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By Edwin Corwin


"O to die advancing on! Pioneers! O pioneers!"

... Walt Whitman

WITH THE TURN OF THE CENTURY, more than three score years had passed since the arrival, within sight of the waters of Maxinkuckee of the first permanent white settlers. Sixty years had gone by; the seventy mark was very near.  The "first comers," those who in ten­der youth and as mere children had first cast eyes upon that beautiful body of water, were no longer young in years, though professing to a youth of spirit, mind and body. Even those, the pioneer children, were by the dawn of the Twentieth Century approaching eighty, while those who arrived while in their later 'teens were eighty and beyond.

Yes, the old-timers had begun to go long before the close of the Nineteenth Century. The major­ity of them never witnessed the sunrise of the Twentieth Century, even though their innate sturdi­ness and endurance had enabled them to keep youthful well be­yond the average span of life.

The years from 1900 on were marked by the passing of the last of the early settlers of the town­ship and vicinity. The rows of headstones in the "cities of the departed" 'round about were lengthening perceptibly. And there was a goodly company there, gathered to the last rest­ing place, their earthly duties finished. Of them it may be said most truly, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Theirs had been a noble task, faithfully accomplished. Theirs had been a worthy round of duties, uncomplainingly complet­ed. Theirs had been a glorious work for the benefit of those who were to come after them, down through a succession of generations. This work had been bravely done, and the trust they had so firmly maintained that there might come a brighter and more prosperous future had been fulfilled. Not without unselfish sacrifice had it been done.

            Now, with the turn of the cen­tury, came another era. The pioneers had done their part. None could have done it better. Henceforth, it behooved the later generations to "carry on," keep­ing faith with their forefathers, through the New Century.


"In the city where they sleep away the hours;

There they lie while o'er them range

Winter blight and summer change,

nd a hundred happy whis­perings of flowers."

... McDonald's History

IN THE OLD CEMETERIES of Union Township, "under the sod and the dew, awaiting the judgment day," repose those warriors of old who defied and conquered the wilderness. Theirs is a little army; their numbers are not great. Theirs is a noble army, laid to rest, duty done, well filled lives completed. Their at­tainments were many for so small a band, and much that they ac­complished lives after them.

May the pioneer cemeteries in which they lie buried, remain forever sacred to the memory of those first settlers who carved from the wilderness a land of peace and plenty! May those last resting places of the pioneers never be lost sight of, never fall into decay! May they be restor­ed, if neglected, and maintained and preserved in the years 20 come!

The pioneer cemeteries of the township are, strictly speaking, Bucklew, Washington, Cromley, and the old Township Cemetery.

Bucklew Cemetery is the first, the oldest in the township and among the few earliest in the county.

Today, in "old Bucklew," the stones stand in orderly rows straight and staunch and true, as were the pioneers they memorial­ize. Westward facing, they catch the light of the setting sun, which from beyond the rolling farmlands those selfsame pioneers carved out of the ancient wilder­ness paints the headstones a rosy tint, lights up the weathered carvings, and reveals in mellow­ed tone the names of the first families. Those names are in quaint lettering inscribed that the passing generations who fol­low may know that there they lie, in peace, life's duties done, life's joys and sorrows forever past.

He who passes may pause and read . . . in the sunset glow . . . their names . . . and ponder per­haps. Their sun has forever set. Ours will rise again. So, he who pauses will pass on, down the old road, and perhaps will give thought for the morrow . . . as they did . . . those pioneers. And perhaps, too, he who goes on and gives thought for the morrow will resolve, because they, the pioneers, did so before him, to make of the morrow a better day. Because they did, so shall he do likewise.

As the years advance, there are fewer and fewer burials in Bucklew Cemetery. Not a few of the burials date back to years prior to the middle of the last century. Of late years, there have been scarcely any. The old pioneer stock is passing; the first comers are gone.

Despite its antiquity, the burial ground is quite well kept. The stones for the most part are standing and unbroken, in good condition for their age. Many of them now have been nearly ninety years standing, a few longer than that.

Truly this old cemetery is hal­lowed to the memory of those who nearly a century ago hewed from the primeval forest the homestead farms that today are mute testimony to the courage and diligence of a pioneer people. The Thompson and McDonald families are well represented in this cemetery, especially in the western and older portion: the McDonalds, farthest west, near the fence, the Thompsons just back of them. The oldest grave in the cemetery is apparently that of an infant of the Thomp­son family, and the date on it, which is quite indecipherable, ap­pears to be 1826. A grave where­in reposes a member of the Mc­Donald family bears the date, 1837. This is perhaps one of the first burials in old Bucklew.

Writing of Bucklew, the first cemetery in Union Township, Daniel McDonald said, in 1880, "A large number of those who came in an early day are there buried, and as the years go by, those who drop by the wayside are laid here, and this silent city of the dead, is now (in 1880) one of the largest in the county out­side of the towns.”

Located at a jog or turn of the road almost midway between Lake Maxinkuckee and Rutland, or about three-quarters of a mile southwest of Rutland, Bucklew Cemetery, in 1880, was still prom­inently situated, but since then it has dropped into comparative obscurity. At that time it was immediately west of the farm owned by Alfred Bucklew. In later years, various property changes have taken place in the neighborhood. The name of Bucklew has passed from the lands. Some of the heirs have part of the property. The main portion became Thornburg prop­erty. Ownership fell to Mrs. George Marks, a Thornburg heir, and to Willis Thornburg. How­ard Mikesell has some of the land.

What is the next oldest ceme­tery in the township? That is a difficult question to answer. Washington Cemetery is very old; so is Poplar Grove, Cromley and Old Township cemeteries. Bur­ials in Washington Cemetery were as early as 1855. Cromley Ceme­tery has stones back to '56, and probably earlier. Old Township Cemetery dates back at least to '59. We know that Zion and Burr Oak cemeteries came some­what later.

It is interesting to note that all stones in at least five of the cemeteries of the township face the west. In Zion, however, some face the east and some the west. One wonders why. Be­cause of newer ideas, no doubt.

Practically all of the township cemeteries are well kept. Bur­rowing wild animals have been busy among the graves of old Bucklew. In Cromley and North Union cemeteries the prickly pear cactus has gained quite a hold. None of the cemeteries are ac­tually neglected.

Old Washington Cemetery, not far from the southeast corner of Lake Maxinkuckee, has been spoken of occasionally as the Lawson graveyard. But that name is seldom heard any more.

Cromley Cemetery, southwest of the lake, is off the beaten track nowadays. A traveled road used to pass by, but has been abandoned for many years. It is situated on a hillside with a splendid westerly view. On the southwest slope may be found the oldest graves, including Zechiel burials, in the midst of a small group of evergreens, the largest a pine tree There are inscrip­tions in old German on the grave­stones of members of the Zechiel family. One is the grave of Phillip Zechiel, who died September 29, 1856. Other deaths in that family group occurred in 1859 and thereabouts.

In Cromley Cemetery is buried Magdalena Haag, a pioneer moth­er. Other families represented in this cemetery include the Kaleys, Akermans, Morlocks, Ed­gingtons, Johnstons, Killens, Fenimores, Drakes, Adlers, Crom­leys, Bechtols, Lohrs, Maurers, Ranks (plot), Baumans, Stein­ingers, Uhls, Reeds, and Wag­oners.

Old Township Cemetery has of comparatively recent years been merged with the more modern Masonic Cemetery, and both are known as the Culver Cemetery. The west half-acre is Union Township ground, while the east is the Easterday plot. The cemetery is located in South Culver. The old part is along the west side, close to the high­way. The first burials seem to center about the year 1859. At the west gateway is the grave of Benjamin Street, who "Died Aug. 25, 1859, aged 58 y'rs & 9 mo's." South of that are two graves, those of the Jones children, who died in '59. The first burial seems to be that of a Smith boy, who died March 2, 1859. No doubt this was Dave Smith's uncle's boy.

Zion Church Cemetery dates back to 1893, when, according to the church records, "Pursuant to announcement on the 14th day of May 1893," a meeting was held for the purpose of devising meas­ures to have the Zions Cemetery laid off into lots. It was the unanimous desire of all present that the grave-yard be establish­ed. Accordingly, a committee was chosen, consisting of Broth­ers John C. Zechiel, L. F. Stahl and G. D. Krueger, to examine into and to report in four weeks as to the best and most advisable method of doing the work.

The cemetery committee re­ported, June 11, 1893, through its chairman, J. C. Zechiel, and advised "the laying off into lots of the grounds belonging to the Zions Church for Cemetery pur­pose, with suitable drives and walks as the grounds will permit. As it is the business way of do­ing it, protecting ourselves, beautifying the grounds and mak­ing it self-sustaining, we advise establishing permanent corners, platting the ground and selling the lots." The funds so obtain­ed were to be used for maintain­ing the grounds, a sufficient fund being employed at first, how­ever, to construct the cemetery and to fence the grounds.

This committee also recom­mended the selection of an over­seer, and at a congregational meeting, held September 4, 1893, Brother G. D. Krueger was elect­ed for the remainder of that year. Brother Krueger was re­elected, January r, 1894, to serve another year, and was ap­pointed again in 1895.

Congregational meetings were held in March and April, 1929, to consider the advisability of raising an endowment fund for the cemetery, or some plan where­by the cemetery might receive better care. As a result, there was voted the creation of a trust fund for its perpetual main­tenance and upkeep, "believing it to be alike creditable to the congregation and community as well as in harmony with the mod­ern tendency of beautifying the cemeteries." A portion of the cemetery was set aside for "the burial of such as are unable" to defray the cost of burial.

The writer has obtained a complete list of the families rep­resented in Zion Cemetery, as follows: Romig, Kaley, Milner, Hall, Whiting, Davis, Baker, Dit­mire, Lowe, DeMont, Payne, Fulp, Miller, Faulstick, Cromley, Hat­ten, Hoff, Pulley, Good, Stahl, Wolfram, Wright, Shriver, Zech­iel, Casper, Engel, Ebling, (Eab­ling), Reed, Mahler, Tucker, De­mont, Gray, Young, Page, O'Con­nor, Banks, Bowie, Newman, Bevilhymer, Hutsell, Jordan, and Mitchell.

Among the older burials in Zion are the following: Jacob F. Stahl, who, died Jan. 24, 1874; the two children of L. F. and A. G. Stahl, who died in 1875 and 1880; Clara E., infant daughter of J. H. and R. B. Zechiel, who died Nov. 1, 1870; Solomon Romig, aged one year, who died in 1874; Roxanna Demont, a child, who died in '75; Glenn R. Reed, infant, 1886; Alexander, 16-year-old son of B. D. and Aug. Ebling, 1873; John F. Eabling (so spelled), Apr. 16, 1869; Michael Casper, age 15, 1886; Anna Gray, who died July 1, 1875, and James S. Gray, Apr. 20, 1880; Simon Wolfram, Jan. 27, 1887, and Anna M. Wolfram, Nov. 7, 1853; Anna Romig, Mar. 28, 1882, and John Romig, Feb. 3, 1884; the three children of Jacob and Mary M. Hoff; and an infant daughter of H. and L. Zechiel, 1883.

There is a small old stone in Zion, evidently transferred there from elsewhere, for Marion Miles, son of Jack (?) and Amelia Cromley, who died Sept. 4, 1858, aged one year, two months and 15 days. This is the earliest date to be found in the cemetery.

Zion Cemetery is beautifully situated on a knoll adjacent to the road and on the west side, a bit north of the church. Off quite a way toward the south­east is the old Cromley grave­yard which antedated Zion by some few years. The earliest burials in the southwestern part of the township were made in the Cromley ground, but since the fine new Zion Cemetery was laid out and plotted, very few inter­ments have been made in the former. In both of these ceme­teries rest pioneers whose names are closely associated with the "making of the West" around the middle of the Nineteenth Cen­tury.

Although the last resting­ places of the pioneers be oft­times forgotten in the mad rush of modern times, the memories of those who therein lie shall never be taken from us.

North Union Cemetery, al­though in Starke County, not far from the Marshall County and Union Township line, may be said to, belong in part to Union Town­ship, for in it are interred many who were either residents of the township or were, at one time or another, associated with the life and affairs of the township. The "Osborn settlement" and one might say the Geiselman neigh­borhood, as well, are in close proximity to this cemetery.

North Union is an old ceme­tery ; burials in it date back at least to the year 1859. Among the old graves that are marked are those of Joseph Camp, who died August 14, 1859, and Jacob Myers, who died October 7, 1866.

The names of the families rep­resented are familiar names in Union Township. A list of them, although incomplete, serves to give an idea of this populous little cemetery, and includes the following:

Osborn, Hawkins, Geiselman, Gentry, Done, Smith, Badgley, Grindle, Demont, Pettis, King, French, Cox, Heminger, Castle­man, Sellers, Fetters, Lain, Terry, Elbert, Humes, Shoemak­er, Leopold.


IN THE OBSERVANCE OF THE STATE'S CENTURYHOOD, in 1916, Union Township took a prominent part. The celebration of this important anniversary throughout Marshall County be­gan early in the year, in April and even earlier. Mrs. Phebe Thompson Willey was county chairman.

Celebrations were held by the schools, including Culver.

The town of Culver held a celebration on July 27th, for which Mrs. George Overmyer was largely responsible. In the fore­noon, there was a parade by the members of eleven Sunday schools, each school representing some phase of the work. In the afternoon, following a "grown up" parade, a series of drills and scenes was enacted illustrative of early history, including the battle of Tippecanoe, portrayed by the Culver cadets.

The Marshall County celebra­tion, held at Plymouth August 6th to 10th, with an adjourned chapter on August 17th, was participated in by people from all over the county. The Sunday School Day program, August 8th, included a processional pageant of the Sunday schools of the county, a mile in length. On Pioneer Day, August 9th, there were talks by the oldest inhabi­tants, and the presentation of a few of the surviving old settlers who came to the county prior to 1840. To mark the closing day of the celebration, the Marshall county pageant, in pantomime, was participated in by about nine hundred people. This and the in­dustrial and historical parade, interrupted by rain, were given the following week.

The Pageant was an ambitious undertaking. There were four Episodes representing periods, 1816 to 1916, and among the dis­tinctive features were: the re­moval of the Indians, spinning contest, old tavern scene and dance, fashion show (the evolu­tion of dress), and the Culver Black Horse Troop in a Civil War scene.