Indiana Cemeteries: Eller and Spannuth

I grew up in Fishers, IN and would always drive past Spannuth cemetery (near Conner Prairie). I was jealous that people got to share their backyard with a cemetery, a constant reminder of the shadowy boundaries between life and death.

Since it was near the road and without parking, I awkwardly parked my car and then awkwardly walked into the cemetery. The site was surrounded by trees and a wood fence. Although next to a busy road, it was very peaceful. I knew nothing of this graveyard prior to my visit, but later research revealed (through historical documents) that six civil war soldiers are buried here. Here are a few grave markers that caught my attention. As my last Indiana Cemeteries post shows,  I am fascinated by hand symbols on gravestones.

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A hand pointing up represents heaven.
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Hard to read, but the bottom two lines are: “A shadow over our life is cast. We miss thee every where.”

Using my Find a Grave App, I located a cemetery nearby, named Eller Cemetery. The App is great at locating graveyards, providing gravestone images and information, but you have to use better judgement when deciding if it’s on private property or not. This one I wasn’t so sure about, so I’ll conceal the address.

This cemetery involved a hike through the woods, which added an ominous vibe. The woods were quiet and I could hear distant leaves and branches cracking (probably animals, right?).

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When I first entered the site, I was drawn to a fenced-off area with three graves, one of which seemed to be sinking into the ground.

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Closer inspection told the story of a family. Amanda’s grave in the center has a hand pointing up to represent heaven with a short poem at the bottom, but I was unable to read it. Her son is buried next to her with the symbol of a broken bud or branch, representing a premature or untimely death. It looks as though the mother, Amanda, died shortly after giving birth, and her son soon followed. I am assuming the husband, James T. Gentry, is the sinking grave.

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Both sites had many graves of young children, sometimes only marked with the name “Infant.” You realize in these moments the importance of memorial, burial, and family.

Next week’s Indiana Cemeteries will be an old visit to a few in Lafayette, IN. The week after, I’ll be going international with pictures from my visit to Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

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