I am departing from my usual routine today…Why, you ask? Because I can not find anyone in my Family Tree who died on this day. It is very likely that I have several but I have not identified those death dates yet.
So instead, I want to talk about a friend of mine who uncovered a heartbreaking story about the Colvin Family who lived near Columbus, Indiana. My friend’s name is Mark Davis. We met several years ago in Crown Point, Indiana at one of his cemetery restoration projects. He runs seminars on the proper methods of cleaning and restoring tombstones. He has a company called Stone Saver Cemetery Restoration. Mark gets hired usually by local townships or counties to go into an old neglected or damaged cemeteries and fix them. He does amazing work. He cleans tombstones and monuments. He fixes tombstones that are broken. He places tombstones back in there base and secures them. He adds the proper base to stones that need to be leveled and straightened. Mark is an amazing guy! He is a man of many talents and he loves a beautiful cemetery and so do I! Visit him at http://www.stonesaver1.com/. Check out the beautiful work he has completed and current projects that he is or will be working on. Or find out when he will be working in a cemetery near you!
While working on a job in early May, Mark found a family plot that was truly heartbreaking and he shared a little bit about it on Facebook. I asked him if it would be OK to share on Tombstone Tuesday sometime and he said “Sure”. So I think I’ll share it today. So today I did some research and quite frankly, I was able to find out quite a bit about this family. So instead of highlighting one person today, we will talk about the whole family.
Colvin Family Plot
Knowing Mark, I am sure that it was this interesting family monument which first caught his attention. And then, the story of this family touched his heart.
The Republic Newspaper – Columbus, Indiana – October 3, 1962
“The Time for Tears was Past” The headline read as the newspaper story reported on the tragic lost of all six children in one family on September 29, 1962.
“The time for tears seemed past Tuesday as nearly 100 mourners gather with the Walter Colvin family under an overcast sky at the Bethel cemetery at the burial rites for the couples six children”
“The youngsters were suffocated in a fire Saturday at their home near West Harrison on the Indiana- Ohio State line where they had lived about six months since moving from East Twenty-third Street. “ the article read. “The Colvin couple held hands as the Rev. Ivan Miller of the United Lutheran church spoke the final rites, but neither wept. Their faces showed the anguish now past tears”
“ A procession of 50 cars followed the five hearses from the Barkes and Inlow funeral home and continues the trip to the cemetery where six pallbearers carried the light colored caskets with embroidered flowers from the hearses one by one.”
Six Colvin Children
Barry Joe – 1947 1962 and Karon Lee – 1948-1962
Terri Lynn – 1949 – 1962 and Robert Lee – 1951 -1962
Cheryl Ann – 1954-1962 and Walter Alan – 1956- 1962
Colvin Family Plot
The Colvin children tombstones
It is hard to imagine the heartache that this couple felt with the loss of all of their children on the same day. According to Julia Terry, a Facebook friend of Mark’s, Barry, the oldest child found the fire and woke his mother, Mina Jo, who was sleeping downstairs. She ran to the neighbors to get help. Barry remained in the house to tried to get the rest of the children out. By the time Mina Jo returned to the burning house it was too late and all the children were caught in the fire. Walter Albert Colvin, the father, was a truck driver who was on the road at the time of the fire.
Mina Jo Rice Colvin was born in Danville, Illinos on July 4, 1926. She was the daughter of John and Carrie Roth Rice. She married Walter Albert Colvin on November 7, 1953 according to Findagrave. I was unable to find a marriage license for Mina and Walter on ancestry. It would seem to me that they may have married sooner than 1953. She died on June 25, 1998 at her home.
Walter married Linda Lois Grimes on October 8, 1998. She died six months later on March 3, 1999. She was buried in South Park Cemetery in Greensburg, Indiana.
Walter was born on August 5, 1927. He was the son of Clifford and June Hansen Colvin. He was born in Paris, Illinois. Walter was a veteran of the Air Force in WWII. He was a member of the American Legion and the Veteran of Foreign Wars. He was a truck driver for Stone Container. He died on February, 17, 2009 in Columbus, Indiana.
The Colvin Family is buried at the Bethel Baptist Cemetery in Walesboro, Bartholmew County, Indiana.
Rest in peace to all of the members of the Colvin family.
Love, Jan Smith
Note: Mark Davis intends to return to this cemetery and he will clean the dirt and grime of 50 plus years from these stones. Thanks Mark for finding this story for me and the newspaper article about this tragedy so I could record it here. Thanks too for all your hard work in cemeteries in Indiana. You are an inspiration!
Note: All the photos are courtesy of Findagave.com. Thanks to the volunteers who added them to the database.