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West Union Cemetery
Threatened by

This article appeared in the Spring 2007 issue of the Morgan County History & Genealogy Association Newsletter. Any of the persons listed below may be contacted for information on how you can help.

Jim Satterly of West Union Friends Meeting, recently contacted Joanne Stuttgen-Morgan County Historian; Joe Mills-President of Morgan County Historic Preservation Society (MCHPS); and Sharon Mills-President of the Morgan County History & Genealogy Association, regarding a request by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to buy a wedge-shaped portion of their cemetery, measuring 100' x 175' and located at the intersection of SR 42 & West Union Road.

The area which INDOT wants to purchase brings the highway easement up to 8.5' of an existing grave. It includes lots sold over 20 years ago to individuals. Church records can't guarantee that unmarked burials may not be located in this area. INDOT also wants a temporary easement at the front of their property which would require cutting almost all of their mature trees, which appear to be about 75 years old.

Many members may recall efforts by the History & Genealogy Association and MCHPS to save the front lawn and original trees of the historic Quaker homestead built by William M. Macy. INDOT wanted to acquire these in 2003. It seems that history is repeating itself much too soon, at the other end of the SR 42 road improvement project.

The Association & MCHPS helped to resolve the Macy issue by marshalling wide-spread support for the present owners of the Macy home, Donovan & Joyce Robinson, who spent many hours and untold effort to preserve their historic home. At that time INDOT abandoned plans for major reconstruction and decided to widen the existing roadbed all the way to Monrovia.

Nothing was heard from this project until property owners along SR 42 received letters from land acquisition contractors in late 2006, who sent purchase offers covering parts or all of their properties. No public hearings have been held since 2003. The Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology (DHPA) at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received no information on the revised plan that would signal their involvement regarding impact on historic structures, including cemeteries. The procedures used by INDOT to make sure that laws are followed when plans are substantially changed is not known at this time.

It should be pointed out though that--