We didn’t leave the house until after 11:00 am. The days venture only took us about 20 miles from home. We headed east to the small town of Hope, Indiana and started out sight-seeing at the town square where there is a small museum.
The Yellow Trail Museum covers the history of Hope, which was a Moravian community founded in 1830. The museum is housed in an old Hardware store so it was fun to see the old ladders, winches and other miscellaneous equipment from days long ago.
Most of the artifacts in the museum are either donated or on loan from area residents. I was really impressed by how well everything was very labeled as to what it was and who donated. We’ve been to several museums where things weren’t labeled well or at all and that just doesn’t get it for me. I want to know what the objects are, how they were used, who used them and why. LOL
We spent an hour or so roaming through the museum before taking a walk around the square.
The place that caught my eye was the Swiss Maid Country Market. I didn’t know what it was but was pleasantly surprised when we walked in to find a small Amish store selling home-baked goods, bulk goods, meats & cheese and custom-made sandwiches.
There were quite a few people there ordering sandwiches for lunch but we had lunch packed so we just opted for some yummy baked goods (a cinnamon roll, a brownie, a whoopie pie (all to be shared over the next week or so) and a small strawberry rhubarb pie). Plus, I got a bag of home-made noodles since I used the last of our a few weeks ago. Pretty sure I’ll be going back the last week that we’re here to pick up a few odds and ends.
One of the buildings on the square is the Norman Funeral Home which was built in 1880 and is the oldest business in Hope. The front of the building is almost all made of glass blocks…pretty unique. There was a funeral going on while we were there – a biker killed in motorcycle accident. His motorcycle friends attended on their bikes and they led the procession to the cemetery afterward. It was pretty poignant to watch.
We found this all out because we were talking to a couple at the ice cream place across the street who were there to attend the visitation at the funeral home. The whole thing was pretty appropriate for us since we’ve been so consumed with watching the Sons of Anarchy lately.
After our walk around the circle we headed to the Moravian Cemetery where we found a spot in shade to enjoy lunch. Another light and easy lunch of cheeses, meats, nuts & veggies.
The real reason we were at the cemetery was to visit ‘God’s Acre’, the historic section. There are 1070 graves in this section dating back to the 1830s.
The Moravian burial custom was done using a ‘choir system’ which meant that there was a section for boys, unmarried men, married men, girls, unmarried girls, married girls and paupers.
Flat stones were used as a symbol to the Moravian belief of equality in death. Some stones have a footer area used for planting flowers. These types of gravestones (kind of a mix between a tomb and a cradle) are unique to this cemetery in Hope. Interesting…
Although the earliest graves date back to 1833 we had a hard time seeing dates on most of the headstones as most have been worn off of the years…so we never did find the oldest ones.
Not having our fill of cemeteries yet…we ventured about 6 miles down the road to the small town of Hartsville to find the Hartsville Baptist Cemetery which is the final resting place of Barton Mitchell, who is credited with finding Lee’s Lost Orders, which revealed Lee’s strategic plans and location of Lee’s Army. Because of Lee’s discovery the Union was able overcome Lee’s Army in what became the Battle of Antietam.
The cemetery was not easy to find…the GPS took us the wrong way but we were able to find it on our own. The road to the cemetery wasn’t much wider than our big hipped truck but we made it in and out without incident.
The cemetery is quite small and old, with graves reaching back into the mid 1800s. Usually the site I use (Find a Grave) has directions or coordinates to help in the search for the gravesite. This time it didn’t…but since the cemetery was pretty small and we did have a picture of the gravestone we thought we’d be able to find it fairly easily.
We hunted high and low in 90 degree heat, uphill, over weeds, clearing mown grass from gravestones and never found him. Part of the fun, I think, for us in finding these finally resting spots is the ‘hunt’…but eventually we do find them. I’m pretty sure that this is the first time we weren’t able to find our target. It was kind of a bummer.
After our disappointing search through the humid heat we decided we deserved an ice cream treat for our troubles. That’s when we stopped at Cornett’s Corner Café as we passed through Hope on our way home and chatted with the couple about the funeral across the street.
Back at home we settled in for the remainder of the day. Michael grilled a ribeye that we cut in two and I made a side dish of cheesy orzo and broccoli to go with it. And…of course, we watched several more episodes of Sons of Anarchy. There are seven season and we are almost done with the fifth season at this point.