by Betty Latta Kitchen
My husband, Don, and I visited the Morris-Latta property in Monroe County, OH, on October 20, 2002, that is currently owned by my cousin Don Latta and myself. John Christman who operates the dairy farm through which we have access (32600 Miltonsburg-Calais Road, Woodsfield, OH 44793) escorted us to the cemetery site. Although Don and I had tried to find it on the 62 acres three times previously, it was always in summer; and the vegetation made it impossible to find. John hiked us up the hill behind his house, then down and across the hollow onto our property. He showed us the spring, the springhouse (only one front wall is now standing), and the location of where the house and the barn used to be. Two tall but now scraggly pines indicate the site of the house. The overgrowth of the thorny florabunda roses, the challenge of the barbed wire fences, the steepness of the hills, and the unsure footing because of ruts made by the cows all contributed to the difficulty of the 40-minute trek to the cemetery. John kept his eyes peeled for the “saddle” between the hills where the cemetery was laid. On the way back down, Don and I went straight down the dry wash from the cemetery to the “holler,” a creek, or sometimes just a dry wash, that leads back toward the road. At one time a road followed the creek bed, on around the Morris property, and back out the other side. Photos of the John Copeland and Mary Jane (Morris) Latta home around 1940 show a mailbox and an auto. There is no evidence of that road now.
Before this 2002 trip, we had three sets of pictures--a black and white set, a color set printed from slides taken in the 1940’s by the Latta’s, and two snapshots taken by Elizabeth Hinton and Beulah Crawford (Morris relatives) in 1974. Since originally writing this, we've taken another set of pictures in 2004.
In the 1974 picture there is a rounded, partially above the ground, stone crevice that we thought was part of the cemetery. However, John Christman, at a later date, said this was part of the spring house not the cemetery. Some of the fencing around the cemetery can still be seen. Most of the ground in the cemetery area is covered with a dark green myrtle, and there is a locust grove. Lilies are spread throughout the area. Now all the taller (approximately 2 feet) tombstones, except one, are laying flat. The 9 - 10 inch (above ground) stone of T.J. Morris is also standing. There are several very short stones that appear to be markers. They still protrude vertically about six inches above the ground, but no inscribing can be seen. Some have initials.
Mary Belle Latta, daughter of Mary Jane Morris and John Copeland Latta lived in the house on the property until around 1948. This picture contrasts the overall look of the cemetery around 1940 and then in a picture I took in 2002.
Below I will try to describe what I could make out on the stones in 2002.
T.J. Morris, the last person to my knowledge buried in this cemetery, had a stone about 12 feet from the main line of the rest of the family. About 10 x 14 inches showed above the ground. It was still standing.
The biggest stone of all in the earliest pictures was that of Henry Gusler Morris. Although the picture was identified, no recording of the inscriptions, other than the name, has been found to date. The biggest one now, which I assume is his, was flat and broken. No writing at all could be discerned. It appeared that praying hands might have been at the top. It was on the left.
The stone of Henry Morris, the son of the above, was laying flat. It was approximately 20 inches x 16. The engraving was clear. It was a rectangle that was rounded at the top with his name following the curve of the arc and covering about l/3 of the length of the stone.
At an angle and four to six feet behind the row was the only taller standing stone, that of baby Rachel N. Leaning against that stone but not secured was the stone of her mother, also Rachel. Both were rectangular and about 20 x 14 or so.
Her mother Rachel's stone, the one slightly to the right in the picture from the link below, was not in very good condition. It appeared to be inscribed as follows:
Located maybe 12 feet from the main group was the stone of Rachel Minerva. In the 1870 census, there was a Rachel Carpenter listed with the family of Henry G. Morris, age 8. At that time Phoebe, age 30, was listed as keeping house for her father Henry since his wife was dead. Phoebe had a son Charles, age 7, in this census. I thought perhaps Rachel was another of Phoebe’s children, but we really do not know how she relates. We do not know the name of Charles' father either, although we have been able to follow his descendants. We do know that people by the name of Carpenter owned the land to the north and east of the Morris property. The stone was about 20 x 14 inches and again a rectangle rounded at the top, with her name following the arc of the rounded stone almost l/2 way around.
Nancy’s was approximately in the middle of her parents. Hers again was the rectangular type with the rounded top, but only NANCY went around the rounded edge. Below hers were two small stones, maybe 8 inches x 6 inches showing. One had just B. M. Another stone said, B.N.M. I assume these to be babies, and perhaps the B.N.M. stands for Baby Nancy Morris. There was a Nancy Morris, age 9 months, in the 1860 census in the Henry G. Morris household. The only girls listed old enough to have a baby of that age in the household were Mary J., age 22, and Phoebe, age 21. The born-around-1860 Nancy does not appear in the 1870 census so perhaps this B.N.M. is that Nancy, but we do not know. Here is the engraving for the older Nancy, daughter of Henry G. and Mary.
Beside Nancy was the stone of her mother, Mary Kinkade Morris, daughter of David Rebecca Kinkade. Her stone was rectangular.
A stone not found until 2004 was that of C. (or G.) Stauch. Thomas Jefferson Morris' raised his family on adjoining property. One of his daughters, Anna Belle, married Charles Stauch. Perhaps this is one of their children.
There were other people supposedly buried in this cemetery, some of which were not even family. I was told that Henry G.’s and Mary’s daughter Mary Jane, who with her husband John Copeland Latta bought and lived on the property after her parents’ death, allowed other people to bury their dead on her hill. The two youngest sons of John Copeland Latta and his wife (the Mary Jane noted above), Henry Harvey who died 24 Sep 1865 and his brother Samuel Seymore who died two days later, both of cholera, could be among the dozen or more other smaller stones that were there. I was told that Mary Jane’s youngest sister, Sarah (Morris) Somers, who died shortly after her marriage about 1878, was also there.
Directions to the Morris-Latta Cemetery: Directions from Calais: take Monroe County Road #2 (Miltonsburg-Calais Road) east about 5 or 6 miles or Directions from Miltonsburg: take Monroe County Road #2 west about 2 miles, to 32600 Miltonsburg-Calais Road Property. The cemetery is a few hundred yards north of Christman's home and perhaps 100 yards west. Note: The cemetery is on land-locked acreage. It would be necessary to get the permission of Mr. John Christman to cross his property.
Betty (Latta) Kitchen
8455 Meadow Drive
Brownsburg, Indiana 46112
phone: 317 858 0343
email: Betty Kitchen
Last modified July 12, 2012 by BK.
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