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Thursday March 05, 2015
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Ann Arbor's oldest cemeteries



Among those buried there, with Emily Whitmore, the first paleface to die in Washtenaw County, was John Terhune, a veteran of the revolutionary army. Many years later, about 1938 if I remember right, the DAR arranged for a stone wall about 18 inches high to be built in a square about 20 feet on a side. The headstones of John Terhune and Emily, and, I think, one other, were placed inside the wall. Nobody seemed to know the exact site of the graves. A teacher at Ypsilanti High School organized a group of students each June to go out with him and cut the weeds and pick up any trash. The DAR did not want this site disturbed. When judge James R. Breakey, Jr. heard this he decided to put the matter over for a couple of months to see if some settlement could be reached.

After that, Mr. Bonisteel turned the matter over to me. When the matter came up, there had been no settlement and the judge took a break and asked me and Arthur Lehman to come to his chambers. We did. Lehman's pitch was 'Ya can't stop progress" and I said "Breathes there a man with soul so dead…" Then we all laughed for a few minutes and the judge put the matter over again. There was a problem in that nobody knew where the bodies were.

If I remember right there was another hearing. However it was announced that Bert Smokler had bought the land and would leave the cemetery intact, and the petition was withdrawn. Smokler then built the Forestbrooke subdivision and named one of the streets Terhune Rd.

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