Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

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"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."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nancy Spain information from Ralph Lowell Coleman, Jr.

There are four Nancy Spains buried in Maple Grove Cemetery. Three are buried in the oldest portion of the cemetery, the part which was originally (and still remains referred to as Spain Cemetery). Burials started here in 1837, and continued until the 1960s with burials on very old family plots. Burial records only exist for the newer part of the cemetery area, referred to as "old" Maple Grove Cemetery and "the Gilbert Addition." Maple Grove Cemetery dates from 1890; the Gilbert Addition was added in the 1950s with the first burial there in the 1960s. There are about 4150 burials in the cemetery, not counting the burials in the Spain Cemetery portion.

Spain Cemetery was established shortly after the earliest pioneers arrived from Virginia, most of whom originated in Dinwiddie County. Many of these early settlers were Quakers, members of the Society of Friends. There are more than 211 Spains buried in the cemetery complex.

Unfortunately, Census records across the US did not record the names of females until the 1850 Census. You might want to try to find her listed in the census for Champaign County in 1850, and 1860. You might also attempt to find a marriage record for her and Audas in Champaign County during the appropriate time period. Some times these early marriages were recorded in county records; sometimes they were not. Death records were not required to be maintained until much later in the County's history. The clerk of the Probate Court at Champaign County Courthouse, 200 North Main Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078 (phone 937-484-1028 might be able to assist you in a search. There is a charge for copies of documents found.

All of the official burial records for Spain Cemetery have been lost for years. Information on burials there has been gleaned from existing, readable memorial stones by volunteer readers. I have the most up to date information from this source. Burial records via the local funeral home, dating back to 1892, are in my possession, but nothing from farther back in history.

The records for Maple Grove Cemetery, as contained in the original record books from 1890 - present day, are incomplete. I transcribed the original records in the summer of 2009, creating a digital database which is stored on my computer, and on the computer which I donated to the Rush Township trustees (in North Lewisburg). During the history of the cemetery, there were at least three sextons/caretakers who could neither read nor write. As a result, some individual burial records are incomplete with missing Christian names, dates of burial, mispellings of last names, etc. I also took over 7000 photographs of memorial stones. For the past year, I have been linking photos with the transcribed data, and supplementing this with additional information from funeral home records, obituary records, and news articles in area newspapers during the period. I probably have the most complete record of burials at Maple Grove Cemetery to be found anywhere.

There are the three Nancy Spain listings:

Nancy Spain, born 9 May 1775 - died 9 Oct 1841: no other information is available. - gleaned from an old transcript

Nancy A. Spain, born 1780 - died 23 Oct 1867: no other information is available. - gleaned from an old transcript

Nancy M. Spain, born 14 Jun 1787 - died 23 Feb 1848: no other information is available. - gleaned from an old transcript

It is a possibility that your Nancy Audas is the second name listed here. The Audas family was prominent in the area through the 1870s. A current street in North Lewisburg is Audas Street, which connects with East Street at the location of the now non-existant railroad crossing, and extends to the north.

There are no Audas burials in Maple Grove Cemetery. There are two known Audas burials in Butcher Cemetery, which is located on the west side of North Lewisburg, within the corporation limits, near Spain Creek. These are:

AUDAS, Martha

Wife of William

• June 9, 1809

September 8, 1846
(earliest known burial)

37 yrs. 3 mos. 2 days

AUDAS, William
December 5, 1800

March 31, 1867

67 years
(Nixon & Bolton page 99)

The Champaign County Genealogical Library, 1060 Scioto Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078, phone 937-653-3811, is a repository for microfilms of newspapers from the 1830s to the present day. You might attempt to locate an obituary for Nancy A. Spain by reviewing the newspaper which were in circulation at the approximate time of her death. The volunteers at the genealogical library have created an extensive obituary card file which also might be a source for information in attempting to ascertain if her maiden name was Audas.

I hope this information helps you in your search for Nancy Audas.

Ralph Coleman
1536 Robins Circle
Ogden, Utah 84404

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