My friend Amber Ball and I met almost two years ago. We have wandered all over this area taking photos and seeking stories. The Patoka River Wildlife Refuge is our favorite haunt. Amber also writes a blog and posts the most amazing photos. You should check her out here, and links are always posted to the right of my blog.
Last weekend amid our busy lives we found time to visit a local field of sunflowers and enjoy the waves of yellow that attract butterflies and birds.
My July was so hectic and Amber has graciously offered a guest post for my blog. Last fall we went in search of the Old Massey Cemetery, sometimes known as Loveless Cemetery. Here is her blog post about that day.
An Anniversary, And An Interesting Find
In the summer of 2012, I came across a beautifully written blog about the history of our area (you can find it HERE), and struck up what has become a great friendship with the writer. On our first outing together was just over a year ago; we struck out to try and find a small cemetery that didn’t exist on any maps; the historical websites listed a couple of interments, but no coordinates on how to find it, so we set off with only a general suggestion of the area from someone who claimed to have come across the stones years before. Needless to say we were unsuccessful; but that trip has opened the door to dozens of other excursions and finds that I otherwise would never have viewed, so I am extremely thankful for it :).
Last weekend at the Columbia Mine ceremony, I noticed two lakes on the map named Loveless Lake and Old Massey Lake that were not too far from the area we were originally searching, so I asked refuge manager Bill McCoy if he knew how the lakes had gotten their names, and that we were searching for a cemetery with a similar name. To my surprise, he said he knew exactly where it was! He pointed out the location on the map I had and I immediately pulled out my phone and sent Rose a text so we could set up another excursion. Inexplicably, the area is next to a lake named Indian Hill Lake (because of an indian burial mound in the area), and NOT next to Loveless or Old Massey Lakes, but we were determined to find it for once and for all.
So today, despite the falling temperature and the gusty winds, we set out for parts unknown. Down the road to Indian Hill Lake and around, we were excited to see lots of deer, coyote, and even bobcat tracks! There were several dead fish in the water, and lots of spots around the edge where large fish had been hauled out, scaled, and eaten. Every ten feet or so, we came across turtle shells, crawfish shells, catfish heads, and all manner of carnivore leftovers. We followed some animal paths for a ways around the lake but had to forge our own for quite some distance, and I can tell you with great certainty that the briars are alive and well around there! But finally, we got around the point of the lake to the area we were looking for, and we entered the woods.
We trudged around the ridge for ten minutes or so with no luck and were starting to think we’d never find it, when I looked down and noticed…vinca, everywhere! Vinca vine, sometimes called periwinkles because of the pretty blue flowers it has in the spring. Vinca is often a clue that you’re near an old cemetery; I’ve read that it was planted as a groundcover, to mark the graves of infants, because it has a religious significance, or several other reasons depending on who you’re talking to…but we knew when we saw it that we were close! After our excitement renewed and we searched just a little farther…
…and WE FOUND IT!!! This is the stone of James S. Loveless, b 9-9-1865 d 1-1-1901. It’s the only stone we found, but we think perhaps we’ll revisit in early spring once the winter weather has mashed down all of the now freshly-fallen leaves, maybe we’ll see others then. Of last report, there were three stones remaining; but it was so cool to finally find this! I signed up for an account on newspaperarchive.com to see if there were any mentions of James or how he passed but have not yet been able to locate anything; but I’m thinking I might use some excerpts from those old papers here from time to time because they’re just plain interesting.
If you happen to be searching for it yourself, here’s a map of about where you’ll find it; it’s on the very edge of Sycamore land, and when you’re standing at James’ stone, you can see the edge of the field that is on the private land just to the west. The large lake in the center of the photo is Indian Hill Lake on the Sycamore maps. Once we get a warmer day, I believe we’ll be heading back to see if we can get a glimpse of the deer, coyotes, and bobcats we saw such evidence of on the lake edge…but until then, have a great weekend!!
Edit: If you’re heading out that way and GPS coordinates would help, this should get you close: 38.376707,-87.311335. Be sure to wear some orange, because the private land immediately adjacent is a hunting camp and they have blinds/stands set up on the edge of the field just feet away from the stone(s). And be prepared for briars!!!!