Mystery tombstone raises questions

Sally Weir writes, “I’m a volunteer aide at the Henry Henley Public Library in Carthage and assist our patrons with local history and genealogy requests along with another volunteer. We recently received a request from a lady in Las Vegas who is researching her family roots in Carthage and Hancock County and have stumbled across a mystery I’m hoping you can assist us to solve.

“Her ancestor, William Brown, was born in 1802 in North Carolina and died in 1872 in Indiana. I have located him in the Indiana Abstract Quaker Records book under Walnut Ridge as having been buried in Western Grove with a tombstone at Walnut Ridge. We were able to locate his tombstone at the Walnut Ridge cemetery in Carthage. In addition to Quaker Records, someone on Find A Grave has him listed, along with six others, as being buried at Western Grove.

“We would like to visit Western Grove Cemetery to see if we can find more information such as a tombstone and locate any records for this Quaker burial ground that would clear up this confusion but have been unable to locate it.

“Here’s what we know so far, taken from what we could find out in print and online.

“1) Found copies from a book at the Carthage Library on Indiana Friends Churches, with no information about what book they were copied from or the publication date, says Western Grove Friends Meeting was two miles northwest of Westland in Blue River Township, Hancock County. It was organized in 1864 by the authority of Walnut Ridge Quarterly Meeting. Originally a hewed log building, formerly a ‘potter’s shop,’ it served as the first meetinghouse. In 1873, a new meetinghouse was dedicated. This building was remodeled in 1893 and again in 1914. The old meetinghouse is still standing but is used as a tool and implement shed.

“2) The Western Grove church stands at the southwest corner of section 12, township 15, range 7.”

Sue Baker’s cemetery book and the papers of Amy Roney give us some interesting answers. There is no trace of it in the area.

But the papers of Roney tell us that the burying ground was located in section 12, near the intersection of county roads 500E and 200S in Blue Township. The church itself was established in November 1864, and the original meeting was conducted in a log cabin and had been used as a potter’s shop.

The original members as listed were: Elias Marsh, Isaac Beeson, John Hunt, Elihu Coffin and Mahlon Beeson. The building was constructed at a cost of $1,400 and dedicated in 1873. In 1916, the church was prosperous, but in 1929, the church was closed.

Roney’s paper shows seven burials at Western Grove. Those burials include the Beeson, Coffin, Jessup and Lamb families. Mr. William Brown, who died Feb. 10, 1872, is recorded as being buried at the Western Grove site by Roney.

Why is there a tombstone for William Brown at Walnut Creek? I believe that it was simply moved to a new location when the other church closed. Do any of you out there have information on this happening? Let me know.

Enough. I have told you everything that I know and some things I don’t. Talk to me.

You can write to Joe Skvarenina at or in care of the Daily Reporter at 22 W. New Road, Greenfield, IN, 46140.