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Wanette Cemetery, Wanette, Pottawatomie Co., Oklahoma

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Wanette Cemetery Records:Edit

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Photo's of tombstone by Jim Woodruff

Wanette Cemetery History:


Located 17 miles south of Tecumseh, Oklahoma on State Highway 177; 6 miles west on S.H. 39; one mile south on NS-335; and one mile east on EW-141 (SE¼ of Sec. 19-T6N-R3).

A bronze plaque on a pink granite block resting on the porch of the little white chapel in the center of the cemetery is inscribed: "WANETTE Cemetery, organized June 29, 1897. First Trustees: Joe Boan, Chairman; Frank Gilbert, Secy ; Wesley Lewis; Dave Lucas; C. (Chaney) R. Gierhart. (Note: The Cemetery Chapel is no longer standing; the building was condemned and was torn down. The last I heard, they were trying to raise money to build another onsite Chapel.)

Believed to be the largest rural cemetery in southern Pottawatomie County, the total area is about 50 acres, including the newest addition on the far north side. Fenced and beautifully maintained, the gravel led entrance driveway encircles the chapel and several well-defined paths separate each section. Inside the chapel is a large canvas map of the cemetery, drawn by Miss Winnie Dawson, long-time teacher and artist of the community.

The immediate area was originally settled in the early 1870’s by Potawatomi Indian families from Kansas. The grave of Allen Trousdale who died Oct 27, 1876, is recognized as the earliest burial. However, the inscription on the tombstone of N.J. Clardy(1875) Nancy Joanna (Kilpatrick) Clardy - predates that of Mr. Trousdale. Other early burials include Francis Bergeron, 1881; Mary Trousdale, 1882; Lillie Bowles and Isabella Boyer, 1884; M.L. Melott, 1886; William Sims, 1888; Francis Wilmott and Author W. Trousdale, 1889; and Ethel Higginbotham, 1891.

In 1875, the Clardyville School (also called the "Stone School-house") was built with Federal funds under the supervision of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for $1,719.00. A 2-story log building was added and it became a boarding school for the Indians. By 1883, the floor and roof of the stone building had been used to construct the Wagoza School four miles west, and gradually the stone walls were torn down and used by pioneers on their farms. The location of the Stone Schoolhouse was just north of the present limits of the cemetery.

Across the road south (in the NE¼ of Sec. 30), the first WANETTE Post Office was established March 19, 1894, also housing the old Clardy Trading Post. In November, 1896, the post office was moved two miles south and one mile west to a site on the Joe Melot allotment, often referred to as "0ld WANETTE." When the railroad came in 1903, the post office was again moved, one mile north to its present location.

Prior to 1900, there was for a short tiime a community church across the road south of the southeast corner of WANETTE Cemetery (in the extreme Northeast Corner of Sec. 30). No known records of this church are now in existence.

The Johnsonville-Shawneetown Road ran by the Stone Schoolhouse the Clardyville Store and Post Office in early days. In 1872, a double log house was built by Jacob Johnson about 150 yards south of the south gate of the cemetery, and the Wesley Lewis family lived here in 1875. These pioneer sites have been gone since about 1900. A pure water spring once existed about 200 yards southwest of the southwest corner of the cemetery, the source of water supply for those living in the double log house. Thus, the Wanenette Cemetery was part of the original settlement of the area even though the present town of WANETTE is a mile west and a mile south.

WANETTECemeterywas formally dedicated on June 29, 1897, when a plat was filed in the Office of Register of Deeds at Tecumseh, the then county seat. The original tract, consisting of six acres (767 ft. by 341 ft.) in the Southeast Corner of Section 19, Township 7 North, Range 3 East of the Indian Meridian, was acquired from Mary P. Welch, a Citizen Potawatomi, and was part of her original allotment. After the tract was surveyed with driveways and subdivided into 16' by 16' lots, the original plat was certified to by R.R. Bertrand, County Surveyor, and Joe B. Boan, Chairman of the WANETTE Cemetery Association

In May, 1920, an additional three acres lying along the north side of the original tract was purchased from Dr. J.H. Royster. At that time, the town of WANETTE assumed responsibility for operation of the cemetery with the following trustees: Ida Cotton, Effie West, E.C. Campbell, L.R. Dawson, and John T. Levergood.

L. R. Dawson (father of Miss Winnie Dawson) was caretaker until the 1940’s and transplanted the many ornamental cedar trees now gracing the cemetery. Other caretakers have been Tobe Cottrell, Lee Reese, Rufus Keesee, and since 1978, A C. Whitaker. Members of the current board of trustees are: Blair Brown, chairman; Gilbert Skinner, Bill Burton, and Mrs. Lillian (Adkins) Kirkpatrick has been secretary-treasurer since 1962 until her death in 1997. The cemetery is maintained through interest earned on trust by sale of lots.

Tombstone inscriptions were recorded on April 28, May 7, 12 & 26, 1981, by Blanche Morgan, Ruby Haser, Eloise Thornton, Vineta Kinsey, Loretta Lynn, Vernon and Halsa Motley, Audrey Nona, Mrs. Athie Glenn, Carol Wilson, Lorettia Shepherd, Ruby Morgan, Joann Holland, Esther McNair, and Kathryn Carter. Inscriptions from new tombstones have been added since that time. Historical information was submitted by Evangeline Carlton, 304 Countryside Court, Andover, Kansas 67002; Mrs. Lillian Kirkpatrick, A.C. Whitaker and Mrs. J. H. Henry, of WANETTE; Viola Bryant of Shawnee; Mary Robinson of Tulsa, and others whose names are cited throughout these pages.

Oldest GraveEdit

N. J. Clardy, the Oldest grave in Wanette Cemetery

by Nita Clardy Freer of Santee, CA [now of Prescott, AZ]

The history of Wanette Cemetery is well known and documented, lying in the very Southern portion of Pottawatomi County, OK, once being allotment land of the Citizen Pottawatomi Indians. Several articles have been written over the years on it’s rich history, but time and again not ever has their been a thorough investigation of the oldest grave in the cemetery. For reasons unknown to this compiler, Allen Trousdale is given the honor of being the first buried in Wanette Cemetery. Mr. Trousdale’s grave stone says he d. Oct. 27, 1876 while N. J. Clardy’s grave stone is clearly inscribed b. July 2, 1810; d. Dec 21, 1875 The truth is, the oldest grave in the Wanette Cemetery is the final resting-place of my 3rd great grandmother, Nancy Joanna (Jane) Kilpatrick Clardy. The large Marble marker is impressive, but only is inscribed, N. J. Clardy, which has lead some to believe that she was a male and somehow related to Joshua E. Clardy, also buried in the same plot and inscribed on the same marker. This compiler has concluded that those who may have tried to research the grave in question would have had to be very diligent indeed, even if they knew who Joshua E. Clardy was after he came to Kansas and Oklahoma.

Nancy J. Kilpatrick Clardy was the mother of Joshua E. Clardy. The Kilpatrick family from which Nancy descends is well documented. She was born in Iredell Co., NC, to Joshua W. Kilpatrick and Sarah Hobson (of Cumberland Co., VA). Nancy’s grandmother was Jane Nichols; her grandfather was Andrew Kilpatrick of Iredell (Rowan) NC, a patriot of the Revolutionary War.

Nancy was the first born of seven children to Joshua and Sarah Kilpatrick. Her father, was a Methodist minister for 34 years, most of which were as a circuit rider. Nancy was less than one year old when her parents moved to Maury Co., TN. It was here that she met her future husband, Benjamin S. Clardy, an orphaned boy raised by Elisha Uzzell, a prominent man in Columbia and a Trustee of the local Methodist church. I surmise that they met at church or a camp meeting. In 1822, Benjamin also became a Methodist circuit rider.

Nancy and Benjamin were married in 1826 and started to raise a family. They left Tennessee and resettled in LaGrange, Franklin Co., AL for some years where their son, Joshua Essossohrodihes Clardy, my great great grandfather was born.

At some point after 1836 the family moved to Clinton, East Feliciana Parish, LA. It was here in 1841 that Nancy is left a widow. By 1850 Nancy and two of her children (Joshua and Jane), moved again to Nancy’s mother’s farm in Pontotoc Co., MS. Nancy’s daughter Jane married in September 1850 to Larkin BAILEY of Pontotoc Co., MS. Nancy’s son Joshua, after a while on the farm went to Nashville as an apprentice and studied law at night.

After a few years, Joshua went to Kansas Territory and was there during the “Bleeding of Kansas” turmoil. He met and married a French/Pottawatomi Indian woman, Isabelle Anastasia Bertrand in 1859. The Pottawatomi Indians had a reservation in Kansas during this time but later were compelled by the federal government to move once again to the Indian Territory. Nancy at some point after 1850, moved to the Kansas Territory also. She paid taxes in Marshall Co., Kansas Territory in 1860 where her son and his wife were also.

Many of the Indians were given individual land allotments, some of which were in what is now Pottawatomie County, OK. Joshua and Isabelle were on their allotment land in I.T. (OK) in 1871, an allotment literally just yards south of the present day cemetery. One of J. E’s allotments was the NE¼ of Sec. 30. It is entirely possible that Joshua may have thought the land that was chosen as the burial site, was part of their allotment, thus buried Nancy there.

Nancy’s obituary printed 16 months after her death is quite informative, as you will see.

Nashville Christian Advocate, Saturday, April 21, 1877, page 12.

“Mrs. Nancy Joanna Clardy was the eldest child of the Rev. J. W. Kilpatrick, a name now become historic in the annals of Methodism in Tennessee. She was born, July 2, 1810, and married to the Rev. B. S. Clardy, of the Tennessee Conference, in 1826. Her father was an itinerant of the McKendree stamp, and his house was the resting place of many a weary preacher. Here, in childhood, she became acquainted with many of the pioneers of Methodism, listened to their conversation around the fireside, and learned to love the Church which they labored to establish. It was edifying to hear her youthful reminiscences of such preachers as Bishop McKendree, Douglass, McMahon, Garrett, Paine, McFerrin the elder, Maddin,

and others, whose names are yet precious in the memories of the Methodist of Tennessee. Brought up in a very nursery of Methodism, she early gave her heart to Christ, and united with the Methodist Church; and from this time until the close of life she adorned her profession with the grace of religion and with a cheerful piety. In 1840 she was left a widow with six children, all of whom, save one son, preceded her to the spirit-world. At the time of her death her residence was in Kansas; but she died and was buried in the Indian Territory. Thither she had gone to visit her son. Here Sister Clardy fell a victim to painful disease, and died in holy triumph, Dec. 20, 1875. Her messages of love absent brothers and sisters, and specially to her aged mother, gave evidence of a hope full of immortality. "Give them," said she, "my dying love. Tell them it would have been sweet to die at home, and rest beside father; but heaven is just as near to the Indian Territory as to Verona. Tell mother we shall not be parted long. I go to await her." She shouted aloud the praises of her Redeemer, and continued in the language of rapture while strength and voice remained. To those who witnessed the scene, the room where she died seemed radiant with a heavenly glory. She seemed at once to cease to breathe and to praise.”T. G. Wier.

Hopefully you now have a more complete understanding of why Nancy, a white woman, was in the Indian Territory at such an early date. It should also be noted that Joshua E. Clardy’s apprenticeship in Nashville was under the auspices of Rev. John B. McFerrin, (son of the above-mentioned McFerrin), the editor of the South-Western Christian Advocate, the publishing house of the M.E. Church, South. So is her death dated correct? This compiler’s logical conclusion toward the evidence presented is simple. A God-fearing Christian family raised Nancy Kilpatrick Clardy, and she lead an exemplary Christian life. It is a fact that her son and his wife were also very devoted to their Christian faith. Therefore, I conclude based on the evidence that there was no error when the year of her death was inscribed. Nancy J. Kilpatrick Clardy was in fact the first person buried in Wanette Cemetery. The honor is hers-forever.

Copyright 2001, Nita Clardy Freer email nitafreer@cableone.net

Other published Information about this cemeteryEdit

  • The town of WANETTE probably has had more locations and more names than any other settlement in the state. First, in 1874, it became Clardyville, or Pleasant Prairie, near the present site of the WANETTE Cemetery. Source: History of the cemetery is from Col. Mooney's Localized History of Pottawatomie County to 1907, and "A Historical Sketch of the WANETTE Cemetery" compiled by W. W. Gilbert of Oklahoma City, OK. Published in the PottawatomieCounty CemeteryInscriptions, Volume II; Cemetery Committee, Tecumseh Genealogy Club, Tecumseh, Oklahoma; 1982; HISTORY OF WANETTE: Santa Fe Towns
  • The original postoffice application was made on August 12, 1893, and was approved on March 19, 1894, with Chas. P. Mclninich as the first Postmaster. It was then located in the NE ¼ of Sec. 36, across the road south from the present WANETTE Cemetery. Source: Localized History of Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma to 1907 by Charles W. Mooney, B.S., University of Oklahoma, Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army Retired, pgs. 44-47
  • Jacob Johnson, English husband of a Pottawatomie Indian woman, settled here on his wife's allotment in 1872, and built a two room log cabin at Pleasant Prairie on about the exact location of the present WANETTE Cemetery, coming here from Kansas on the old West Shawnee Trail. Source: History of Pottawatomie County, page 59-60; PLEASANT PRAIRIE (Ghost town near WANETTE), Pleasant Prairie
  • The first masonry constructed building in Pottawatomie County was generally known as the "Stone School House." Located about 100 yards north of the present WANETTE Cemetery, in the SE1/4, Sec. 19, T-6N, R-3E, it was actually the first of the Potawatomi Day Schools. Properly named the "Clardyville School," it was also the first schoolhouse constructed in the county. Source: Escort, Sunday, August 17, 1969; Oldest Masonry Building in Pottawatomie County
  • Mary was the wife of AIIen Trousdale who came to the county in 1872, before it was a county. Allen Trousdale was the father of Wm. B. “Billy” TrousdaIe, who in 1894 was elected Sheriff of the County (and who in 1896 lost the election to this office by only three votes!) Allen Trousdale was the first person buried in the WANETTE Cemetery. Source: Escort, Sunday, August 24, 1969; Pottawatomie County’s First Post Office
  • The town WANETTE, first in 1874, became named Clardyville or Pleasant Prairie, near the present site of the WANETTE cemetery. In 1876 J. W. Clinton succeeded Mrs. Isabell A. Clardy as postmaster, and the place was moved two miles north four miles west of the present WANETTE and named Wagosa (Wagoza), according to the story related by Ben Clardy. Source: Escort, Sunday, February 1, 1970; Oldest Existing Log Cabin and Oldest Living Native in Pottawatomie County

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