The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Virginia Ross, Special For The Quill
In one of the oldest cemeteries in the county (Watson on the Olena Road), the venerable old white pine tree, a landmark for over 150+ years, crashed to the ground in last week's strong wind.
Recently, the old tree had lost a limb from the weight of heavy snow this winter, but the roaring wind of last week split the trunk and down it came. Luckily, no stones were crushed.
Watson Cemetery, one of the oldest in Stronghurst Township, was begun by neighbors in the area of the Old Log School which sat south of the cemetery location.
Names on the stones read like a "Who's Who" for pioneer families-Gibson, Cowden, Kendall, Watson, Dixson, Evans, Bice, White, Marshall, Porter, and Mark.
Possibly, an early death was responsible for establishing the burying ground. The oldest identifiable grave is that of Mary Watson who died in 1839.
The most recent burial is that of Ellen Finney in 1928.
In its bounds are the founder of Olena (Robert Kendall), four War of 1812 soldiers (John Mains, John Gibson, Joseph Watson and Andrew Carothers) and four Civil War soldiers, (Jason Watson, George Cowden, J.H.Best, and J.M. Best).
Probably, the most unusual stone in the cemetery is the memorial stone to Jason Watson.
It reads "In Memory of son of Joseph and Mary Watson who was born Mar. 9, 1839 and was killed in battle at Vicksburg, Miss, May 22, 1863. He sleeps in a Patriots Grave where he fell, a Martyr for his country."
Curiously, more graves might be located in this cemetery as years ago it was covered with brush and fallen into disrepair.
Under the guidance of Elbridge Fort and Lyman Ross, cemetery trustees, it was cleaned up, stones righted and a fence built around it.
Recently, the south fence suffered damage when a car went off the road and down the fence line and now the old pine tree no longer marks this village of the dead.
In one of the oldest cemeteries in the Henderson County (Watson on the Olena Road), the venerable old white pine tree, a landmark for over 150 plus years, crashed to the ground in last week's strong wind.
The most recent burial is that of Ellen Finney in 1928 in the Watson Cemetery, in Stronghurst Township on the Olena road.
The most unusual stone in the Watson Cemetery is the memorial stone to Jason Watson.