Local Man Fighting to Save Family Cemetery

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated May 16, 2010 at 9:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Jim: I remember coming out here as a real tiny kid. But you know when you’re a kid you don’t remember, really anything about it.

JIM LINDLAG WOULD LIKE TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT WHO HE IS..AND WHERE HE COMES FROM.

Jim: It means a lot to me I feel really special when I come out here to this place and spend time with my ancestors.

THIS IS THE LINDLAG FAMILY CEMETERY ON A CORNER OF WHAT WAS THE FAMILY’S ORIGINAL WAYNE TOWNSHIP HOMESTEAD, A 220 ACRE FARM DATING BACK TO 1834. MANY GENERATIONS OF LINDLAGS REST IN THIS SPOT. THIS IS PHILLIP LINDLAGS GRAVE, JIM’S GREAT UNCLE. HE WAS AN ALLEN COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPUTY..ONE OF THE FIRST TO PATROL ROBISON PARK WHEN THE AMUSEMENT SPOT OPENED IN 1896. THESE ARE THE GRAVES OF TWINS EDWIN AND ERWIN LINDLAG WHO DIED IN INFANCY…THERE THEY ARE WITH THEIR SISTER ROSIE…THIS IS ROSIE LATE IN LIFE WITH JIM’S GRANDDAD. ONLY A FEW GRAVES ARE RECOGNIZABLE, DOZENS OF OTHER LOST THANKS TO DECADES OF VANDALISM AND NEGLECT.

Jim: A lot of the stones have been broken up over the years and are missing so I don’t really know who’s buried here or where they’re buried. It just makes me mad that somebody would actually come to a cemetery and vandalize a cemetery.

THE FAMILY USED TO KEEP THE PLACE UP. THEY’D MEET HERE ON WEEKENDS, CUT GRASS AND PLANT FLOWERS, THEN HAVE A FAMILY PICNIC..THAT’S JIM’S DAD WITH HIS AUNT. BUT THE CEMETERY’S BEEN FORGOTTEN FOR DECADES AND JIM IS TRYING TO PICK UP THE PIECES. HE’S AMASSED LOTS OF INFORMATION, PICTURES, LETTERS, WILLS AND PLAT MAPS…A LOT OF EFFORT TRYING TO PIECE THIS STORY BACK TOGETHER..HIS OWN STORY. BUT HE SAYS HE’S GOT LOTS OF SUPPORT.

Jim There’s different birds that’ll be out here when I’m out here singing…the wind always kicks up and it feels like my family’s trying to connect with me or something or tell me they appreciate what I’m doing for ‘em.

A STORY UNFOLDING, ONE PIECE AT A TIME, OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY. ERIC OLSON REPORTING





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