Franklin, Indiana: Grave in the Middle of the Road

The final resting place of Nancy Barnett, whose relatives didn't want her grave to be moved when the road was built.
Address:
E. 400 S., Franklin, IN
Directions:
From Franklin, 5.5 miles south on US Hwy 31, then a little more than one mile east on E. 400 S. From Edinburgh, a little more than four miles north on US Hwy 31, then a little more than one mile east on E. 400 S.
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Grave.

Grave in the Middle of the Road

Interesting news update about this attraction.

[Jess Gockley, 05/12/2016]

The skeletal remains of Nancy Kerlin Barnett are being exhumed and will be buried deeper in the exact same spot in the middle of County Road 400. The above-ground mound grave had deteriorated and been hit by several errant vehicles over the years. Barnett was interred there in 1831.

Grave in the Middle of the Road

A mound with a historical marker sits in the middle of a county road just south of Amity, Indiana -- the spot where Nancy Kerlin Barnett was buried in 1831. But her grave is in for some major changes. In May 2016 the road will be closed, Barnett's remains moved, and the mound leveled, although just temporarily. When the road reopens in about a month, Barnett will again rest in peace between the lanes of the county road, this time in a flatter spot surrounded by a new protective barrier. Johnson County officials cite safety reasons for spending $10,000 to revamp the 185-year-old grave. Traffic accidents and farm equipment have repeatedly damaged the site over the years.

[Brian D. Smith, 04/21/2016]

Cemetery - Divided Highway sign.

Grave in the Middle of the Road

First stop -- Amity, for the World's Largest Rocking Chair, with nearby picnic tables for those who want to eat their lunch in the shadow of "Big John."

The Grave in the Middle of the Road would be best visited while the sun is high in the sky. The nearby houses don't look too friendly towards strangers, by the number of no trespassing signs that were in the area.

If you're heading down I-65 and have 20 minutes to spare for a small detour, this is well worth it. It'd be even better if it wasn't 20 degrees outside.

[Adam Stump, 03/26/2008]

The grave of Nancy Kerlin Barnett has been in this spot, once a cemetery, since 1831. According to the historical marker: "Daniel G. Doty, 1846-1934, protected his grandmother's grave by staying here with his gun while the county relocated this cemetery in order to build the road. A concrete slab was placed over the grave, to protect the marker, Aug. 8, 1912."

Grave in the middle of the road.

Grave in the Middle of the Road

South of Franklin, a mile east of Highway 31 on County Road 400S is the grave of Nancy Barnett. And I do mean ON the county road, smack dab in the middle of it. At one time her grave was surrounded by other graves, but a path through the family plot eventually became a road and the other graves were moved. Her son refused to let her grave be disturbed, and at that time it wasn't in the way much. Years later the road was widened and her grave was in the way then, but a relative named Willard Barnett threatened workmen with a shotgun and wouldn't allow the grave to be moved. Today it sits on a little hill in the middle of the road with a historical marker. Each end of the hill is marked by a highway sign for a divided road (a picture of a median), and each has a cross in the center of it. I wonder if these are the only such official highway signs in existence, designating a road with a grave in its middle.

[Teresa Fisher, 03/13/1999]

December 2004 - photo added.

Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest Rocking Chair - Big JohnWorld's Largest Rocking Chair - Big John, Franklin, IN - 1 mi.
Chapel Built by WWII Enemy POWsChapel Built by WWII Enemy POWs, Nineveh, IN - 6 mi.
Garden of Gas Station SignsGarden of Gas Station Signs, Whiteland, IN - 11 mi.
In the region:
Coach of the Leg Lamps, Indianapolis, IN - 26 mi.

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