Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

October 25, 2012

Effort underway for new grave marker for first Effingham County settler

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

BEECHER CITY — Griffin Tipsword is remembered to this day as the first white man to settle in Effingham County.

    Other whites might have passed through what was then the Northwest Territory, but there’s no record of anybody staying around until Tipsword moved his family to a spot near modern-day Beecher City around 1815. He stayed in the area until his death around 1845.

    Tipsword is buried in the Tipsword Cemetery between Beecher City and Moccasin. There’s only one problem, a descendant says.

    “The grave is now marked with a piece of sandstone that has eroded,” said Charla Fischbach of Shelbyville. Fischbach is seven generations removed from her pioneer ancestor.

    Fischbach, whose great-grandmother was Viola Tipsword Lilly, is trying to raise money for a grave marker that would include the names of Griffin and Ruth Tipsword. Consequently, she is hosting a mini-reunion from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Beecher City Kluthe Center.

    Desserts and soft drinks will be served, she said.

    “This will be a great opportunity for a lot of Tipswords to get together and tell stories,” Fischbach said.

    The Kluthe Center gathering will be followed by a 4:30 p.m. dedication of a headstone for Anna Waller Tipsword, Griffin and Ruth’s daughter-in-law who was deserted (with eight children) by Thomas Tipsword for another woman in the 1850s. In what may be poetic justice, Fischbach said, Thomas met an untimely death several years after leaving Anna.

    The headstone dedication will be at the Tipsword Cemetery southeast of Beecher City.

    Fischbach hopes the gathering helps her raise money for Griffin and Ruth’s stone. She said she needs about $1,600 of the $1,800 cost of the stone. Donations may also be made to a special account at Beecher City State Bank.

    Fischbach said the Griffin-Ruth project has been on descendants minds for several generations.

    “My efforts are in remembrance of those who wanted to do something but never got it together,” she said. “This is an unfinished project that so many before me have wanted to do and it’s never been completed.”

    Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.