Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hallville Coal Pile Cemetery pt.1

I purchased my metal detector to find wrought iron. Seriously.
While thousands upon thousands of folks buy metal detectors to find gold, silver and other precious metals I had no such intentions. Coins? Jewelry? No. Iron, you bet. Sure, finding these sorts of things are very intriguing but that was a secondary thought for me.

This all started about two years ago with a question that arose while we were researching my wife’s family tree. I was at the county courthouse checking on records pertaining to the death of her paternal second great grandfather, John Dunkerley.

Seems that Mr. Dunkerley was listed as having been buried in a place called “Slabtown” according to the death register. This is local for me, and having been doing this family tree thing for over ten years I had a pretty good grasp on county cemeteries.Research lead me to the fact that "Slabtown" is now a part of the neighborhood of Hallville. The only one that could be considered Hallville was a Catholic cemetery. Mr. Dunkerley was not Catholic.

A few weeks later a friend of mine discussed this listing with her mother, who had lived in Hallville all of her life. The result was an old newspaper clipping from the early 1960s by a gentleman who was telling stories of his youth. Hallville was a coal mining area with a railroad spur that was used to load coal into rail cars. The loading apparatus was called a tipple, and next to most tipples was a pile of coal and stone residue. This gentleman said that he remembered when there was a cemetery where the tipple was. He said he went back years later but the cemetery was gone, and the pile of residue was where he remembered it being. He said that it had a lovely wrought iron fence around it complete with a gate.

I was going to find that fence.

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