I met a new friend named Mike Dean the other day. He told me about his strong connection to Owen County and about a cemetery named Surber that was close to his house. What is special abour Surber Cemetery is that it is the final resting place of at least 3 Revolutionary War Soldiers. So I met Mike at his house and we headed off to Surber Cemetery. Surber Cemetery is spread out over approximatly 50 yards in a very wooded area. Thre are 22 known burials there. Mike gave me the grand tour as I mentally calculated each headstone's needs for restoration. One of the 22 headstones belongs to John Snoddy. Mike told me that John was Revolutionary War Soldier.When I returned home I decided that I would see what information there was on John Snoddy and was surprised to see that his military files contained quite a bit. John Snoddy was born February 23, 1758 in Rowan County, North Carolina. He enlisted in January 1775 and served three months as a private under Capt James Purvines. between 1778 & 1782, he served a total of two years as a private and served under Capt Moses Goss, William Stuart, Major Joseph Dixon, Colonel Clevland, & Colonels Isaacs and was involved in many skirmishes. In 1782, John moved to Kentucky and lived 41 years before moving to Owen County, Indiana. His file contained many letters written by those who knew him, one saying "that he supports the character of a very honest man". There is a very long and hard to read document written by John himself telling of his experience in the war but the one that got my attention was written by Pauline Snoddy Crow which says that John was a Special Messenger for General Washington! There are many other letters in the file, even one written by Owen County's own Thomas C Johnson. In March of 1843, John Snoddy passed away, and his final resting place lies in Surber Cemetery in the middle of a woods in central Sweet Owen.
Since the article in the paper, I have spoken with several wonderful and supportive people and I have a list of some that I still need to call back. One of the greatest reward of doing this type of work is when you get to see the family and hear the stories behind the headstone. The other night a gentleman named Mr. Fogle called me and told me that his grandfathers Civil War headstone was crooked and needed cleaned. We made plans to meet on Friday in a cemetery about 40 mins from my home. After seeing the stone I knew it was gonna be a simple reset and clean and got my tools out to start the work. While I worked, Mr Fogle told me the story of his grandfather and how he had traveled to Pennsylvania to the Fort where his grandfather fought so he could stand in the same place his grandfather was over 150 years ago. He spoke of his father and how he never had a stone until about 10 years ago when his wife and himself purchased him one. How his brother Jacob quit school at the age of 13 to support his mother and himself after his father died, and his headstone was just a few rows over. He spoke of the struggle his sister had and how her stone was on top of the hill. Then finally he pointed to his own headstone that he designed and told of how him and his wife were both battling cancer and that he was the last of his siblings. While listening to this amazing story, I finished my work on the stone. I asked Mr Fogle if he knew where the Boone-Hutchison Cemetery was in the area because it was one with a lot of Squire Boones family was buried in and a smile came across his face and he said "Park your car and I'll take you there!". So off Cemetery hopping we went and in the short 45 minutes I spent with Mr Fogle I got to hear the legacy of Corpl Jacob Fogle and I made a new friend and it all started with a crooked headstone that needed cleaned. Thanks Joe!
My name is John Maxwell and I am a Co-Founder of Headstone Healers of Indiana and a Find-A-Grave Volunteer who enjoys working with old headstones. Many tell a story of days past and the people who lived then.