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#1277553 - 12/04/09 01:28 PM Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property
Wayne81
Unregistered

I spent a few hours searching for this online however I am coming up empty handed. Specifically I am interested in Shields Cemetery in Blackford Co. Recently there was a write up in the paper, regarding this cemetery. A woman wrote into our paper from Ohio concerned about this cemetery. It is located in the middle of a cornfield. From what I can tell it has about 25-30 graves in it. It is completely surrounded by private property with no access road, walkway, or parking of an kind. The owner of this farm does does not enjoy people trapsing across his land in order to get to this cemetery. I know in some states there are laws in place to allow access to cemeteries in this type of situation, but I have found nothing in Indiana. Has anyone else run into this situation? Anyone aware of laws that could help here? FYI this cemetery is the final resting place of John Mills (South Carolina Capt. SC Dragoons Revolutionary War.) Also Weedin H. Shields (Pvt. Co L1 Regt. Indiana Cav. Civil War.)

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#1277627 - 12/04/09 02:52 PM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: ]
Mark Offline

Find A Grave Curator - Geographer

Registered: 03/20/06
Loc: Indiana
It is buried in the Indiana code under property taxes. IC 6-1.1-6.8-15, the last part of the cemetery assessment.


Property Tax Code

Actual Cemetery section of the Code:

Cemetery Code

It can be a bit confusing. You might want to check if it was conveyed to the township for care or not. If that is the case then it is not owned by the property owner of the land surrounding it. But care and upkeep is left to the township as I read it.
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Find A Grave Curator - Geographer
Patience is a Virtue

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#1278002 - 12/04/09 09:06 PM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: Mark]
Wayne81
Unregistered

Ok,If care has been conveyed to the township, but the only way to get to the cemetery is to cross private property, then does this apply?

"Sec. 15. The owner of land that is classified under this chapter as cemetery land must allow family members and descendants of persons buried in the cemetery to have at least one (1) day each year to gain access to and visit the cemetery. The date of the visit to the cemetery must be agreed upon between the owner and the family"

Or is this only if the actual cemetery is privately owned?

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#1278312 - 12/05/09 08:09 AM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: ]
Devil Doc Offline


Registered: 05/14/06
Loc: Knee deep in backwood weeds
That's if the cemetery is privately owned. If it's township owned I believe there has to be an easement for the township up keepers to be able to get to it without crossing private property. If it's on private property, which most of Indiana's pioneer backwoods cemeteries are and you are not family, the land owner can refuse you entry. I, personally, have never been told no, in fact one land owner took 3 hours of his time to get me to a cemetery on his land, however, because of lawsuits that may come in due to entry, for non family the owner does have the right to say no.
_________________________
Lives are commemorated - deaths are recorded - families are reunited - memories are made tangible - and love is undisguised. This is a cemetery.

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#1278318 - 12/05/09 08:16 AM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: Devil Doc]
Devil Doc Offline


Registered: 05/14/06
Loc: Knee deep in backwood weeds
Also of note. The tax code part is ONLY if the cemetery on private property is tax exempt. It's a fairly new part, last 5 years or so. I know of no land owner with a cemetery that has claimed that exemption because it would cost more to fence the cemetery and care for it properly and build a access road then paying the land tax. In other words, if the cemetery is on their land and they pay property tax on the land the cemetery is on, they can do as they please with that cemetery, including not even allowing family to visit. If they wanted to, and some have, they can plow the cemetery up and grow crops there.


Edited by Devil Doc (12/05/09 08:17 AM)
_________________________
Lives are commemorated - deaths are recorded - families are reunited - memories are made tangible - and love is undisguised. This is a cemetery.

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#1302141 - 12/26/09 10:06 AM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: Devil Doc]
BradManz Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Loc: Franklin, IN
It is no longer legal for farmers to removes stones and plow over cemeteries on their property. The law was changed a few years ago. Landowners are not required to perform any special upkeep on cemeteries on their property, but they are no longer legally able to remove evidence of a cemetery. In fact, if they want to disturb the soil within 100 feet of the cemetery for any reason they have to obtain a permit from the DNR. (This applies to anyone, not just farmers on farm land. If a church wants to do work on their building that requires the ground being disturbed they need a permit as well. This does not apply to burial of human remains.) Even in the work I do restoring cemeteries I have to get a permit just to probe the top soil for lost stones.

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#1306131 - 12/29/09 05:40 PM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: BradManz]
Devil Doc Offline


Registered: 05/14/06
Loc: Knee deep in backwood weeds
Hi Brad, Thanks for the update. I knew the laws were changed a few years ago but I didn't know about the 100 foot law.

BTW, welcome to the forums and to let you know who I am, beautiful work you did on 2nd Prairie Creek cemetery. grin
_________________________
Lives are commemorated - deaths are recorded - families are reunited - memories are made tangible - and love is undisguised. This is a cemetery.

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#1309678 - 01/01/10 04:18 PM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: Devil Doc]
BradManz Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Loc: Franklin, IN
Hey Brian! Thanks, Glad you liked what we did at 2nd Prairie. I thought that project would put me in a cemetery permanently!! The two large obelisks at the edge of the woods took 15 feet of scaffolding and several hours just to stand back up.

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#1328650 - 01/19/10 10:34 AM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: ]
MReed Offline


Registered: 08/31/06
Loc: IN
I'm not vouching for the accuracy of this statement, but I was told by a local law enforcement officer (here in Indiana) that property owners "have to give you easement" to visit cemeteries on private property. There was no discussion of privately owned cemetery vs. township, nor any mention of whether or not I had to be a descendant or relative. I was under the assumption that anyone could visit cemeteries on private property as long as they'd gone through the proper channels, but that's based on the short conversation I had with the policeman.
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"Must the poor live in the streets?" - BPR

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#1330318 - 01/20/10 10:42 PM Re: Laws, cemeteries surrounded by private property [Re: MReed]
BradManz Offline


Registered: 12/24/09
Loc: Franklin, IN
Originally Posted By: MReed
I'm not vouching for the accuracy of this statement, but I was told by a local law enforcement officer (here in Indiana) that property owners "have to give you easement" to visit cemeteries on private property. There was no discussion of privately owned cemetery vs. township, nor any mention of whether or not I had to be a descendant or relative. I was under the assumption that anyone could visit cemeteries on private property as long as they'd gone through the proper channels, but that's based on the short conversation I had with the policeman.


When the cemetery is private property itself the owners generally only have to give family members access one day a year. And you would have to contact the owner and work out a date with him. If someone wanted to refuse it would basically take a court order to force the owner to allow access. If it is a township cemetery surrounded by private property it will generally have an easement. Most trustees wont take over the deed to a cemetery if they can't get to it for mowing or other purposes.

It has been my experience that land owners with a cemetery on their land will generally let you visit as long as you knock on their door and ask permission first. I have never been denied permission. Most people have not only let me visit, they usually visit with me and share stories of the people buried within as well as the history of the cemetery property and general area.


Edited by BradManz (01/20/10 10:46 PM)

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