Patterson Cemetery CR124,
Marion County, Indiana
By Ron Darrah
In 1947 and 1948, Dr. Thurman B. Rice, a Professor of Public Health at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and evidently a history buff, wrote a series of articles for the Monthly Bulletin of the Indiana State Board of Health. These articles, later collected into a self-published book, titled, "History of the Medical Campus". Dr. Rice traced the land development from Indian ownership right up to 1947, and included a great deal of information on the early settlers.
Rice quotes John Piatt Dunn on the early landowners of the property where the I.U. Hospital now stands, and includes such names as John and James McCormick, George Pogue [The Pogue homestead reportedly stood at what is now 420 Highland Avenue.], John Maxwell, and John Cowan, the latter "who came early in March, 1820, and located near the present City Hospital"; Isaac Wilson, "who came on April 6 and located on what is now the State House Square"; Henry and Samuel Davis, chair makers, "who located in the Fall Creek bottom near where Walnut Street crosses"; the Widow Harding and her married son Robert Harding, "both of whom located near John McCormick's."
Also, Robert Barnhill and his son-in-law Jeremiah Corbaley, "who came on March 6"; Richard Corbaley, born August 7, 1820, "was the first white child born in the county"; and Mordecai Harding, the second son of Robert, 'was the first child born on the donation." James Morrow, son of Samuel Morrow, "was the first child born on the original town site."
In the summer of 1821, according to Dr. Rice, a period of extra heavy rainfall occurred, and sickness struck the little community. The fevers were isolated until August 10th, when Mathias Nowland had a house raising, with all of the men assisting. Only three residents escaped the illness, Thomas Chinn, Enoch Banks, and Nancy Hendricks. About 25 children died.
Several doctors treated the settlers, Dr. Isaac Coe, a Doctor Mitchell, Dr. Livingston Dunlap, "a bachelor who lived with the Mitchell family", and Dr. Johnathan Cool. "Uncle Jimmie" Blake helped care for the sick, even though ill himself.
Dr. Rice states that it was customary to bury the dead the same day due to fears of infection, so the residents who died were buried in a "plague burying ground", which in 1947 was marked by a boulder, and "lies about 100 feet directly north of the west end of the Medical Building, and about 100 yards due east of the present State Board of Health Building." On a personal note, Dr. Rice said he remembered the cemetery himself. There were "several tombstones lying flat and possibly one or two standing. The stones were of marble and the inscriptions too weathered to read." Later interments, after 1821, were made by the Wilson and Patterson families, who lived about 100 yards due north of the graveyard site.
The Sulgrove and Brown histories relate that the first woman that died was the wife of John Maxwell. She died on the third of July, 1821, and was buried on the fourth. Eight persons were buried in the graveyard during the summer and fall of 1821.
Dr. Rice includes a story about Isaac Wilson, who "After serving throughout the Revolutionary War, he freed his slaves and in 1820 moved from Kentucky to Indiana. In 1822 he moved to a site about 100 yards north of the Medical School. He died there a year later and was buried in his front yard."
His daughter, Patsy Wilson, married Samuel Patterson and lived in the homestead until her death. Her daughter was Fannie Patterson Van Camp, a member of the DAR."
[There are no remaining headstones at this site.]