When looking for what is termed as the Lutheran Cemetery in Otis, this
is what they are referring to. The church, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
is the church that has buried their ancestors here for several generations. It is this authors understanding (Deanna West) that the original cemetery for some of the
pioneer families was moved from a location a little further south, and was moved in the mid to late 1800's.
Beatty's Corners Cemetery includes the burial plot of the Arba and Betsy
Heald family, pioneers of LaPorte County, Indiana.
The earliest date on a cemetery stone there is for William Heald, a son, who died in 1842. The last Heald descendant transferred (not sold) the family farm land to
Julius Snyder (from interview with Roy A Zahrn, 6 May 1987. )
On April 27, 1853, LaPorte Beatty's Corners, LaPorte County, Indiana was
laid off on the (see description above)
by James Whittem the proprietor of the Town of Beatysville.
On 24 June 1881, for the amount of twenty-five dollars, Julius and Gusta
Schneider deeded a rectangular parcel of land to the Trustee of the Lutheran
Church of Otis
for the church cemetery with the agreement that "said Trustee is to kep [sic] fences in good repair.: The land measuring eleven rods along the road and thirty-two rods deep,
is situated "east of Plank Road leading from Michigan City to Westville. (Deed Record 48:331, LaPorte Co., IN
Early plank roads and log roads were developed for the same reasons;
both lumber and labor were abundant and cheap. Plank of eight or nine feet were
on a leveled road-bed. The roadway was more smooth than a log road. The later became known as a "corduroy road."
The wooden planks deteriorated unevenly and the wagon wheel traffic wore the plank thin. Plank roads lasted longer when drivers traveled at times with one set of wheels
in the middle and the other two wheels off the road. Though it was rough riding, it was to their benefit because roads were repaired then bo the labor of local property owners.
The current description of the location of the cemetery is Indiana State
Road 421 at LaPorte County Road, 50 North . Wagon trails converged near this
Traffic access from 5 directions gave rise to dreams and plans for a "metropolis" to be named Beattyville; however, that area did not become populated.
Instead the junction of two railroads nearby created the town of Otis.
John Block, as chairman of the first elected trustees for St. Paul
Evangelical Lutheran Church at Otis, incurred cemetery expenses for the almost
six years with little,
if any, reimbursement. At the Voters' Meeting, 4 May 1887, it was agreed to reimburse him an accumulated amount of twenty-four dollars.
He continued to administer the affairs of the cemetery with the help of William Reglein.
Subsequent trustees were caretakers until Louis Schmidt was elected
chairman of a Cemetery Board. He appointed Victor Pomranke and Roy a Zahrn to
Louis Schmidt was followed by Herman Schmidt. He was succeeded by Jonhenry Miller. Harold Paschack was appointed after the death of Victor Pomranke.
An appointment, as of this historical document writing had not been mentioned in 1988, has not been made yet to replace Roy A Zahrn who died recently.
He was a zealous caretaker of the cemetery grounds and records for many years.
Cemetery income and expenses are included in the early minutes in
aggregate totals when a separate cemetery report was given.
Other times the figures were interspersed with the regular report of the treasurer.
According to the memory of Roy A Zahrn and others, a single grave site
cost about a dollar at one time and family plots were between five and ten
Detailed records were not found as time had taken its toll. Apparently, written cemetery records were not started for many years. One who knew "who was buried where"
was an early caretaker, "Vater" Rozean. When he worked at the cemetery, he was accompanied at times by Roy a Zahrn and other children.
They helped by picking up twigs and stones. They were not too interested then in the repetitious recital of names of the deceased as
Mr. Rozean pointed to the burial site of each. Regrettably, much of that early oral tradition was buried with Charles Rozean.
Mr. Roy A. Zahrn improved the record when he devised a row and grave numbering system of burial plots.
This small, county cemetery continues to serve the needs of the families of former and current communicants of the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church of Otis, Indiana.
Beatty Corner's burials
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