In 1834 in southwest Eagle Township, Boone County, Indiana, a group of people regularly met in their homes for spiritual devotions to form one of the oldest religious congregations in Indiana. Services, or "classes" were held in this manner until 1849 when the first church structure of Salem United Methodist Church was built on what used to be Salem Road, now South 775 East or Kissel Road, west of Zionsville. Due to the great faith, courage and determination of the pioneers of this time, they started one of the oldest, active congregations still in Boone County today, Salem United Methodist Church.
As one of the most historic churches in Central Indiana and Boone County, Salem United Methodist Church is blessed with a rich history and culture. Often, this richness is experienced over time through active participation, and in the case of Salem United Methodist Church, it is also surrounded by a very historic cemetery. This cemetery, originated in the middle of the 19th century, is the final resting place for many American veterans who served in various wars. These wars include: The War of 1812, The Blackhawk Indian War, The American Civil War, The Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, and more recently wars like Vietnam.
One of Salem's members, Ben Pauley, thought it might be enjoyable to give the congregation a tour of their very own cemetery several years ago following the July 4th church service. This tour visited a number of these historic resting places and shared brief anecdotes about the military conflicts and unit histories of the deceased veterans. Over the last several years, this tour has evolved into selecting one individual who is buried in the cemetery on whom to focus during each tour. In 2016, we visited the grave of Private James Elletts Holler. Private Holler served in the 23rd North Carolina Infantry during the American Civil War. Yes, that's right, Salem has a Confederate Soldier buried in its cemetery. Briefly, Private Holler served with distinction and was ultimately wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek, VA. He ultimately was returned to service and surrendered to U.S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865. Sometime in the early 1900's Mr. Holler moved to Boone County and became a very successful farmer and a pillar of the community and of Salem Church where many of his direct decedents continue to attend.
Ben is planning to lead a brief cemetery tour (20 - 30 minutes) following our regular church service on Sunday, July 2, 2017. The church service begins at 9:15 a.m. – the tour will begin after the service at approximately 10:45 a.m. He is currently researching several veterans in the cemetery and plans to select a World War I vet in recognition of the 100th anniversary of American's joining the Great War in 1917. As there are a number from which to choose, Ben is looking to do a little research into both the man and his military unit to share some interesting facts on his service and his life. Please plan on joining us for a look into America's, and Boone County's, proud past.