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The Mystery Of The Traveling Gravestone

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Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012 12:01 am

For the second time in 99 years, the tombstone of a nine year old boy who died in 1858 has been found in a ditch.

The stone reads:

"John T. Misenheimer,

Son of H.C. & E. Misenheimer

Died July 24, 1858

Aged 9 ys, 7 ms, 12 ds

The mystery of the stone began when Hillsboro resident and local historical buff Jim May was walking in a ditch on the northeast side of Hillsboro this summer.

May said that a tree had fallen, exposing the stone near the site of the old Lutheran Cemetery that was located along Broad Street, between Seward and Vawter.

According to the book Hillsboro: A History by Dorothy Bliss, the Lutherans chose that site for the cemetery as it overlooked the valley at the bottom of Seward Street. 

Also known as Edgemont Cemetery, the cemetery was abandoned in 1862 after the Lutherans established the Oakland Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery west of Hillsboro which is now part of Cress Hill Cemetery.

In his effort to learn more about the misplaced stone, May sought out information from members of the Historical Society of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Genealogical Society.

That's when the story got even more unusual as Historical Society Secretary Marjorie Bailey gave May a copy of an article from the Oct. 10, 1913, issue of The Mont-gomery News.

The article read - "While putting in tile on the site of the old Lutheran cemetery, east of St. Agnes Catholic church, last week, the workmen dug up two old tombstones that were buried in the ground some five feet deep. The bodies that had occupied the graves where the stones were found had evidently been removed and the tombstones had been thrown into the graves and covered up. They were found on the Mrs. Master's property on Vawter Street."

St. Agnes Catholic Church's first location in Hillsboro was along N. Broad Street, just south of Brailley Street. Construction was completed in 1870 and stood until it was destroyed by fire on June 1, 1931. 

The other stone mentioned in the article belonged to Augustus Knight, a 37 year old man who died on March 2, 1845. His remains were found to have been moved to Bluff Cemetery which sits at the north end of Hamilton Street.

"It's kinda weird this stone has surfaced twice in 99 years and still does not have a rightful home," May said. "The story is interesting and maybe some local genealogists or descendants might be able to help establish where this stone should be or at least get this boy's stone with his parents."

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