.  I scrutinize the shape and color of every mole or freckle.

So how did Amy end up with this great color and then there’s me…the whitest white girl? This is why I am sad about genes.

Practically a neighbor

So a friend of mine has moved to New Orleans.  She obviously doesn’t visit very much because, well, she lives in New Orleans and “Home” is Indianapolis.  Which sounds more exciting?  Anyway, she came home for a week because of a baby shower and we hung out for a few days.

We used to be roommates at IU so one day we drove down to Bloomington for a nostalgia-fest.  Andrew works down there three days a week so we made sure to go on a day that we could have lunch with him.  We made all the usual stops. Yogi’s for lunch, the Union, Kirkwood, our old house, the Auditorium for a visit with old friends.  I even got a no-bake cookie from Sugar and Spice, or what my friends and I decided to call it our Freshman year, a no-bake-ie.  Eh?  Clever, right?  Eh?

Anyway…

Of course I can’t go anywhere without thinking, “Is there a cemetery I need to visit?”  Well, there weren’t any for my family, but I recently started working on a friend of mine’s tree.  We’ll call her C-Dogg B-Dizzle to protect her identity.  She is also a friend I have known since Bloomington days and I found out that much of her family came from Bloomington and the nearby areas.  In fact, I lived ONE BLOCK from where her Great Great Grandparents were buried.  We were neighbors!  In fact, I used to take little strolls in that cemetery.  I’ve always loved cemeteries.  In fact, one of the reasons I loved my last apartment in Bloomington so much was because it was nestled right in between two cemeteries, and I had a great view of the pretty one on a hill out my living room AND bedroom window.

Now C-Dogg was not really aware of her history there and only knew that a grandfather of hers went to high school there.  Her Brosmans have been living in that area for generations, if not in Monroe County, then neighboring Greene County.

My New Orleans friend helped me find the headstone in White Oak Cemetery.  I can tell you with certainty that she REALLY didn’t want to get out of the car in that 98 degree heat and help me hunt for headstones, but she was a good sport and SHE found it.

What I found very interesting about the plots of her family is that they were scattered sort of haphazardly across the back line of the cemetery along the trees.  Ella and Alvin Brosman (married) had matching stones, but were like 25 yards from each other.  William Byrd, a son of theirs, was somewhere in between along with like 6 others.

Headstone for Ella Jane Brosman

Headstone for Alvin Brosman - C-Dogg's gg grandfather

Another thing I found amusing was within the tree line was another sad little cemetery but for unwanted headstone decorations.  They absolutely littered the surrounding woods.

Abandoned flowers in White Oak Cemetery

The closest we got to an “adventure” was mixing up White Oak Cemetery with Rose Hill Cemetery.  Thanks, Google Maps (that was sarcasm).  BUT we had a lovely time on our visit.  And I was delighted to find something for a friend.

A Long Darke Trip (Part 2 of 2)

Over the course of a couple of weeks after my summer trip to New York and DC I decided that I would create a Google map to identify important places in mine and Andrew’s family history.  This would be birthplaces and deathplaces (addresses if possible) and cemeteries mostly.  I had a fun time watching my map take shape and actually seeing the pattern of migration across the country.  I divided it into four different colors, one for my mother’s branch and then father’s, and then the same for Andrew’s side.  The reason I decided to put this together was to create something easily accessible for when we were out on a trip and had a little extra time.  This happened while we were in DC and I had a hard time finding a place I wanted to stop because there was no easy way to find all my important locations along a course from DC to Indianapolis.

Does this make me a nerd?  Potentially.

Anyway…

I used my fabulous Google map after my trip to Garst Museum to find homes and cemeteries in the area where I could find my peoples.

Andrew had  great great great grandparents who lived and died on Water Street in Greenville.  I drove past the address but it seems this house has been torn down and was replaced in the 1930s or 1940s.  There is a church still next door that seems as though it must have been there while that family was there.  I took an uneventful picture for Andrew’s mom along Water Street.

Water Street - Where John Clinton and Sarah (Sink) Crumrine resided

The connection to Andrew is as follows:  Andrew Nelson > Gloria (Reed) Nelson > Esther (Bolinger) Reed > Oliver E. Bolinger > Sarah (Crumrine) Bollinger > John and Sarah (Sink) Crumrine.

I also knew there were some family members that I couldn’t figure out and I wanted to check some of the smaller pioneer cemeteries in the area.

A lot of my peoples come from Neave Township in Darke County so I looked up a couple of the cemeteries around there and went searching for my surnames.  I started out in Oak Hill Cemetery in Fort Jefferson.  I’m not sure if Fort Jefferson is a town, village, or what.  It’s small and as far as I could tell there weren’t any stoplights.   I found a few headstones, but I still haven’t managed to try and match it up with those in my tree.

I then drove by the park (that sits where the fort used to be) and noticed another small cemetery down the street.  This was a really small one next to a Methodist Church.  I parked and started walking the aisles of stones.  Unfortunately I could only read about 50% of the inscriptions.  What I found very interesting was that some of the oldest ones were the easiest to read.  My only assumption was that it was harder stone.  I would like to know what they carved some of those very early headstones from.

As I was finishing my self-guided tour an older gentleman with a cane yelled from the road, “You finding what you’re looking for?”  I have to say that throughout this ENTIRE day I had about ten people ask me this.  People were so friendly and helpful.

I told him that I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for, but that I had some surnames that I was hoping to find.  I did find one or two in this small pioneer cemetery.  I found a Nyswonger.  It’s spelled a little differently than some of my peoples but it’s possible they’re still related.  Spelling in the 1800s seems to have been an afterthought.

Thus began the hour long conversation with the friendly neighbor.  He told me ALL about this street and what it used to look like when he moved here.  He bought this house over 50 years ago with his wife, Bert (Roberta) who just died two years ago, just sitting in the kitchen after breakfast.  He took me on a tour of his amazing garden.  His Asian Pear tree was spectacular and I suggested he try to sell them in Greenville.  He says he already does that, and smiled proudly.  He told me about his kids and his grandkids.  When he found out I was from Indianapolis he told me about all of his hiking adventures in Brown County, Indiana.  He was in a hiking and camping club.

One thing I had been wondering for a couple years now about this area was why does everyone have a metal roof.  It’s the opposite of how it is here.  When you drive around in Indy, almost everyone has shingles.  If you see a house with a metal roof it’s kind of rare.  In old-town Western Ohio if you see a house with shingles it’s rare.  Almost everyone has a metal roof.  I asked the man why he thought that would be.  He says, “Well, they’re more expensive but they last longer.”  This wasn’t an answer.  I asked, “Well, is there a state tax deduction or something for installing a metal roof?”  He said that there was nothing like that.  So….I’m still stumped on the roof issue.

After about an hour of chatting he reminded me that it was just about dinner time and I might want to head home.  He walked me to my car and saw me off.  He was very sweet.  I never even got his name, but I know where he lives.

A Long Darke Trip (Part 1 of 2)

I am in the middle of a little bout of unemployment.  I have some part-time work I have been able to do on the side, but mostly I am without work.  While having mini adventures during this time makes me feel guilty, so does sitting around looking for jobs and not finding anything.

So a few weeks ago I decided to travel out to Darke County, Ohio.  I believe it was a Tuesday.  Much of my family came from Darke County and the surrounding areas.  Oddly enough, Andrew’s mother’s side also had a chunk come from the same area.  I have looked hard to make sure there are no overlapping relations.  We’re all good here, kids.

I have a grandmother still in Dayton and I can’t tell you how many times I have driven to Ohio on I-70.  I wanted something more scenic, so I had an amazing drive across State Road 36.  I picked it up in Pendleton and took it almost all the way to Greenville, Ohio.  It was humid and early when I left which created this beautiful haze over the massive sprawling yards and farms almost the entire duration of the trip.  Taking 36 was a fabulous idea.  Good job, me.

I got to Greenville just in time for lunch and had a lovely meal at Bistro Off Broadway.  They did give me a weird look for eating alone, but maybe I was being self-conscious (but I don’t think so).

I headed to Garst Museum, an amazing little museum for the history of Darke County.  This is also the place where one researches the county’s family histories.  It’s the place to be.  When I walked in I paid my $5 and was told that there were two exhibits going on at the museum, one on Annie Oakley and one on Lowell Thomas.

This was great!  Annie Oakley is actually of distant relation to Andrew!  Lowell Thomas was actually my great-uncle (by marriage)!  I decided that I should get started on research first.  A small, fast-speaking, older woman gave me the instructions on how to begin.

Sign here.  I signed.

Write down the surnames you are researching.  Oh….hmmmm….lots?

It didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t just sort of browse and have things come to me.  My father’s side of the family and Andrew’s mother’s side have so many families from that area I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Let me show you.

Erin’s fams (surnames):  Brown, Munn, Ditmer, Hill, North, Surber, Niswonger, Staudt, Fryman, Harnsberger, Beam, Miller, Goings/Goins/Goens, Davidson, and Cartwright

Andrew’s fams (surmanes):    Bollinger, Crumrine, Bausman, Sink, Blocher, and Michael

I started with just two surnames on my side, Brown and Munn, and then one surname for Andrew’s, Bollinger.  I started with these names because I actually know people with these names.  I thought it might be a little easier.

I only had four hours till the museum closed for the day.  I started with Browns.  BAD IDEA!  I could spend an entire day on just the Browns.  TONS of information.

This was my first trip to a research facility to work on just family history.  I realized how much more information I could get if I travel.  Man…I have found the best hobby EVER.

There was only one other person who was in there the majority of the time with me.  About two hours into my research he says to me, “You’re not supposed to take pictures in here.” He did this mid-snap.  I gasped.   I’m not generally a rule breaker.  “Oh, but I thought I was allowed!”  And then he laughed at me and said he loves doing that.  Turns out I really wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures, but I don’t think he cared.  I didn’t read the instructional sign correctly.  Woops.

He asked me how my research was going and what names I was looking for (ancestry pleasantries).  I asked him if his family was from Darke County.  His wasn’t, but his wife was.  He explained to me that he is an author and that he was writing a book about a distant relative of his wife (I believe it was a great great uncle), last name Roberson.    This distant relative was the only man hung in Darke County, Ohio.  I was so excited to reveal my connection!  “That’s great!  My great great grandfather was deputized to find the only man hung in Darke County!”

It’s true.

Turns out that this man I was talking to in the museum was the writer of the article where I learned this little tidbit of information.  He said that after that article came out he started hearing from people all over the area with their own little tidbits of information.  He decided to write a book about it!  I can’t wait to read it.  I believe his name was Bill Stevens (the writer, not the hanged).  The link to the article written about this interesting event in Darke County History is included here:

http://dailyadvocate.com/main.asp?SectionID=108&SubSectionID=388&ArticleID=129708&TM=43764.42

The writer left.  I was alone again for a while and dug through folders till it was time to pack up.  I decided that I wanted to take a look at the museum’s exhibits before I left (I HAD paid to get in).  I walked through Annie Oakley’s and realized there was much too much to see in the 15 minutes I had.  Seems she was an amazing lady.  A good shot, anyway.

I walked into the next room and found a room dedicated to an exhibit of Lowell Thomas.

I didn’t know who Lowell Thomas was until I graduated from college.  In fact, the only reason I knew then was because he was an answer to a crossword puzzle from an antique magazine we were playing with at work.  The question was something about Lawrence of Arabia.  The answer was “Lowell Thomas” and I was like, “That’s my uncle!”  People just kind of looked at me in a sort of way that said, “Why is Erin so excited that she has an uncle named Lowell Thomas?”  And I kept going. “THAT Lowell Thomas is my uncle!  I swear!  My dad told me he was famous but I didn’t believe him!”

That’s the truth.  I was always suspicious of exaggerations, and assumed that this was one of my father’s.  But this is the truth.  My great aunt Marianna, a very interesting, friendly, and lovely lady who passed away earlier this year, married this Lowell Thomas in the 1970s after his first wife died.  She had also been previously married.  He didn’t live much longer and died in the very early 1980s.  If I ever met him (doubtful) I would have been much too young to remember such things.

So, for those of you who don’t know who Lowell Thomas is…

http://www.pbs.org/lawrenceofarabia/players/thomas.html

As I walked through the exhibit there were pictures of my Aunt Marianna in her younger years with this Lowell fellow.  Honestly I don’t remember ever seeing any of them before.  I turned a corner and there were condolence letters written to her upon his death from an assortment of characters:  Ronald Reagan, Art Linkletter, Isaac Asimov, and even Erma Bombeck.

Condolence letter from Reagan sent

Lowell and Marianna Thomas on Trip to China

Condolence letter from Isaac Asimov

It was a little surreal.

The Girl Scouts stole my cemetery!

I had a few hours to burn and had recently been trying to find some information on Andrew’s Indianapolis pioneer relatives.  There are a few cemeteries around town where I haven’t been able to find the best records and I think there MIGHT be a chance they’re buried there.  His branch of the Sparks Family were folks who lived up on the Northwest side of Indianapolis in and around Pike Township.  Just south of Pike Township is the Old Union Cemetery.  I actually think it might technically be in Speedway.  Anyway, I thought I would go check it out either way, Pike Township or not.  I like cemeteries.  So I checked it out on google maps and plotted my course.

I followed the directions.  I ended up in a cul-de-sac.  There was no cemetery here.  There were, however, suspicious residents.  I guess people don’t get lost there often.

I pulled up the map again on my phone and found another road that looked adjacent to this supposed cemetery.  As I turned into the only road on that street I realized where my cemetery was.  I was at Camp Dellwood, a Girl Scout Camp!  The camp ate my cemetery.

I wasn’t really sure what to do.  I thought about looking for someone to help me but I didn’t want to seem creepy (which could easily happen at a children’s campground) so I decided to try and call them to make an appointment or something.

I made sure to glare at everyone that I saw as to accurately reflect my disapproval.  I’m not sure they cared.  I’m pretty sure they didn’t.

**As a side note, there will be a lot more postings initially on this blog because I have to catch up on what has already happened.

The Children of the Corn

I stood there, in front of the car, bleeding (but beginning to scab already) and covered in rash. Andrew looked at me and said, “Well, you got your adventure.”  I couldn’t tell if he was pissed or if he just mocking me because he thought it was actually funny.  He was wearing shorts and got it even worse than I did (I wore jeans).  Poor Andrew.

It all started when we drove out to Pittsboro, Indiana to see some friends’ new baby.  I hate driving to Pittsboro.  I just do.  There’s always road construction on the interstate and it’s just kind of far.  I have gotten very used to living downtown where nothing should take more than a 15 minute drive/bike/walk.  We stayed at our friends’ for about an hour, looked at the baby (cute and cuddly), held it some, ate pizza, and left.  I realized soon afterward that we were in Hendricks County (in a genealogist’s world, everything is measured by counties and townships).  Not only were we in Hendricks County, but we were in “middle of nowhere” Hendricks County.  I recalled that some of Andrew’s great grandparents, maybe six generations back, were pioneers of the area I would refer to as “Middle of Nowhere Hendricks County” and had a cemetery around here somewhere.  “Hey!  I’ve got an idea!  Let’s have an adventure!”  I described my idea to Andrew to hunt for this cemetery so I could get some pictures.  It shouldn’t be that hard.  We were both armed with iPhones – the cure-all.  Andrew didn’t hate the idea but he didn’t seem all that excited.  We decided to go for it.  He knew I was pumped.

We drove from our friends’ home (near the middle of nowhere) down a county road, turned onto another county road, and then another, and then another, until we were sufficiently truly in the middle of nowhere.  The directions provided to us on www.findagrave.com (yes, this is a real thing) told us to park off the road and walk along a fence to a patch of woods in the field.  What provided us the adventure was that, this was not a walkable field.  It was a field of corn.  This was Indiana.  This was late July.  It was 2 feet taller than me because it has been a really nice summer for crops.

We walked through a fence.  Check!  I saw some trees.  Check!  We walked through some corn and got to the trees.  Check!  It took about three minutes.  Easy!  When we got to the trees we saw the ACTUAL fence.  This was the ACTUAL fence we were supposed to cross.  So what was that first fence?  This new fence was a rusty barbed wire one.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I’d had a Tetanus shot, but I was trying really hard to recall as I looked at that fence.   I pulled myself up by a tree that I am sure now was dying.  If Andrew had not been pushing me from behind I can guarantee that limb would not have held and I would have cried all the way to the hospital.  We both got over.  We got out of that batch of woods to get our bearings.

Andrew pulled out the trusty iPhone and pulled up a Google Map of where we were.  And he said, “OH!  That’s the stand of trees over there!”  The stand of trees was on the other side of another cornfield.  For those who have not walked through a cornfield before, it hurts.  It looks like fun in the movies.  It’s not.  It hurts.  And if you’re hitting it hard enough, it even cuts.

We had gotten this far, we weren’t going to stop.  I wanted to see that cemetery!  And I was going to take pictures, darn it!  We pressed on.

This is when we started hearing the engines of what we agreed were 4-wheelers.  This was, of course, private property.  The house we parked at was the home of a lovely woman who said she didn’t really know where the cemetery was, but to go ahead and try to find it.  She, however, did not own the property.  I had already decided that if some man dressed in his cammies came at me with a gun and a lecture on trespassing I would just blame the lovely woman who owned the house where we parked.  Regardless, the 4-wheelers started to freak me out.

We FINALLY got to the stand of trees in the middle of the cornfield.  Once we got there we couldn’t get into it!  It was as if the plants had spent their entire existence learning new ways to defend themselves from huge predators.  Every plant had a sticker or a spike attached to it, even the trees!  There were pointy dangerous things EVERYWHERE.  We finally found what must have been the official entrance some time ago.  There was a very small piece of a wrought iron fence, being eaten by trees and plant-life of course.  We pushed in through that area and actually saw some flippin’ graves!

Unfortunately the person who owns the property has done nothing to keep up this cemetery, an amazing piece of Hendricks County history.  The Caywood family (some of Andrew’s great great great great grandparents) settled in that area in the 1840s.  There were some of those large casket-like above ground tombs that seem to have completely fallen over.  Trees grew into headstones.  There were really only 2 stones that still stood and were readable (with the amount of foliage that existed this time of year).  Pity.

We poked around for a bit, took a few pictures, and headed out back into the field.  During the walk back to the house I somehow decided that the noises I was hearing were no longer that of a 4-wheeler but of a wild and crazed bull, and it could smell us and our illegal trespassing.   I walked very very fast, and thought that I lost Andrew for a minute, but we got back to the place where the greenery was shorter than us again.  It was nice.  My skin stung.  Everything was red.

“Well, you got your adventure.”

I did.

I apologize, but I have to blog

This wasn’t really a choice.  I decided, after explaining the wounds on my arms to 8 different people after a particularly harrowing cemetery search, that I need to just create a blog.  I could tell these ridiculous stories of adventure and intrigue to all these people aloud (although they’re really not intriguing, just ridiculous) or I could reach the masses with less pain and suffering, on everyone’s part.

I named this blog The Family Shrubbery because of an event that occurred at my place of work about ten years ago (ugh).  I was describing a member of my family, and was having a hard time explaining her relation to myself.  I think I said something like, “She’s my sister’s sister.”  This was an accurate description.  Everyone looked at me like I was an insane person and they asked me to explain.  So I drew my family “tree”.  What came out was less like a tree and more like a bush, or a shrub, but more like a row of shrubbery.  Let’s just say it fanned out more than a normal tree might.  This amused everyone and my Family Shrub stayed on the wall of our office for months.

For those of you who might come upon this blog because you’re interested in ancestry, genealogy, and/or family history I really hope you might enjoy this as well.  Please keep in mind that I am as amateur as they come.  This is a blog of my adventures and misadventures in research, travel, and family.  This is fun for me, and unfortunately not my job.