The Old Mace Cemetery
As researched by Susan J. MAYER BOYD
“Here lurks no treason, here no envy dwells,
Here grow no damned grudges; here no storms,
No noise, but silence and eternal sleep.”
High on a ridge in Cass Township, Clay County, Indiana, sits a small family cemetery. Long abandoned, but not forgotten, we call it the Old Mace Cemetery. The following are some stories about the pioneers, some of the first white settlers in the area, who are buried there.
Family tradition leads us to believe that Isaac Mace’s first wife, Elizabeth “Polly” REAGAN, was among the first, if not the first, person buried in the Old Mace Cemetery.
Elizabeth REGAN was born in Tennessee sometime around the year, 1800. She married Isaac MACE in Greene County, Tennessee, and together they moved to Indiana. Isaac and Elizabeth were the parents of four children. Elizabeth died during childbirth on November 16, 1830. Her infant daughter, who was named after mother Elizabeth, survived.
Following his wife’s funeral, as told in an old family story, Isaac must have found himself distraught with four children. “Traveling on horseback, Isaac left Cass Township and with his infant daughter, Elizabeth, in hand. He took Elizabeth to live with her aunt Polly STURTDVANT in Noblesville, Indiana. A two-day trip, they spent the night in Indianapolis, a distance of some sixty miles: A sixty-mile ride in one day by a loving father, all the while holding his infant daughter securely in his arms.” (1891 Harrison County Iowa History)
Elizabeth was left with her Aunt Polly until Isaac’s remarriage to Delana ACREA. Once again Isaac traveled by horse, back to Noblesville where he collected his now two-year-old daughter and brought her back to Clay County. Isaac was an Indiana pioneer farmer in the true sense of the words. Land records document that Isaac MACE purchased forty acres of land in Clay County, Indiana, on August 1, 1839. Isaac went on to be the father of fifteen children. Isaac died on May 14, 1856, at age fifty-six.
John ACREA was born and married in North Carolina. By horseback he and his wife, Catherine ACREA, with all their possessions, traveled to Wayne County, Kentucky. Sometime later, before permanently settling in Clay County, Indiana (prior to 1830), the family lived for eight years in Alabama. (Ibid)
Sometime before 1844, John and his son constructed a water mill on the Eel River. The original structure was a small frame building and the machinery was of the simplest description, used only for grinding, or rather cracking the corn. (History of Clay County, Indiana, 1884; Charles BLANCHARD, editor.) After John’s death, his widow, Catherine (sometimes spelled Katherine), along with her son, William M., moved to Harrison County, Iowa. Catherine was eighty-five years old at this time. Stating that riding in a wagon made her ‘dizzy,’ Catherine, ‘in good old pioneer style,’ made this journey on horseback. (Ibid) Catherine died in Harrison County, Iowa, in February 1866.
Elias SYESTER, born in Kentucky, and his wife, Jane Mace SYESTER, born in Tennessee, were married in Tennessee. Records indicate sometime around 1830; they migrated to Clay County, Indiana. Here they constructed a two-story log cabin with a large fireplace. Their arrival in Clay County happened to coincide with that of Isaac MACE and John ACREA. In 1858, Elias is listed as being a trustee in Cass Township, Clay County. He was the father of ten children. Elias met his death in Saline City at Birch Creek where he had gone fishing. Fishing from a railroad trestle, he was killed when hit by the westbound train. Elias was eighty-years-old at the time.
With exception of George PAYNE, of which little is known, we believe all the occupants of The Old Mace Cemetery to be related by birth or marriage.
A grave, wherever found, preaches a short and pithy sermon to the soul………….Nathaniel Hawthorne