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I Brake for Cemeteries!

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

This is Part 1 of a new series in this blog featuring random unusual or long-forgotten headstones found while I traipse through cemeteries in the area or on research trips.*

First up, is an unusual marker I found last week whilst wandering St. Magdelena Cemetery on Madison's hilltop – formerly known as North Madison.

T.P. Adam, 1858-1920, is one of dozens previously interred in the church yard of St. Magdalena Catholic Church, established in 1847 in Shelby Township in Ripley County, Indiana. Adam and others were moved in 1941 by the U.S. Goverment to the western portion of St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery on State Street, across from Pope John Schools.

At that time, hundreds of acres surrounding the church grounds became the Jefferson Proving Grounds – still located behind chain-link and barbed-wire fencing that stretches on the west side of U.S. 421 between Madison and Versailles, Indiana. The U.S. Army held test flights, test bombings and other operations there until the late 1990's, when it was decommissioned. The area is now Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. According to Ripley County Historical Society records, the ground where the church stood was leveled and a large cross was placed in memory of those graves not moved.

To the observant eye, it is clear that Thomas Peter Adam was a blacksmith, as told by the anvil with his name engraved on it and the horseshoe displayed below it. A family researcher with Thomas in their tree states Thomas learned the blacksmith trade from his father, Peter Thomas Adam, born around 1823 and died in 1912. Peter married Mary Barbara Glauber, born 1833 in Germany, according to the 1900 U.S. Census for Monroe Township, Jefferson County, Indiana, where they were living. Indiana marriage records show the couple wed on 7 June 1851.

Peter and Barbara had several children along with Thomas: Peter, John, Matthew, William, Francisco Mathias and Philip.

Thomas Peter and Lucy (Rayborn) Adam

Thomas married Louisa Ann "Lucy" Rayborn, daughter of William F. and Nancy M. Rayborn born 3 December 1859 in Canann, Jefferson County, Indiana. She died the year before Thomas.

They had several children: Charles D., Sela, James, Frank J., William, Grover Matthew, and John Aloys.

The photo at right shows Thomas and Lucy in a family photo posted in the "Arnold (of Seattle) Family Tree curated by Ancestry member LarsPorsenna71.


* To be clear, information I am including in this particular series should not be taken as Gospel. These posts will consist mostly of "research on the fly," using mostly census information, marriage, and death records as available. Additionally, there will be information (deemed by me to be reliable) that has been harvested from others who have researched the featured families who have their family trees set on "public" at My goal is just to feature interesting headstones and tell a little bit about the people they hono

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