Soon! Indiana's Oldest Public Cemetery Predates the State's Establishment

Soon! Indiana’s Oldest Public Cemetery Predates the State’s Establishment

WFCN – This cemetery predates the Hoosier State by more than 230 years!

History of Hoosier

I’ve been traveling to some of the oldest locations in Indiana over the last few months. A few locations that were previously recognized have extremely fascinating histories. For example, the oldest store in Indiana was established the year that Abraham Lincoln was elected president, and it is still open today!

Additionally, we recently discovered that the oldest continuously open high school in the state is located right here in Evansville, as is the oldest high school in the state. Not to be overlooked is the oldest city in Indiana, which predates even the United States of America.

It should thus come as no surprise that the oldest public cemetery in the Hoosier State is located in the oldest city in Indiana.

Indiana’s Oldest Public Cemetery

The Greenlawn Cemetery, the oldest public cemetery in the state, is situated in the city of Vincennes. Some of the graves in Greenlawn Cemetery date back to the 1700s, long before Indiana became a state. The cemetery is 236 years old, having been established in 1788.

Soon! Indiana's Oldest Public Cemetery Predates the State's Establishment

The “who’s who” of Hoosier history were rumored to be buried at this cemetery at one point, according to Indiana History.


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The three pieces of land that make up the Vincennes City Cemetery are called “Greenlawn,” “Fairview,” and “Memorial Park.” Greenlawn is acknowledged as the oldest public cemetery in the state of Indiana, having been established as early as 1788.

Originally called the “Public Burying Ground” to set it apart from the current Catholic Cemetery, it is essentially a veritable who’s who of colorful Indiana history.

What is the oldest burial in Vincennes City Cemetery if this is the oldest public cemetery? It’s a little difficult to determine because many of the earlier stones have faded. That being said, there is one noteworthy grave—it might not be the oldest in the cemetery, but it is the oldest that can still be read.

The Cemetery in Vincennes City Has the Oldest Valid Grave

Indiana History states that Dolly Blackman, who passed away in 1815, has the oldest read-able gravestone in the cemetery. Her stone indicates that she was just 32 years old when she went away, but not much else is known about her life.

Dolly Blackman’s 1815 tombstone, the cemetery’s oldest readable stone, is located in Greenlawn. Unfortunately, not much more is known about her despite a thorough search.

At the back of Greenlawn Cemetery, there’s a horribly discolored stone. Its discolouration is thought to have resulted from a lightning strike.

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