Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Grave of Kay – the Circus Elephant

Not too many places can tell of the final resting place of an elephant. Christian County, IL. can . . . thanks to the generosity of several Taylorville/Christian Co. residents and the president of the Dakota Granite Company.

According to Kay’s obituary that was carried in Taylorville’s Breeze-Courier Kay died October 21, 1994. Barbara Byrd, Kay’s owner of over 50 years had the following inscription put on Kay’s Gravestone:

“In appreciation for over 50 years of devotion and for the joy you brought to millions of children of all ages.”

The Breeze-Courier article will be put in it’s entireity on the website of the Christian County IL. Genealogical Society (CCGS). And, when you’re in Taylorville, IL and would like to visit Kay’s grave site, Joan Pearson-Blood (CCGS Webmaster) will post the location on the CCGS’s embedded Google Map.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mound Chapel Cemetery Marks 130th Anniversary

The Christian County Genealogical Society's Joan Pearson Blood has this cemetery photographed and you can find photo's on the website:

The Mound Chapel Cemetery is marking its 130th anniversary in 2002. Although the earliest known burial at this location dates back to 1852, and the next burial in 1862, the cemetery was officially established in 1872; in connection with the Mound Chapel, a United Brethren Church which was built on an acre of ground donated by Elijah Chesterman and his wife, Anna (Dappert) Chesterman. This property is located in Section 23 of Johnson Township, here in Christian County. The cemetery was surveyed in 1907 by J .W .Dappert, who made a map of the cemetery showing all burials. In 1962 his son, Boyd Dappert prepared a plat of the cemetery and this was recorded in the county records.

The church and most of the trees on the property were destroyed in 1948 by a severe windstorm. On March 25, 1948 a large group met to clean up the damage. On that evening three trustees were elected to care for the cemetery: John Dappert, Frank Masters and John Brookens.

The cemetery has been well maintained over the years, due to the efforts of The Mound Chapel Cemetery Association, which was formed in 1949 to ensure care would continue into the future. For many years, John A. Brookens, grandson of John Dappert, was secretary for the Association. He made notes as to relationships and maiden names of those buried in the cemetery. His daughter-in-law, Rosella Brookens, who for many years served as chairperson for the Association, has gone to great lengths to elaborate on the information provided by John Brookens. Rosella has compiled an unofficial set of books, by using the 1850, 1860 and 1870 printed census reports, researching old county histories and referencing J.W. Dappert's, "History of Mound School". She then continued by copying down all legible names and dates from the tombstones, and interviewing people she knew or was able to locate and contact. It has been Rosella's intention that the history she has gathered and recorded would be of benefit to genealogists or anyone else who may be seeking information on ancestors or friends.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the history of the Mound Chapel Cemetery or who may be seeking information on those buried there, is encouraged to contact Rosella Brookens thru this blog. The Mound Chapel Cemetery Association would welcome new members to share in the continued preservation of the cemetery.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Introduction to Genealogy & Cemeteries

My introduction to genealogy started in 1998 with the death of my mom. As my brother, sister and I was going thru mom's things they kept giving me photo's/paper's/eetc. and said take these home and see what they are. (my brother is 10 yrs. older/sister is 11 yrs. older than I am) and they knew my love for photography, plus I don't think they wanted to 'mess' with all this stuff.

After making several trips I finally had everything at my house. I started looking thru my 'newly aquired items' and found photo's / names, that I'd never seen or heard of. With my inquisitive mind, I just had to find out.

I knew my mom had been born in/or near Morrisonville, IL. (Christian Co.) and moved to Piasa, IL. (Macoupin Co.) at a young age. I thought that my grandfather was buried in the Morrisonville Cemetery, althoug h I wasn't sure, being only 11 at the time of his death. But, I just had to find out - so on a Saturday my wife and I headed out to find the Morrisonville Cemetery. (I live in a small town about 20 miles away). Just driving around we finally found the Morrisonville Cemetery.

WOW, it was situated on a 'high' area of land with quite a few old trees in it, very well kept and I wopndered - Will I ever find anything.

After a coupl e of hours walking around, reading names, epitaph's, I finally spotted a fairly large stone with 'Strablow' on it! And there was this name 'Bertie' inscribed. (Never heard of that one). I Had found my grandfather/mother's gravestone - there was a wonderful feeling like I'd never felt before that came over me.

Then, walking around to the oth er side I found my great grandfather/mother's names and dates inscribed. (to my knowledge I'd never heard of them.) And my great grandfather was a 'Civil War' verteran! WOW, NEAT . . . what a find!

Well, this started my quest in genealogy and cemeteries. I can't tell you how many cemeteries I've walked, looking for that 'lost' relative, or someone else's. And now with the web postings being more and more prevalent I am extremely grateful to those who take time to post
and/or manage cemetery sites so that other's can benefit. Thanks to All -until next time - c

Friday, November 28, 2008

a visit

Last Sunday I had the chance to go to a little 'known of' cemetery in my area. It's name is 'Stokes' cemetery located in a farmer's field. You can find the location at: and 'click on map'.

I met Joan Blood, the 'official' Christian County cemetery photographer and her husband there, cutting the brush that almost covered the stones.

At one time there had been a woven wire fence around the cemetery, part of which was still there, and you had to be careful not to get tangled in it. Most of the stones we saw, and Joan photographed were leaning over / very hard to read, the typical un-kept cemetery.

Nelvin and Chuck (the other Chuck) uncovered a stone, lying down on it's back covered with about 3 inches of dirt/grass. It was in wonderful condition and the name was 'David Stokes'.

A very great find for their was a relative that came from close to a hundred miles away to see if he could find that particular relative.

Needless to say he was elated!

As we walked around we noticed the soil from the surronding area looked as if it had vanished about two to four feet, due to the farming of the area around. I wondered, as we all did where the house was, if there was any. The nearest road was approximately a quarter mile away. There were trees growing in the cemetery, but none looked large enough to have been there when the cemetery was active. Possibly there were trees nearby and taken out as farming land was made. Some log cabins perhaps, we do not know and no maps were recorded in the early 18oo's. These people that are resting there are some of the earliest settlers of Christian County, and at the time of them being here the area was Sangamon County.

All of us that were there are members of the Chrsitian County Genealogical Society and decided that come spring we will ask the owner of the land if we can go back in and clean the cemetery up. (right now is hunting season and with woods nearby is not a good time to be in the area.)

I'm looking forward to going in and doing my part in cleaning this cemetery. Hopefully to preserve it for a few more years and pay respect to those brave men and women who came before.

We'll post some photo's of the gravestones soon for others to see, probably on the above mentioned website.

Until next time - I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! - c

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Intro to Christian County, IL cemeteries

Welcome to my 'Graveyard Rabbit' blog of Christian County, Illinois. I'm proud to be associated with the other Graveyard Rabbit's which is the creation of Terry Thornton and footnoteMaven.

Some of you may not know that I site on the Board of the original Christian County Genealogical Society, (CCGS). The website can be found at in which the cemeteries of the county are linked to a google map for easy location. We have 31-active; 33-inactive/destroyed; and 16 unknown cemeteries in the county. (I'm pretty sure we do not have as many unknown cemeteries as is shown.) It's just that the CCGS webmaster wasn't sure of the location, so just listed as unknown until she can meet with one of the 'original' Board members and get the proper location.

Today, I would like to write about Joan (Pearson) Blood - She is a CCGS Board member / webmaster of the CCGS site / and cemetery photographer. It is Joan's dream to photograph every gravestone in every cemetery in Christian County. To date she has 14 completed and sending the photo's to the United States Cemetery Project,, which is also linked from the CCGS website.

Joan gives me a copy of each cemetery along with a spreadsheet listing names / filenames / etc. as she completes them. I am going to consolidate each cemetery alphabetically and post the names on our website for those who would like a color photo of their ancestor's gravestone. They could either e-mail / or snail-mail with their request.

A lot of work, and we love doing it to preserve our, and other's, heritage.

Until next time - Chuck

Thursday, October 23, 2008

click here to see Terry Thornton's article on The Graveyard Rabbit

Why this blog

Promoting the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones.