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Trip Report
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Tue May 31

10:00a Bert Bontrager at the Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College.

1:00p Carmen South at Peabody City Bldg.

5:30p Muddy Creek Cousins

Clifford Gaiser. For years I have heard about Gaisers who live in Newton. I decided that this was the trip to try to make contact, and Cousins John had tracked down Clifford's business address for me. On my way to meet Bert, I stopped at "C G & Son Tire Service." Clifford had stepped out for a bit, so I left a card and said I would return later.

Bert Bontrager. Next, it was off to meet Bert and see how she was coming along on the ancestry of her great grandmother Elizabeth "Betty" Culp. Betty and her husband Henry Good were the focal point of the reunion at the Salem Mennonite Church in Ohio in 2008. Bert also had asked to come along on one of my research trips to the Bethel MLA to get acquainted with the place and to see how I go about doing research.

Bert also has made contact with Cleoro B. Diller in KY, and she had a copy of Cleora's book (4), which I hadn't seen before. She's done a nice job, and Bert says that, at my urging, Cleora is extending her book a bit to include some sources. Good for her! We also were able to find Bert some books on the Culp family that she hadn't seen before.

So far, there have been lots of interesting conversations, but no progress. That is now about to change.

Carmen South. I have a 1pm appointment with Carmen at the Peabody city building to try to find out of if Peabody did or did not have a cemetery in 1874 when the children from the City of Richmond died. Carmen is a member of the board of the Prairie Lawn Cemetery Association, and she graduated from PHS just a few years ahead of me.

The relatively new monument at the entrance to Prairie Lawn says the first burial was January 10, 1871. The official "Date of Death Book" (4) for Prairie Lawn does show that date of death for Anna Mears. (This book is a transcription of the original cemetery records. No one knows what happened to the originals, so this is the best we have.) The book shows several burials in 1871 and quite a few before Sep-Oct 1874.

So yes, people were being buried at Prairie Lawn before 1874, and I scoot out to the cemetery and find two of the 1871 markers.

Lottie Mears

Harry B. Sands

The 1871 date of death for Lottie Mears is badly weathered, but readable. The one for Harry B. Sands is quite clear, although his marker obviously is much newer than 1871.

One mystery solved, but I am disappointed that I can't find the marker for the earliest burial, Anna Mears, January 10, 1871.

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