Montezuma, IN: History: Cemeteries
Within its corporate limits. Montezuma has two cemeteries. Montezuma Cemetery had its first burial in 1811 and is located immediately west of the school. Oakland Cemetery is located on the north edge of Montezuma at 2534 N. River Road, W.87.3726666 degrees latitude and N. 39.8029720 degrees longitude in Reserve Township in the county of Parke. Oakland Cemetery is bordered on the west by the site of the Wabash and Erie Canal, had its first burial in 1862 and was installed in 2007 as a historic cemetery in Indiana's Cemetery and Burial Ground Registry of the Indiana DNR.
There are 10,284 burial spaces with 3,260 total occupied spaces. The number of stones is unknown. The first burial was on 7/24/1862 where soldier Wm. Benton Blue was interred.
The northern-most sections of Oakland cemetery are enclosed with a wrought iron fence and beautiful old gate. A stone wall built by W.P.A. workers also borders this cemetery on the east.
Montezuma Cemetery is considered an abandoned cemetery, surrounded by streets and residences that prevent it from being enlarged. Oakland Cemetery has been enlarged and improved, making it a beautiful burial ground. Thirty-eight soldiers are buried here. Two of them, Paul Long and George Baird, lost their lives overseas during World War I, were buried in France, and later were brought back to their native land. Paul, the first one from Parke County to meet his death during World War I, was killed in action on March 16, 1918. Doctors G. W. McCune, G. W. Farver, and J. W. Kemp, army physicians, are also buried here.
People of interest who are interred in Oakland Cemetery:
Wm. Benton Blue: soldier, interred July 24, 1862
Ezra Compton: from Vermillion County January 11, 1879
Erastus Benson: builder of Benson’s Basin in the south part of Montezuma in what is now Reeder Park. This basin was a turn-around and repair dock on the Wabash and Erie Canal. Benson owned white mules and packets. 1814-1889
James and Arvella Jane Mushett: Mr. Mushett was credited with bringing the first packet of goods to Montezuma on the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1848 and stayed in Montezuma. Mr. Mushett worked for Erastus Benson at the warehouse. His wife Arvella was a cook on that packet boat. They lived on the packet boat. Their gravesites face the site of the canal on the very northwest corner of the cemetery. In 1873 they moved to Armiesburg where he became a grocery store operator. James Mushett 1822-1909
Joseph Burns: owned a ferry boat on the canal. Burns Ferry was located on North Water Street behind Paul and Virginia Bartlow’s home at 1217 N. Washington St. He married Caroline Vanlandingham who was Wyck’s sister. 1822-1903
John Wyckliffe Vanlandingham: ferry boat operator across the Wabash River at Montezuma for Joseph Burns. The called him “Uncle Wyck” 1838-1914
Septimus Vanlandingham: clerk who managed the warehouse for Col. Erastus M. Benson. A brother to Wyckliffe Vanlandingham. He was later engaged in the mercantile business 1821-1906
Andrew Scott Russell: credited with sending the “last” packet of goods down the canal from Montezuma in 1875. The canal closed from Montezuma to Evansville in 1865.
James Patterson: operated Armiesburg Mill for Mr. Chambers. 1804-1891
Judge Walter G. Donaldson: built V.F.W. building on Jefferson Street in Montezuma. He was a grain dealer during Canal Days. 1802-1892
J.W. Kemp: Civil War Veteran January 30, 1884
Dr. George McCune: was a well known doctor in Montezuma during the Wabash and Erie Canal Days. He put out a shingle there in 1865. He served in the Civil War as a surgeon for the 14th Indiana, holding the rank of major. Born Feb. 12, 1835 Died Feb. 28, 1891.
Charles Brown: past Grand Master of the Indiana Freemasons