There are two cemeteries in German Township. Historical “Cripe-Witter” Cemetery on Cleveland Road deeded to German Township February 12, 1844 from John Cripe. “Portage Prairie” is the other cemetery located 1/4 mile west of Orange on Adams and was established as a cemetery in 1836.
Portage Prairie Cemetery is located on the north side of Adams Road, 1/4 mile west of Orange Road in German Township. Over the years, this cemetery has also been know as the Dunkard Cemetery, Ullery Cemetery, and Rough Cemetery.
Although not deeded as a cemetery until 1844 by Christian Holler and James Miller and their wives, the land had been in use as a cemetery at least since 1836. It is now under the jurisdiction of the German Township Trustee.
The cemetery was inventoried in 1982 by John Yuhasz, and re-inventoried in 1997 by John Yuhasz, Toni Cook, and Paul Yuhasz, correcting and updating the 1982 inventory. Over the years, many stones have been toppled, broken, placed in the fence rows, leaned against trees and broken. A great deal of time and physical effort were made in 1997 to place the stones in their proper positions and reset them when possible. No attempt was made to repair the broken stones.
Other sources used to supplement this inventory were the partial inventories of the DAR (1992), The Graves Registration Project (GRP-1939), sketchy sexton records, obituaries and Howard’s History of St. Joseph County.
Rows begin in the southeast corner and go south to north.
Witter Cemetery, as it is usually referred to now, was originally known as Cripe Cemetery for the Cripe family who gave the land for the cemetery. Over the years, it has also been called Sweet, Keltner and Reasor Brown Cemetery.
This cemetery is located on the north side of Cleveland Road between Portage Road and Lynnwood Ave. Graves date back to 1834. The cemetery is under the jurisdiction of the German Township Trustee.
On August 13, 1991, this cemetery became the first cemetery in St Joseph County to be declared an historic landmark by the Historic Preservation Commission and County Council.
Originally inventoried in 1978 by John Yuhasz, it was re-inventoried in 1991 by John Yuhasz and Toni Cook, correcting errors in the earlier inventory. The poor condition of the cemetery made placing the stones in rows difficult, or to even determine the number of rows. Since so many stones are down, they get moved around. Rows begin in the southeast corner and go south to north.
Restoration of Portage Prairie Cemetery has begun with the new fencing going up! January 2022…
During the wind storm the week of December 6 2021, we had a tree come down at Cripe – Witter Cemetary. But thanks to the hard work/efforts of Alan Sellers of Clay Fire Dept and his crew it was quickly cleaned up and things are good as new!!
Cemetery booklets are available in the Township Trustee office. If you would like to have one just stop in, they are available free of charge.