top of page
  • msschartz

Oldest Headstone – Christian Ward Heaton, Larned Cemetery, Pawnee County, Kansas

Christian Frances Ward was born in 1795 in North Carolina, six years after North Carolina had become a state. Her parents, Richard and Elizabeth were born and married in England. Shortly after their marriage in 1794, they came to America.

Christian’s first husband was Willis Cornelius. The two were wed about 1823. One son, Willis, Jr. lived to adulthood. At some point, Willis, Sr. died, and Christian was united in marriage to Jabez (Jacob) Heaton. Their wedding took place on September 30, 1837, in Greene County, Illinois. This was also Jabez’s second marriage, and he added his own three children to the family.

The newly created family settled down in Greene County. A son, Jonas Ward, was born in 1838 and was six years old when his father died. The family remained in Illinois and on December 15, 1861, Jonas married Pauline Post. They were the parents of seven children.

The US Federal Census of 1870 has Christian living with Jonas, Pauline, and two children. Four years later, Jonas, brought his mother, wife, and children to Pawnee County where they settled about six miles northwest of Larned.

Christian passed away in 1880 and is buried in Larned Cemetery along with her son and his family.

Note: Jabez was born in 1790. His father served in the American Revolutionary War (1774-1781). His great, great grandfather was born in the Massachusetts Colony in 1639.

Personal Note: I walk and research about 30 cemeteries. Christian Heaton is the earliest birth I have seen. I am just fascinated by the history these individuals saw in their lifetime. The United States declared its independence from England in 1776. Our constitution was ratified by 13 states in 1781. The Louisiana Purchase, which encompassed all or parts of 15 states was completed in 1803. Lewis and Clark’s expedition was from 1804-1806. Britain came ashore and burned the White House in 1812. And of course, the Civil War from 1861-1865.

Personal Note: A collection of my stories from Ford County is available for purchase on Amazon. You can type in either Mary S. Schartz or If Headstones Could Talk. It has been my pleasure to share these stories with you. You can read other stories at

bottom of page