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Photos of Indiana’s Revamped Grave in the Middle of the Road

The final resting place of Nancy Kerlin Barnett in the middle of Indiana’s County Road 400 got a makeover during recent construction to widen the road.
Grave in the middle of the road in Indiana
The grave of Nancy Kerlin Barnett after renovations, October 2016

The Grave in the Middle of the Road along Indiana’s rural County Road 400 recently got a makeover. The road has been divided around the grave since the road was constructed in 1905. Why? Because Barnett’s great-great-grandson sat on the hill with his gun and refused to let workers move her remains. The rest of the cemetery was relocated, but officials decided to let Barnett remain in the small hill overlooking her favorite place.

The grave, which lies directly in the middle of two lanes of traffic, has caused numerous accidents throughout the years. Warning signs and concrete bollards were added, but apparently that didn’t cut it. Earlier this year archeologists from the University of Indiana were called in to excavate the 1831 burial of Nancy Kerlin Barnett so the road could be widened. Unexpectedly, the remains of at least seven other individuals were also discovered in the hill.

The construction was completed sometime around the end of summer 2016 and the remains have been returned. But, sadly it seems the hill and historical marker are no more. Barnett’s story has been reduced to nothing more than a small plaque embedded in concrete.

Here’s what the historical marker said:

NANCY KERLIN BARNETT
Born May 14, 1793-Died Dec. 1, 1831

Married to William Barnett, Feb. 29, 1808.
He was born Sept. 27, 1786.
drowned in Ohio River Sept. 24, 1854.
William was the great, great, great grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.
Daniel G. Doty, 1846-1934, protected his grandmother’s grave by staying here with his gun, while the county relocated this cemetery in order to build the road. A concrete slab was placed over the grave to protect the marker, Aug. 8, 1912.

Grave in the middle of the road

The grave of Nancy Kerlin Barnett in Indiana

Photos courtesy of my secret Indiana operative, my sister, whose trips I hijack for Cult of Weird photos. Thanks Elizabeth!

Historical Grave of Pioneer Woman Contains Remains of at Least 7

Exhumation of the historical grave of Nancy Kerlin Barnett in the middle of an Indiana highway revealed the remains of at least seven other unknown burials.
Nancy Barnett's grave in the middle of the road
The grave of Nancy Kerlin Barnett in the middle of Indiana’s County Road 400.

The Indianapolis Star reports an unexpected discovery at the site of Indiana’s historical Grave in the Middle of the Road – the remains of at least seven other unidentified burials.

Nancy Kerlin Barnett (whose husband William, it’s worth noting, was the great-great-grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe) died in 1831. She was buried in one of her favorite places, on a grassy hill overlooking nearby Sugar Creek. As time went by, others were buried around her and a small cemetery formed. When the county decided to put a highway through the cemetery in 1905, workers arrived to find Barnett’s grandson Daniel G. Doty protecting the grave with a shotgun. The other graves were relocated, but Barnett’s was allowed to remain while the two-lane road was built around it.

Last month University of Indianapolis archaeologist Christopher W. Schmidt and his team of students were brought in to exhume the grave so the road could be widened. Despite the divided highway sign depicting two lanes of traffic moving around a cemetery, the grave has seen its fair share of accidents. The excavation has been delayed, however, by the discovery of at least seven sets of unidentified remains, two women, a man, and four children who apparently missed the relocation.

Recent: Remains of girl buried 145 years ago found under San Francisco home

Indiana road divided by a grave

Before the bones are reburied, DNA tests will be conducted and compared with Barnett’s living descendants. When the road is complete, the remains will be returned to the hill where they belong.

Hat tip to Week in Weird for digging this story up.