Did you know there is a vice president of the United States buried in South Bend's oldest cemetery? Or that there are two revolutionary war soldiers buried there as well?
South Bend City Cemetery dates back to 1832 and holds fascinating stories of those who lived and died here.
If the gravestones that sit quietly in South Bend City Cemetery could talk, they would have a lot to say not only about our town's history, but also our country's history.
Travis Childs, from the Center for History, walked us through a few of the pages in the history book that is South Bend's Oldest Cemetery.
Under one worn stone, Schuyler Colfax was laid to rest in 1885. He was the 17th vice president of the United States under President Ulysses S. Grant from 1869 to 1873 and before that had served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives under President Abraham Lincoln.
“It is written in places that Colfax and his wife were invited by President Lincoln to join him and Mrs. Lincoln to go to Fords Theatre on April 14th, 1865,” Childs said.
Colfax reportedly turned that invitation down and Child's says for that reason, Colfax may have been the last person in Lincoln's administration to talk to the president before his assassination.
Colfax isn't the only presidential link there...
“Here rest the remains of the grandparents of William J. McKinley,” Childs pointed out. “The president of the United States during the war with Spain.
President McKinley's grandparents were at one time buried in the plot together – after dying only six hours apart on their 42nd wedding anniversary.
Childs pointed out a relatively newer grave.
“He hadn't made it to his 30th birthday yet,” Childs said. “He was only 29 when he died.”
Howard Wagner was on duty directing traffic on the corner of Wayne and Michigan Streets in South Bend when he noticed something suspicious. An old Hudson had pulled up in front of what was the Merchants Bank. John Dillinger's gang robbed the bank of $29,000 and was leaving the building as Wagner was shot down.
“Shot him with a 44. caliber sub machine gun and killed him right on the spot,” Childs said.
Wagner was buried in the cemetery in 1934.
And those are not the only notable people buried there – there are Civil War soldiers, a Medal of Honor winner, some of the Studebakers...all laid to rest forever on those grounds.
The Center for History holds cemetery tours every summer to make sure these souls are not forgotten.