While researching this cemetery, I have had the hardest time trying to locate it's exact location. The old Rock Dam is supposed to be a very historical place, but alas I can find no one who actually knows for sure where it is. Two books in the Marion Public Library give two different locations for this cemetery. And neither one tells who is buried in it. So I have decided to use Whitson's History of 1914 to give the reader some ideas as to where it may be. The following is a direct quote from Whitson's History. "The fourth mill was put up by Enoch Small about 1849. It was built on the Mississinewa river and was the first river mill in the township. It was soon sold to Timothy Kelley. The dam which had been built across the river was improved. The dam was raised and the water was raised two feet on the land of John Pemberton, about a mile and a half up the stream. Just above his place a stone dam had been constructed, which operated the Pemberton mill. Pemberton sued Kelley and got a judgment of $2000. The matter was finally settled by Kelley buying the Pemberton mill in 1853-4." This stone dam above Pemberton's mill, I believe is the Rock Dam. Whitson's History goes on to say... "...early in the forties, a tannery was established at the old stone dam. The cholera plague of 1849 killed the entire family which was in charge of the mill and the members are buried there. There were seven members of the Renner family and seven graves can be found on the bluff near the old rock dam. The graves have long been neglected and the markers are gone from several, but the place is well remembered by the older residents. There was scarcely anything done with the mill after the death of the Renners and it was allowed to stand idle and go to ruin." Another entry in Whitson's History reads as follows... "There is certainly as much beautiful scenery along the Mississinewa in Mill as in any locality, and the Rock dam is a real nature park if only it were accessible to the public." My opinion is that the Rock Dam Cemetery which consisted of seven graves of the Renner family is in Section 3 of Mill Township. Somewhere I have read that the graves are on a high bluff on the north side of the river. In section 10 (where one source says it is) you can not get to the north side of the river for it runs southeast to northwest. But in section 3 it does run east to west which gives you access to the north side of the river. I can find no map that actually shows the dam and mill race. But I do show a dam in section 3 on an old Soil Map dated 1915. Hopefully this information is correct, for now it is all I can find for the seven people who died from the cholera epidemic of 1849.

...Original page by Sheila D. Watson

Return to Cemetery Listings Page

Return to the Grant County Home Page