Thursday, October 9, 2008

Introduction: The Reasoning Behind This Project

Daniel and Reefa (Miller) Myers
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken"

I expect eventually to be deposited in one form or another at Salem Cemetery, and it never hurts to know the neighbors. Beyond that, I'm related to many of those buried here and probably related to people who are related to the rest. That's the way in works in Lucas County.

My parents and Myers grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents rest here as does Doratha Redlingshafer, my great-great-great-grandmother, matriarch of the Redlingshafer family in America.

Last but certainly not least, I've become acquainted with some of the nicest folks conceivable, descendants of Salem's occupants, because of my informal status as the resident expert on who is buried here, and why. Those who rest here would be proud of their descendants, Lucas Countyans actual and virtual, and gratified that after all these years their kinfolk have sought them out and want to know something of who they were and how they lived and died.

Those are among the reasons for this blog with a limited purpose. If you are interested in my brilliant opinions on stuff and other matters I chose to write about, kindly see my other blog, "The Lucas Countyan." There will be none of that here. This space belongs to the ancestors.

A good deal of what's here was posted originally to a Salem Cemetery mailing list at RootsWeb. That was fine and it's still there. But a mailing list does not have photo potential and I've wanted that, so I'm going to gradually move material from there to here and add photos and more. It will take a while.

Salem Cemetery is located alongside the New York Road in Section 3 of Benton Township, Lucas County, Iowa, some three miles over generally rough and occasionally muddy gravel roads southeast of Chariton. Although the date on the gatepost is "1873," that's misleading. The first burial here, reportedly that of a Mormon pioneer who died along the Mormon Trail, was in the late 1840s and there were others soon after 1850 and many more before 1873. You can see the "history" for more of this.

The cemetery was platted in 1873, probably a new grid dropped atop an older one since no one here seems out of place, and divided into 52 lots, each 9 by 41 feet. A few of those lots have been subdivided as the years passed, but most remain intact. The George W. Redlingshafer family takes the prize for shoe-horning the most deceased persons into one lot, although a bit of cheating was involved. George D. Redlingshafer has only a stone; his remains are elsewhere.

I have followed the cemetery's original lot numbering system here, and that's the way the blog is organized. Lot No. 1 is in the extreme northeast corner of the cemetery and lots follow east to west in numerical order to No. 13 at the northwest corner of the original cemetery. Lot 14 is just south of Lot No. 1, back at the east end, then the lots march in numerical order again to Lot No. 26 at the west end of the second row. Lots No. 27-39 and Lots No. 40-52 form the two south ranges of lots in a similar manner so that Lot. No. 52 is in the extreme southwest corner of the cemetery. Confused? Well so am I sometimes, especially since the lots have been renumbered at least twice in different ways as the years have passed. But this was the way it started.

After all the vacant lots in the original plat were sold (my grandparents grabbed the last one), other lots were sold in what formerly was the Salem churchyard. I've grouped those together as "Churchyard Burials."

In addition, I know of people who were buried here but don't know where. You'll find them under "Salem's lost graves."

To navigate, look to "Index" in post listings at left. That will tell you eventually who is buried here and on which lot. Then click on the appropriate lot to pull it up.

I hope you find this useful. With the exception of a few reprobates (I know who they were but won't tell), all the folks buried here were fine people who deserve to be remembered. That, ultimately, is what this is all about.

Frank D. Myers
October 2008

Too many moons ago, now, and in another life. But those were good days, too, up that crick in Wyoming.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frank D. Meyers

I would like to reach you.
Have some info on O.W. Coffman..
born 1832..died 1863. please
send me an email...Renee