Sunday, January 15, 2012

Southview Cemetery - Our Founder's Burial Ground

Richard L. Coffey, Judge and State Senator

I will try to explain Southview and my interest in the cemetery. When I first started going to the Archives at the Brown County Historical Society I kept coming across these stories about a neglected cemetery called Southview Cemetery at the north edge of Nashville in Brown County, Indiana. At that time I had never heard of the cemetery, let alone know the location. I checked the cemetery out in our Brown County Cemetery Book and realized this little “forgotten” cemetery was a wealth of information about Nashville’s early town history. I dubbed the cemetery, “the city cemetery” because it contains many of the historical graves of the founding fathers of Nashville.

It was unclear where the Southview Cemetery was actually located so I asked around and one of my cohorts at the Archives, Jeanette, had a friend in the Surveyor’s office and he gave her an aerial map of its location. He mentioned that it was really three cemeteries, but by this time the boundaries were no longer clear. The three names were the Southview, Oak Hill and the Calvin cemeteries. All three names fitted the location. It was facing South and west, there were several large Oak trees in the cemetery and one section contained several burials of the Calvin family.

I have one line of my family buried there – it was a side line so I never took it that seriously until now. I have a first cousin 4 times removed that is supposedly buried there, Martha Jane Gratton. She was born Nov. 30, 1831 and died Oct. 22, 1855. The only way I found her was from the cemetery readings from years ago. I have made one trip to look for her grave and didn’t find it. Next time I’ll try harder. Then I had the occasion to run across another story of someone buried there that I was doing research on. From the blog I wrote on Reverend William Crabb I had found that his parents were also buried there. Now I have a second reminder that I need to get back to this cemetery to have a good look around. Our genealogy group has been talking about getting back there to photograph the stones before they are lost. It is within walking distance of town but is on a secluded hill that has kept it more or less preserved by its seclusion.

The cemetery is a “Who’s Who” of Brown County history. My friend thinks it would be a wonderful project to restore the cemetery. She has a dream to make it so there could be walking tours so that more people could enjoy this bit of Nashville and Brown Countys history. She has made it her crusade. She started a Facebook page and has had many, many people join her. Look for her Facebook page at: Southview Cemetery, Nashville, Indiana.

I borrowed some of my friend's descriptions on Southview and hope she forgives me, I do it thinking of her crusade.

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