Stoney Point Church & Cemetery - Rural Douglas County, Kansas
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
N 38° 49.547 W 095° 12.669
15S E 308053 N 4299766
This former church and cemetery are located at 1575 N. 600 Rd. in rural Douglas County, Kansas. Now only used once a year at Memorial Day. The historical signage is to the right after entering the stone gate near the road.
Waymark Code: WM14ZM6
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 09/18/2021
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 0

Stony Point Church and Cemetery

Stony Point Evangelical Lutheran Church was
established around 1860 by Joseph Eberhart.
Church services were held at Stony Point School
until the church building was constructed in 1883.
The church was disbanded around 1900. The
building was placed on the National Register of
Historic Places in 2006. Stony Point Cemetery was
established in 1873.

Read more about the church and community online at: (Go to History Link)
Sign placed by Stony Point Cemetery Association

- Front Marker Text

The church sits atop a dramatic valley, maintaining a western facade orientation. The site is treed with mature plantings. The cemetery stands to the south of the church provides for a setting that has changed little over time.

The church measures 24' from north to south and 42' from east to west. The rectangular gable roof structure stands on a native limestone foundation. Its wood frame is sheathed with cedar lap siding. A composition roof was installed in 2001 protects the building. In 2003 the asbestos tile siding applied in 1956 was removed and the original wood siding was repaired, primed and painted in 2005. A three step concrete platform leads up to the entry doorway. This modification occurred in 1901, replacing the original wooden porch.

Eight 4/4, double hung sash windows fenestrate the building. Three windows pierce the north and south elevations each, two windows fenestrate the western facade, framing the center door. The wooden, 4/4 paneled double entry door is surmounted by a three paned, fixed transom. Pedimented wooden lintels surmount the facade windows and center entry door. The windows measure 29 1/2" wide by 84" high.

The building retains an original interior appearance. A row of pews stands on either side of the center aisle, pews for the choir stand on the north side of the raised altar. The interior walls measure 11' high, the windows are 34' above the floor. Tongue-and-groove, wooden wainscoting lines the walls below the windows. A wood floor runs lengthwise. The plaster walls are finished with a coat of green Alabastone, which was applied in 1935.

A historic wood-frame outhouse, date of construction unknown, is located to the rear (east) of the church and is contributing to the nomination. The relatively large acreage also contains a cemetery that is historically associated with the church but is not part of the nomination.

While the Stony Point Evangelical Lutheran Church's active use spanned less than a twenty-five year period, it served its congregation during a time of great growth for the Lutheran Church in Kansas. In 1878 there were two Lutheran organizations in Douglas County, including 90 members. The smaller congregation was Christ's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Statewide the Lutheran Church boasted 4,560 members in 1878, by 1886 that number had grown to 11,651. In 1906, the Lutheran Church was the sixth largest denomination in Kansas, with a membership of 28,642.

- National Register Application

Before Kansas was open for settlement with the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act, there was a spot on the Santa Fe Trail called Hickory Point. Large areas of Kansas were part of the Indian reservation even after the signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act. The Santa Fe Trail left the Westport Landing and followed the ridges, avoiding rivers on its westward voyage. Along the Santa Fe Trail, before 1854, there were often towns or settlements at intervals of a day's ride. Hickory Point was approximately 2 day's travel along the Santa Fe Trail after leaving Westport by wagon. In 1854 Hickory Point had 2 blacksmith shops, a harness shop, hotel, supply store, and several houses. Hickory Point was important in 1854 because of its location. There were three trails branching north of the Santa Fe Trail to Lawrence. When Kansas was open for settlement, all land five miles west of the Missouri line was claimed by Missourians. There were large tracts of Indian reservations between those five miles that Missourians claimed and Hickory Point, so Hickory Point was a prime area for settlement.

In November 1855 Charles Dow was shot and killed at Hickory Point. (Read more about Hickory Point at the VES history website.) Dow lived in a cabin with Jacob Branson. Charles Dow is considered to be the first victim of what later became the Civil War. The 1856 maps show Hickory Point. But at some point after that, the area changed its name to Stony Point. Some say the reason for the name change was because of another settlement called Hickory Point 25 miles to the north. With the Civil War and the Transcontinental Railroad, the Santa Fe Trail was no longer used. The town of Hickory Point ceased to exist as a town. For the 1858-59 school year, Stony Point was one of the first five schools in Douglas County, District No. 3. The Stony Point School was a rock building one mile north and 3/4 miles east of Hickory Point. The school became the focal point of the community by hosting church services and community activities.

Joseph Eberhart and his ten children came to Kansas in March 1854 before the actual signing of the Kansas Nebraska Act. Joseph was a strong abolitionist and believed Kansas should be free. They first settled around Pleasant Grove but in 1865 bought Jacob Branson's claim and moved into Jacob's cabin. Joseph Eberhart was a strong believer in the Lutheran Church and brought Lutheran ministers to the Stony Point School.

The Stony Point School was where the Eberharts as well as other fellow Lutherans met for religious services. On Sunday, October 10th, 1868, David Earhart (The Reverend David Earhart was a well known Lutheran minister that traveled to several Lutheran settlements for services. David Earhart is the grandfather of Amelia Earhart, the famous female pilot of the 1930s.) He reported at a meeting, that a motion was made and carried "to appoint a committee to secure, if possible, a piece of land for a church and congregational farm." Before the meeting adjourned it was suggested that some plan be adopted for securing a church and a cemetery site. A committee of Lewis Eberhart, Michael Herring, and Obashal Eberhart was established.

Upon Michael Herring's sudden death in 1873, the cemetery was chosen and Michael was the first person buried in what became Stony Point Cemetery. The idea of a congregational farm was dropped. All efforts were focused on the cemetery and a church building. The site of the cemetery was on Joseph Eberhart's farm. The Eberhart family had donated two acres for the cemetery. The cemetery was laid out with 35 lots and had 18 burial plots in each lot.

May 10, 1898, Isaac Hemphill and family donated the land north of the church to the Stony Point Emmanuel Lutheran Church and Cemetery Association. The Stony Point Cemetery Association owned the church and cemetery and maintained both. The large family plots (18 lot plots) turned out to be a disadvantage. Many plots housed only a couple of graves with the remainder being empty.

The Stony Point community was very strong in its early years. The church and school were important focal points for the community. Vinland and Baldwin City were both just 2-3 miles away. The community had a train stop at Quayle Station just a mile and a half south. The school, a one-room school, was extremely important to parents and students. With the consolidation of the schools in 1947, the area lost its last symbol of the community.

The Stony Point Church built in 1883, by the Eberhart family and community members, was used until 1900 when either or both the preacher Rev. D. Scholl retired, was transferred or the congregation's population was too low to support the reverend. The board decided to close and lock the doors with hope of sporadic use. According to 92 year old Herschel Hemphill, whose grandparents donated the north property, only one service was held in 1938, on the 55th anniversary of the dedication of the church. Only occasional funeral services or annual picnics have been conducted in the church since then.

The church remains the same as it did in 1900 when it closed. The pews all face the little, wooden pulpit with 2 pot-bellied stoves with wood lying next to them all ready for the next sermon. The large windows on the north, south, and west allow the interior much light in the daytime. Hooks from the ceiling show where carbide lanterns once hung for night services. The church has no parking. The members either rode horses, traveled in horse drawn buggies, or walked to church services.

Sometime in the 1980s the pump organ was stolen. The perpetrator, a Baker University student, had a guilty conscience and returned the organ. After the organ was returned, it was sold.

The cemetery is surrounded with a chain link fence provided by Ruth Endacott Brown, the great granddaughter of Eberhart. The community of Stony Point was a small geographical area, roughly the size of the school's borders. Two miles southwest was Hopewell School, west about 3 miles was Pleasant Grove School, northeast 2 1/2 miles was Vinland School, 2 miles east was Coal Creek School, and Baldwin schools were located 3 miles to the southeast. The Stony Point area was all based on agriculture. It was an extremely poor farm area with rocky, hilly, poor soils and small patches of farmland. The harshness of the agricultural area probably contributed to the decline in the population and number of parishioners in the Stony Point Church.

The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

In 2007 the cemetery board members purchased one more acre of land to increase the size of the cemetery.

- Stoney Point Cemetery Website

MEMORIALS 195 added (82% photographed)

- Find-A-Grave Website

Marker Name: Stony Point Church and Cemetery

Marker Type: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker text:
see long description

Marker Location: Douglas

Name of agency setting marker: Other (Please identify in marker text)

Marker Web Address: [Web Link]

Year Marker Placed: Not listed

Official Marker Number: Not listed

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