29 February 2020

Last Day Local: Harmonia Cemetery

Previously, I wrote about the spiritual utopia, Harmonia, that was once on the land where Fort Custer Training center is now. Harmonia Cemetery sits in a remote area of Fort Custer Industrial Park near Fort Custer. 

The cemetery was laid out in 1862. Find a Grave holds 71 memorials and 69% of the cemetery is photographed. Harmonia is not an easy cemetery to access. An 8 foot tall barbed wire fence surrounds it. It is closed to the public and permission from Bedford Township Offices is required to visit it.

Many of the surnames in the cemetery trace to the earliest settlers of Harmonia: Sampson, Beecher, Terry, Cox, Clevenger, Mead, and Schuyler. Other surnames are Adrian, Baugh, Baumfree, Bevier, Bradley, Brown, Cox, Forshey, Garman, Gray, Burnflo, Lipsitz, Ledeman, McCreary, Merrill, O'Malley, Roy, Sawtell, Sayton, Smith, White, Wilde, Wingate, Wright, and Zollinger.

Sojournor Truth's daughter Sophia Truth Schulyer is buried here. When Sojournor Truth left slavery she took her daughter Sophia with her. Sophia Truth married Thomas Schulyer. A 1900 Detroit News editorial talks about Sophia Truth Schuyler going to the Calhoun County poor house. Sophia's death certificate can be found at Michiganology. It is listed as Sophia Schyler. Sophia died, in 1901, at the "poor house" in Marengo Township, Calhoun county, near Marshall, MI. She was buried in an unmarked grave at Harmonia Cemetery. Thomas McLeichey, of Battle Creek, purchased a marker for Sophia.  It says "Sophia Schuyler 1821-1901 Daughter of Sojourner Truth." Sophia Truth Schulyer was Thomas' great grandmother. (Source:  "Sojourner Truth's daughter was buried in an unmarked grave until a descendant took action" 1 Feb 2019 Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek, MI accessed 29 Feb 2020.)

Harmonia being a community of Spiritualists believes that one can communicate with the spirits. It makes me wonder how many Spiritualists are talking to those buried at Harmonia Cemetery today.

Last Day Local is a blog prompt I use to celebrate the history of Battle Creek, Michigan, my hometown for the past 32 years.  I try to post one article on the last day of the month about the heritage and history of Battle Creek, The Cereal City!

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