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Indiana Cemeteries: Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

We were exploring when I saw it: a sign for Underhill Cemetery (also known as Cunningham Cemetery) in Saint Croix, Indiana.

Down a gravel road. Into the woods. This Perry County cemetery would be fun!

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Heading on in, it felt like we were driving for quite  a bit when suddenly–there was a fork in the road!  There was no sign to tell us where to go. We chose to head right.

This is a narrow winding road. Lots of trees. No real room to turn around. When we came to another fork in the road, I was thinking horror movie–but luckily my husband, Jeremy, noticed that this fork made a big loop in front of the cemetery. Whew!

It really feels like the middle of nowhere. Underhill Cemetery is an old one!

Saint Croix, Indiana Cemetery

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

I was poking around and taking pics while my husband waited in the car with our sleeping kids. Rule #1 in our home? Never, EVER wake up a sleeping baby!

Caught up in the individual headstones, I suddenly realized what I was seeing. I called my husband out of the car–waking up everyone in the process. Oops.

Stones, not headstones, are set all around a large area of Underhill Cemetery. They are not random stones as they are spaced far enough apart, and in some cases, very far apart from one another.

Why are there so many markers here? Who are all these people? Are their names located anywhere or are they just lost? It was very unusual and something that even with all of my Indiana town cemetery wanderings I had not yet seen.

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Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

Do you know why there are these stone markers?

We just can’t figure out the reason here at Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana. Please let me know in the comments!

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Underhill Cemetery in Saint Croix, Indiana

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the little Indiana owner and Host of a little Indiana segment state-wide on PBS. Sometimes, she even sleeps. You'll usually find Jessica gallivanting around Indiana towns (population 15,000 and less) with her husband, Jeremy, and two boys (ages 9 and 5) in tow in search of where to stay, play and eat in small towns across the state! Small towns: destinations, not drive-thrus!

5 comments

  1. Jessica Nunemaker

    Interesting and sad. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Paul J. Underhill

    I grew up 2 miles from this cemetery but never visited it. There are several Underhills still in the area who will be buried there. The reason for the stones was ever one couldn’t afford a granite marker.

  3. I’m an Underhill, originally born and lived in Hammond, Indiana until the early 70′s at which time my grandparents with whom I lived, retired. We moved to Kentucky, which was their original birthplace. There are several reasons why the stones are placed as they are so coming upon your site, I decided to help solve your mystery, especially since I am an ‘Underhill’. :)

    Firstly, it is illegal in most areas of the USA, to dig up or move a grave unless court ordered for good reason. Even new highways must go around a cemetery or choose a different route. Therefore, the post above is not feasible since highway/state departments are not allowed to move cemeteries.

    In the old days, not everyone could afford a grave stone. Often, a grave marker was a simple wood in the shape of a cross. Over time, of course the wooden crosses would deteriorate. Some times, a simple stone would be placed where a wooden cross marker once stood. In addition, names on wooden markers would have long since deteriorated, leaving an unknown grave. Families move away, cemeteries go unkept, and so the loss of history and who all the people are buried there, become forever unknown. The stones could be no more than simple markers that someone at some time, marked as graves beneath.

    Another possible reason for the stones is children. In the old days, as I stated, many people could not afford headstones. Also in the old days, childbirth was more difficult, disease more rampant, and people simply did not live as long as they do today. There were many more deaths in childbirth, not just the baby, the woman giving birth! The parent might receive the headstone and the children, usually placed nearby with a simple stone. You may have viewed a headstone of a parent before that actually listed all the parents children….’Here Lay Martha, loving mother of Hildred, Annabell, Christine…’. Hence, the stones could be child markers.

    Still yet, from viewing the images, it appears the cemetery has in fact been taken care of, at least some what anyway. We can see there is no weeds or tall growth. Someone knows there is graves under those stones. That is why the stones are there, grave markers. It’s possible someone has a blueprint of cemetery and may even know who is in those graves. It’s possible that whatever type of markers were there, were destroyed over time or as I suggested, deteriorated. So, whoever that someone is taking care of the cemetery, is showing respect by at least placing a stone at their grave.

    One more thing, grave robbing and vandalism is a strong possibility of why there is no markers. Especially in small country cemeteries, it is easier for the evil people to destroy this type of property, some times, stupid kids for no more than a brief thrill.

    One thing I am fairly certain of, there is more people buried there than meets the eye. The stones, are no doubt grave markers, in my opinion.

  4. The cemetery, according to your map, is near I-64 so it’s possible it was an old cemetery that was in the path of the highway, which was constructed in the early 80s, I believe. The cemetery could have been moved there. As for placement of the stones, that would be another question. I am just postulating a theory on why the graveyard is there. Not knowing the geography, another explanation is just as viable.

    “New” headstones could be possible if the old ones weren’t there or were broken, as sometimes occurred with vandalism.

  5. Hi Jessica, there is another cemetery outside of Bristow, In. The Beard Cemetery. My maternal great great grandparents are buried there , along with numerous other relatives, including more recently my Mom and Dad. Similar to the Underhill cemetery with a circular drive, located on top of a hill.

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