Saturday, February 05, 2011

Prather-Roland Cemetery revisited

I've been working a little in the blog basement updating and revising some early posts, including one related to the Prather-Roland Pioneer Cemetery in Cedar Township. When this blog was started, the html editing part of it was a little primitive and because of that I wrote some of my own. As Blogger improved html editing, some of the hand-written html became a little skewed. In addition, it was not possible originally to insert photos into posts; photos had to be posted separately. That means many early posts are in multiple parts and photos have to be found separately. So I'm trying to gradually rectify these difficulties and pull it all together. Now at least Prather-Roland is in one piece and, if interested, you can follow the link in the first sentence here --- or look for the link under "Cemeteries in general" in the sidebar.

Prather-Roland, located southeast of Bethel Church and Cemetery, seems to have started as a family or neighborhood cemetery on the James Roland farm (the Rolands were among Lucas County's earliest settlers, arriving in 1848). It's always been very small and soon was abandoned in favor of what now is Bethel Cemetery, known variously as McDermott and Sargent Cemetery until Bethel Church was constructed next to it, the graveyard was enlarged and it was given the name Bethel.

As Prather-Roland degenerated into a weed and brush patch, tombstones fell and were obscured. By the time the Lucas County Pioneer Cemetery Commission came along several years ago to rescue it, all but one of the tombstones were in fragments. A few of those could be reassembled, but for the most part in order to know who is buried there it's necessary to go back to a 1960s transcript of tombstones visible then made by Charles Wright.

I've also revised the entry to correct misinformation about a family member of mine --- it was the search for Ethelinda Etheredge's grave that took me there in the first place. When the blog entry was written, I still believed that Ethelinda was a daughter of my great-great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Rhea) Rhea Etheredge Sargent, by her second husband, Thomas Etheredge. And because she disappeared between the time the 1856 state and 1860 federal censuses were taken, that she had died young in Cedar Township.

Since then, it has become evident that Ethelinda actually was a child born without benefit of marriage to Mary Rhea, one of Elizabeth's daughters by her first marriage --- to my great-great-great-grandfather, Richard Rhea. Because Ethelinda fitted nearly into Elizabeth's second family by Thomas Etheredge, she seems to have been recognized as such when the family moved to Lucas County soon after 1850.

However, when Mary Rhea married Joseph Francis Dunn in 1856, Ethelinda took her new stepfather's surname and, by 1860, had moved with them to Gentry County, Missouri. So the girl whose grave I was looking for at Prather-Roland actually was alive and well when she left Lucas County.

I've still not found Ethelinda. In the years after 1856 the Dunn family for some reason became estranged from Lucas County relatives, then became badly fractured itself. Ethelinda married a Lambert, but when her grandmother, by now married to E.E. Sargent, died in 1888 no one knew where she was, including her siblings, and she did not collect her share of her grandmother's estate.

I'd still like to find out what happened to Ethelinda, but for the time being at least have sorted out the Prather-Roland Cemetery post and corrected some misinformation I'd included there about her.

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