Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

Dedicated to cemetery preservation in the great state of Ohio

"A cemetery may be considered as abandoned when all or practically all of the bodies have been Removed therefrom and no bodies have been buried therein for a great many years, and the cemetery has been so long neglected as entirely to lose its identity as such, and is no longer known, recognized and respected by the public as a cemetery. 1953 OAG 2978."

Saturday, April 10, 2021

W.P.A. Cemetery Plat Maps for Portage County, Ohio are posted on the right sidebar of the blog

The W.P.A. Cemetery Plat Maps for Portage County, Ohio are now posted on the right sidebar on this blog. 

Unfortunately, Portage County's maps are missing some pages. I was informed that is the case by the Portage County Engineer's Office. The Portage County W.P.A. Cemetery Plat Maps are in a large bound book at their office.

The missing pages are:
Page 153 which is the Addenda.  A typical Addenda for these types of cemetery plat maps lists veterans' names whose location of burial is unknown.  

Also, pages 50 through 68 are missing for Maple Grove Cemetery in Ravenna Township. Only page 49, which is the Title Page for the Maple Grove Cemetery, is in the book.

Page 69 is missing for Mott Town Cemetery in Deerfield Township.

Page 70 is missing for North Cemetery in Palmyra Township.  

Thus far an inquiry has been made with the Portage County Auditor's office if they may have information about the missing map pages.  Inquiries will be made with other Portage County resources to learn if more information can be provided regarding these missing pages. 

Ohio Valley History… Stones with stories

Sharing this insightful and heartwarming story coming from Meigs County, Ohio. 

"Concern grows over federal funding for Ohio townships" - By J. D. Davidson - "The Center Square" - April 8, 2021

The Ohio Township Association has concerns regarding the state's townships being excluded from federal funding that would come through "The American Rescue Plan". 

Below is an excerpt from a statement by the Ohio Township Association included in the feature story.:

"Townships in Ohio handle road maintenance, cemetery management, police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal and zoning. Throughout Ohio, townships are responsible for maintaining 41,000 miles of road and 2,400 cemeteries."


All too often cemetery levies fail in Ohio townships.  This happens in large part due to local voters strong position expressed in their comments, and through the ballot box, that the needs of the living should be taken care of first before addressing problems impacting gravesites of long ago ancestors.  County and state governments do not contribute financial assistance for the purposes of continued regular maintenance of township cemeteries.

The Ohio Township Association states that there are 2,400 township cemeteries in Ohio. 

Ohio has cemeteries that come under various categories. Considerable focus needs to be given to the overshadowing inequality existing between the Active – Registered Cemeteries vs. Inactive / Family – Not eligible to be Registered cemeteries.  

For example, Inactive / Family Cemeteries* do not qualify to receive grants that are made available yearly through the passage of HB168 which began in 2019.  Only Active /Not-For-Profit cemeteries qualify for these grants.  Truly, nothing in Ohio HB168 affects Inactive Cemeteries. 

The need is great for preservation / conservation / restoration measures to be taken at Ohio's most vulnerable cemeteries - Ohio's pioneer burial grounds that fall outside of the category of Active and Registered. 

Too much history has been lost already; and gone with it is a diminished respect for community cemeteries that once were often visited and meticulously cared for.  

Emphasizing the fact that an Active Cemetery, and therefore Registered Cemetery, is granted beneficial provisions that are denied to an Inactive or Family Cemetery keeps this issue on the front burner.  An important benefit to lot owners in Active – Registered cemeteries is that the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission accepts and considers cases presented to it regarding cemeteries that are Registered - or should be registered but their registrations have lapsed due to no fault of their own.  

The “OCDRC”, however, will not accept complaints against those responsible for the care of Inactive Cemeteries, including some that are considered to be Abandoned or close to that category, or Family Cemeteries.  Thus, a person or organization with a complaint about a cemetery that is Inactive or a Family Cemetery, truly has little to no hope of gaining resolution because essentially they have hit a brick wall.

With every passing year, more cemeteries are added to the Inactive category in Ohio.  There is enough evidence to prove that many Ohio cemeteries have been in a crisis stage for years.  The number is increasing; and townships hold what is probably more than their share of those cemeteries that fit into the Inactive category.  Indeed, Inactive Cemeteries outnumber Active Cemeteries in many Ohio townships.  

Examples exist where an Ohio township has stubbornly refused for several years to assume responsibility for a cemetery within its boundaries because it already had more cemeteries than it can afford to properly handle.  

The Ohio Township Association should stay on top of this ever growing crisis going on with so many cemeteries that are located in Ohio townships, regardless if they are Active or not.  The "OTA" needs to be an engaged partner with its townships assisting to solve problems - problems impacting Ohio's most vulnerable cemeteries as a priority.  Such a partnership is especially crucial when answers at the local level have been lacking for a long period of time.

*(D) Sections 4767.02 to 4767.04 of the Revised Code do not apply to or affect a family cemetery or a cemetery in which there have been no interments during the previous twenty-five calendar years. As used in this division, "family cemetery" means a cemetery containing the human remains of persons, at least three-fourths of whom have a common ancestor or who are the spouse or adopted child of that common ancestor.