Area history buffs and those with the name Tipsword in their lineage will want to come to the Beecher City Area Kluthe Center this Sunday afternoon.
Charla Bartscht Fischbach of Shelbyville is on a mission to recognize Effingham County’s oldest settler, Griffin Tipsword.
He was a Revolutionary War Soldier who died between 1840 and 1845, and is buried in the Tipsword Cemetery just south of Beecher City.
However, finding Griffin’s grave is difficult, since his sandstone grave marker is almost gone due to erosion. Fischbach is hoping to rectify the situation with a new grave marker for this early settler and his wife, Ruth.
The original sandstone will remain in place with the new tombstone being set just north of the historical marker.
Fundraising for the Griffin and Ruth Tipsword tombstone has begun. However, approximately $1,500 is still needed for the project.
Fischbach is enthusiastic about the project and believes the many descendents of Griffin Tipsword will step up to the plate and make a permanent tombstone a reality for the “father of all Tipswords.”
If anyone is unable to come to the Kluthe Center this Sunday, they can drop their donation off at the Beecher City State Bank, where an account has been established for the Griffin Tipsword Tombstone Project.
Sunday’s get-together begins at 2 pm. It is an informal event, which includes dessert and coffee.
It will be a family and community gathering where more Tipsword stories can be shared.
Fischbach is looking forward to meeting many “cousins.” She grew up north of Shelbyville, but has family ties to many of the early area settler families – Tipswords, Lillys, Dotys, Bartschts and Slifers.
Her grandmother, Cora Lilly Bartscht, was a daughter of Wills and Viola Tipsword Lilly.
Her grandfather, Clarence Bartscht, was a grandson of Wenzel Bartscht and Wilson Shannon Slifer.
The descendents of Viola Tipsword Lilly have already completed three projects in the Tipsword cemetery. They have reset Mrs. Lilly’s tombstone because the foundation was crumbling.
They cleaned and re-etched the tombstone of Agnes Dowty Tipsword, who was Viola Lilly’s mother.
And, they have purchased a small tombstone for Anna Waller Tipsword, who was Viola Lilly’s grandmother and the daughter-in-law of Griffin.
The complete story of Thomas and Anna Waller Tipsword will be revealed Sunday afternoon.
And, the true story of the feud between Wills Lilly and Breck Tipsword will be told.
These and many other interesting stories will be found in the book Fischbach compiled this past summer titled, “Beyond the Horizon – A Trove of Tipsword Family Lore.”
It will be available this Sunday at the Tipsword gathering.
A dedication of the stones for Viola Lilly, Agnes Tipsword, and Anna Tipsword is planned at the cemetery this Sunday afternoon around 4:30 p.m., with Pastor Paul Bauer officiating.