A Bicentennial Burial Ground: Rogers Cemetery

On Fee Lane, north of the railroad tracks and on the east side of the road facing north, stands Foster Quadrangle, an Indiana University dormitory built in 1964 as part of the university’s post-war expansion. Between the dorm and Fee Lane is a small cemetery enclosed by a low limestone wall. This is called the Rogers Cemetery, and is one of the original ones in the county. Its oldest grave is that of a one-month newborn, James Baugh, who was born and died in 1818, Monroe County’s founding year.

There are 32 graves listed in the County Cemeteries of Monroe County index, which names it as Rogers 2 Cemetery. Half the graves are from the Rogers family, with Baughs and Hooks also buried there. The pioneer Rogers and Baugh families lived in log cabins on the knoll just north of the cemetery. Most died before the Civil War, and the most recent recorded burial was in 1879.

The Bloomington Evening World reporter writing about Rogers Cemetery (“Little Cemetery on Fee Lane is Old Burying Ground,” Bloomington Evening World, Nov. 21, 1926), pointed out the unusual proximity in time, within a week during early July 1829, of three Baugh children’s deaths, at ages 2, 7 and 14, perhaps due to an epidemic or fire. Life in those frontier years was often short– the ages of the Rogers’ buried in the cemetery show that except for six of the 16, they died very young: two as newborns, two one year-olds, a four year-old, and five between 10 and 20.

The land on which the cemetery stands is in the northwest quarter of Section 34 of Bloomington Twp. This 160 acre tract was originally purchased in 1821 from the Vincennes Land Office by John Henderson, who in 1830 sold 85 acres of it, for $750, to George W. Hook. George, who died in 1839, and his wife, Sarah, who died in 1863, are buried in the cemetery.

George Hook’s two daughters, Martha and Eliza, sold the 85 acres to William O. Fee in 1863 for $3,825. The deed mentions the cemetery:

 “But it is agreed and so understood that the grave yard or burial ground on said land is reserved and not conveyed by this Deed which is now inclosed [sic] by a plank fence. [Deed Book U, p. 298]”

I could find no subsequent deed that mentioned the cemetery, so I assume that it still belongs to the Hook family. The land eventually passed to the Rogers family, who sold it to Indiana University in 1914 (Deed Book U, p. 298).

Post submitted by: Lee Ehman (Library Volunteer)

Lake Monroe Oral History Project

Using materials generously donated by Alice Reed Morrison, the History Center Research Library has launched its first online exhibit. The Lake Monroe Oral History Project focuses on the stories of Salt Creek Valley residents who were displaced by the construction of Lake Monroe in the 1960s.

This exhibit, created for the History Center by interns Delainey Bowers and Dorothy Berry, uses original audio recordings and photos from Morrison’s 1986 dissertation entitled “Portrait of a Lost Community: A Folklife Study of the Salt Creek Valley of South Central Indiana and the Effects of Community Displacement Following Formation of the Monroe Reservoir.” Continue reading Lake Monroe Oral History Project

County’s First Deed Book Preserved

In honor of the 2018 Monroe County Bicentennial, we have had Monroe County’s first deed book preserved. Dating from December 1817-December 1825, this book is a record of the first land transactions in the county. Along with these first land sales, Deed Book A also contains numerous city plat maps. This invaluable piece of Monroe County history can now be viewed in the MCHC Research Library.

Restored Deed Book A3
Bloomington Plat Map, Deed Book A, 1818. Note that this map may have been added in later, or may have been edited by various recorders.

Continue reading County’s First Deed Book Preserved

New Cemetery and Community Maps

The MCHC library has two new maps on display!

A map showing the location of all cemeteries in Monroe County is mounted near the southeast corner of the Education Room beside the Cemetery of the Month display. This map is the result of years of work by the Cemetery Committee in locating as accurately as possible all cemeteries that are now extant or have ever existed in the county. It is plotted on a modern map showing present roads and other geographic features to simplify finding the cemetery. Unfortunately we do not know the exact location of many of the cemeteries. Others have been destroyed and some removed to new locations.

Cemetery Map Bloomington Twnshp
A portion of the cemetery map showing cemeteries found in Bloomington Township

Continue reading New Cemetery and Community Maps


The Monroe County Historical Society was organized in 1905 when interested members of the community met at the Christian Church and heard Rev. Amzi Atwater read a paper titled “Recollections of the University 40 Years Ago.” Atwater was the first president and curator of the Society.

Atwater came to Bloomington to attend Indiana University in 1864. After completing two degrees, he was called to be the pastor of a Disciples church in Ohio, but returned to IU in 1870 to teach Latin and Greek. In 1888, he was made a vice president of the university and served in that capacity for four years.


Hen Defies City Council

While working on our houses and buildings index (coming soon!), volunteer Lee Ehman came across this curious article published June 9, 1910 in an unspecified local newspaper:

“A large Plymouth Rock hen escaped from a coop in a local grocery yesterday, mounted to the third story of the court house and laid an egg at the entrance to the dome, defying the recent ordinance of the city council prohibiting fowls from running at large.

The hen entered the east door of the building chased by a boy from the store, saying that he could not find her. Late in the afternoon as Sandy Cardwell, custodian, was sweeping out the court room, he heard the cackle and going back in the direction of the noise, found the hen and a nice big egg. The hen did not want to leave the building, and only after the repeated ‘shooing’ of Mr. Cardwell assisted by Deputy Sheriff Routte would she descend the marble stairs to the first floor again. Sandy says the hen was honest and took that means of paying her share of the taxes.”

Post Submitted by Emily Noffke (Research Library Manager)