So what is the story behind the Grave in the Road? That really depends on where you see the story and look it up. So to find out I had to ask a few locals the story they have heard and where the truth actually falls.
The story of Nancy Kerlin Barnett’s grave is more well known than her life. Nancy Kerlin married her husband when she was not even 15, and her husband William was the great-great-great grandson of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. She died young at 39 years old and was buried at her favorite spot on a small hill overlooking Sugar Creek . Her burial site became the beginning of a local cemetery.
As the years passed the area where Barnett lived was eventually named to Amity, and the county wanted to put a road though the area. The path to cemetery later became a road, moved several bodies in the area but left Nancy’s in place because her sons didn’t want it moved. When the county wanted to expand and widen the road, they wanted to move her grave, but her grandson, Daniel Doty stood over the spot with a shotgun and refused to let them move the grave site. Eventually the county gave in and decided to just build around the grave. A concrete slab was placed over the grave to protect it and on Aug. 8, 1912, a historical marker was placed at the site as well – protecting Nancy’s grave over the years.
When the road was recently renovated, the county actually dug up the area to reinforce the area. What they found was seven bodies in Nancy’s grave, it seems that they were moved there when they originally put the road in. The county carefully re-entombed the bodies and created a new marker and raised curb area over the grave.
While the location of Nancy Barnett’s grave is one of the most unique in the country, it’s one that is worth a trip out of the way for. To find the grave you set your GPS to 6844 E 400 S, Franklin, IN. Experience the countryside that Nancy loved and stop and pay tribute.
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