Westfield, Indiana played a large part in the Underground Railroad, with city founder Asa Bales leading the way. Bales and his wife are both buried in Westfield’s so-called freedom cemetery. The cemetery in the area now known as Asa Bales Park is the final resting place of Civil War soldiers, Underground Railroad heroes, and unmarked slaves who died on their path to freedom.
There’s a nice walking trail that runs by the cemetery and is the path of the Underground Railroad Run held each year to commemorate this part of Westfield’s history. Every time I’m in the area, I find myself wandering into the cemetery. The old marking stones, headstones, and memorials fascinate me so much that I recently did a little more research in the Westfield Public Library.
In the Sumner History Room, you will find a vast collection of reference and history books about Westfield, Hamilton County, and the State of Indiana. There are yearbooks, historical research, genealogical research, and — here’s the good stuff — cemetery logs.
I found the book for the Anti-Slavery Cemetery. Buried in Westfield’s freedom cemetery are founder Asa Bales, his wife, and many others dating back to the 18th century. It’s a fascinating look at our history and Westfield’s place in the Underground Railroad.
I’m not well versed in reading this type of information, but I made some notes and copies for my next visit to Asa Bales Park so I can try to find a few specific headstones. If you’re interested, there is even a small scavenger hunt posted outside the cemetery fence to encourage visitors to find a Masonic tombstone, our founder, and a Civil War vet. I would love to go beyond the basics stone rubbings and ancient dates.