formerly called the Sutton Farm Cemetery
Written In Stone…Not!
Or, Use Caution In Using Cemetery Readings
by Ron Darrah, 1999
[Note: In 2000, the Fowler-Mundy Cemetery was undergoing cleaning and stone restoration.]
Have you ever found a cemetery reading in a journal or book, been delighted to discover an ancestral record, copy it into your genealogy database, and feel that you have done what was required?
Unfortunately, you might have compounded an error. Did you visit that cemetery in person to verify that second or third hand information? Consider the example of the Fowler-Mundy Cemetery here in Marion County.
Fowler-Mundy is in the western part of Perry Township, east of Rt. 37 and south of Southport Road. It is currently on our watch list, since it now sits in lonely isolation in the middle of a huge single-family housing project under construction. We're watching it to insure that it doesn't "accidentally" disappear, like Duke Realty caused the Rhoads Cemetery to do in Wayne Township.
When we checked in the Indiana State Library to verify that the Fowler-Mundy stones had been read, we discovered three different readings on file.
- One reading, which we will call "A", was done by Mrs. Ransom Griffin in 1940. It contains 15 names.
- Reading "B" was done by Mrs. Leo Hoyt in 1964 and contains 13 names.
- Reading "C", which is undated and unsigned, contains 15 names.
The problem is that they are not all the same names and not all the same data.
Let's look closer at the three lists:
1A. In memory of Susannah Bell who departed this life May 17, 1847 in the 65th year of her life (B-1782) [These birth dates seem to have been added by Mrs Griffin.]
1B. Bell, Susannah 5-17-1847 65y
1C. Bell, Susannah D. 17 May 1874 age 65 years
[Did she die in 1847 or 1874?]
2A. One large stone on gr un: yes"> 11-6-1850 5-18-1851 fa Hezekiah, mo Rebecca
2C. Hinkston, Samuel W. B 6 Nov 1850 D 18 May 1851 Son of Hezekiah and Rebecca
[Is the name Hinkston or Hinkson?]
3A. GRANDMA AT REST
Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth Custer who died March 7, 1885 in the 97th year of her age (B-1788) The side on the ground may have an inscription but couldn't move it to see.
3B. Custer, Elizabeth 5-7-1885 97 y, Grandma of Samuel W. Hinkson
3C. Custer, Elizabeth D 7 Mar 1885 age 91 years
[Is Elizabeth the grandmother of Samuel or Hezikiah/Rebecca?]
[Was Elizabeth 91 or 97?]
4A. Asa Fowler D-Oct 28, 1863 in the 51st year of his age.
4B. Fowler, Asa Death 2-28-1863 husb. of Sarah, 54y
4C. Fowler, Asa D. 28 Oct 1863 age 51 years
[Was Asa 51 or 54 at death? Did he die in October or February?]
5A. Robert Fowler D-May 7, 1861 age 22y. 9m. 21d.
5B. Not on Reading B.
5C. Fowler, Robert D. 7 May 1861 age 22y 9m 21d
[Did Mrs Hoyt, who did dozens of Marion County cemeteries, really miss all these?]
6A. Lidia Margaret, daut. Of A. & Sarah Fowler B-May 23, 1841 D- Aug. 23, 1844
6B. Not on Reading B.
6C. Fowler, Lidia Margaret B. 23 May 1841 D. 23 Aug 1844 Dau. of A. and Sarah
7A. James, son of A. and Sarah Fowler D. July 19, 1858 age 1y. 11m. 13d.
7B. Not on Reading B.
7C. Fowler, James D. 19 July 1858 age 1y 11m 13d Son of A. and Sarah
8A. In memory of Mary, wife of James Tracy B- Dec. 11, 1810 D ? Stone broken
8B. Not on Reading B.
8C. Tracy, Mary B 11 Dec, 1810 D—stone broken Wife of James
9A. James A. son of William G. and Mary O L Miles D May 13, 1848 age 13 years (B-1835)
9B. Miles, James A. 5-13-1848 fa. Wm G., mo. Mary O. L. 13y
9C. Miles, James A. D 13 May 1848 age 13yrs Son of William G. and Mary O.L.
10A. Lydia, wife of Henry G. Mundy D-Feb 14, 1847 age 23y, 26d. (B-1824)
10B. Mundy, Lydia 2-14-1847 wife of Henry 23y 2m 6d
10C. Mundy, Lydia D 14 Feb 1847 age 23y 26d Wife of Henry G.
[Was Lydia 2m6d old or 26d?]
11A. Nelson H, son of Henry G. and Nancy Mundy D-Jan. 18, 1851 age 19y. 10d (B-1832)
11B. Mundy, Nelson H. 6-18-1851 fa H.S. mo. Nancy, 19y 10d
11C. Mundy, Nelson H. D 18 Jan 1851 age 19y 10d. Son of Henry S. and Nancy
[Is it Henry G. or Henry S.?]
12A. Nancy M, wife of Henry Mundy D-Mar 20, 1869 age 64?y. 11m 2d. (1804)
12B. Mundy, Nancy W. 3-20-1869 wife of Henry Mundy, 64y 11m 8d
12C. Mundy, Nancy D. 20 Mar 1869 age 64? Yrs 11m 2d. Wife of Henry
[Is it Nancy M. or Nancy W.?]
13A. Henry W., son of H.G. and Lydia Mundy D-May 21, 1853 age 7y. 5m. 20d.
13B. Mundy, Henry W. Death 5-21-1853 fa. H.G. mo Lydia, 7y 5m 20d
13C. Mundy, Henry W. D-21 May 1853 age 7y 5m 20d. Son of H.G. & Lydia
14A. Margaret, daut. Of Henry and Lydia Munday D- Jan. 24, 1852 age 8y. 3m. 19d.
14B. Mundy, Margaret Death 1-24-1852 fa. H.G., mo. Lydia, 8y 3m 19d
14C. Mundy, Margaret D. 24 Jan 1852 age 8y 3m 19d Dau. If H.G. & Lydia
[Is it Mundy or Munday?]
15A. John A. Brumfield D. Feb 1, 1855 age 30 years
15B. Brumfield, John M. Death 2-1-1855 30y
15C. Brumfield, John M. D. 1 Feb. 1855 age 30 yrs.
[Is it John A. or John M.?]
16A. Not on Reading A
16B. Bush, Jane Death 6-22-1851 Wife of Tunis P., 36y 4m 17d
16C. Not on Reading C
[Could 2 of 3 readers miss these two?]
17A. Not on Reading A
17B. Fowler, Sarah Death 5-7-1858 Wife of Asa, 42y 8m
17C. Not on Reading C
As you can tell, even though this was a really small cemetery, the reading errors are significant. If this was a list of 100 or more stones, what would it be like? My advice is, if you really want to be certain your information is actually carved on that stone, go and see for yourself!
Thank you for visiting GSMC!
Last revised: March 19, 2001