A Final Resting Place
The Plonk Family Cemetery is about 230 years old. It is located just 0.3 miles from the original Plonk Family home place of Jacob Plunk II and his wife Christina Jane Kiser on land acquired by the first Plonks to settle in North Carolina probably before 1766, just off of highway NC150, east of the bridge over Indian Creek about three miles west of Lincolnton, NC, and about 1 mile east of Crouse, NC. Turn onto Old Lincolnton Crouse Road and immediately park on the west or field-side of the road. The cemetery is across the field under the grove of trees.
The cemetery itself is approximately 70 feet by 70 feet on a knoll overlooking Indian Creek. Gravestones of the oldest Family members spell the Family name as “Plunk.” Apparently, that was the original German spelling. Some, but not all, descendants changed their spelling to “Plonk.” It is important to remember that Plunks and Plonks are the same family. There is a circle of stones in the center that may have been a flower garden.
The 1790 United States Census suggests that Jacob Plunk I and his wife lived nearby, and thus could be buried here. Their son Jacob Plunk II and his wife Christina Jane Kiser are buried here. Their son Joseph Plunk and his wife Barbara Rudisill have inscribed gravestones. The land is along Indian Creek and has trees that have been untouched for many decades. It is an interesting place for families to visit.
Read the Plonk Family Visitors Guide during your visit. Retain a copy if you cannot access the same document on the web. Otherwise, leave the document at the site for the next visitor.
A Place in History
Plonk Home place
The Plonk Family home place was just 0.3 miles away (Chapman 2007). An 1820 legal document enumerated its structures. Ann Dellinger, historian of Lincoln County Historical Association, said they included: a “dwelling house,” a separate kitchen building for cooking, a loom house for spinning, weaving and other activities associated with making clothing, a smoke house for curing meat, a shop possibly for blacksmithing, a corn crib for storing corn to feed animals, a “still house” for making whiskey, and a spring house to keep a covered water supply and store items like milk and butter. The site also had a separate barn for animals. All were of log construction. There was also a garden.
Indian Creek is an important tributary of the South Fork of the Catawba River. It drains much of western Lincoln County. On 10 June 1780, loyalist Colonel John Moore held a secret meeting of 40 loyalists “in the woods on Indian Creek seven miles from Ramsour's [Mill].” (Page 53 of: Schenck, David, 1890, North Carolina, 1780–1781: Being a History of the Invasion of the Carolinas by the British Army under Lord Cornwallis in 1780–1781, Edwards & Broughton, Raleigh, NC.) These loyalists conspired to call out more loyalists. About 1000 embodied at Ramsour’s Mill a few days later. Patriots attacked and defeated these loyalists on 20 June 1780 in what became known as the Battle of Ramsour’s Mill. Colonel John Moore was court-martialed by British General Cornwallis.
About 30 to 50 feet beyond the cemetery is an old roadbed that may date from colonial times. It is a segment of Old Crouse Road. It is known that on 24 January 1781, Cornwallis marched the British Army of about 2500 redcoats and over 100 wagons from Old Tryon Court House, south of present-day Cherryville, to Ramsour’s Mill, immediately north of present-day downtown Lincolnton. The marching column would have been about three miles long and no doubt was quite a spectacle to observe. Almost all of these troops were professional soldiers wearing their distinctive uniforms. The former royal Governor of North Carolina was present. There were hundreds of horses pulling wagons and artillery pieces. It is not known exactly where the British Army crossed Indian Creek, but a topological map and writings of historians imply that it could have happened near the Plonk Family Cemetery and perhaps on this old roadbed. Cornwallis was disappointed with the slow ponderous baggage train. The next day, at Ramsour’s Mill, he ordered all inessential baggage destroyed including most of his and his officers’ personal property. (Nixon 1910)
Small stream, a water source for Plonk home place
Beyond the cemetery is a small stream that runs past the original Plonk home place about 0.3 miles upstream. No doubt they used it as a water source.Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission and the Lincoln County Historical Association own 3.2 acres surrounding the cemetery. The boundary includes the field, Indian Creek embankment, and small stream. It is an official historic site of Lincoln County. If you have questions or want to report a problem, please contact the Historical Association at telephone number 704-748-9090 or at 403 East Main Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092.
Stories of Individuals
Jacob Plunk I
Jacob Plonk I and his wife may be buried here. They may be the one male and one female living in the Jacob Plunk household shown in the 1790 Census.
Jacob Plonk II, Patriot of the Revolution
Jacob Plunk II moved to North Carolina before the Revolutionary War. He was a Patriot in that war. He applied for a pension in 1832. You can read Jacob Plunk’s pension application. Pat Cloninger discovered the tradition, “Jacob Plunk II was a shoe-maker and carried a drawing of each man’s feet so he could make shoes for them. All they had to do was to tell Jacob they needed a new pair of shoes. He would pull the pattern out of his saddle bag along with some leather and make the shoes.” (Cloninger 2006) Both Jacob Plunk II and his brother Peter Plunk’s households appear in the United States 1790 Census. Those households appear separately in the 1810 Census. (Valpredo 2007–2008)
In 1930, Joseph Calvin Plonk, the textile manufacturer, erected a stone marker to commemorate the site. See newspaper article. Its dimensions are 46x20x12 inches. In December 2006, the missing original bronze plaque was replaced.
Joseph Plonk and Barbara Rudisill
About 600 people attended Joseph Plunk’s 100th birthday, held just 0.3 miles away, on 1 May 1888. About 90 of his 146 descendants attended. You can read about the celebration in the 1888 newspaper article.
About 1831, 13-year-old Jacob Plunk, son of Joseph Plonk and Barbara Rudisill, drowned in Indian Creek. He is probably buried here.
Salomae, or Susan, Hauss was born 13 July 1813 and baptized 29 August 1813 at the Old White Church. She was the daughter of Catherine Plunk and Heinrich Hauss. She died in 1814. Her twin sister Mary lived a full life. Her grave is the oldest known grave in the cemetery.
Nancy Moore (Fanny Tutherow)
In 1848, Nancy Moore (Fanny Tutherow) died at age 24, perhaps during childbirth. Her gravestone is standing and prominent. In has German sunburst and quarter-sunburst icons. It is believed that Nancy came from the Moses Moore Family, which included Colonel John Moore, a noted loyalist leader during the American Revolution.
When Philip Plonk died during the Civil War, he was a Confederate colonel in the Home Guard, a civil-defense organization. One of its duties was to catch deserters. Philip died on 20 March 1863. A replica of his original gravestone was made in 2014.
Jane Elizabeth Plonk, 1828-1891
Jane Elizabeth Plonk died of a snake bite in December 1891. The hibernating snake bit her when she entered a springhouse where butter and milk was stored. This story conveys the kind of risks our ancestors lived with every day. Jane Elizabeth was a daughter of Joseph Plunk and Barbara Rudisill, both buried in this cemetery. She married Allen Michael Baker and is probably buried in Cleveland County.
Jacob Plonk III
Jacob III helped finance the first bridge over the Catawba River at Horse Ford. It was a covered bridge located north of Hickory and a little east of present-day Hwy 321 bridge. Initially, it allowed farmers west of the Catawba to get their livestock to railheads on the east side. It was used from 1852 until swept away by the 1916 flood. He and his wife, Catherine Costner, are buried at Philadelphia Lutheran Church, Gaston County.
A Long-term Plan for Sustainability, Research, Improvements, and Community
The Plonk Family Cemetery, the resting place of 24 and possibly 30 pioneer family members, under its current ownership, is a protected part of Lincoln County's story. While the Cemetery is exempt from property taxes, the cost of mowing and maintaining the property amounts to around $1400 each year. In 2020, a large dead tree threatened headstones and required removal. Donations specifically earmarked for the Plonk Family Cemetery have been sufficient to cover expenses for now, but secure funding and wise oversight will ensure future care.The Plonk Family Cemetery, owned by the Lincoln County Historic Preservation Commission, and the surrounding 3.2 acres, owned and maintained by the Lincoln County Historical Association, appreciates donations that help with upkeep and repairs to the cemetery and creekbank. We are making it part of our mission to create a long-term plan for the cemetery that means so much to so many. These plans include establishing a fund that will guarantee care at the site for years to come, additional informational signage and development of park-like amenities that will benefit county residents and encourage visitation to this historic site.
By donating, you also become a member of Lincoln County Historical Association and receive bi-monthly issues of the newsletter “Lincoln County Historian” with articles that cover the county’s rich history, both old and recent. Together we work to collect, preserve, and share Lincoln County’s rich history for future generations.
Here is a list of improvements made for the Plonk Family Cemetery since 2007:
In 2007, a replacement bronze plaque was purchased and fixed to the marker stone.
In 2008, a multiple-photo survey/inventory was taken of all gravestones as a permanent record.
In 2008, a mailbox containing copies of the Visitor’s Guide was posted near the cemetery entrance.
In 2009, two gravestones were repaired by Riverside Monuments, in Shelby, NC.
Since 2010, an online web-application maps graves in the cemetery. Links to a Plonk Cemetery Visitor’s Guide can also be accessed from this web page.
In 2014, Riverside Monuments manufactured a new replacement gravestone for the shattered gravestone of Col. Philip Plonk.
In 2014, local Sons of the American Revolution chapters marked the grave of Patriot Jacob Plunk II with a bronze emblem.
Also in 2014, a Lincoln County highway historical marker was erected.
In 2016, a new gravestone was added for Philip Plonk’s wife, Mary Jane Beam Plonk, whose burial on 1 January 1914 is believed to be the last burial in the cemetery.
In 2020, a large dead tree that threatened the gravestones was removed.
In February 2022, the footstone of Nancy “Fanny” Moore (Tutherow) was found outside the cemetery. It will be placed opposite her gravestone.
With your support, we can continue to preserve this very important part of Lincoln County history. If you'd like to help, click here or send your check, marked Plonk Cemetery in the memo line, to:
Lincoln County Historical Association*
403 East Main Street
Lincolnton, NC 28092
*The LCHA is a registered 501(c)3 and all donations are tax-deductible.