Antique tractor enthusiasts Charlie Case and Larry Swank came up with a unique way to showcase Ringgold county history by hosting a tractor ride
that visited a number of southern Ringgold county pioneer cemeteries on a beautiful fall day.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, 11 tractors made stops at Tedrow,
Oakland, Caledonia, Mount Zion and Patrick cemeteries.
At each stop, the riders were greeted by a neighboring farmer or descendant of the pioneers buried
in the area, who shared what they knew about the cemetery and its inhabitants.
They brought sack lunches to share and were even "privy" to Charlie's thoughtful
version of a real "port-a-potty."
One of the speakers on the tour was Angie Hynek, who serves on a pioneer cemetery preservation commission working with
township officials and interested parties to provide funds for fencing, headstone repair and mowing.
The commission is dedicated to preserving these
important links to the past as well as honoring these nearly forgotten pioneers. A cemetery that has had fewer than six interments in the past 50 years
may qualify for pioneer status.
Dirt roads or only a path through a farmer's field often accesses these areas. Most are located on a quiet hilltop with a
lone tree marking the spot where a country church once stood.
Another ride to other pioneer cemeteries in the county is being planned for next spring.
Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, October of 2015