About Me

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My passion is helping others defend themselves and their families. I am an NRA Certified pistol instructor, a NRA Chief Range Safety Officer, leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - North Cincinnati, and the state leader of TWAW Shooting Chapters - Ohio. I also have a heart for the Lakota people and lead mission teams to the Pine Ridge Reservation each year, am founder and director of Backpacks For Pine Ridge,, and do various volunteer work in my own community. My greatest joy is being a grandma and hanging out with my husband of 30+ years.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Case Cemetery

Yesterday was quite an adventure.  The day marked one year since my dad passed so we had planned to go back to Pike County, Indiana to his grave.  While we were there, there were a few other things I  wanted to check out.  And that.... is how the adventure began. 

The weather forecast called for rain all day, but you know that's never right.  It turned out to be a beautiful day - in the 60's and sunny.   It was a beautiful drive across the southern Indiana highways.

Now, it turns out that William Gray and Kazziah Ball-Gray are my 4th great grandparents.  The story has it that William and Kazziah came from Virginia to White Oak Springs in 1811.

"William Gray served in the War of 1812 and was at the Battle of Tippecanoe. Then in 1813 they entered land near the Highbanks settlement in the virgin forests near the White River. William served with Ge. Harrison in the war of 1812.

Kazziah Ball was a woman of education and culture, William was a tenant farmer on the estate of her father in Virginia and the match was considered an unworthy one by her family. Her father, John Ball, stated he was a cousin to General George Washington.  Nevertheless, they married and eventually moved to Pike County, Indiana. "

I had found that they were buried in the Case Cemetery in Pike County, near Iva.  And from the best I could tell, the little cemetery seemed to be out in the middle of a corn field, probably on private property.  But, I had to see it. 

Growing up in Pike County, I wasn't sure if the farmer who owned the land would allow us on it without a problem or if we would be met with a shotgun ... but I had to try.  So we drove up and down the little road near where the cemetery was supposed to be.  I used my iPhone's GPS to try to track it down.  After several trips up and down the little country road, and after several stops at various farm houses, once being met by a Doberman  but never by a person, we decided to try something else.  We drove around on the back side, down a gravel road, right across from where my GPS indicated it was, and decided it had to be "just over that hill". 

If you click on the pic of the map, you will see the land the cemetery is on ... and the path we took to get to it. 

We walked across a corn field, came to a creek and walked along it until we found a spot where we could cross easier.  Brian had the bright idea to run across it so as not to get quite as wet.  Me, I wanted to know where my feet were being planted, so I walked ... very slowly ... across it .... and got soaked. 
Once across, we scaled the steep, muddy, bank of the creek and found ourselves in a briar patch.  We untangled ourselves and kept climbing the hill, knowing that the cemetery just had to be on the other side. 
The other side of the hill revealed more corn fields.  Scatterd about the corn fields were small patches of trees and wooded areas.  Surely the cemetery had to be in one of those clumps of trees.  So with my iPhone in hand we tromped on through corn fields, hoping that 1, the GPS would guide us, and 2, that the Doberman we had spotted earlier wouldn't discover our presence.  It would also be nice to not be shot at, or to run into a coyote.  We must have looked like something out of a sitcom and no doubt sounded like it too.  It was fun.  And funny.  And messy. 
About what seemed like a mile later, I looked up and saw a big white tree.  There was nothing special about the tree - there were lots of trees out there, many every bit as big as that one, but something told me that was it.  I told Brian I was willing to bet the cemetery was beside that big white tree.  And so, on we went toward it. 
And then, we saw it.  Tucked away in the middle of the clump of trees and surrounded by brush, was Case Cemetery.
We walked around and took pictures of several of the Gray graves, figuring that they were likely somehow related to us.  Below is Kazziah and William's grave. 

I'm not sure who Estelle was, but I love this pic. 
And ... then we made our way back through the fields and across the creek and hoped that our car was still there along the road.

It was, and so we drove to Winslow,  Indiana to check out my cousin's new restaurant.  Steve is my cousin and Jessy is his son.  Jessy has recently bought the Riverside Cafe and is serving up what might be the biggest tenderloin sandwich I've ever seen.  It is certainly the best I've ever eaten.  Seriously, if you're ever anywhere near Winslow, you've got to try these.  He has other items on the menu too ... the bacon wrapped hot dogs sounded interesting, and I really wanted to try the fish too, but after eating the tenderloin, I may never want to part from ordering that wonderful thing again. 


And then it was on to Petersburg, to my dad's grave.  And then to downtown Petersburg.  I walked down to the barber shop where my dad used to work when I was little.  Its been closed for a long, long time, but the outside looked the same as always.  Even the old barber pole was out front.  I was surprised to look in the window and see the same old barber chair in there that my dad had used.  It was still set up like a barber shop and was very much like looking through a window all the way back to the days of my childhood. 

And then we headed home.  It was 12 hours, some sadness, and a lot of fun and laughs too.  It was a good day.


Dan Hays said...

Thank you for telling your story in words and pictures. I am very happy that you could make this journey into your past. It brought back special memories for me. I, too, know what it feels like to be on the adventure of finding Case Cemetery; not knowing where it exactly was, walking across harvested corn fields! I was blessed to be able to find there the grave of Elias Hayes, my GGGG-Grandfather, in November, 2009. There are no words for what it means to me. His sister and brother-in-law, Hulday and Henry Scraper, are also buried there, and perhaps even more of my relatives, including my GGGGG-Grandfather, Ezekiel G. Hays, Sr.

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