Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unearthed Tombstone Dated 1843

An article in The Daily Pantagrah (Bloomington, Illinois), dated 18 September 1926 talks about the discovery of a tombstone during the renovation of a cellar.

The discovery was made at the “old Al Loudon property at the southwest corner of Madison and Olive streets.”  Etched upon the stone is “Albert, son of W. & H. Gillespie, died March 7, 1843, aged 6 months and 11 days.”  They didn’t find any bones or a coffin.

The following is an excerpt from the article:

The discovery leads to the speculation whether or not there was a burying ground for the pioneers in that vicinity.  At the date mentioned, Bloomington was 12 years old, the city being organized in 1831.  The first setlers [sic.] reached here in 1822.

The first cemetery in the township of Bloomington was located in the Orendorff neighborhood, south of the city, where the first settlement was made.  The records show that this graveyard was established in 1825.  The next record shows a cemetery being opened at the south edge of Bloomington…which is now bounded on the north by the Big Four railroad.  This was opened in 1832, the firs burial being a Mrs. Remington.  There are no records of a burying ground at other points in the city or vicinity, although it is possible that a small group of the early residents buried their dead in the vicinity where the tombstone was found.  There is also a possibility that this corner was the site of a stone mason’s shop and that the stone just found was ordered and not delivered….

Was someone buried there?  Or is it the case of an undelivered stone as they suggested?  I haven’t been able to find a follow-up to this story.  Perhaps someone out there knows the answer to this story.

This article was written for the December 2009 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival.


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