Northwest corner of St. Road 119 and County Road 11
AKA: German Reformed & Dutch Lutheran Cemetery
Located on the northwest corner of St. Rd. 119 and Co. Rd. 11, at the south edge of the village of Southwest, Harrison township, Elkhart Co., Ind. The small wooden church erected in the mid 1850's still stands at the south edge of the cemetery. The building has an entrance for the men and one for the women.
Copied August 13, 1977 by Frank and Vickie Swartz and Barbara Bainer, members of the Elkhart County Genealogical Society. Oldest grave found is for Lana Weaver, d/o Peteer & Susan, who died Nov. 20, 1854 at 20y. 5m. 4d. Peter and Susan settled nearby in the early 1850's. Rows copied from east to west, with markers numbered from north to south in each row. Stones were rechecked in June of 1987.
Taken from a article that appeared in the Elkhart Truth in the late 1960's or early 1970's:
Records show that the ground for the church and it's cemetery was donated in 1865 by William McDonald. The building was erected by John Heimrich and the timber used was cut from the woods of John George Wagner, who lived 1 1/2 miles east of Wakarusa. Still standing in it's orginal state and with its original furnishings, the church has been repaired and renovated by an inter-denominational group which calls itsel, "Church of Mine".
The church was organized by John A. Doering, George B. Wagner, and George Michael, who also served as the first trustees. The original membership was 25 and this included all German people. The membership never exceeded 75. Only German was spoken. At first only candles were used to ight the building for the services, oil lamps later came into use. The front entry had two separate doors, the one on the left were used by the men and the one on the right being used by the women, each sitting on their respective sides.
The Rev. John B. Ruhl, the first Pastor, was born in Germany in 1822. He came to the United States at the age of 15. He first located in Ohio and came to Southwest in 1860. He died in 1884 and interred in the church cemetery. He was the father of six children, three boys and three girls, the last of whom died in 1940.
Among preachers serving the church after Mr. Ruhl's death were; Rev. Wm. Beck, Rev. Adam Nicheli, and the Rev. M. Mathews. The Rev. Phillip Ruhl, son of John B. also ordained into the ministry of the German Reformed Church, came occasionally from Fort Wayne to conduct the services. No regular services were held, however, with no services being held at all for 16 years, until 1933, when the building was leased to an Old Order Dunkard group. Sometime later they discontinued holding services and the church was then closed.
The building as "about to fall apart" when the Inter-denominational Group, led by the Rev. Alvin Stutzman, of near Goshen became interested and offered to repair it. By this time there were large holes in the roof and rain poured through, ruining the flooring and damaging the furnishings.
On this date, August 28, 1987 the building is in dire need of paint. the siding needs to be renailed or replaced, while the fundation seems to be sagging.