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Local Grave Marker
is basis for stellar movie

City Editor

Jonnie Carter, son of Levi and Hannah Hutchens Carter, likely has the best know burial marker in the old Winchester Graveyard. The marker is an important part of the movie "Now and Then" which will make its Winchester premier Sunday, March 19 with two showings at the Towne Square Cinema.

Written by Winchester native Marlene King, the 1995 feature film was inspired by childhood memories and the summer a group of young girls were determined to find out about "Our Jonnie."

The local premier is sponsored by Delta Theta Tau Sorority in cooperation with cinema owner Tim Garland. All proceeds go to the restoration of the old Winchester Graveyard. Tickets are available for donations of $10 for adults, or $5 for students at the Winchester Mayor’s office at City Hall, the United Way and from members of Delta Theta Tau.

The "Our Jonnie" marker is marble with the likeness of a child lying on top, as if asleep. What makes it remarkable is that it has withstood the time, neglect and abuse of time and the elements and is still readable after all these years.

When the restoration of the graveyard started, Marlene King, author of the "Now and Then" screenplay, wanted to pay for the restoration of the Jonnie stone. However, the restorationists who did initial work at the graveyard last fall, were so drawn to the stone they did not charge for restoring it.

According to research by local historian Monisa Wisener, Jonnie died December 29, 1862 at the age of five years, seven months and 18 days. He was one of three children. His family came to Indiana in about 1840, locating in Winchester 1851 the second time after residing in Madison County and briefly in Ohio. His father Levi Carter worked as a blacksmith and wagon and carriage maker and established the Winchester Wagon Works

His marker, which is so notable at the graveyard, was made by his uncle, Daniel Hoffman. He came to Winchester in 1856 and married Angelina Carter, daughter of Randolph County pioneers Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Carter.

While Jonnie is the most know child in the graveyard, the death rate of children was very high during the period the cemetery was in use (1884-1890’s). Of the 201 known burials, 49 are children age 18 or younger. Five are ages 1-18, two are 6-11, 23 are newborn to five and 19 are identified as children with age unknown.

Like so many old cemeteries, the Winchester Graveyard is the final resting place for our earliest pioneers and their children.

Rebecca Pearce Goodrich originally brought the Goodrich family to Winchester. She died in 1867 and is buried in the old cemetery but her stone has not been found yet. Carey and Jane Goodrich are also buried in there along with three of their four children. Annie was their only surviving child. Carey died in 1866. Neither he nor his wife Jane’s stone have been found. A child Emma Jane has had her stone restored.

General Silas Colgrove’s children are also buried in the Winchester Graveyard. He was a Winchester lawyer who organized the first unit of volunteers to leave Randolph County for the Civil War and is one of four Civil War generals from this county. His wife, Rebecca Colgrove is buried there along with probably seven children.

Located just north of the Winchester National Guard Armory, the Winchester Graveyard was the community's primary cemetery for 36 years. Burials at the graveyard continued though the 1890s after Fountain Park Cemetery was established. Some of the graves were moved, but many remain at the original site.

"Now and Then" is the story of four 12-year-old girls who grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970. Twenty years later they make good on a promise to return any time they need each other. It stars Christina Ricci, Rosie O'Donnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Demi Moore, Rita Wilson, Cloris Leachman, Lolita Davidovich, Janeane Garafalo, Hank Azaria and Bonnie Hunt.

Copyright © 2006 Winchester News-Gazette
224 W. Franklin Street, P.O. Box 429, Winchester, IN 47394