Utica Township, Clark County, Indiana

Photos by James Prather Phillips
Taken 01/08/2000

Photos taken 03/26/2000
After clean-up by inmate labor crew provided by Sheriff Mike Becher
On 2/6/2001, a Verified Petition for Judgment Authorizing the Removal and  Reinterment of the Remains of One or More Deceased Humans from One Cemetery to Another Cemetery was filed in Clark Circuit Court.  That same day (2/6/2001), a Judgment Authorizing the Removal and Reinterment of the Remains of One or More Deceased Humans from One Cemetery to Another Cemetery was entered by Clark Circuit Court Judge Daniel Donahue.  Less than two weeks later (2/15/2001), a Permit to Disinter, Remove and Reinter Human Remains was issued by the Indiana Department of Health.

Seems the unknown, unmarked graves within this cemetery measuring 106' x 122' stand in the way of "progress" and will be moved to New Chapel Cemetery, despite the very specific 1890 deed restriction stating that "Said Real Estate is to be kept as a Grave Yard."  

The surrounding property is being developed into a high-density subdivision/mini-warehouse complex off Middle Road in Jeffersonville and the cemetery -- like so many these days -- is in the way of progress and profit.  To see a partial preliminary drawing of the development, see (1534K).

All of the above 2001 court documents are available as linked here in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.  The FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to open these PDF files and can be downloaded from

We learned of the existence of this site in the last days of December 1999 and performed a preliminary investigation into who may be buried here, etc.  There are no known indexes of the site and we must presume, based on the deed records, that it should be called the "Adams Family Cemetery" -- not to be confused with "Adams Cemetery" in Washington Township.

Adams Family Cemetery is located at 38.3154°N, 85.6880°W in the far eastern end of Utica Township.  Click here for a topographical map, courtesy of

A rectangular tract of approximately 123' x 106' was deeded on June 9, 1890 by William Adams and his third wife Eliza Adams (who are both buried at New Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery) to the "Trustees of New Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church and their successors".  The deed states:

"This Indenture witnesseth that William Adams and Eliza E. Adams, his wife, of Clark County, in the State of Indiana, convey and warrant to the TRUSTEES OF NEW CHAPEL METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH and their successors, of Clark County, in the State of Indiana, for the sum of One Dollar, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, the following Real Estate in Clark County, in the State of Indiana, to-wit:

"Being the Grave Yard situate on the Real Estate now owned by William Adams in said County of Clark, being a part of Survey No. Six (6) of the Illinois Grant, bounded thus:

"Beginning at a stake in the original line dividing Surveys No. Five (5) and Six (6) of said Grant, said stake is 5.6 rods 1/{92.4 feet} from the cornerstone at the corner of Surveys 5, 6 and 13 of said Grant; thence North 52 degrees, 13 feet East, 6.44 rods {106.26 feet} to a stake; thence South 37 degrees 30 feet East 7.44 rods to a stake; thence South 52 degrees 13 feet West 6.44 rods {106.26 feet} to a stake in the original line dividing said Surveys No. 5 and 6; thence North 37 degrees 30 feet West 7.44 rods {122.76 feet} in the said original line dividing said Surveys No. 5 and 6 to the place of beginning.  Said Real Estate is to be kept as a Grave Yard.  {Emphasis and italicized remarks added.}

"In Witness Whereof, the said Grantors have hereunto set their hands and seals this 9th day of June, 1890."

/s/ William Adams              /s/ Eliza E. Adams

State of Indiana, Clark County
Before me, Henry A. Burtt, a Notary Public, in and for said County this 7th day of June 1890, William Adams and Eliza E. Adams, his wife, acknowledged the execution of the annexed Deed.
Witness my hand and Notarial Seal.
/s/ Henry A. Burtt

Received for Record February 2, 1891 at 11 A.M.
/s/ Christopher Peacely
Recorder, Clark County

1/ A "rod" is 16.5 feet

Our suspicion is that buried here are, at least:

    1. Martin Adams, Sr. (born November 5, 1766, in Maryland and who was living on this farm at the time of his death on August 18, 1832)  [his wife Jane Matthews Adams (born July 2, 1769, died January 9, 1864), is buried at the Adams Cemetery in Washington Township];
    2. One or more children who died at birth or at a very young age while the family lived here; and
    3. Perhaps Willie Adams, who died unexpectedly at age 17 on October 21, 1886, just 4 years prior to the transfer of the property to New Chapel Methodist Church.
On January 13, 2000, we received word from the Board of New Chapel Methodist Church advising that they have given the Clark County Cemetery Preservation Committee permission to coordinate the clean-up of this site.   The current owner of the surrounding property has given us permission for ingress and egress over his land to clear this site.

In March 2000, Clark County Deputy Sheriff Joe Egan began supervising the work of an inmate labor crew from the Clark County Jail to clear the trees, briars, brambles, hedgeapples and other vegetation from this site.  He hopes to finish by mid-March 2000.  The photo above demonstrates the remarkable amount of work these workers have accomplished.

On Saturday, April 15, 2000, six of us spent several hours probing the site for buried stones.  Also, in the weeks prior, Jack Briles and Lois Mauk had individually spent a good deal of time probing suspected burial locations without success.  Jack had flagged a true East-West orientation line diagonally across the surveyed cemetery, which proved to be very helpful.

There was located on the East end of the cemetery a single, solitary stone lying on the surface of the ground (see photo at left).  The stone itself was "suspicious" as there are no other similar rock features in the area, it has distinct vertical lines which obviously did not develop through natural forces and it could not have appeared in that location without human intervention.  While it might be explained away as having been tossed there by a farmer clearing a field, that would not explain its obvious vertical lines and the absence of similar stones in the area.

Our final conclusion was that the stone on the East end of the site was placed there to mark one or more graves.  There are a good number of depressions surrounding the stone.  Several of those suspected graves are in a precise row which intersects the East-West line at a right-angle and we believe this to be a row of unmarked graves facing East (as is the tradition).  There are other East-West depressions which could be a second row behind the first.  These rows are located at the high point of the cemetery, as would also be traditional.

This seemed a perfect opportunity to experiment with dowsing graves.  Jack Briles reported that his grandfather was well-known for his ability to dowse water wells.  Kathie Danner found a coat hanger in her car and Stephen Franklin was able to craft rudimentary dowsing rods from it.  Whether you believe in grave dowsing or not, after 4 of us tried walking along the suspected row of unmarked graves, it is patently obvious that something was happening to the rods as we walked.  We found this very interesting and, though hits with dowsing rods could not be considered "empirical" proof of the graves' existence, we took it to confirm our pre-existing theories about the location of graves here.

After several hours of probing the site, we determined that, if there are stones buried here, we may never find them without a complete excavation of the site.  We did determine that in the low ground of the cemetery, about 12" below the surface, there is a bed of gravel.  We thought we had hit pay-dirt several times, but found only small rocks a foot down.
However, we have no doubt that there are numerous human remains here.  Perhaps their graves were marked with wooden markers which have since disappeared.  I suppose we may never know exactly who is buried here.  The site, however, is worthy of protection nonetheless.

The lone stone marker was uprighted at the head of the grave depression where it was found.  (See photo at right.)  Perhaps it can be permanently installed there at a later date.

Whether or not stones are found here, we hope to see a fence constructed here to clearly establish the boundaries of the cemetery property as a high-density subdivision/mini-warehouse development is planned for the surrounding real estate.

I especially want to thank Stephen Franklin, Jeanne Burke, Jack Briles and his grandson and Kathie Danner for their efforts to look for stones at Adams Family Cemetery on April 15, 2000.  Descendant Bill Scott could not be present due to a death in his family.  The interest and work of all these individuals is very much appreciated!

Baird's History of Clark County (published in 1909) provides the following biography of William Adams (1836-1917, son of Col. Martin Adams, Jr.) at pp. 693-694:

Owing to the great number of changes that take place in the population of our counties it is now only occasionally that we come upon a person of advanced age that has been born upon native soil.  One, however, is to be found in William Adams, who was born in Clark county, this state, on May 16, 1836.  His ancestry includes in its roll some of the sturdy settlers of Kentucky, where were born his parents, Martin and Jane (Davis) Adams, who were among the earliest pioneers of Clark county.  They were staunch Presbyterians and each lived to the advanced age of ninety-two years.  Of this family there are still surviving besides William two brothers and one sister, the brothers living at this time in Indiana and the sister in Denver, Colorado.

The domestic life of Mr. Adams (1836-1917, buried at New Chapel Cemetery) has not been one of the uninterrupted smoothness inasmuch as his home has been repeatedly invaded by visits from the death angel.  His first wife, Charlotte Kisler (1837-1865, buried at New Chapel Cemetery), was not permitted to live to see her children grow to maturity, but five of these are still living.  The three children of the second wife, Sarah S. Swartz (1837-1878, buried at New Chapel Cemetery) have also joined their mother in the great beyond.  Following this Mr. Adams was married to a sister of his second wife, Eliza Swartz (1842-1903, buried at New Chapel Cemetery), after whose death he was joined in marriage to Sarah Heuser (not buried at New Chapel, according to Bill Scott).  The children now living referred to above are Anna Belle Scott, Jennie Gilmore, Elizabeth Ogg, Martin A. and Minnie Smith.

NOTE:  The 1860 Clark County census lists the following members of William Adams' household in Jeffersonville Township:
ADAMS, Wm. 24 - Charlotte 22 - Anna 2 - Clara 3/12ths  (3 months) - BROWN, Daniel 16 - REBARGER, Benjamin 16 - ADAMS, Thos. 21 - DAVIS, Sarah 20
Mr. Adams is well known as a splendid business man and an aggressive, public-spirited citizen.  He has been called upon by his fellow citizens to serve them in many public capacities.  In 1880 he served as Township Assessor and filled the office in a praiseworthy manner.  In 1895 he demonstrated his ability as a party figure, assisting to bring about a complete change in the political complexion of county affairs, the usual Democratic majorities being wiped out and the county offices placed into the hands of the Republicans.  In waging this fight, Mr. Adams used as his instrument the columns of the New Albany Tribune.

Mr. Adams is a loyal Methodist in his religious affiliations, as were also his wives.  He has for a long term of years been a most faithful and helpful in promoting the growth and progress of church life in the community.  He has been a member of the board of trustees of the New Chapel Methodist church since 1883, and served as president of the same for twenty years.  He was also president of the building committee, which constructed one of the finest church edifices in Clark county in 1883, every dollar for the same passing through his hands, for which a strict and satisfactory account was given.

The farm now occupied by Mr. Adams consists of 131 acres, and has been his home since 1857.  Two of his children, Mrs. Gilmore and Mrs. Scott, occupy nearby farms to that of their father.  In addition to this farm, Mr. Adams owns tracts of land in Utica and Washington Townships.  He is a man well preserved, is keenly alert to the questions of the day.  He has lived to see many changes in the community where he has maintained his residence for over 50 years.  There are only two heads of families now occupying the same houses they did in 1857 in his neighborhood.  He recalls the days before the use of coal for fuel on the river.  Andrew Van Dike, a pioneer wood hauler, furnished the ferry with its fuel in those days, and in after years assisted Mr. Adams in threshing grain.

The History of the Ohio Falls Counties (published 1882), provides the following biography of William Adams' ancestors at pp. 536-537, Volume II:
Martin Adams, Jr. (1797-1889, buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Washington Twp.), was born in Mercer county, Kentucky, November 28, 1797.  He was the third child in a family of 11 children.  His father was born November 5, 1766, in Maryland.  He came to Kentucky five weeks after his marriage in 1793.  He was married to Jane Matthews, who was born July 2, 1769 [buried at Adams Cemetery in Washington Twp.].  He cleared up a farm and remained upon it until 1811.  In this year, on account of not being able to procure a good title to his farm, he moved to Clark county and entered the land on which the subject of this sketch now resides.  In 1811 his father and himself went into Indiana as far as Terre Haute, and with other families planted 80 acres of corn, but in June were obliged to return on account of the unfriendliness of the Indians who then roved over that territory. Martin Adams, Sr., lived on the place until his death, which occurred August 18, 1832.  His wife died January 9, 1864.  Mr. Adams' educational advantages were limited, his early schooling being received in the curiously contrived old-fashioned log school-house.  When of age, Martin Adams, Jr. bought the home place from his father, but for 25 years followed the river, engaged in the flatboat business.  During this time he superintended his farm, and afterwards and to the present time has followed that occupation.  He manages his large farm as a stock and grain farm.  August 18, 1825 he married Jane H. Davis  (1803-1893,  buried at Crown Hill Cemetery), who was born in Woodford, Kentucky.  Her father, Solomon Davis, was at one time a resident of Jefferson County, Kentucky.  They have had nine children, of whom Sina (1843-1854,  buried at Crown Hill Cemetery) is dead.  James H., Clarenda, Caroline, Thomas, William, John, Charles and Adaline are still living.  Mr. Adams has never sought or held any office, but has always been an ardent supporter of the Republican party.  Mrs. Adams is a member of the Presbyterian church.  In the spring of 1813, Mr. Adams enlisted in Bigger's company of rangers, which was to guard the frontier.  He was three months at the fort.  He served 12 months, getting $1 per day and furnished everything.  Mr. Adams is a gentleman of intelligence, of strict honesty and integrity.  He is one of the oldest and best known citizens of northern Clark county; is a consistent Christian and an esteemed neighbor.
NOTE:  The 1860 Clark County census lists the following members of Martin Adams' household (#1001) in Washington Township:
ADAMS, Martin 62 KY - Jane H. 58 KY - Charles 19 - Adaline A. 11 - DAVIS, John 12
At the adjoining household (#1002), the following persons are listed:
ADAMS, Jane, 90 (b. in Maryland circa 1770, hence the wife of Martin ADAMS, Sr.) and Harriet M. ADAMS, 46
The National Democrat newspaper in Jeffersonville on February 16, 1875 (p. 2, col. 5), reported:
   "Mortality.  Since January 1, 1875, not quite six weeks, the undertakers of Jeffersonville have furnished coffins for the following deceased persons . . . Child of Wm. Adams, Silver Creek. . . .
The Evening News newspaper in Jeffersonville reported the death of Mrs. Sarah (Swartz) Adams (second wife of William Adams) on September 4, 1878:
   "Death of Mrs. William Adams -- Mrs. Sarah Adams, wife of William Adams, a well-known farmer living several miles from this city, died at 7 o'clock last night, after an illness extending over a year, of some disease of the stomach.  The deceased was a daughter of Rev. George Schwartz {sic}.  She was for many years a member of the Methodist church, and in all respects an excellent lady.

   "The funeral of the deceased will take place at New Chapel to-morrow at 10 o'clock a.m."

The same report was found in the Jeffersonville National Democrat of September 5, 1878.

The National Democrat newspaper in Jeffersonville reported the unexpected death of William Adams' 17-year-old son, Willie, on October 21, 1886:

   "Found Dead.  This morning when the family of Mr. Wm. Adams, living near the Middle Road, four miles from the city, arose for daily duties, Willie, the seventeen-year-old son, did not appear.  On going to his room it was discovered that he was dead.  The youth had been afflicted and ailing for a long time but his life was not thought in immediate danger and his sudden death greatly shocked the family.  The funeral will take place from New Chapel at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow.  Rev. Lathrop officiating."

{Because the newspaper obituary says "the funeral will take place from New Chapel. . . .", I suspect Willie was not buried at New Chapel.  I need to visit New Chapel and see what I can learn from reading the ADAMS stones found there.  Perhaps Willie wasn't buried here on the farm.  Unfortunately, many of New Chapel's records were lost years ago in a fire at the parsonage.  However, descendant Bill Scott told me on May 30, 2000 that his family has never found Willie's burial place and he agrees with me that it is very possible Willie was buried here on the farm.}

No further information available at this time.  As we learn more, it will be posted here.
.               .                       .               .
I presently have no further information on this cemetery. Further information may be available from:
Jeffersonville Twp. Library      or     Charlestown Library

211 East Court Avenue                   51 Clark Road

Jeffersonville, Indiana 47130           Charlestown, Indiana  47111

Telephone:  (812) 285-5635              Telephone:  (812) 256-3337
New Albany-Floyd County Library  or     Sellersburg Library

180 West Spring Street                  430 North Indiana Avenue

New Albany, Indiana  47150              Sellersburg, Indiana  47172

Telephone:  (812) 949-3527              Telephone:  (812) 246-4493

E-mail: Dee Pavey

E-mail: Dee Pavey

Click here to return to the Clark County Cemeteries Index
Click here to return to the Clark County INGenWeb site

© Nov 2004