Deep in the Hoosier National Forest, near the Brown County/Jackson County line is the small Fleetwood Cemetery. The old cemetery has several homemade monuments that mark many last resting places. However, one of the more striking memorials is a large coffin shaped sandstone slab, that covers the grave-site. With may-apples, daisies and yucca plants crowding the site, the stone serves as a false-sarcophagus over the grave. No name or markings are visible on the massive, hand-hewn stone.
Throughout the small cemetery are several other small stones that are obviously homemade. While others were produced by skilled professions, these small memorials were probably produced by a grieving parent, sibling or child. Some of the stones are slightly blackened, perhaps showing signs of a past fire, that may have swept through the cemetery years ago. Although, it might have been an old practice to burn off the cemetery as a controlled burn. Was this a common practice? I don’t know, just thinking it through.
For some reason, I am drawn to these small rural graveyards. With names of lost loved ones scratched into their surfaces, these markers chipped out of native stone communicate stories of personal memories and loss. I appreciate those who take care of these often overlooked landscapes.
A sign in the cemetery noted that donations to assist with the care of the Fleetwood Cemetery can be made by sending funds to:
6594 W. ST. RD 58
Brownstown, IN 47220.