Charlestown Township, Clark County, Indiana

This cemetery is located on Charlestown-Bethlehem Road, on John D. Haymaker's farm.

The book, History of the Ohio Falls Counties, published 1882, page 380, lists the following under "Owen Township Burying-Grounds"; however, the Armstrong Cemetery is, in fact, in Charlestown Township:

"Captain John Armstrong founded a burying-ground at Armstrong's station, in the southeast corner of the township. It was about 50 x 60 feet. The situation is picturesque, as the mourners overlooked the Ohio while depositing their dead in the tomb. Captain Armstrong was a distinguished pioneer in this part of the Grant. His name is perpetuated by a station or steamboat landing on the Ohio."

[This location is actually in Charlestown Township.]

Click here for a topographical map of the approximate location of Armstrong Cemetery, courtesy of

John Armstrong <> obtained from the Clark Co. Historical Society the following essay from the National Democrat newspaper of Jeffersonville, published January 2, 1885:

On The Heights of the Ohio in Charlestown Township

The Grave of Col. John Armstrong
A Revolutionary War Hero
His Posterity in our Midst

If you take the Bethlehem road after passing Charlestown eastward, you will at first encounter some pretty rough territory. After ambulating up and down several hills, which are in no respect models of asphalt pavements, and jogging your liver and dinner together, you reach the Fourteen Mile Creek bottoms and find yourself trotting along in a deep valley with steep precipices and craggy hills on all  sides.

About two miles from Charlestown you reach the foot of a steep ascent that demands strong pulling and a stronger harness. It is a great deal the best to get out and walk up the hill.  It is both kind and safe and you reach the summit after more blowing than a campaign stumper gets off during those incandescent times of political excitement just closed.  About the time you think you are at the top of the hill, a  sudden turn presents another installment of climbing the golden stairs. You think of course that now you are entitled to a level drive, but in less than a mile you suddenly dive down in a hole at McMillan's that makes you feel so queer under the apron. Now your animal toils up another hill.

Then you turn a short corner, and it's up and down for a quarter of a mile, when at last you can go it level for several miles.  Over five miles from Charlestown is a modest little country schoolhouse to the left.  It has the usual style that illustrates how hard it is to learn children to shut the gates. This is the school that was made famous by the contest that Miss Addie Hay had with the trustee of  Owen township. Now if you want to find out how much high life there is in Charlestown and Owen Township, there is a gate opposite here that leads into the farm of Joseph Haymaker. Joe is one of those sensible farmers that knows enough to be a Democrat, and can readily see that a farmer has no interest in a high tariff.  In fact everything about him is high, and therefore he likes a low tariff for a change.

The traveller will at once go into raptures of delight at the grandeur and beauty of the view from Mr.Haymaker's house, that faces toward the Ohio river, and overlooks the quiet flowing stream  for miles. This point is about four hundred feet above the level of the Ohio and affords a scope of scenery that must at all times be impressive, and is especially delightful in the growing season of the year. We are now eighteen miles from Jeffersonville yet way off westward are the knobs back of new Albany, appearing as a blue, hazy ridge.

The hills of Kentucky are in immediate view, and below them is a large plateau of fertile land. Man is naturally fond of a wide range of view, and this is the reason scenery that affords such a scope is so charming to the eye.  Any little object in the distance becomes a point of interest, the moving of the cattle, the curling smoke of a house, or a distant horseman, while the appearance of a steamboat is an event.  Over there in the channel there is a peculiar streak, a different shading in the water.  The mailboat has passed several hours since, yet there is the trace of it still on the water’s surface. This remains for hours, notwithstanding the tide flows on through the valley.  It is certainly a singular phenomena, and why the track of a boat should thus be visible for hours on the surface of moving water, will require a more scientific head than ours to tell.

After we had spent all the time we could spare (for we did not tire gazing on the grandeur of nature), Mr.Haymaker invited us to examine the grave of A Sleeping Hero.

We past [sic] through a wheat field and climbed a fence into a cornfield where a spot had evidently been reserved  from tile ravages of the plow. It was growing rank and thick with weeds. In the center stood a Weather-beaten, sandstone monument that was blackened, mould-eaten and blotched with the vicissitudes of nearly seventy winters.  On all sides were seen the stains of the poison vines.  These had been torn off, and disclosed the scars of the storm-beaten shaft.  Hidden around it in the grass were a few rough stones that marked the resting place of the eternal sleepers, whose name and fame are lost forever in oblivion, excepting, perhaps an old lady named Davis, mother of Ebenezer Davis, of Jeffersonville. The rest of the graves had no mark, and were indistinguishable in the weeds.

We all know that dead men neither tell tales nor hurt theit living sucecessors,  yet there is always awe, silence and reverence, feelings so akin to fear when we stand on ground where we know now lies the ghastly gaping face of a form once alive, full of hope, impelled by ambition and sustained by ardent desires just as we are today. It is then we gaze upon nature in every picture, and think those winds and trees, these birds, this grass, these floating ephemeral clouds were once all realities to the form that lies here.  It is now just sunset.  It is golden, ruddy, glorious!  How oft did these brilliant and many hued corruscations appear for the sleeper here, who wakes not at the tread of man nor at the bursting artillery of the heavens.  His sleep is as peaceful and eternal as the tranquil flow of the river away down in the valley.

Why do we call death a frightful monster? What is sweeter to us than painless sleep?  But it is time we were reading the inscription.  You will find it elaborate.  Either the man himself or his relatives were desirous his full history should be known. Read it:

To the Memory of
Col. John Armstrong,
who was born April 20, 1755, and
Died February 4, 1816"

“He entered the Army of United
States at the commencement of the
Revolutionary War, and
served his Country seventeen
years as a soldier and
an Officer.”

"During his services in the Army he was in thirty-seven skirmishes, and four general actions, among which were the battle of Trenton, Stony Point, Monmenth, and the Siege of York.”

"The deceased came to this Western country with the first troops sent hither, and was in Marmer's and St. Clair's campaign and commanded the garrison (Fort Finney) at the Falls of the Ohio for several years, making frequent excursions against the Indians.  At an early day he selected for a farm the tract of land where his remains are interred, and formed a settlement on it of several families in year 1796.

We were therefore in the presence of a Revolutionary hero. To his services are we in part indebted: for the privileges we enjoy today.  Could he have had a conception of the wonderful results of his labors and sacrifices, it would not only have been a source of still deeper inspiration but a cause of the most intense gratification.  What a contrast between the time when Col. Armstrong first settled here.  Nearby here is the site of an old block house to which the pioneer citizens fled in terror at the appearance of the merciless savages.  Then nature was in a rude state and both savage and wild beast terrorized the life of the settler.  Now on this  peaceful Sunday evening there was a soothing calmness all around, and there are none to molest or make afaraid. The pale face has no enemies to fear except those of his own making, and upon every hill the rich grain, the fruit trees and other products of the earth give him comfart end ease.

But in this change the dusky sons of the forest have fled before him, the story of our glory and growth as a nation is the history of the death of another race who have fled before us.  Across the fence, a hundred feet or more is a grave, supposed to be the last home of an Indian. The grave is a curious one. It was walled up on both sides with flat rocks, making a crude sarcophagus.  Mr. Haymaker dug down to a large solid rock, that he supposed covers the remains of an Indian, although it may possibly be a Caucasian, as it was customary in the pioneer days to cover the dead with stones to keep them from the wolves.

The difficulty of getting through the solid rock that covers the bones of the dead persons, has prevented Mr. Haymaker from learning to what race it belongs.  So the grave stands there a mystery.  Archeology will doubtless tell the story when the remains are exhumed.  This silent grave, alone on these lofty heights reminds us of the poet's description of the burial of Sir John Moore, and, perhaps, it was true of him that:

Not a drum was heard not a funeral note,
As his corse to the ramparts we hurried,
Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
O'er the grave where our hero was buried.

We buried him darkly, at dead of night
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light
and a lantern dimly burning.

No useless coffin encloses his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud we wound him,
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.

Few and short were the prayers we said,
And we spoke not a word of sorrow,
But we steadfastly gazed on the face of the dead,
And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed
And smoothed down his lowly pillow,
How the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
And we are far away on the billow.

Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him;
And little he'll reck if they let him sleep on
In the grave when at last they have laid him.

But half of our heavy task was done
When the cloak tolled the hour for retiring,
And we heard the distant and random gun
That the foe was sullenly firing.

Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
From the field of his fame and gory,
We carved not a line, we raised not a stone,
But left him --- alone in his glory

* This block house was built to command Grassy Flats and Eighteen mile island.
.         .              .         .

I presently have no further information on this cemetery. This information was obtained from either the:
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

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