Thursday, August 15, 2013

Waynick Cemetery: How it came to be

Fifty or more Waynicks related by blood or marriage rest beneath the sod in the cemetery that bears their surname southwest of Chariton, but so far as I know no descendants remain above ground in Lucas County now.

One our earliest, best known and largest families has vanished from the landscape during the 165 years since its first members arrived from Indiana.

Many descendants moved along, headed west mostly. But so many died young. Dozens of those buried at Waynick are infants, children or teen-agers.

By the time Samuel A. Francis --- his marriage to Louisa Jane Waynick was the first recorded in Lucas County --- died during September of 1899 in Nebraska, he reportedly had outlived all 12 of their children. Four who died as infants remained behind in Lucas County, buried in a row in the cemetery located on land first owned by Louisa and Samuel.


The first to arrive were three brothers, two of them physicians.

Dr. Wyatt Washington Waynick, Iverson H. Waynick and Dr. William Dupre Waynick --- all under 30 and single --- turned up at William McDermott's Ireland (near the current Cedar Township location of Bethel Church and Cemetery) during June of 1848. Their friend Sam Francis had traveled with them from the Greencastle area of Putnam County, Indiana.

Other siblings, including David Daniel Waynick and his sister, Louisa Jane, arrived during 1849.

By that time, Iverson and Wyatt were living on a claim three miles southeast of Chariton, in what now is the Salem neighborhood, and Louisa moved in with them.

On Nov. 15, 1849, she was united in marriage to Sam Francis in that cabin by James Peck, a justice of the peace. This was the first marriage for which a license was issued in Lucas County.

They were joined, most likely during June of 1850, by the patriarch and matriarch of the family, Peter and Susannah, nee Broom, and their younger children.


In seems likely that Samuel Francis already had scouted Lucas County for suitable land and may even have made preemption claims in Section 1 of the recently surveyed Warren Township, just three miles southwest of the newly located town of Chariton, anticipating his marriage and arrival of the senior Waynicks.

At that time, this would have been high and open prairie, but the Chariton River valley --- source of timber and water --- was just half a mile or so due west. 

All of the Peter Waynick and Francis land claims were filed on Sept. 24, 1850, most likely by a family member who traveled to the land office in Fairfield to do so. Patents were issued on May 1, 1851.

Samuel claimed 180 acres in the northwest quarter of the section. Waynick Cemetery is located on that claim as is the Taylor/Pierschbacher farmstead just to the south. It is entirely possible that Sam Francis built the first cabin on the current farmstead site.

Peter Waynick entered 240 acres south and southeast of the Francis claim and each man also entered 40 acres in the adjoining Section 12.


A year after the land claims were entered, on Sept. 20, 1851, Peter's and Susannah's daughter, Orela Ann, died at age 20. She had been born on May 2, 1831, in Guilford County, North Carolina, and had traveled as an infant with her family to Indiana either later that year or early the next.

By all written accounts, her burial was the first on the Waynick Cemetery hilltop --- a point of land that probably was just north of the Francis cabin with views to the west, north and east.

Four infant children of Samuel and Louisa Francis are buried just to the north of Orela, including Orilla Ann Francis, who died at age one month and 23 days on Sept. 11, 1852, a year after the aunt for whom she had been named. Hers probably was the second burial although later tombstone transcriptions confuse the issue a little.


Samuel Francis --- apparently something of an adventurer and a veteran of the Mexican War who would go on to serve during the Civil War --- was ready to move on by the mid-1850s, looking west to Nebraska Territory. 

By the time Samuel and Louisa sold their 180 acres to William S. Holmes on Nov. 6, 1854, two more of their infant children had joined little Orilla on the cemetery hill. Their deed to Holmes reserves "to ourselves" the two-acre cemetery site.

Many other Waynicks, including Peter and Susannah, their sons Iverson and David D. and daughter, Elmira, were buried during the next 30 years in what became known as "the family burial ground," but so were many neighbors.

Holmes family members suffered financial reverses 33 years after they had purchased it for $1,300 and lost the old Francis claim, excluding the cemetery site, by sheriff's deed to Edward Sill on July 6, 1887.

Because the Holmes family had owned the farm surrounding the cemetery far longer than Sam and Louisa had, some began to call it "Holmes Cemetery" rather than Waynick. But it remained in Waynick family hands for two more years.

On January 30, 1889, Samuel and Louisa, then living in Washington County, Nebraska, deeded the cemetery to H.G. Curtis, J.T. Crozier and A.E. Dent. and a cemetery association was formed to administer and maintain it as it passed formally from family hands.

But both J.T. Crozier and A.E. Dent were married to Waynick granddaughters of Peter and Susannah, so the family connection remained.

1 comment:

Marilyn L. Runnells said...

My maternal Grandfather George Washington Harp is buried in the Waynick Cemetery along with his first wife Anna. I believe he also had a teenage daughter buried there. I never knew why he was buried in this cemetery. I have the deed for the lot purchased in 1903 for $3.00. The deed is signed by J.T. Crozier, Pres of the Waynick Cemetery Association and witnessed by May B. Waynick, Secretary. I do not know of any connection that my Grandfather would have had to the Waynick family. He was buried there in 1927. Marilyn Anderson Runnells