This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

North Star Cemetery

I am temporarily out of churches to write about, so today's post will visit one of the many cemeteries that are in the area. North Star Cemetery is north west of Mount Ayr, next to the Holley Preserve. In the picture below you can see a bit of the preserve to the right of the road, and beyond the cemetery you can see a large livestock operation a bit further down the road.
Even though the date on the cemetery gate is 1939, many of the graves are much older than that.
I always take pictures of plaques whenever I see them. This one was next to the flagpole at the entrance to the cemetery.
Some of the country cemeteries are very small, but this one is surprisingly large for being so far from any town. A map from 1916 shows a church and a school nearby.
What was most interesting in this cemetery were the many old markers from the 18th century that were in very good shape. They show a lot of gravestone motifs that were popular at the time.  They also show a lot of women who died quite young, such as Elizabeth Kelly who died when she was only 25.
A broken chain link symbolizes a loss in the family. The grave is of a young man who died when he was only 21.
The anchor is a symbol of hope. Many of these graves have the date of death and the age at death in years, months, and days, but not the birth date. I do not recall seeing that on any recent graves.
A book can mean many things, including the book of life, a Bible, or a symbol for learning. I was surprised at the variety of names in the cemetery. There were some names that are still in the area, but also some names that seem to have disappeared, such as Makeever. I also have not met any Zaboroskys, Schanlaubs, or Giildenzopfs.
The willow was popular on tombstones in the 19th century. It has allusions to the Greek underworld. Margaret died when she was only 20.
Another Margaret, who lived to the ripe old age of 37. She has an angel on her marker.
The hand pointing to heaven is on this marker. (I did not see any with a hand pointing down, which was supposed to represent the hand of God descending from heaven.)
Update: I heard from a person who knows more about these things than I do that the reason this cemetery and the others in both Newton and White counties are in much better shape than those in Jasper County is that money from the landfills is used to maintain them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are still some Schanlaubs living in this area.