New developments in small Indiana town uncover abandoned gravesites

GEORGETOWN, Indiana — Hidden among the brush in Georgetown lies history forgotten. But it’s now being re-discovered.

As Georgetown and the surrounding area grows into a larger community, abandoned cemeteries are coming to light. Dee Roney, the Georgetown Township Trustee, is taking steps to restore gravesites that have been taken over by nature and neglect. 

“My primary responsibility is bringing these cemeteries that have been long forgotten to a place that is more dignified and just bringing light where there was darkness,” Roney said.

According to Roney, several sites have been uncovered this year, in part, due to new developments. 

“If a developer comes across a cemetery, it has to stay within 100 feet of that cemetery and they have to establish a perimeter and they have to coordinate with archaeology to scan that area,” Roney said.

Crone Cemetery project

Crone Cemetery project

WHAS

RELATED: Church places crosses in front lawn for 2019 murder victims

A caller brought one site off Walts Rd. to Roney’s attention recently. It sits on a property that is currently vacant. 

“This is a unique site where it was almost recently maintained,” Roney said. He estimates there to be 30-40 graves from the 1800s in the small section.

Georgetown cemetery headstone

Georgetown cemetery headstone

WHAS

“I think these cemeteries are more common than people know,” he said. “I think it’s very, very common out in these rural areas.”

Roney said he’s already restored and maintained several once-hidden cemeteries this year. 

“I get as many people as I possibly can involved with the project,” he said. 

RELATED: Hidden cemetery lies in the heart of a St. Matthews shopping center parking lot

Roney will work with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and other local organizations on a plan of action to give the plots a facelift. He also plans to partner with local Boy Scout troops to help with some of the work. 

“I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who really care about this and want to see something done and want to see dignity brought back to these gravesites that have been long forgotten,” he said. 

Crone Cemetery

Crone Cemetery

WHAS

The goal is to clear the weeds, build a fence as a perimeter, and restore the headstones. 

“There are none here that I’ve seen here that can’t be restored so I feel really good about this being brought to where it should be,” Roney said. 

Roney expects even more abandoned gravesites to be found as people discover them through development, or by bringing them to his attention. 

Contact reporter Tyler Emery at temery@WHAS11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@TylerWHAS11) and Facebook.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. 

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.