|Death: ||Jun., 1830|
SEEKING A HOMESTEAD
WAS DROWNED WHILE
WABASH RIVER NEAR
THIS PLACE IN
BACK OF MONUMENT:
PERU MERCANTILE CLUB
The Stranger's Grave
In the spring of 1830 a number of homeseekers came to what is now Miami county. Among them was a man named Eli Macy. from Wayne county, Indiana, who spent a day or two at Miamisport. One morning in June he announced his intention of swimming the Wabash river, in order to pursue his journey. The June freshet was then at its height and there was a high stage of water in the river. Despite this condition and the warnings of the settlers, he mounted his horse and plunged into the stream. Unable to stem the swift current, both horse and rider were carried down stream some distance and Mr. Mary was drowned. His body was buried on the bank of the Wabash, near the spot where he lost his life, and the place was marked by a rough ashler. For three-quarters of a century this stone was pointed out to visitors as "the stranger's grave." In the spring of 1908, when preparations were commenced for the dedication of the city park, the Peru Commercial Club decided to erect a more suitable monument in the place of the rough stone that had marked the spot for so many years. Accordingly a neat shaft of Bedford limestone about eighteen inches square and five feet high was placed over the grave. On the west side of this monument is the inscription:
The Stranger's Grave ELI MACY of Richmond, Ind. Seeking a Homestead, was drowned while fording the Wabash River near this place in JUNE, 1830.
On the east side is the simple inscription: "Erected by Peru Commercial Club, 1908." The monument stands immediately east of the city park, on the bank of the Wabash river, and marks the scene of one of the earliest tragedies of Miami county. Young and full of ambition, Eli Macy left the friends and associations of his early life to establish for himself a home in the Wabash valley, only to lose his life in a rash attempt to cross a swollen river, and there is something pathetic in the name bestowed upon his last resting placeó"The Stranger's Grave."
On the banks of the Wabash river, one mile west of this city, says a Peru paper, seventy-two years ago, Eli Macy. 22 years old, met his death. Tradition aad history has it that he was the first white man that was buried in what now constitutes Miami county soil. This county was " then an unbroken wilderness, inhabited only by the Miami savages. Young- Macy came from the east and had in his Jossessioa some money, and, being of a daring disposition, started out to eek a home in the western wilderness. He pitched his tent near the pot where his body now lies, and prepared to spend the night. Indians were -all around him, bur, he eemed to fear them not. iarly in the night he concluded to change his camp to the opposite of the river, but while he was making- ready to swim across the stream he was surprised by the redskins, and, making a break for the water, he plunged in and struck out boldly for the opposite shore. He struggled hard in the turbulent current, but his strength failed, and he went dou-n. His body was recovered by the Indians, a grave dug on the bank of the i-irer and young Macy and his personal effects wore placed therein and covered up. A large Indian mound was raised over the body, and the grave was marked. A few months after this occurred, relatives in the east, receiving no tidings from Eli, started out in search of him. They followed his trail for weeks, and finally, through the aid of some friendly Indians who were familiar with the tragic ending of the strange young pale-face, were directed to the grave on the banks of the' Wabash river. The body was disinterred by the relatives, and proved to be that of the missing young man. It was evident that he expected to meet an unnatural death, as be had written on a piece of paper which was found in his pocket requesting that whatever fate might befall him his body should be buried where it was found. The request was complied wit.h, a rude box was prepared, and the body was given a final burial. Every cent of his money was found upon his person aud taken possession of by his friends, and a rough stone slab was placed at the head of his grave, which bears the following epitaph. "Eli Macy. Drowned, May, 1820. Aged 22 years. He sleeps well." From that day down to the present time his grave has never been desecrated, but is kept green. It is now- known as the "stranger's grave" and visited by hundreds of people through curiosity, and but few pass without dropping a flower, and as a result he sleeps beneath a janfc of flowers. --1892 NEWSPAPER ACCOUNT
Created by: SixDogTeam
Record added: Nov 30, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23175059