Springdale Cemetery, Oct 22, 2000.
Photo by Ruth A. Hoggatt. Pilot Cliff E. Hoggatt.
Sexton: Rev. Bob Leach
600 W. 5th Street, Madison, IN 47250
Phone: (812) 265-3915
Written by Ruth Hoggatt, © Oct. 27, 2000.
Revised © Feb. 2, 2003.
Just read this in the Madison Courier under the Bicentennial Moments, February 19, 2009:
"Jan. 11, 1840
An ordinance relating to the new Burial Ground. Sec. 1 Be it ordained by the Common Council of the City of Madison,
'This the new Burial Ground north of Crooked Creek (which shall hereafter be known by the name of the
Spring Dale Cemetery), be and the same is hereby opened for interments under the direction and
superintendence of the Sexton'. [...]"
The John Paul Chapter of the D.A.R. stated in their 1941 Jefferson County cemetery book that Springdale Cemetery was started ca 1839, being the third burial place in Madison. The first cemetery was located in a small village named Fulton, adjoining Madison on the southeast end, along the Ohio River. Unfortunately, the cemetery was destroyed and nothing more is known about it. The second burial site in Madison was the Old Third Street Cemetery, the ground having been donated by John Paul in 1817. It was located in what is now John Paul Park. As Crooked Creek, which ran on the north side of the Old Third Street Cemetery, was prone to floods, and during one such flood in the late 1880s had washed away some of the bodies, the cemetery ceased to be used. The surviving stones were later moved to higher ground at the Fairmount Cemetery (on Michigan Road, North Madison) and also to the Springdale Cemetery, which is located on the north side of Crooked Creek, adjacent to the Old Third Street Cemetery. It is likely that only the tombstones were removed from the Old Cemetery, leaving the bodies to rest in there graves. This left Springdale Cemetery the only surviving cemetery located in the downtown area of Madison. The Springdale Cemetery began as a City Cemetery, and is now owned by the Springdale Cemetery Association.
Even though Springdale Cemetery's early records were destroyed by fire, enough proof may be found in other sources to determine when Springdale Cemetery was founded. In A History of Jefferson County, Indiana, E.O. Muncie reprinted a letter dated Apr 21, 1879, written by Richard C. Meldrum to a friend. Mr. Meldrum was living in Chicago and was reminiscing about Madison. In his letter, he writes "...of the first burial in Springdale Cemetery (Fanny Sullivan) a sweet young girl..." In the Madison Herald, an article dated Dec 22, 1887, stated that the first burial was for Frances E. Sullivan, daughter of Jeremiah & Charlotte R. Sullivan. She was born May 2, 1824 and died Oct 7, 1839. She is buried in the Sullivan lot near her father.
An article from the Madison Courier dated Jun 2, 1859:
"Springdale Cemetery was purchased and located in 1839, almost twenty years ago. Mr. Grayson, the sexton, informs us that there have been buried in the twenty years in Springdale three thousand three hundred and thirty-two bodies — about one-third of the present number of the inhabitants of the city."
The original section of the Springdale Cemetery is located in the southeast quarter of section 34, along the sectional line dividing sections 34 and 35. Per the Jefferson County tract book, John Taylor purchased the SE 1/4 of Section 34 (160 acres) on May 6, 1808. However, it appears that Taylor did not have the land for long, as per deed records located in Book A, Philemon Vawter sold 50 acres on the west side of the SE 1/4 to Rufus Gale on 8/11/1813, and 10 acres to John Vawter in the SE corner on 3/07/1814. Philemon Vawter died in 1814, leaving his real estate to his wife, Ann and children. During the 1830s, Philemon's children conveyed their interest in the SE 1/4 to their brother David Vawter. And, on Nov. 14, 1836, David and Lucinda (Glover) Vawter sold 60 acres in the SE 1/4 of section 34 to Milton Stapp. The land description included what is now the Springdale Cemetery from what is now S.R. 7 to Springdale's Plat 5. On Oct. 27, 1837, Milton Stapp, made a bond to sell the land to the City of Madison for the same land. The first payment was to be made on Jun. 23,1839, and the second on Jun. 23, 1840. In the City Records, a disbursement of $1 was made to A. Collins in Jan. 1839, for marking off the graveyard. This was most likely what is now known as Plat 1 in the Springdale Cemetery. During the 1839 March Term of the Circuit Court, Stapp petitioned the court to partition the 60 acres in half. The east side, where the original section of Springdale was located (and part of the hillside) was set off, and contained 28 1/12 acres. On Nov. 28, 1848, a deed was made between Milton Stapp and wife Elizabeth, and the City of Madison stating that whereas the City had completed payment per bond made in 1838, and which the east side had been set off for Stapp during the March Term of 1839, the said east side of the partition was hereby conveyed to the City of Madison. [See Further Information.]
Today, Springdale Cemetery is bounded on the west end by S.R. 7; east end, Vine Street; south end, Crooked Creek; and, the north end, by the foothills of Hanging Rock Hill. Early on, Springdale Cemetery had two entrances. The formal entrance had an iron gate, and was located on the south side of the cemetery. This entrance crossed Crooked Creek from what was called Cemetery Street, now Lincoln Street. One can see where the bridge use to cross the creek into the cemetery, but has long since collapsed due to repeated flooding and was then abandoned. One lady I met at the JCHS recalled the bridge as a foot bridge, stating the bridge was too unstable for vehicles to cross. The other entrance, which is the only entrance today is on the east side and crosses Crooked Creek on 5th Street. For a period of time, a western entrance from Hanging Rock Hill (S.R. 7) was also used.
Under the care of Rev. Bob Leach, Sexton of Springdale Cemetery, overgrown brush is being cleared away on the hillside area (plat 2), and tombstones long abandoned are being discovered. I have hopes that he will also uncover the stones in the Old Public Ground section. The stones here were laid flat and now sod covers most, only the center areas showing through. Some of the Old Third Street tombstones were re-erected in the northwest corner of the Old Public Ground section.
Area where some of the oldest stones are found. In the distance, you can see part of the hillside which was recently uncovered, revealing more tombstones.
Back near the hill, Plat 5 North.
Probably part of the old vault, edge of woods.
Springdale Cemetery Surnames starting with:
[A - B]
[D - E]
[I - J]
[N - O]
[P - Q]
Additions by fellow researchers are listed below.
Please feel free to add Springdale additions by clicking on "Comments."
[Jefferson County Cemetery List]
1941 D.A.R. Cemetery Records.
Photos, transcription & additional burials by Ruth Hoggatt.
Survey not complete.