Thursday, June 16, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Digging up Evans Cemetery

Evans Cemetery, Fayette Co., Illinois

I really hadn't planned on spending much time or taking many photos in the Evans Cemetery in Hagerstown, just outside of Vandalia. The main stone I wanted to see was that of my 5th great grandfather, Jeremiah Evans. Jeremiah donated the land for the cemetery long ago and there were many of his family buried there along with other townsfolk, but he and his wife Mary were the only "direct" (is there any other kind?) ancestors of mine that had stones there. I'd already seen the two stones on [FAG] so I wasn't all that excited. They weren't in good shape and were laying on the ground and Jeremiah's appeared to be just a little piece of stone, the bottom part.

Big, BIG tree!
It was Wednesday, June 1, 2011 and Mike and I went early to beat the heat and we were the only ones in the cemetery. There was a giant tree that had fallen and uprooted itself and someone had been sawing it in sections for removal. It did quite a bit of damage in the fall and standing next to the hole the roots made I wondered if I might see bones down there.
(Click on the photo and see for yourself!)

All that was showing of Jeremiah's tombstone
As soon as my eyes fell on Jeremiah's stone I recognized it from the sad little photo on his FAG memorial. Next to it was his first wife Mary (Larimer) Evans. Mary's was a full stone but we could barely see the top part because of all the grass that had covered it. Mike started pulling away at the grass until he had it mostly uncovered. It wasn't easy work since he only had a stick to loosen the grass before pulling it up. Next, we moved on to Jeremiah's stone. I could see there was more than was showing but I didn't think it was much. Mike said "Lisa, I think the whole stone is there, I'm going to find out." and he began to work away at removing grass with his little stick. I was hot so I went off to photograph some stones that were in the shade!

Mike...hard at work, uncovering Jeremiah with a stick.

I don't know how many years Jeremiah's stone has been covered but after at least an hour Mike had the entire thing cleared. It was broken in pieces and mostly unreadable but it was the whole stone. I photographed it many times and when I got home I uploaded it to Jeremiah's FAG memorial and let the creator know that a new photograph of the stone was there. 

Now, thanks to Mike all Jeremiah's descendants can see the full stone...and lucky for Mike, he got to spend the rest of the day in a cool, quiet library, reading to his heart's content about his Kentucky pioneers...and probably their moonshine stills!

My point here is...which is the Treasure, the Stone or the Man? Bet you know what my answer is!



  1. Totally outstanding! Happy Father's Day to Mike. Great job there!

  2. Which is the treasure? That is not a close race. Good job, Mike!

  3. I discovered your blog today and would love to get in touch with you - I am from the Sowder lineage.

  4. Would love to communicate about the Sowder line!! If you will scroll way down to just above the index you will see my Gmail link. Just click on that to e-mail me. Look forward to hearing from you!

  5. Hey, Lisa, I've finally done it! I started a blog for my family. I must say that you are a big influence in that decision. Anyway, I'm just getting started and had to come back and find your blog again. It's been a while since the last visit.
    I hope you don't mind if I study your work here to try and improve my own.
    And a big Well Done! Mike. Good job on this project. Actually dig it up with a stick!? Well, I suppose you carry your sword with you everywhere. I know his family will be very grateful.
    Cheers! Best of everything to you and yours.

  6. Awesome David! It's about time I influenced somebody for the good of history, LOL! I just checked out your new blog and now I am your FIRST Follower! Great title and I love the template! Good luck, you are going to have fun. Be sure to join up with Geneabloggers ( and then follow lots of blogs. I learn the best stuff from other bloggers!

  7. Lisa, I'm behind in my reading, but I just have to say, this is an excellent post. Thank you so much for sharing your story and photos.

  8. Thank you for the nice comment Barbara! I am also behind in my many great blogs, so little time!