Nancy Kerlin Barnett’s grave is perhaps the most unusual in the country. That’s because it’s located in the middle of the road, dividing County Road 400 in Amity, Indiana. Each Halloween, Nancy gets many visitors at the Grave in the Middle of the Road. Some even consider it one of the haunted sites in Indiana, but the story of the grave and why it’s there is a cool piece of Indiana history.
In 1808, Nancy Kerlin married William Barnett at the age of 14. The couple went on to have 11 children, and all are considered to be descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. The family lived near he Village of Amity and when Nancy died in 1831, she was buried in her favorite place. At one time, the land beneath County Road 400 was a small hill that overlooked Sugar Creek. The view was beautiful, and after Nancy was buried there, a small cemetery was formed in the area.
In the 1940s, Camp Atterbury was forming and several of the small cemeteries in the area were uprooted and moved. Nancy Kerlin Barnett’s grave was among the graves to be moved until one of her sons objected to it. The family wished to keep Nancy’s grave intact, so developers agreed to save it. Indiana grew throughout the years, as did this small town just outside the Circle City. Eventually a trail was formed near the grave site, and plans for the construction of a county road began later.
Trouble came along again when a bridge over Sugar Creek was in the works. Nancy’s grandson Daniel risked his life to preserve the grave by camping out with his shotgun and refusing to allow anyone to move the land. His plan was successful and the county simply built around his beloved grandmother’s grave. A concrete slab was placed on top to protect the grave. The site was made permanent in August 1912 when it was granted a historical marker. The sign details the story of Nancy’s grave, and her family’s battle to protect it. Local residents and other Hoosiers still recognize this unique site as a neat blip in Indiana history.
To visit The Grave in the Middle of the Road, drive 26 miles south of Indy, near Franklin, Indiana. Since this Indiana attraction is so close to the Circle City, it might be incorporated into another day trip in southern Indiana. For example, it would be great fun to stop by the Grave in the Middle of the Road on the way to the Edinburgh Premium Outlet Mall. Shopping in Edinburgh is full of variety and bargains, and the outlet mall has dozens of huge name brands and designer fashions. That’s just one of the endless possibilities of day trips in the Crossroads of America. The Grave in the Middle of the Road could also be a stop on the way to another outdoor getaway, the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area is nearby in Edinburgh. A day trip here could include hunting, bird watching and hiking, perfect for nature lovers. Escape from Indianapolis on a mini-vacation that the whole family can learn from, even Indianapolis kids. this is one of the many Indiana outdoor adventures that is free of charge, but be respectful of the neighbors and keep of private property.
The Grave in the Middle of the Road
County Road 400 South (just over a mile east of U.S. 31)
Amity, Indiana 46103