WAUPECONG, Ind-- There aren’t many mysteries in the small town of Waupecong, but there is one that has lasted for more than five decades.
For years, there had always been whispers of a small, early settler cemetery somewhere in the town, but there was never any official record of it. Over the past few years, pieces of headstone had been found in a corn field next to a swampy pond.
In 2009, one of those pieces ended up in the hands of Jerry Jenkins, a marketing retiree and self-proclaimed amateur historian.
“And so what did we do with it? We started researching it, and then we started figuring out parts of the stone,” he said.
Jenkins, with the help of the Miami County Cemetery Board and other researchers, we able to track down the history behind the stone fragment using census records, hand written notes and old deed transfers placed in archives. They discovered the headstone belonged to Lemuel Caple, a young boy who died in 1851.
They were also able to track down another person believed to be buried in the cemetery, Mary LeMaster, a 20-year-old woman who died in 1859.
“It’s an awful thing to be forgotten and I think that’s part of it, we’re bringing back names that nobody ever heard of before," said Jenkins.
On Monday, a roadside monument was placed to commemorate the cemetery including a headstone for both Caple and LeMaster. Jenkins says it’s his goal to track down the names of anyone else possibly buried in the cemetery so they can be honored as well.
“It builds a history that you think only other places have,” he said.
On Saturday, the Howard-Miami Mennonite church will host a dedication for the cemetery.