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Trip Report
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Fri May 27

Drive from my home in Austin, TX to the home of my brother Chuck in Peabody, KS.

Sat May 28

9:00a Vern Schrag, Don & Elnor Stutzman at Catlin Community Cemetery.

4:00p Peabody High School Class of 1961 Reunion. My year is 1960, but those 61er's are a sociable bunch.

This is the day to meet geologist Vern Schrag to follow up on his telling me last fall at Bethel that there were "embedded rocks" at Catlin. This was intriguing because those rocks might be markers for the immigrant children from the City of Richmond.

Don and Elnor joined us, and while we were waiting on Vern, I got some more of the story about the Stutzman Transfer Van.

Stutzman Transfer Van. When Don and Elnor began maintaining the cemetery in 2004, they soon wanted to look at the church records, and they couldn't be found. After some sleuthing, they discovered that Colleen Hoffman, daughter of the previous maintenance guy, Allen White, had given them to the Mennonite archives in Goshen, IN.

After some negotiating among Goshen, Bethel College in Newton, and the Stutzmans, it was agreed to transfer the Catlin records to the archives at Bethel. Don and Elnor had planned a trip to PA, so on that trip they took some material from Bethel that needed to go to Goshen, picked up the Catlin records, and brought them back to Bethel, by way of PA. For the return trip, they were declared to be the "Official Transfer Van" of the "Mennonite Church USA, Goshen Archives." Along the way, Don drove and Elnor read the records aloud.

Embedded Rocks. When Vern arrived at Catlin, he looked, probably for an hour or more, and he couldn't find any sign of embedded rocks. The actual burial site of the City of Richmond children still is unknown, but although there are no markers, there is historical evidence that suggests they are buried at Catlin.

From Peabody, the immigrants took the train to Halstead, and then went by other means to the Moundridge area. While they were in Halstead, some more children died and were buried there. Following their path, Vern and I next visited two old cemeteries near Halstead, the Old Halstead (Popkins) Cemetery and the Fairview Cemetery.

Vern showed me the grave of one of the children, John Schrag, at the Old Halstead Cemetery. This appears to be the "Johann Schrag" that Krehbiel lists as one of 10 children "perhaps buried at Halstead." (2 p24) One still can see the Santa Fe tracks just through the trees on the south of this small cemetery, but we found no embedded rocks.

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