|Adam J. Barrone
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Scout Troup Clears Forgotton Cemetery
Monroeville News - July 21, 1999
Scout Troop Clears Forgotton CemeteryBy Lois Ternet
MONROEVILLE, IN -- Brown Chapel Cemetery is located on a tiny plot of ground, known as tract 13 in section 30 of Monroe Township.
Laid to rest here is a former soldier, A. D. Kemp, a Civil War veteran who served in Indiana Infantry, Company C 25.
For a couple of years now, an IPFW student, Adam Barrone, an amateur genealogist, has tried to get someone else to get the cemetery cleaned up. Dozens of Barrone's relatives are said to be buried there.
But it has taken a 17 year-old boy scout to get the job done. That young man is Glen Martin, who has ties to Monroeville by being the grandson of Sam Martin, long-time principal of Monroeville High School and son of George Martin, who acts as attorney for the town of Monroeville.
As an eight-year member of Boy Scout Troop 487, Glen, under leader Pat Cronin, is working towards his Eagle, the hightest honor awarded to Boy Scouts. He will become a second generation Eagle Scout.
Over the eight years, Glen has earned the required badges and completed projects to advance him to the Eagle level. Some of his projects included collecting over 400 can goods for his Star award and cleaning up along Highway 5 for his Life award.
George Martin, Glen's father, an Eagle Scout, also cleaned up a cemetery as his project. Glen's parents thought that it would be something that their son, a special ed student at Wayne High School, could accomplish.
They contacted Max Meyer, Monroe Township Trustee, who has been working on the Brown Cemetery clean-up effort.
A book of Allen County cemeteries called the condition of the Brown Cemetery "WILD." In 1979, 48 markers were found, with only one standing. The first burial according to the markers was in 1849, making it one of the oldest burial grounds in the township.
History goes back to 1848 when Henry Brown bought the land. It wasn't long before it became a final resting place, too.
Jabez Shafer [sic] died November 7, 1849 at the age of 56 days, five months, and 13 days. He was the first one to be laid to rest in the cemetery. Over the next 57 years, at least 54 others would be buried there. At 74 years of age, Sophia Rider Black [nee. Friedline] was the last one to be buried there in 1906.
One of the most noted persons buried in the Brown Cemetery is the Civil War veteran A. D. Kemp whose presence is crucial for clean-up efforts.
Indiana statutes empower counties to levy a cemetery tax to maintain cemeteries established before 1850 that contain remains of pioneer leaders or war veterans. Another statute directs township trustees to maintain cemeteries established before 1939 that meet certain other conditions, such as [being] operated by a nonprofit organization or not [being] managed by any viable group.
Finding documentation on a veteran gravesite was "the key thing" Monroe Township Trustee Max Meyer, who has been discussing the cemetery's restoration with county officials, was looking for.
Currently, he is working with the county to build a small bride across a ditch beside the cemetery, so workers could reach it for maintenance. Obstacles along the way, including public access, have strung out the project for several years.
In the meantime, the Brown Chapel Cemetery is definitely looking better.
"We went out and sprayed for poison ivy a couple of weeks before the Scouts went out to clean up," said Glen's mother, Jaesoon Martin.
And then all it took was a lot of muscle. Weeds that weaved among the fallen tombstones had to be hacked out and hauled away. Toppled stones were sorted out and placed in piles as close to the original as possible. Particular detail was made to clean and put back together the headstone of A. D. Kemp.
"I got a recipe to clean the stone...," said Jaesoon, who took special pains to research the care of limestone, sandstone and granite headstones.
June 19 was the official cleanup day at the cemetery.
"I didn't realize it would be so bad," said troop leader Pat Cronin. "I thought it would be more open...it was basically a jungle."
The volunteers arrived at about 8:30 a.m. and spent the whole day clearing brush. "There was still plenty of poison ivy, but luckily no one caught it," said Cronin. "Mostly, we cut out shrubs and vines growing wild and set up headstones. The group worked hard."
The Martins rewarded the volunteers with a dip in a pool and pizza afterwards.
The cleanup project hs gotten a good start, but the scouts haven't finished. Brian Park has sent in his Eagle Scout plans for approval. They include a footpath and an arch marking the entrance to the Brown Chapel Cemetery. And other scouts of troop 487 talk about continuing the project down the road to come.
Care of one-hundren and fifty years of history and a small plot of land has become very important to the Epithany Lutheran Scout troop. They meet on Monday nights on Maplecrest in Fort Wayne, but a small part of the hearts will always be in rural Monroeville.
Brown Chapel Cemetery
[repetitious information and namelist from the ACGSI gravestone reading are omitted]
Note: Mable (Hawkins) Fuelling, who has family members buried at the Brown Chapel Cemetery, remembers...
"There as a walk-across swinging bridge, as theycalled it. Long ago it collapsed. The church space is still there a I remember."