The statues of Gertrude and Charles Hilligoss stand stalwart above their graves in West Maplewood Cemetery. The statues are a tribute to enduring parental love and it is impossible to fully know their story without knowing the stories of the parents who made sure that their children wouldn’t be forgotten.
George N. Hilligoss was born in Rush County, Indiana. His family moved to Madison County when he was a child and he started out as a farmer. He also had a job for a while clerking in the drug store of John Westerfield in Anderson. During the Civil War, Hilligoss served for two years in the 75th Indiana Infantry, fighting in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. After his discharge in 1864, his life changed direction. He studied medicine for three years with Dr. William Hunt in Anderson and obtained his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1867. His first medical practice was set up in North Vernon in Jennings County, Indiana. While he was there, he made several lifelong friends. He also met Caroline Grawlig, a school teacher from Madison, Indiana. Grawlig, born in Frankfurt, Germany, had come to the United States as a small child and was well-educated and cultured. The young couple married in 1870 and moved to Fishersburg, where Hilligoss started a medical practice.
The Hilligoss family was relatively poor when they came to Fishersburg, but Dr. Hilligoss did well there. He was both a good doctor and a good businessman. He opened a drug store in Lapel. He had a fine house and the fastest, smartest driving rig in town. The Hilligosses were especially proud of their children. Nine year old Charley clerked for his father in the drug store and was smart and reliable enough to be trusted with business errands to nearby Anderson. His little daughter Gertrude was bright and loving.