The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 22, 2013

Indiana pioneers buried at Pond Grove

The Commercial-News

---- — Pond Grove Cemetery is located in Medina Township in Warren County, Indiana. The land it lies on was originally an island surrounded by a marsh. The marsh on the east and south sides covered about 1,000 acres and was known as Cranberry Marsh due to the large number of wild cranberries that grew there. The island was covered with trees and was known as Pond Grove. North of Independence was another marsh of comparable size that also was referred to as Cranberry Marsh, but the two marshes were separate.

In the early 1830s, the United Brethren denomination built a church and parsonage at Pond Grove and laid out a cemetery. Many of those buried in the cemetery were active in the establishment of the United Brethren Church in Warren, Benton and Tippecanoe counties. As the town of Otterbein grew, church membership declined until the church was sold, dismantled and moved around 1900.

William Brown, of German descent, was born in 1796 and buried in Pond Grove in 1868. He was one of the early bishops in the church and took an active part in establishing the United Brethren Church in Indiana. He purchased the ground for the establishment of Pond Grove.

William’s son, Otterbein, was named for the founder of the United Brethren Church, Phillip W. Otterbein. The town of Otterbein was named in honor of Otterbein Brown. Otterbein became a spiritualist and was active in preaching the doctrine of spiritualism in the area.

Another of William’s sons, David, also a minister, is buried at Pond Grove. David’s son, Levi D., a minister, was one of the first men in Warren County to enlist in the Civil War. He was shot in the mouth, the ball passing downward and out the back of his neck, and was brought home to die, but after eight months he recovered. He is buried at Pond Grove.

The Rev. Oliver Hadley married David Brown’s daughter. He was the first missionary of the United Brethren denomination sent to Africa, where he contracted a lingering fever and died three days after returning to the United States.

The Rev. Joseph S. Cooper, born in 1825, was one of the most popular preachers in the upper Wabash Conference. He perhaps did more than any other one man to establish the United Brethren faith in northwestern Indiana. He died in 1908 and his wife Ellen Mikles Cooper died in 1920. Both are buried at Pond Grove.

Dr. Homrighouse was a graduate of two medical colleges in Germany and also graduated from two medical colleges in the United States. He lived across the road north of Pond Grove. He practiced as a local country doctor and was considered one of the best surgeons in Indiana.

Terri Wargo is a member of the Warren County Historical Society.