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History lost and Forgotten in Luther Cemetery

April 4, 2017

Many of us know that there is a Cemetery by the Airport, but how many of us really have ever really visited or know about any of the pioneers of Porter County that are buried there?

While working on my Civil War Project I first went to the Cemetery over a year ago to verify the Civil War Veterans that made this their final resting place.  I was amazed at the history of the stones, and that it was still being used.  

The old Oak and Maple, and Pine Trees that line the cemetery are beautiful- they offer so much shade and in part so much peace.  Sitting out there on a windy day, you can almost hear the voices of those that are resting there.  As you can see by the pictures in the gallery below, it truly is a beautiful piece of property.

 Just who is laid to rest here?  Some of the earliest pioneers to come to Porter County are laid to rest here.  Although some no longer have a headstone present or they are broken, or nearly unreadable.   "The third white family to settle in what is now Porter county was that of Reason and Sarah Bell, who like Morgan came from Wayne county, Ohio, and settled in 1833 on the prairie on what was later called Pleasant View Hill. Here on January 11, 1834, was born Reason Bell, Jr., the first white child born in Washington township and the first in Porter county. The senior Mr. Bell was one of the early commissioners, road supervisor and viewer, a juror many times, and township trustee a number of years. He died in 1867 and is buried in Luther cemetery." (August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time. Transcription by Steven Shook -http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/PorterCountyCentennial/Sec3-10-11_WashingtonTwAugust 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.pHistory.html)

In the past year, I have been to Luther many times, and I have looked for Reason's Stone on more than one occasion, but for some reason(no pun intended) today, it jumped out at me- Maybe Reason was guiding me to it, who knows.  Reason's Headstone is still in tact and just barely readable, but both the stones of his wives no longer are in tact.  His son, the first white child born in PC, is located in Maplewood Cemetery at the beginning of the original entrance to the cemetery.

 

There is also Andrew Pierce and his Father Warner that came here in 1834 as well.  Both are resting at Luther, but both stones have fallen and are decaying. Warner died in 1841, and Andrew had to take care of the family... "The father of Andrew died in 1841 when only forty-five, so Andrew had to care for the family. He educated himself by extensive reading. When twenty-eight years old he began farming for himself. Eventually he owned all the land extending on both sides of the road from the farm now owned by James Rigg, east of the corner where Mrs. William Pierce now lives.Andrew's brother, who lived in a log cabin just north, was struck by lightening and killed as he opened the door to look at the storm.Andrew married Mary Johnston, daughter of Isaac Johnston, first judge of Porter county. He died in 1901 and was buried in the Luther cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Pierce were the parents of eight children. Leroy lives in Valparaiso and William died in this township in 1935."  (August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time. Transcription by Steven Shook -http://www.inportercounty.org/Data/PorterCountyCentennial/Sec3-10-11_WashingtonTwAugust 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.pHistory.html)

 

Andrew's Stone and his Father Warner are both laying on the ground.  Either knocked down or they fell over after all these years.

 

Or there is that of John Baum who was a Veteran in the Seminole War.  "Porter County Seminole War VeteransBaum, JohnDate of Birth: June 20, 1810, in Mead, Crawford County, PennsylvaniaDate of Death: December 5, 1897, in Porter County, IndianaBurial: Luther Cemetery in Washington Township, Porter County, IndianaIt is believed that John Baum enlisted in Company G of the U.S. Fourth Infantry Regiment on July 14, 1834, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Military service records indicate that Baum had hazel-colored eyes, brown hair, dark complexion, and stood five feet and six and one-half inches in height. His residence was given as Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with his occupation being listed as "Soldier." Baum was discharged from service on July 14, 1837, due to the expiration of his three year service term. A remark in his service record indicates that he re-enlisted for service at Fort Brooke, Florida (present-day Tampa, Florida). A final muster out date for John Baum is provided as being December 7, 1842, at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri."Information prepared by Steven R. Shook

 

John's stone is still standing as well- but like that of Pickerells family, many of the Early Baums are hard to read, or broken.  Lucky that the CW Stone of Americus is in tact, just almost buried from years of sinking.

 

It should be noted that John must have been very patriotic and a lover of history as he named his children as follows: Americus, Napoleon, Tennessee, Columbus, and Niles Lafayette.  Americus and Napoleon both fought in the CW and Americus died shortly after the war by gunshot on in his barn in Washington Twp.

There was also George Washington Babcock, who came here with his father Clark in about 1833.  Clark died in about 1854.  George had 2 Sons that fought in the Civil War- Elisha Merlin who died of Disease in Memphis Tenn, October 5, 1862. And his son John who died in 1864 as a result of disease from the war.

 

I was lucky enough to locate George Washington Babcocks stone today. You can just barely make out his name and death date.  Under that old Pine Tree, it wont be long before the writing is lost to ages.

 

The older part of the cemetery sits in pretty rough shape today.  Many of the original stones are missing, broken, or unreadable.  Broken tree limbs litter the grounds, and all in all is forgotten. These families helped to shape not only Washington Twp, but that of Porter County.

 

 Of course all of the history buffs have heard of Joseph Bailly if interested in coming out to the Cemetery on April 22 to help the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War clean up some of the stones, email Steve Mockler at : Campporter@gmail.com 

 

 

 

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