James/Schrock Cemetery-Toll Road DisputeJames/Schrock Cemetery-Toll Road Dispute, 1954 . . . .

The James/Schrock Cemetery is pioneer cemetery located along the Indiana Toll Road, east of McCool Road and behind the Pleasant Valley Trailer Park (northeast quarter of northeast quarter of southwest quarter of Section 17 T36N R6W). This cemetery nearly became obliterated and removed when the Indiana Toll Road was constructed. The original survey plans for the toll road had the roadbed going through the cemetery. Mrs. Dave Magnuson of Chesterton protested the obliteration or removal of the the cemetery and used a somewhat esoteric law to block the Toll Road Commission from traversing the cemetery land. It was estimated that the cost of relocating the toll road so that it went around the cemetery at that time was $100,000. Newspaper articles concerning the James/Schrock Cemetery and Indiana Toll Road dispute are provided below.


Objection is Planned
Looks Like Toll Route May Have To Skirt Old Cemetery

Indiana Toll Road commission engineers apparently will have to skirt a century-old cemetery east of McCool, in Portage township, The Vidette-Messenger learned today.

Herman Hartman, commission chief engineer, was quoted Tuesday that it was hoped the cemetery with 41 graves, could be relocated to make way for the superhighway.

However, Hartman added, should one relative of one person buried there object to moving the old burial ground, then the law provides the commission shall relocate the toll road right-of-way. Hartman said this would "cost thousands of dollars for a one-mile stretch."

Mrs. Dave Magnuson, 407 Park avenue, Chesterton, wife of the Westchester township assessor, today told The V-M that "I certainly will object; and I'm sure my brothers and sisters will join me. I have a sister buried there, Mary Hockelberg, who died when she was a baby."

Mrs. Magnuson added that "I know the cemetery is run down and over-run with trees and weeds but I believe in letting the dead rest."

Elmer Lenburg, RFD 1, Chesterton, adjacent to the former McCool airport, who has two uncles, an aunt and a cousin buried in the cemetery, said that "I told the toll road engineers three or four weeks ago that I had no objection. In fact, it probably would be better if the cemetery were placed in a better location."

Lenburg said the burial ground is located on the farm of his mother-in-law, Mrs. August Schrock.

The V-M asked Prosecuting Atty. Clarence D. Wood what action must now result, since there is an objection. He was asked whether the commission must seek court approval for relocating the cemetery, allowing objectors to answer; or must the objectors seek an injunction restraining such removal.

Wood said a similar incident occurred in the construction of the Dunes highway some years ago. "It was found," he said, "there were a large number of Indians buried outside of the regular cemetery. The road engineers at that time appeased the objectors by relocating the highway."

The attorney said it was his opinion that the objectors to relocating the cemetery at McCool will have to file a civil suit asking for a restraining order enjoining the commission from any such action.

The cemetery is located about one-quarter mile east of the road between McCool and Highway 6. It is adjacent to the former interurban right-of-way and at the rear of the Schrock farm.

Accessibility is difficult because of a ravine, underbrush and barbed wire fences. The cemetery, itself, is in a run-down condition, covered with weeds, underbrush and young trees.

Many of the markers are overturned. Some are broken. It has been at least 70 years since there was a burial there. The markers are weatherbeaten and the inscriptions are illegible on some.

The broken monument to Lenburg's aunt reads: "Hier Ruht in Gott" (Here Rests in God), Anna A. Hockelberg, 1875.

Others are: Barruch Dorr, March 4, 1841; Mary C., wife of James W----, Jan. 31, 1884; Hiram B. James, May 28, 1863; Allen B. James, 74, Feb. 24, 1881; infant son born Nov. 19, 1874; Michael, son of B. J. and C. Kern, July 19, 1852, aged 13 years and 3 days; Jacob Wolf, April 10, 1851, and his wife, Lydia, Oct. 3, 1842, and Dudley Griffin, June 13, 1852.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 19, 1954; Volume 27, Number 270, Page 1, Columns 5 and 6, and Page 6, Column 2.

United Press, May 27, 1954 [Photograph No. C-330, HXPC-21297]

Photograph published in the Chicago Sun-Times, May 28, 1954 [Photograph No. H-538]
Old cemetery on farm owned by Walter Schrock near Chesterton, Ind., is blocking construction of Indiana's $150 million toll road. A lone stand by Mrs. Dave Magnuson, 79, who refuses to move grave of her infant sister, may force state to spend $100,000 rerouting the highway. Schrock and Lou Ellen Jacobs, 4, examine headstones in cemetery where no body has been buried for 70 years. [Photos for Sun-Times by Charles Smith]

Old Cemetery To Be Topic At Meeting
Two Toll Road Officials Plan Chesterton Visit

Two officials of the Indiana Toll Road commission planned today to visit Mrs. Dave Magnuson, Chesterton, who objected unofficially to moving an old cemetery east of McCool, now in the path of the proposed east-west superhighway.

Mrs. Magnuson's husband, Westchester township assessor, said his wife has not been advised of the proposed visit by Herman D. Hartman, chief engineer, and Farwell C. Rhoades, public relations representative.

Mrs. Magnuson's objection to relocating the 41-grave cemetery was originally reported in The Vidette-Messenger. Her sister died as an infant and is buried in the ancient burial plot.

Spokesmen for the commission told United Press at Indianapolis that Mrs. Magnuson need not take legal action to block the road. If she insists her sister's grave remain where it is, the state is obligated by law to reroute the road so it misses the cemetery.

Commission spokesmen said they knew of no other objectors and heard of Mrs. Magnuson's protest only through news reports.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 21, 1954; Volume 27, Number 272, Page 1, Column 5.

Are Opposed to Moving Cemetery
People In North County Vicinity State Objection

CHESTERTON, May 24 -- The Duneland Historical society Sunday went on record opposing, along with Mrs. Dave Magnuson, 407 Park avenue the proposal of the Indiana Toll Road commission to relocate a century-old cemetery, east of McCool. The old burial plot is in the path of the proposed superhighway.

The 150-member society mailed a letter of protest to the commission Sunday.

Meantime, Mrs. Magnuson, sister of an infant girl buried in the old cemetery, told The Vidette-Messenger at noon today that Herman D. Hartman and Farwell C. Rhoades, chief engineer and public relations representative, respectively, of the commission, had failed to contact her.

United Press reported out of Indianapolis Friday that Hartman and Rhoades, in response to news reports in The V-M that Mrs. Magnuson would oppose the removal, states they would go to Chesterton today to confer with her.

Vote Is Unanimous

The society's letter of protest followed a unanimous vote on a motion by C. W. Nelson, Porter county historian for the State Historical society, in a meeting Thursday night at K. of P. hall.

Nelson called attention to the historical significance of the burial plot, where ancestors of the McCool, Hockelberg, and Wolf families are interred.

The small plot has 41 graves. It is more than a century old and the last burial was more than 70 years ago.

Hartman also was quoted by UP that Mrs. Magnuson need not take legal action to prevent removal of the cemetery. He said if she persists in her protest, the law requires the commission to relocate the superhighway right-of-way.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 24, 1954; Volume 27, Number 274, Page 1, Column 4.

Relocation Cost Set At $100,00


CHESTERTON, May 25 -- A one-mile stretch of the proposed east-west superhighway must be relocated, at a cost of approximately $100,00, to skirt a century-old cemetery, east of McCool, in Portage township.

Mrs. Dave Magnuson, 407 Park ave., this morning informed Herman D. Hartman and Farwell C. Rhoades, chief engineer and public relations representative, respectively, of the Indiana Toll Road commission, that she will not permit the removal of the grave of her sister, Mary Hockelberg, who died in infancy more than 70 years ago, from the old burial ground to a new cemetery.

Hartman said the law provides that if one relative of one person buried in the 41-grave cemetery objects to its transfer the toll-road right-of-way must be relocated.

Hartman and Rhoades, from Indianapolis, accompanied by Merritt Johnson, Attica, commission land agent, with headquarters in Valparaiso, this morning visited the old cemetery, located on the August Schrock farm. They said vandals have been wrecking grave markers, including that of Mary Hockelberg, within the last week.

They confirmed with "Uncle Billy" Briggs, of Crisman, a former school teacher for 27 years, to sound out public opinion toward removing the burial plot. Briggs said, in his opinion, there would be insufficient remains, after 70 or more years of burial, for removed [sic] and the graves should remain as at present.

The commission representatives then called at Mrs. Magnuson's home here.

Hartman explained the complicated details of relocating the right-of-way. He said it was laid out by engineers from aerial photographs, which failed to show the cemetery because of of the deep foliage and underbrush.

Surveyors must now go over the proposed change, laying out a new right-of-way, which may have to extend more than the estimated mile. Hartman said, too, other complications now appear: There is a deep, large bog to the south of the old cemetery and the present McCool cemetery to the north of it.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; May 25, 1954; Volume 27, Number 275, Page 1, Columns 6 and 7, and Page 6, Column 2.

Cemetery Photographs, Circa 1974
The following three photographs of James/Schrock Cemetery were contributed by Carol Lussky. Carol indicates that her father, Robert Hoeckelberg, took these photograph around 1974.

Newspaper articles transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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