Reader’s Question:

Have you come across any information about Crown Hill Cemetery and the Mustard family?  My mother (age 92, with an excellent memory!) has always “recited” a family fact that, “Uncle Walter married the woman who owned Crown Hill Cemetery.” After Googling Crown Hill, it appears this clearly isn’t the case. However, Fannie Mustard Johnson was the granddaughter of James Mustard, who apparently owned a large amount of land around Indianapolis.  ~ Barbara Mackenzie, Rohnert Park, CA

HI’s Answer:

There were eight original patent holders of the parcels of land that would one day become Crown Hill Cemetery.  All of the owners bought their acreage from the federal government in the same year, which was 1822.  The purchasers were Abraham Barnett, Joseph Hanna, Thomas McQuat, William Nugent, William D. Rooker, William Sanders, Levi Wright, and Noah Wright.

Example of the deeds issued to each of the men who bought land that eventually became Crown Hill Cemetery (scan courtesy of

Example of one of the 1822 deeds issued to each of the men who bought land that would later become Crown Hill Cemetery  (                              CLICK TO ENLARGE

Over the years, most of the initial owners sold their properties.  By the time an updated map of Marion County was produced in 1855, the title holders of those eight parcels were John Armstrong, U. Blue’s Heirs, Bennett Byram, Moses Foley, Noah Noble’s Heirs, Peter Ruark, Martin Williams, and Levi Wright.

In 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery was incorporated, the ownership had changed quite a bit, again.  The initial parcels of land that were purchased to establish the cemetery were owned at that time by farmers Jonathan Wilson, Martin Williams, and James Trueblood.  By year’s end, the cemetery’s first superintendent and his family moved into a cabin on the cemetery grounds.  In the spring of the following year, 1864, the cemetery was dedicated, and the first burial was conducted on the following day.

In subsequent years, additional acreage was purchased from Henry and Levi Wright, Dorman M. Davidson, Edwin J. Armstrong and Others, Bennett Byram, F. M. Finch, John and Mary Gray, A. and E. Burchard, G. A. Donley, Joseph Corzon, and A. L. Wright.  Still later purchases from William Foley et al, Mary H. Ruddell, and Fred and Bernie E. Cline extended the cemetery grounds north of Maple Road (later known as 38th Street).

Names, dates, and acreage of Crown Hill Cemetery's land purchases between 1863 and 1911 Map prepared by Marty Davis for Crown Hill Cemetery. Used by permission

Names, dates, and numbers of acres of Crown Hill Cemetery’s land purchases between 1863 and 1911   CLICK TO ENLARGE  (Map prepared by Marty Davis for Crown Hill Cemetery. Used with permission.)

Fannie Mustard Johnson was born in 1871.  Since most of Crown Hill’s land purchases were made either before Fannie was born or when she was still a minor, it does not seem possible that Fannie could have owned property that became a part of Crown Hill Cemetery.  Neither does it appear that anyone named Mustard or Johnson was involved in any of the cemetery’s acquisitions.

The original west entrance to Crown Hill Cemetery on the Michigan Road was completed in 1864 and eliminated in 1901 (photo courtesy of Crown Hill Cemetery)

The original west entrance to Crown Hill Cemetery on N. Michigan Road was completed in 1864 and eliminated in 1901  (photo courtesy of Crown Hill Cemetery)                 CLICK TO ENLARGE

According to several published histories, the Mustard family came to Marion County, Indiana, in 1834, from Washington County, Pennsylvania.  The patriarch of the family that settled here was James Mustard (1797-1841).  James had two sons and four daughters by his first wife, Dorothy Swartz Mustard (1796-1827), and five sons by his second wife, Elizabeth Craig Goble Mustard (1797-18??).  James Mustard purchased about 250 acres directly south of the towns of Broad Ripple and Wellington.  This is the only land I could find that the elder James Mustard owned before he passed away in 1841.  At the time an 1855 map of Marion County was published, the land was owned by J. Mustard’s Heirs.

1855 Map shows the land purchased by James Mustard south of Broad Ripple (map courtesy of Indiana State Library)

1855 Map shows the land purchased by James Mustard south of Broad Ripple (map courtesy of Indiana State Library)

At the time the next available map was printed in 1889, the Mustards had acquired additional parcels of land in Washington Township, totalling nearly 400 acres.  As the population of Indianapolis grew, the areas north of the city limits of 38th Street became more and more desirable.  By the 1920s, most of the land owned by the Mustards had been developed.  The parcels north of the White River became the Arden neighborhood, Sherwood Village, a portion of the Town of Meridian Hills, and Marott Park.  The parcels south of the White River became various smaller housing additions in what are now the Meridian-Kessler and Butler-Tarkington neighborhoods.

1889 Map shows the locations of parcels owned by various members of the Mustard family (map courtesy of Indiana State Library)

Red arrows on an 1889 Washington Township map show the locations of parcels owned by members of the Mustard family (map courtesy of Indiana State Library)

Sadly, Fannie Mustard Johnson died of mitral insufficiency on August 19, 1916, at the relatively young age of 45, leaving two minor children, Harold and Alma.  Harold died just two years after his mother.  Alma went on to marry Manuel F. McGoldrick and rear two daughters.  Fannie’s widower Walter married again to Lydia Blanche Overman, and they had a son they named Walter S. Johnson, Jr.  Fannie, Harold, Alma and Walter are all buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

A southwest entrance to Crown Hill Cemetery was erected in 1904, but had to be elimnated when Interstate-65 was built (photo courtesy of The 1902 Journal Handbook of Indianapolis)

New southwest entrance to Crown Hill, built in 1901 at 32nd and Michigan Road and closed in 1968, due to proximity of I-65          (photo courtesy of The 1902 Journal Handbook of Indianapolis)                           CLICK TO ENLARGE

Although there may well be descendents of the 19th-century Mustards who still own property in Washington Township today, there is no longer anyone with the surname of Mustard living in the area.  About the only structure still standing that keeps the Mustard name alive is the former Masonic Lodge at 6235 Guilford Avenue.  The three-story brick building was erected in 1907 with a gift of $25,000, which was left to the Broad Ripple Lodge by Jacob S. Mustard in his will.  The edifice was named Mustard Hall in his memory.  Jacob died on August 20, 1904.  Jacob’s wife, Cassandra Coil Mustard, died on September 21, 1920.  Cassandra was the daughter of Jacob Coil, the man credited with founding Broad Ripple in 1837.  They are buried together in Union Chapel Cemetery, about which there was a recent Historic Indianapolis article here.  Although the 106-year-old Broad Ripple Village landmark is now privately owned and no longer serves as a Masonic lodge, many locals still refer to the building as Mustard Hall.

Mustard Hall was built in 1907 by the Masonic Lodge with a donation from Jacob Mustard (photo courtesy 1968 Broad Ripple High School book)

Mustard Hall was built in 1907 by the Masons with a donation of $25,000 left to the organization by Jacob S. Mustard      (photo courtesy of Alan Hague, from 1968 “A History of Broad Ripple” by Junior Historical Society and The Riparian)


5 responses to “HI Mailbag: Mustard Family Properties in Washington Township”

  1. Brenda H says:

    Fascinating article and so well researched. Thank you for sharing. (Now to get myself down to the State Library to look at plat maps…)

  2. Norm Morford says:

    Thanks Sharon.

  3. Earnest LaRue Bennett says:

    Sharon, I appreciate your response today to my inquiry about Monte Blue. These comments and questions are about the Blue family and your article today about Crown Hill. My family’s story is very similar to Barbara Mackenzie’s. We were told that part of Crown Hill was a farm that belonged to my great-great grandfather, Gerard Blue (1815-1901). I have never been able to verify that, or find out where he lived in Indianapolis. However, you mentioned that the map of 1855 showed one of the owners as the U. Blue heirs. I am assuming that this is Uriah Blue, since it is a very common name in the Blue family. Gerard had a brother, Uriah, but my records show that he moved to Kansas from Dearborn Co. But there are several Uriah Blues. Do you have any more information about this Blue and his heirs? Also, do you know where his farm was located? Crown Hill has a fascinating history. Most of my Indianapolis relatives are buried there beginning with Gerard Blue. My great uncle, who was 93 when he died in 1967, used to say, “all my friends are at Crown Hill!”

  4. Earnest LaRue Bennett says:

    Sharon, I just realized that the 1889 map could be enlarged, and I found Gerard Blue’s farm, just south of his brothers, Peter and George Washington Blue. I’m not sure of the cross streets, so where is this located? Thanks again. LaRue

  5. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    Please accept my apology for the long delay in responding to your comments. I am just now seeing them for the first time!
    Your Blue ancestors clearly owned large parcels of land in the area north of W. 38th Street, south of W. 46th Street, east of Meridian Street, and west of Michigan Road. This area has been known as the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association since 1956.
    Gerard Blue’s farm was adjacent to land that is now part of Crown Hill Cemetery, but I do not believe your great-great-grandfather’s acreage became part of the cemetery. After examining several maps, it appears to me that Gerard Blue’s acreage went from 38th Street on the south to 42nd Street on the north and from Capitol Avenue on the east to Clarendon Road on the west.
    The north-south streets within the boundaries of Gerard Blue’s former farm include Capitol Avenue, Graceland Avenue, Boulevard Place (formerly called Senate Avenue), Cornelius Avenue, Rookwood Avenue (formerly called Charles Street), Byram Avenue, and Clarendon Road (formerly called Conser Street).
    The east-west streets within the boundaries of Gerard Blue’s former farm include 38th Street (also called Maple Road), Harvard Place, 39th Street, Northern Avenue, 40th Street (formerly called Carleton Avenue), Bernard Avenue (formerly called Lynn Avenue), 41st Street (formerly called Akin Avenue), and 42nd Street (formerly called Haughey Avenue).

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