David & Margaret Woldridge and Nancy Batterton Stones
found - TODAY - 22 April 2007
Where the cemetery is believed to be have been
originally located...now a cultivated field.
A long search for the Woldridge cemetery (7 miles west of Petersburg on a
blacktop road 3/4 miles west of Tuttington Creek ) had a major breakthrough on Sunday,
April 22nd when Stan Lowe found the grave stones of David & Margaret
who owned the property back in the 1800’s and of Nancy Batterton, wife of D.
Batterton. This cemetery had been bulldozed decades ago, one account says back
in the late 1960’s but others say it was gone before then.
The search for all Menard County cemeteries started in 2000. In an attempt to
find more information on Woldridge cemetery, Stan & Jeanie visited with James Toal in 2002, who had located and read all the Menard county cemeteries, that he
could find, back in the 1980’s and he said that he talked to an elderly man who
pointed out the location of the Woldridge cemetery, but who said that there was
nothing left as it had been bulldozed off into a ravine.
From his directions we were unclear which ravine was used to bulldoze the
stones. No one seemed to know anything about the old cemetery even though it was
marked on the old Menard county Atlas maps of 1874, 1899 and 1920.
However, in 2006 there was a breakthrough. A friend of Stan and Jeanie’s
happened to mention that he hunted on that property and that one day - about 20
years ago - he had sat down on a pile of dirt to rest and noticed his foot at
the edge of what he realized was an old grave stone. His neighbor’s son was in
college and was interested in genealogy so he told him of the find and the young
man took rubbings of three full big stones. Only one of them had a corner
missing but all were readable. Our friend said that he would take us to the
location and show us where he found them. In October of 2006 we went with our
friend and he showed us the location. They searched and searched but could not
find the stones.
Stan Lowe and Don Little (left to right)
Stan and Jeanie returned on 22 April 2007. After walking a great distance of the
woods, Stan found a stone (in perfect condition) of Margaret Woldridge. The
stone gave the death date as Oct. 20, 1857. He then found the broken stone of
Nancy Batterton, wife of D. Batterton. The stone was broken off above the death
Click on thumbnails for a larger image...
Duane and Betty Albert arrived while Stan was removing the dirt from the
stones so we could get pictures. More searching and probing went on for hours
but no more stones were found. Later that day, Stan and Jeanie returned to the
site and Stan found the stone for David Woldridge. The death date on his stone
was Aug. 7, 1857. It too was broken with part of the top where the name is
located was missing, and the entire bottom missing. It had been buried right
next to his wife’s stone. Stan removed the dirt and pictures were also taken of
Click on thumbnails for a larger image...
The find of the David Woldridge stone is of particular interest as David
Woldridge was the first client of Abe Lincoln when he began his law practice.
David Woldridge was born in 1801 in Kentucky. He married Margaret Hawthorn in
1830 in Green County, Ky. and they came to Illinois where their first son
William R. Woldridge was born in September of 1831. They had a total of seven
children that we know of.
"Taken from the book - The Prairie Years by Carl Sandburg,
referring to Abe Lincoln - "His first case was one he had helped work on during
the previous year, defending David Woldridge, in a suit brought by James P.
Hawthorn. Hawthorn claimed Woldridge was to furnish him two yoke of oxen to
break up twenty acres of prairie sod-ground; also he claimed Woldridge was to
allow him to raise a crop of corn or wheat on a certain piece of ground; and
Woldridge had failed him in both cases. Furthermore, Hawthorn claimed damages
because Woldridge struck, beat, bruised, and knocked him (Hawthorn) down;
plucked, pulled, and tore large quantities of hair from his head. Also because
of with a stick and his fists he struck Hawthorn many violent blows and strokes
on or about the face, head, breast, back, shoulders, hips, legs, and divers
other parts of the body, and because he had with violence forced, pushed,
thrust, and gouged his fingers into Hawthorn's eyes. Such were the allegations
on assumpsit and trespass vi et armls, including also replevin actions demanding
return of a black and white yoke of steers, one black cow and calf, and one
prairie plow. Lincoln's first move was to bring up a board bill for eight months
which Hawthorn owed Woldridge, amounting to $1.50 a week to $45.75. Also, for
the same eight months, he had used a wagon and team for which he should pay
$90.00 besides a cash loan of $100.00. The case never came to trial. Peacemakers
settled it out of court. The plaintiff and defendant divided the court costs. In
the record Lincoln spelled wagon "waggon" and prairie "prairy."
Stan, who does Necrological Research as a hobby, did some grave dowsing in the
field and believes he has found the location of the original cemetery. It is in
the middle of the corn field and is planted every year.
The group hopes to return to the site and has already informed descendents of
David and Margaret Woldridge of the find. Jeanie took a movie of the find
including the area where the stones were bulldozed to, and the area which we
believe the cemetery is still located.
It is also believed that Melissa (Wright) Vaughn also from Kentucky is buried
there. Margaret Woldridge and Melissa Vaughn were neighbors and two of each of
their children married into the others’ family. Those children were: Jackson
Heath Woldridge and Mary Elizabeth Vaughn (b. 9 Oct 1842 Green County, KY)
married in Menard County, IL on 13 Dec 1863. John Woldridge married Eliza C.
“Lizzie” Vaughn (b. Green County, KY 1 Jan 1842) in Menard County, IL on 13 Dec
1860. The cemetery was the nearest cemetery to where Melissa Vaughn lived and
there is no indication she is buried in any of the other family plots in the
SPECIAL THANKS: A special thanks to Vic Wooldridge who has been a big help in
our efforts to piece together the puzzle of the Woldridge family. He is a direct
descendent of David and Margaret Woldridge.
Also, we would like to extend heartfelt thanks to Don Little who found the
stones about 20 years ago when he was hunting. Then Don graciously showed us
where he remembered the old graveyard was before it was bulldozed and where he
thought he'd found three stones.
A special thanks to Kristin Vaughn who has been an encouragement to us to find
the Woldridge cemetery and to search for the stones. She is still waiting for
the stone of Melissa Vaughn and we are committed to finding it. Through
Kristin’s help with the Vaughn research we found that our new daughter-in-law is
a descendent of Melissa Vaughn and our foster daughter is also a descendent of
Melissa Vaughn. And, through those connections, we have found a great deal of
people who are related and interested in finding Melissa Vaughn’s stone.
HOW THE MENARD COUNTY CEMETERY PROJECT BEGAN: In November of 2001, Stan & Jeanie
Lowe along with their friends Duane and Betty Albert found Barclay Cemetery in
Menard county, IL. It was in the middle of a corn field with toppled stones and
shoulder high prairie grass. They read and recorded every stone in the cemetery,
along with pictures of each and every stone, and put it online for the free use
of researchers. This project began a county wide search to locate all the Menard
county cemeteries and put them online with directions available to researchers.
Betty Albert arranged permission for the group to get into old abandoned
cemeteries that were located in farmer’s fields. Jeanie Lowe decided early on to
take pictures of each and every stone they found and put those online as well.
The group grew with the help of Stan and Jeanie’s granddaughter Kelsey and
goddaughter’s Brianna, Brandy and Abby who have all won awards from the Illinois
State Genealogical Society for their work in Menard county cemeteries. At times
others have joined the group in their efforts, including an area boy scout troop
and Betty’s parents who all helped in the work of Smoot Cemetery. It’s April of
2007 and the group is still at it. With the find of Woldridge Cemetery stones,
it is a real encouragement.
Stan hard at work
Melissa Ann (Wright) Vaughn
More Stones Found 23 April 2007
Stan Lowe finds grave stone of his
next grandchild’s 5th great grandmother
On Monday evening, April 23, 2007, Stan Lowe and Duane Albert went back to the
Woldridge Cemetery location where they had found the stones for David & Margaret
Woldridge and Nancy Batterton the day before. They began probing and soon hit a
piece of stone. It was what would later be determined to be one of four pieces
of the stone of Melissa Vaughn.
Click on thumbnails for larger images
It was thought that Melissa Vaughn was buried in the Woldridge cemetery, but
what a surprise it was when Stan and Duane found her stone. How remarkable that
Stan should find the stone of the woman who will be the 5th Great grandmother to
his next grandchild. Yes, Stan and Jeanie Lowe’s only daughter-in-law is a
direct descendent (the 4th great granddaughter) of Melissa (Wright) Vaughn. When
their son and daughter-in-law have their first child that will be Stan and
Jeanie’s grandchild and it will be the great grandchild of Melissa Vaughn.
Then, they found the top of the David Woldridge stone. What a great find!
Written and submitted by Jeanie Lowe