First of all, I want to wish everyone who looks at this blog a Happy Easter! This week I’m posting something on a third barn I found within the town limits of Milford in Kosciusko County. This one is located on West Street and, as the other two barns do, sits by an alley. According to the county property records, the barn was built in 1900. When I see 1900, sometimes I know it can be a default date, so I don’t know how accurate the year really is. I would make an educated guess and say it was built before 1900. Originally it was likely used as a place to keep horses and either a buggy or wagon. Feed for the horses would have been kept in the barn too I’m sure. Later it may have been used as a garage when automobiles were much smaller than they are today. Sitting next to an alley would have given easier access to the alley, of course, as well as the nearby street. You can see in the photo siding has been put on the barn, which is now classified as a detached garage.
Old barn within the town limits of Milford.
And here’s yet one more example of local history being shown in a cemetery. Dierdorff Cemetery is on State Road 15 on the south end of Goshen near the Goshen College campus. As the name implies, many of the Dierdorff family are buried here. The family’s original homestead was on what is now County Road 27 southeast of where the cemetery is located. Peter Dierdorff enlarged the cemetery and built a church in front of it where he preached for approximately 30 years. In 1893 the church was sold and moved to a farm on what became U.S. Highway 33. According to Dierdorff family history, there is a Revolutionary War soldier buried in the pioneer cemetery, which is smaller in size compared to many surrounding cemeteries. It was available to the public for burials for many years, but no longer is. It was eventually turned over to the city of Goshen. Note the informative sign in the photo. Also worth mentioning is the cemetery is located along what used to be known as the Logansport-White Pigeon State Road, one of the earliest commissioned state highways.
Dierdorff Cemetery on south end of Goshen.
Back in December I posted information about an old horse stable or barn in the town of Milford. Here’s another one I found in Milford. It is located on Catherine Street between James and East streets. This is on the edge of the original town plat of Milford in Kosciusko County. As is with the other barn in town, this one also sits by an alley. The way the barn sits, there would have been access to both the alley and Catherine Street. I’m sure these barns were probably used to keep either a horse or a horse and buggy or horse and wagon. You can see the window near the roof of the barn and I would guess this was a hay loft and a place to store feed for the horses. According to the Kosciusko County property records, the barn was built in 1879, so it has been standing for about 140 years now. It may seem odd now for a barn like this to be located within the town limits, but it would not have been in the late 1800s.
Old barn in the town of Milford.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I believe it bears repeating. The combination of a rural cemetery and church is not so common these days. Many of the churches have closed and the buildings have been removed. But there are a few examples remaining. This one is located in Jackson Township in Kosciusko County on State Road 14, about 2.5 miles from the intersection with State Road 13. It is known as the Eel River Ulrey Memorial Cemetery. Next to the cemetery is a church which I posted about several months ago. It is still an active church. I’m not sure when the cemetery opened but there are burials dating to the 1840s. I do know the church was originally built in 1861 on the Joseph Ulrey farm and this may be where the cemetery derived its name. At that time, the church took care of the cemetery, which was common. In small rural communities, many of the burials were probably church members. Most of the rural cemeteries are now under the care of a township trustee, though I can’t say for sure that is the case with this cemetery.
Eel River Cemetery in Jackson Township, Kosciusko County.
Long ago, there was a community known as Baintertown in Jackson Township, Elkhart County, north of New Paris. There were a few businesses in Baintertown including a store and a few mills. I’ve seen an old photo of the woolen mill built in 1840 and it was pretty large. I’m sure there were hundreds employed there at one time. But the woolen mill was demolished in 1923 and all that remains is scattered traces in the form of concrete abutments of various types. This one I photographed can be seen through the trees. It is within walking distance of the Baintertown Park parking area that is part of Elkhart County Parks. Mills at that time were usually located near a water source because that is what generated the power to run the mills. So the woolen mill was located near the Elkhart River. I know it was demolished in 1923, but I’m not sure when it was closed as a business. Elkhart County Parks gives tours of this area and I was told a main reason is because they want to keep the history of the area alive. This was once a thriving area. I agree, it is worth preserving this history.
Woolen mill remnant in Baintertown.
A trip a few years ago in the summer of 2016 just across the border in Michigan proved to be very interesting for a history buff like myself. On a stop in Cass County, Michigan, I toured the Bonine House. While there I took some photos of a former carriage house building dating to the early 1850s on the corner of M-60 and Calvin Center Road. It is across the road from the Bonine House and was built by James Bonine. This building has significant history because, according to the Underground Railroad Society of Cass County, there are references to the carriage house being used to house, feed and clothe slaves seeking freedom on their way to Canada. The carriage house is being restored and I should note the photos I took were before much of that restoration work started. There are photos on the Underground Railroad Society website showing more of the restoration work. I believe eventually the carriage house will become a period museum for the Underground Railroad. I’m glad to see this because there are stories that need to be told about the Underground Railroad.
Carriage house building in Cass County, Michigan.
In 2017, I posted something about the Benton Spillway in Elkhart County. It is now part of the River Preserve County Park. More specifically near County Road 31 and also the small community of Benton. At one time in the past, the spillway was part of a system involving a dam and a canal. You can see in the photo a couple of concrete abutments. I’m not sure what those were for specifically, but I’m sure they had something to do with the dam and canal system. Perhaps there was a ditch or culvert here? This is a reminder of the commercial past in Elkhart County when the power of water was being harnessed in multiple ways. Of course the early settlers of the county depended heavily on water and typically migrated to areas near a creek, river or stream. A hydroelectric plant was built in the nearby Baintertown area in later years before shutting down in 1969. Elkhart County Parks took control of the system in 1970 and the River Preserve was created. I took this photo when visiting the Gathering at Five Medals living history event held annually.
Benton Spillway in Elkhart County.
When you take a drive through the countryside, you are less likely now to see the combination of a country church and cemetery. What was once much more common is now not so common due to development and other factors such as many rural churches closing their doors. A few exceptions remain, such as the former Union Chapel Church in Harrison Township, Elkhart County, on County Road 38, also referred to in the past sometimes as the Blosser Park Road. The church was also known as the Inbody Union Church. Last week I posted about the cemetery next to the church. The church was originally built in the late 1850s or possibly about 1860. It looks typical of many churches built in that era, a simple clapboard design and small frame structure. Of course in that era, those who went to a church lived close by due to transportation constraints and also more of a sense of community existing. Today the building may still be an active church. There is a sign on the front saying it is the New Testament Baptist Church. The front entrance looks to be an addition to the original building.
Former Union Chapel Church in Elkhart County.
Here’s another of the very old pioneer cemeteries in Elkhart County. It bears repeating there is a gold mine of history to be found in cemeteries. This is the Inbody Cemetery, also known as the Harrison Chapel Cemetery, on County Road 38, just west of the intersection with County Road 17 in Harrison Township, Elkhart County. This cemetery was started when George Inbody donated a small plot of land from his farm for a burial ground, according to the Elkhart County Genealogical Society website. Also on the website it notes the oldest stone found is for Abraham and Esther Teter, who both died Sept. 16, 1840. It is not a particularly large cemetery and there is an old church building on the west end of the cemetery that is still standing. I will post something later about the church. I took the photo of the cemetery in the winter time and didn’t want to spend a whole lot of time walking around, but I noticed some very old tombstones still standing upright.
Inbody Cemetery in Harrison Township, Elkhart County.
Last week I posted an original alignment of the Michigan Road in Marshall County near Plymouth. This week I have one from St. Joseph County. I believe this is somewhere near LaPaz. As I recall the old alignment comes off Old U.S. 31. You can see the old alignment in the photo closest to the camera, while Old U.S. 31 is in the background. The Michigan Road ran from Madison in the southern part of Indiana to Michigan City on the northern end. As one can imagine, when first commissioned in the 1820s it would have had a significant impact on travel and commerce in Indiana. Prior to the road being built there were very few roads and the ones existing usually didn’t go very far. Even now you can still drive on most of the original Michigan Road. Go to historicmichiganroad.org and it gives you a turn by turn description of the route. Of course now it is several different roads.
Historic Michigan Road in St. Joseph County.