Near the northern boundary of Madison County, Indiana, Boone Township is nestled up to the Grant County line. It is here that my ancestors pioneered and settled this little corner of Indiana.
Few, if any, family members still reside in this township but the family’s legacy continues and their memorials are scattered throughout the small Country cemetery named for the village of Forrestville, Indiana that has been dissolved and dismantled for long over a century.
The original, but altered pioneer homes of my ancestors, Vinson, Jones, Greenlee, Noble, and Ball all remain standing, swelling my heart with pride.
In Forrestville Cemetery rests the remains of six generations of my family, the earliest grave being that of Sarah Musselman Greenlee, my fifth great-grandmother, buried in 1873, age 98. Sarah Musselman was born in 1774 on her family’s farm along the Kanawha River in Kanawha County, West Virginia, which would have been Virginia prior to the Civil War. She married William Greenlee of Kanawha County, and their first child, William Jr. was born in 1816. In 1822, the young family set out for Madison County with other pioneers, Jones, Ball, and Vinson families to Madison County. I have no knowledge of their reason for moving.
Also, James and Jemimah Jolliffe set out for Indiana but made it as far as Butler County, Ohio where they remained and are buried. They are my paternal 4th great-grandparents.
I grew up in this cemetery as it was customary to visit family graves, often, and to tend to the graves with trimming and flowers. Fortunately, it appears that my great-aunt, Joyce Clary Riser, who lives in nearby Alexandria, is one of the last remaining family members to attend to these rituals. My great-grandfather, Garrett Clary, and his daughter, my grandmother, Donna Clary Barmes, would take me through the cemetery, pointing out specific gravesites and instilling a passion for genealogy.
Family plot: Clary – great-grandparents; Ronald Clary – great uncle; Jones – brothers of my great-grandmother, Belle Jones Clary; my grandparents, Leroy & Donna Clary Barmes
A few yards from where my grandparents and great-grandparents are buried is Ancestor Row where my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th great-grandparents are buried. I love this row of tall, imposing memorials to ancestors I never knew, always grateful that their lineage extended to me.
Forrestville Cemetery is and has always been, a particular spot in my world where I feel absolutely rooted to my personal history, as well as the history of Boone Township near where I grew up. When my cremains are deposited there will be eight generations resting within these 12 acres surrounded by nothing but fields.