South Park Cemetery (Decatur County, Indiana)

The South Park Cemetery is the largest cemetery in Decatur County and is located on the southern edge of the city of Greensburg.  The volunteer-run site FindAGrave, South Park lists 14,798 graves, with more being added each day (it listed 14, 797 just a few hours prior to me writing this).  The cemetery is so large that the last time I visited I took about 50 photos and then called it quits – I promised that the next time I visited I would bring a lunch and plenty of water for a day-long visit.

South Park Cemetery on the southern edge of Greensburg

The website for the cemetery, https://southparkgreensburg.com/about/, provides a short history:

The first cemetery in Greensburg was established in 1823 south of the Penn Central right of way and east of highway 421. When the railroad came through in 1853, the bodies in Greensburg Cemetery were moved to two cemeteries: Methodist Cemetery, formed in the 1840’s (west of Vine Street), and Decatur County Cemetery, established in 1850 on the west side of the present South Park Cemetery.  In 1884, the newly established South Park Cemetery Association took over Decatur County Cemetery and enlarged the grounds. A few years later Methodist Cemetery became part of South Park. South Park has been enlarged several times since 1894.

Entrance to South Park Cemetery

The cemetery website also provides the capability to search for a name with an accompanying map so you can find most burials (I think it’s a work in progress since one grave I’ve photographed there isn’t listed).  So it’s not perfect but still it’s one of the best, most user-friendly cemetery websites I’ve ever encountered.

In searching for the grave of John Everman Robbins (1825-1896) it brings up the exact location of the grave and where it is within the cemetery.  If you click elsewhere on the map you can move in or further out to see the location.  How cool is this?

At some point the families who buried their kin in the small Mt. Pleasant Cemetery south of town began to utilize the larger South Park, if they weren’t already using one of the other rural cemeteries I’ve previously discussed in these blog posts (i.e. Burks Chapel, Rockcreek, Mount Aerie, etc.).  So for example, William Robbins Jr. and his wife Elinor are buried in Mt. Pleasant but all four of their children, Sarilda (Robbins) Styers, John Everman Robbins, James Gilman Robbins, and Merritt Holman Robbins, are all buried in South Park.  This follows true for many family groups with the result that almost all branches of the family are represented here.  I’ve also found many cases where a family member moved far away but upon death was brought back to South Park for burial.

Below are just several photos of some of our family members buried in South Park.

There are other cemeteries in Decatur County holding the remains of family members, including Hebron Cemetery near Adams, for example, where members of the Stark family are buried (Stark, Guthrie, Cline, Edrington, and others), but South Park is my last post specifically about cemeteries that we hope to visit on our post-reunion cemetery tour in July. 

To conclude I wanted to mention a cemetery memorial to Anna J. Foley.  Back in the 1980s I had contacted Anna as she did genealogical research in Decatur County and she was able to find a number of old obituaries and give me a list of land records related to my ancestor Nathaniel Robbins.  So it was a surprise (and a delight) that the last time I visited South Park I saw this memorial to a local historian at the entrance to the cemetery.

Westport, Mount Aerie, Mapleton, and Union Baptist Cemeteries (Decatur County, Indiana)

Westport Cemetery

The Westport Cemetery, likely the second largest cemetery in the county after South Park, is located directly west of the small community of Westport.  The earliest Robbins that I’m aware of (and there may be others) buried here is Harvey Robbins (1829-1917), son of George and Nancy (Pruitt) Robbins.  If you’ve been reading this blog you might remember George is buried in the Burks Chapel cemetery.  I don’t know where Harvey’s first wife Xantippe is buried – she died sometime before 1869 – as that year Harvey married Delilah (“Della”) Borden, who is buried with her husband.

Location of Westport Cemetery

Coleman Robbins, the only known child of Harvey and his first wife, is also buried here.  He was struck by a train in 1919, had never married, and has no descendants.  Some years ago I came across the coroner’s report for Coleman.  Among the information on that report was the following statement:  “I was called to Westport Ind. on the above date because of the death of Coleman Robbins who was accidentally killed by a Big Four S. Bound train….Mr. Robbins was crossing the RR with a wheel-barrow load of kindling and being deaf never heard the train whistle….”

It is interesting that Harvey and Coleman share a gravestone, and Della and youngest daughter Brida (Robbins) Bliton (1888-1939) share another.  Among the other related family names here are:  Bake, Dishinger, Hutton, Jessup, Skinner, and Spencer.

Mount Aerie Cemetery

The Mt. Aerie Cemetery is located right along state highway 3, halfway between Greensburg and Westport, surrounding the Mt. Aerie Baptist Church.  While only half the size of the Westport cemetery, it seems to hold many more family members.

Location of Mount Aerie Cemetery

In this cemetery rests Charity (Robbins) (Hanks) Purvis (1811-1892), daughter of Absalom and Mary (Ogle) Robbins, along with three of her children.  Charity’s first husband was James Hanks, who died along with a son in 1843, while out coon hunting.  It is unknown where they are buried.  Charity then married John Purvis and both of them are buried here in Mt. Aerie.

Other related surnames here include:  Davis, House, Knarr, Logan, Myers, Purvis, Skinner, Stout, Taggart, Van Treese, Wasson, Whipple, and more.

Mapleton Cemetery

This small cemetery is situated east of highway 3, along a peaceful farm road.  There are only a handful of relatives here, but one of the most interesting is William Franklin Robbins (1850-1922) who figured so prominently in the 1922 reunion and died tragically only six months later (you can read more about him here).

Location of Mapleton Cemetery

Besides William and his wife Julia, son Henry Cleveland and daughter Mary Cordelia (Robbins) Morgan, are surnames Miller, Scripture, and Skinner.

Union Baptist Cemetery

The Union Baptist Cemetery, just around the corner from the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery (my first cemetery post in this series; Mt. Pleasant is in the woods in the upper right hand corner of the Google Earth view below), has relatives from a wide variety of branches of the family.  Descendants of William Robbins Jr. are buried here including William Gilman Styers and other members of the Styers family; descendants of Marmaduke Robbins, including his granddaughter Jennie Robbins and her husband Tom Vanderbur; Aaron Robbins, a descendant of George; various ubiquitous Skinner descendants of Charity (Robbins) (Hanks) Purvis; and descendants of Thomas Jr. and Matilda Robbins, most of whose family lived in Jennings county.

Location of Union Baptist Cemetery

This completes my posts on some (there are others) of the main rural cemeteries in Decatur County with Robbins relations, but my next post will discuss the huge South Park Cemetery, the largest one in the county, located in the city of Greensburg.

Burks Chapel, Rodney, and Rock Creek Cemeteries (Decatur County, Indiana)

Burks Chapel Cemetery

The Burks Chapel Cemetery is a small plot right next to the road on W. County Road 750 S.  I believe it is privately owned but being near the road the last time I visited it was a simple thing to park and enter. (I guess we’ll find out on our cemetery tour if the owners object to a group of visitors!).

Burks Chapel Cemetery location

In this cemetery rests one of the early progenitors of many descendants of the family:  George Robbins.  George, the son of Absalom and Mary (Ogle) Robbins, was born in 1792 and lived until 1888.  He and his wife Nancy Pruitt were said to be the parents of at least eleven children.

George Robbins
Jonathan and Margaret (Spilman) Robbins

George’s son Jonathan Robbins, with his wife Margaret Spilman, are also buried in this cemetery.  Among the other related family names here are:  Bower, Coleman, Cripe, Flint, Scripture, Skinner, Vanderbur, and Voiles.

Rodney Cemetery (Decatur County, Indiana)

The Rodney Cemetery is located next to the Rodney Friendship Separate Baptist Church in Christ (so reads their sign), in a fairly wooded section of Decatur County, along S. County Road 60 SW.  I have not been able to find any additional information about this church but the cemetery seems old, but with recent burials too.

Rodney Cemetery location

Micajah Robbins (1788-1865), another patriarch of the family and eldest son of Absalom and Mary (Ogle) Robbins, is reportedly buried in the Rodney Cemetery, but his grave seems to be unmarked.  Notes by a grandson, John W. Holcomb, state: “Macajah m. Elizabeth Hanks a cousin of William Hanks.  They were my Grandfather and Grandmother.  They are buried at Rodney Cemetery near their home.”  (Micajah’s wife was actually Elizabeth Vickery).  It’s possible that the grave was marked at one time but the stone was lost over the years, perhaps even buried below the surface of the lawn today.

Levi and Sarah (Lemasters) Robbins

There are other Robbins family members buried at Rodney, including Micajah’s daughter Nancy (Robbins) Evans and family, and descendants of Micajah’s brother George, including Levi W. Robbins (1841-1930) and some of his family line.  Other related family names found in the cemetery include:  Bower, Giddings, Harrison, Martin, Shoemake, and Stone.

Rock Creek Cemetery (Decatur County, Indiana)

Rock Creek Cemetery, which is also spelled Rockcreek, is located towards the southeastern corner of Decatur County, along W. County Road 1100 S, next to the Rock Creek Baptist Church.

Rockcreek Cemetery location

William (“Rock Creek Billy”) Robbins is buried here.  “Rock Creek Billy” being one of those many early Robbins family nicknames to distinguish this William from all the other Williams!  This gentleman was the son of Jacob and Rachel Robbins and brother of the Jacob Robbins who emigrated to Oregon in 1852.

William (“Rock Creek Billy”) Robbins

“Rock Creek Billy” Robbins was married twice, first to Mary Moffett, then following her death, to Elizabeth Ferguson, and altogether he fathered perhaps as many as twelve children.  As happens in the Robbins family, there were intermarriages, so his oldest daughter Eliza Catherine (“Katty”) Robbins was married to her cousin, once-removed, Job Robbins, son of George (see above about Burks Chapel Cem.). 

Besides finding the Robbins surname in the cemetery, you will find many other family names such as:  Deweese, Evans, Ford, Harrison, Hockersmith, Holcomb, Ponsler, Rork, Spencer, Sutton, and Taylor.

Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Decatur County, Indiana)

Sunday, July 31st, the day after the Robbins Bicentennial Reunion this summer in Westport, Indiana, will feature a tour of some of the Decatur County cemeteries where our Robbins ancestors are buried – I’m hoping some of the readers of this blog can join us.  I’m planning to do several posts highlighting some of the cemeteries we hope to visit, focusing on those with the oldest forebears of all the various branches of the family.  But I might add:  every cemetery in Decatur County holds someone of some relation to the Robbins family.

The Mount Pleasant Cemetery is privately owned and accessed through the owner’s property.  So, while the schedule of the tour is yet to be worked out (and it can be done as a group or a “self-tour” once we have a map, directions, and descriptions uploaded to this blog and our reunion Facebook page) it makes sense to have a set time for a single group visit to this private cemetery (arranged for 11am that day).

Mount Pleasant Cemetery (Decatur County, Indiana)

This cemetery holds, I believe, the earliest county burials of the Robbins family and their in-laws.  It is located on the original land tract of John Robbins (1795-1881), son of William and Bethiah (Vickery) Robbins, south of Greensburg on South County Road 60 SW.  John’s land patent for the property was issued in 1823.

Here is a map showing the general location relative to Greensburg:

And a close up courtesy of Google Earth:

The cemetery isn’t limited to Robbins family members and in-laws (Kirkpatricks and Andersons, specifically), but other families with later connections to ours:  Barnes, Cheek, Evans, Ferris, Hunter, Ketchum, Kitchin, Marsteller, Paramore, Snook, Travis, and Vanderbur, among others.

All of the Robbins family buried in the cemetery are descendants of William and Bethiah through five of their children:  Marmaduke Robbins, Mary (Robbins) Kirkpatrick, John Robbins, William Robbins Jr., and Charlotte (Robbins) Anderson.  Note that three of these siblings married Anderson siblings, children of Sarah Anderson (also buried in the cemetery).

I believe the earliest Robbins known to have been buried in the cemetery, and probably the earliest burial of anyone there, was Nathaniel Robbins in 1824, the infant son of John Robbins, original owner of the cemetery property.  Only a year later he was followed by his grandmother and matriarch, Sarah Anderson.  I would not be surprised if the death of young Nathaniel is what spurred John into setting aside a tract of land for the cemetery.

William Robbins, our Revolutionary War ancestor, was laid to rest in 1834, while his wife Bethiah joined him in 1850.  You can read more about William’s war experiences in my blog post here.

William Robbins grave in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Decatur Co., Indiana

Polly (Robbins) Kirkpatrick and her husband John, both of whom died in the 1850s, are buried there, along with two of their grandchildren Burrell and Martha.

John and Ruth (Anderson) Robbins, parents of the aforementioned Nathaniel, lived very long lives, until 1881 and 1871, respectfully.  Several of their Paramore grandchildren are also buried there.   And, while Nathaniel represented the earliest Robbins burial, John and Ruth’s son William Anderson Robbins was one of the later family burials, in 1907.  Long before that point many of the Robbins family members had started being buried in the huge Greensburg cemetery, South Park, as well as in other cemeteries around the county.

William and Elinor (Anderson) Robbins are buried in Mt. Pleasant, along with some grandchildren, as are Abraham and Charlotte (Robbins) Anderson and family.

There is a possibility that Marmaduke Robbins, another son of William and Bethiah, is buried in the cemetery, as he died about 1838 and his grave has not otherwise been found. FindAGrave lists his son Jacob F. Robbins and wife Catherine Myers as both being buried in Mt. Pleasant (with Catherine’s 1899 newspaper death announcement stating:  “Internment at Robbins cemetery, south of Greensburg”).

We are fortunate that the property owners take pride in the cemetery and feel a deep sense of responsibility for its preservation and maintenance and are always warm and welcoming to visitors.  In speaking with one of the owners this week she said she’d make sure it was all “spiffed up” and ready for our visit!