Friday, September 30, 2011

Remembering Archibald M. Willard - Ohio's Patriotic Painter and Marian L. Moore who restored some of his frescoes

Back in December of 2009, I featured Archibald M. Willard on this blog, but I would like to re-post his story today as I never tire of reading about his art and life. 

Today, I updated the obituary for Marian L. Moore who died in 2003 (note: her gravestone death year shows 2002 in error). 

Miss Moore did restoration work on the beautiful ceiling frescoes that Willard painted in her home in 1885 when he stayed in Washington Court House during the time he was hired to paint the large murals in the court house there.  Please read the story below for the details.

Click on title to link to "Spirit of '76" Artist Archibald McNeal Willard's memorial on "Find A Grave."  He was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Wellington, Ohio.

In 1999, I was asked to write a story about Archibald M. Willard for the Fayette County Genealogical Society (Fayette County, Ohio.) 

Below is the story I wrote about Archibald Willard's life and art:

Archibald M. Willard - Ohio’s Patriot Painter
Written for the Fayette County Genealogical Society, a Chapter of O.G.S.) ©

By: Linda Jean Ellis - November, 1999

From all accounts, his artistic beginnings were of a self-taught and solitary nature. His early livelihood came from painting fancy scenes on the sides of horse-drawn farm and circus wagons for the E.S. Tripp Carriage Factory in Wellington, Ohio. Later, he would create a cartoon of sorts featuring his father as a marching militia drummer in a painting he dubbed “Yankee Doodle,” but today Archibald M. Willard is well remembered.

We have come to identify the ideals of liberty by his stirring revision of this portrait entitled: “The Spirit of ‘76” - painted by him at age 40. Staunch supporter and partner, Cleveland photographer, J.F. Ryder, was instrumental in the “Spirit of ‘76” (then still called “Yankee Doodle”) being included in the American Centennial Celebration’s art exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. Here, the call of the portrait was clear as many hearts were touched by this trio of mismatched musicians. Suddenly, the creator, this Ohio born Civil War veteran, was an unknown artist no longer.

Archibald McNeal Willard was born in Bedford (Cuyahoga County) Ohio to Reverend Samuel Willard and Catherine Willard. August 22, 1836 is the date shown in public records for Archibald M. Willard’s birth date, however, the A.M. and Nellie S. Willard family bible has August 26, 1836 written as the date of birth, in what appears to be the artist’s own handwriting. He was the fourth of seven children they would have. The family moved around quite a lot due to Archibald’s father’s occupation. Rev. Willard was the first pastor and founder of the Baptist Church in Bedford, however, he later joined the Disciples of Christ. About 1850, Rev. Willard moved his family to Russell Township in Geauga County (now South Russell) where he built a house which still stands today (1080 Bell Road - privately owned).  Ultimately, the Willard family settled in
Wellington (Lorain County) Ohio around 1855.

Undoubtedly, young “Arch” as he was sometimes referred to, inherited some of his patriotic spirit from his grandfather, Jonathan Willard, who lived with the family for awhile. He was a Revolutionary War veteran who fought with the Vermont Green Mountain Boys. It is written that Archibald was a descendant of Major Simon Willard who came to America from England in 1634 and was a founder of Concord, Massachusetts.

On March 31, 1864, Archibald Willard married a Wellington girl named Nellie S. Challacombe. By that time he had already enlisted in the 86th O.V.I. during the Civil War. Later he joined the 176th O.V.I. and was discharged in June of 1865.

Now on to a mystery .... for a span of almost 75 years no one seemed to know who painted the three 10 x 14 foot murals of angelic-looking ladies suspended in the sky named “Spirit of Electricity,” “Spirit of the U.S. Mail,” and “Spirit of the Telegraph” on the second floor walls in the grand Victorian styled Fayette County Courthouse. No one remembered seeing an actual signature on them. Could it be that Willard’s “spirited” steps led to that stately structure? Then in 1956, Mr. B.E. Kelley of Washington Court House, and the widow of one of the founders of The Cooks Brothers Decorating Company in Cleveland verified that, indeed, Archibald Willard was the courthouse artist. The words: “A.M. Will... Cleveland, Ohio,” written on the envelope held by the hand of the “Spirit of the U.S. Mail” mural, were the only but crucial clue. Records did confirm that The Cooks Brothers Decorating Company was under contract by the Fayette County Commissioners in August of 1882, and that they hired Archibald Willard to complete this special project.

The Fayette County Commissioners today have printed a booklet entitled: “ Fayette County Courthouse - A Unique Blend of Art and Architecture” which details how A.M. Willard came to be chosen as the artist.

While staying in Washington Court House, Willard lived in a home with the current address of 501 East Market Street. Many local residents today know that **Miss Marian L. Moore bought this house and has lived in it for a number of years. In 1968, as she began to remove the living room wallpaper to redecorate, she discovered a mural above the fireplace. Again, with the help of Mr. Kelley, it was documented that Archibald Willard had painted this work as well.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Miss Moore, now age 87, by phone recently. She recounted her time in working on the restoration herself. She said she stood on a tall ladder wearing a carpenter’s apron, pads on her shins, and using two pair of glasses to carefully remove the paper, and then restoring the painting underneath. I’m sure Archibald Willard would be pleased with her devoted efforts to revive his eagle resting on a red, white and blue shield flanked by American flags mural as well as other painted decorations he created while rooming there; if only he could be here to see the results.

As I read more about this man’s life and works, I am all the more convinced that many of his creations are now lost to us. In the book, “The Spirit of ‘76 ... An American Portrait America’s best known painting. - least known artist.” (1976) written by Willard’s great-great nephew, Willard F. Gordon, a chapter is called “Lost Willard Paintings” and lists 65 of his works (including three sculptures) that were unaccounted for at that time. Over the years some have surfaced in northern Ohio in particular, but certainly not all.

Archibald M. Willard died on October 11, 1918 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Wellington. No direct descendants survive him today.

My hope is this glimpse of Archibald Willard and his art encourages you to begin your own research which will acquaint you with him beyond what space here has afforded. And, perhaps you may find one of his lost paintings yourself - hidden somewhere - possibly in your own home!!



“The Spirit of ‘76 ... An American Portrait America’s best known painting. - least known artist.” by Willard F. Gordon 1976 - Extensive coverage of Archibald Willard’s works with photographs of many.

“Historic Wellington Then and Now” by Ernst L. Henes 1983 - pages 25-27

“Looking Back On Lorain County” by Ernst L. Henes 1978 - pages 27, 30, 31 and 40

“The Historian - A Look back at Lorain County” Vol. 6 Edition 242 - 1992 - pages 15 and 16

“The Ohio Historical Review - featuring Lorain County” Vol. 11, No. 10 - 1980 - page 11

“Bedford Village Views” by Dick Squire 1992 - pages 108-109; 343-344 and 347

“Bedford Vignettes or Around the Town by the Village Observer” by Dick Squire - 1982 - pages 274 and 275

“Remembering Archibald Willard” - By Dick Squire - Bedford Times-Register - August 21, 1986

“Murals at Wash. C.H., Ohio Identified After 72 Years” - By. B. E. Kelley - Tri-State Trader - Knightstown, Indiana - September 13, 1968

“Fayette County Ohio A Pictorial History” by Carol Witherspoon Carey on behalf of the Fayette County Historical Society 1993 - pages 69 and 172.

“Down Through The Golden Years” by B.E. Kelley - compiled by author in 1973 - pages 288, 289, 290; 862 and 863.

The Fayette County Commissioners brochure entitled “Fayette County Courthouse - A Unique Blend of Art and Architecture”

The Ohio Historical publication - “Archibald M. Willard and The Spirit of ‘76 - An Ohio Artist and His Work” - 1992 - a 24-page 8½” x 11”.   The booklet which accompanied the Willard exhibit from July 4 through October 12, 1992

Geauga County Historical Society Quarterly - September, 1976 - Pages 2-4 “Yankee Doodle”

Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. III, No. 1, July, 1963 issued by the Geauga County Historical Society, Burton, Ohio - Pages 1 and 2, “Willard Paintings”

The Quarterly - Vol. 36, Issue #3, pages 1 and 2 - August, 1997 - “The Spirit of ‘76,” a publication of the Geauga County Historical Society.

“Pioneer and General History of Geauga County” - 1953 Edition - page 721 - published by the Geauga County Historical Society; Letter from Alfred M. Wilber about the old Willard home in Aurora.

“South Russell, A Brief History” - Spring, 1992 by Hosmer, Patricia and Phillip Wayne - a pamphlet showing the photo of the home built by Rev. Samuel Willard.

Places Visited for Research:

The Fayette County Courthouse, 110 East Court Street, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160
The Carnegie Library, 127 S. North Street, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160

The Fayette County Historical Society, 517 Columbus Avenue, Washington Court House, Ohio 43160

The Western Reserve Historical Society (Museum and Library), 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106 (216) 721-5722. 

The Bedford Museum, 30 Squire Place, Bedford Commons, Bedford, Ohio.   

Spirit of ‘76 Museum, 201 North Main Street, Wellington, Ohio 44090 
Herrick Memorial Library, 101 Willard Memorial Square, Wellington, Ohio 44090

The Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43211-

Geauga County Historical Society, 14653 East Park Street, Burton, Ohio 44021-0153. 

Some other sites to consider visiting:

The City Hall of Cleveland, Ohio - an 8 foot by 10 foot “Spirit of ‘76” painted by request in 1912 by A. M. Willard - Often referred to as “The Original Masterpiece.”

Abbot Hall - Marblehead, Massachusetts - Known as the “Centennial Spirit of ‘76,” donated by the father of Henry K. Devereux, the boy who posed as the young drummer for the painting.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Spotlighting Calvary Cemetery - Dayton, Ohio

Click on title to link to the website of the Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. 
"Serving the Miami Valley Catholic Community since 1872"

A link to a cemetery map is included. 

Under the "Locate of Loved One" tab you can search by last name or first name. 

Also, on "Find A Grave" for Calvary Cemetery the main page offers a link to

Calvary Cemetery's address is 1625 Calvary Drive, Kettering, Montgomery County, Ohio. 

The cemetery sits on the border of Dayton and Kettering. 

32,565 interments are currently posted on "Find A Grave" for the Calvary Cemetery. 

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ohio Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies - "Beginners Gravestone Conservation Workshop" - Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Somerset, Reading Township, Perry County, Ohio - Saturday, October 8, 2011 - 10:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. - Register by October 3, 2011

Click on title to access the website:  "" for more details about the announcement of an upcoming "gravestone conservation workshop" hosted by the Ohio Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies.

"To register, please contact Beth Santore, Ohio Chapter of the AGS chair, by October 3:

(This e-mail address is being protected from spambots.
You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Phone: 614-949-6027

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Monday, September 26, 2011

“The Restoration of Cheney Cemetery” - Jackson Township, Union County, Ohio

Click on title to link to Robert Bremer's "Genealogy and Local History in Union County, Ohio Cemeteries Jackson Township - Cheney Cemetery Inscriptions", part of the "Ohio GenWeb Project" through "Rootsweb", (please note copyright 2010) for an alphabetical listing of burials at the Cheney Cemetery.
Photograph (undated) of new Cheney Cemetery monument courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney

Thanking Debbie Carder Mayes for sharing some of her knowledge about her 4th great-grandparents, Ebenezer Cheney and his wife, Elizabeth Owens Cheney who settled in Jackson Township, Union County, Ohio.

Debbie provides an insight into the historical information about the Cheney Cemetery where her Cheney ancestors were buried. She also reports the results of recent extensive restoration work conducted at the Cheney Cemetery:

"Cheney Cemetery is in Jackson Township, Union County.

(Near Essex, approximately 150 feet west of State Route 37 and 3/10 mile south of State Route 739). 

Ebenezer Cheney’s family came to Union County, Ohio, in 1827. He was a War of 1812 veteran.

In 1828, his wife, Elizabeth Owen Cheney was the first person to die in Jackson Township. He donated part of his farm to Jackson Township to be a public cemetery. The last burial was in 1893.

Over the years, later owners of this property let cows graze in the cemetery and they knocked over a lot of the stones, breaking many of them. Someone, thinking he was doing a good deed, picked the stones up and leaned them around a tree so now they weren't on the plots where they belonged. A few years later, there was a big storm and lightening hit the tree and destroyed it. When the tree was destroyed, the stones all fell in a circular heap where the tree had been, causing more damage and breakage.

This was how it was the first time I was there. It was the most pitiful site I've ever seen. It was so sad looking that I only took a couple of pictures and wish now that I had taken more because I don't have many “before restoration” pictures.

The present owner wanted to plow the cemetery under but a man who worked for him thought that was desecrating the dead and he went to the township meeting to convince them not to let this happen.

Discussions on how to improve the historic cemetery had been taking place since 1999 at Jackson Township meetings. In 2001, a monument was ordered that lists the names of all those known to be buried there.

The earliest residents of Jackson Township include Benjamin Carter, the first settler and brother-in-law of Ebenezer Cheney, along with 7 American Revolutionary War veterans, 4 veterans from the War of 1812, and several Civil War veterans were buried at the Cheney Cemetery. Their names are listed separately on the lower section of the monument.

The historical and genealogy societies also began raising funds to restore the cemetery itself with estimates for the restoration ranging from $3,000 to $5,000.

Renovation began in March, 2005, using old WPA readings to mark the locations where the stones belonged.

The Hardin County Monument Company did beautiful work restoring the stones and got them repaired and reset by the end of April.

51 stones were repaired. About 70 people are believed to be buried there.

Of the 63 names on the monument, excluding those of the veterans, 38 are Cheneys or were related to the Cheneys by blood or marriage."
Website Links below: 


Original Gravestone of Ebenezer Cheney. 
Photograph courtesy of Debbie Carder Mayes. (Photograph taken before cemetery restoration.)

Original Gravestone of Elizabeth Owen Cheney, wife of Ebenezer Cheney.
Photograph courtesy of Debbie Carder Mayes. (Photograph taken before cemetery restoration.) 

Original Gravestone of Francis Cheney, son of Ebenzer and Elizabeth Owen Cheney.
Photograph courtesy of Debbie Carder Mayes. (Photograph taken before cemetery restoration.)

2005 photograph courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney.

Undated photograph  after restoration of the Cheney Cemetery courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney.

Undated photograph after restoration of the Cheney Cemetery courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney.

Undated photograph after restoration of the Cheney Cemetery courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney.

Undated photograph after restoration of the Cheney Cemetery courtesy of John Bielstein Cheney and Randy Cheney.

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Spotlighting Cleveland Street Cemetery - Amherst, Lorain County, Ohio

Click on title to access the Cleveland Street Cemetery on "Find A Grave" where currently 2,270 interments are listed:

Sharing a link to Amherst City Councilman-at-Large, Phil Van Treuren's website with 'before clean-up' and 'after clean-up' photographs taken at the Cleveland Street Cemetery in Amherst, Lorain County, Ohio.

Remarks by Councilman Van Treuren from his website about the cemetery clean-up that took place on Saturday, September 24, 2011:

"Thanks to everyone who showed up for our Cleveland Street Cemetery cleanup project this morning, it was a huge success! Our group cleaned up trash, pulled weeds and trimmed invasive growth away from several historical grave sites. We even uncovered a century-old gravestone that had been hidden by invasive growth for decades!

NOTE: Our volunteers did NOT cut down any vegetation that was planted by people. We removed a few mulberries that were invasive (not planted by people). Planted evergreens that obscured gravestones were trimmed down, but not removed.

I’d also like to give a very special thanks to organizer Linda Turley, City Council At-Large candidate Joe Miller, and First Ward Council candidate Albert Bereznay for coming to help. Your efforts to spruce up one of Amherst’s greatest historical treasures are much appreciated . . . what a great way to celebrate Amherst’s 200th birthday!

I personally have several ancestors buried in the Cleveland Street Cemetery."

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Wrap-Up Report for Clean-Up Work at Dean Cemetery, Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio by Scott Andersen

Scott Andersen and his wife, Venus, have wrapped up their clean-up work for this visit at the Dean Cemetery on Thursday, September 22, due to rain at the cemetery on Friday.  

He sent more photographs, including one of himself and Venus, while they were at the Dean Cemetery.

I thought it would be nice to share these photographs and some of Scott's comments. 

September 20, 2011 - Scott Andersen kneeling by broken pieces of stone markers. (See last three photographs for more about these stones.)

September 22, 2011 - Venus Andersen brushing off a broken gravestone

Leaning gravestone for Abraham Dean - Revolutionary War Veteran

Leaning gravestone for James H. Dean

Broken partial gravestone for John Milton, son of Daniel and Sarah who, per Scott, could actually be John Milton Robbins. 
Full inscription: Died September 22, 1840, in his 10 year of age.

Per Scott, the initials "R P" are inscribed on this tall stone marker of undetermined purpose.

Per Scott, the initials "P C" are inscribed on this tall stone marker.  He thought it could stand for "Presbyterian Church."  He says: "This cemetery is the site of the original Presbyterian Church of South Salem." 

Wrap-Up Remarks from Scott:

"I spent my last morning at the cemetery trying to document as much as I could.

I numbered all of the stones we had found, and tried to take as many pictures as possible.

It was so wet, I don't know how well they really came out.

I drew a little map of the cemetery, and will clean it up, and make it into something presentable when I get home.

There are so many stones out there! You find them lying half buried as you cut along.
As far as finding "all" of the stones in the cemetery, I think that we have really just scratched the surface."
Thank you Scott for sharing your photographs and interesting details about your work at the Dean/Old Dean Presbyterian Cemetery.
Until your recent visits and now 2011 clean-up work at this remote burial ground, it had been neglected and forgotten; but thankfully no more! 

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Friday, September 23, 2011

September 22, 2011 Update - Dean Cemetery - Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio

Here is the latest report from Scott Andersen, who with his wife, have spent 3 days thus far this week working on clearing away the tall weeds and brush at the Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio. 
Per the book, "Ohio Cemeteries - 1803 - 2003" published by the Ohio Genelogical Society - page 559:  "Dean Old Presbyterian - Location:  South of Lyndon.  From SR 28 at Lyndon go 0.6 mile south on Lyndon Salem Road
to just north of Buckskin Creek.  East of Lyndon Salem Road 0.4 mile.  Coord:  39" 20' 49.87" N, 83 degrees 17'49.23" W. South Salem."

Below is an excerpt from Scott's latest email.

Please note, below Scott's email are 3 photographs he took during their 3 days of work at the Dean Cemetery:

"We only spent about 3 hours working in the cemetery today, as a few other commitments pulled us away. We cleared out a lot of the brush, and really opened up the cemetery. Thistle and briar are awful plants! A few more headstones made themselves visible, and what seems to be the remains of a vault lid or "cap", has also shown up.

For the time being, we have just been leaving things as find them. My wife did pour water on, and scrub on a few of the stones, she just got too curious to pass them by.

One thing that was rather interesting; The headstone of Mary Dickey. Mary Dickey is actually Mary Polly Depew, 1791-1816.

Mary was married to my 5th Great Uncle, James Henry Dickey. There is a poem on her headstone. We need to work on the third line of it a bit more, as its hard to read the inscription.

"Ye Young and Gay Come Near and See

The Silent Bed that Waits for Thee

Time was like you, one Life Posses'd

And Time will be When You Shall Rest"

Anyone recognize that?

Hoping to spend most of the day out there Friday, provided the rain doesn't start falling again.

We are planning to spend some time documenting and recording in detail what we've found so far, and then attack the world of six foot tall weeds again." 
Enjoy Scott's photographs that definitely show the clean up progress accomplished in just 3 days of time - (the latest photgraph appears first at the top)! 

Thanks for sharing Scott!

ABOVE: Day 3 - September 22, 2011 further clean up and digging up of some gravestones by Scott Andersen at the Dean Cemetery
ABOVE: Day 2 - September 21, 2011 beginning of clean up of weeds, etc. by Scott Andersen at the Dean Cemetery.

ABOVE: Day 1 - September 20, 2011 prior to start of clean up and digging up of gravestones by Scott Andersen at the Dean Cemetery.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Scott Andersen's Update on his work at the Dean Cemetery, Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio

September 21, 2011, Update from Scott Andersen:

"It rained all morning here, so we only went out to the cemetery for an hour or so this afternoon.

Rather than cut brush, we decided to have a closer look at the stones we uncovered yesterday.

There were several that were just plain worn down, and for the time being, unreadable. However, there were a good number that we could read."

We found:

Benjamin Brackney, died 1826

(gravestone photo already on Find A Grave)

(gravestone photo already on Find A Grave)

James H. Dean, 1822-1840

(gravestone photo already on "Find A Grave" - but needs a better one) 

William Lawhead, 1755-1823 
(gravestone photo already on "Find A Grave" - but needs a better one) 

(gravestone photo already on "Find A Grave"
A beautifully carved stone!) 

Alexander Wallace, 1803-1828
and most significantly

"Abraham Dean is one of those Revolutionary Veterans who has a monument over at the South Salem Cemetery.

This gives me hope that we may actually find Robert Dickey's stone in the cemetery as we continue to cut brush.

Abraham's son, James Dean, not the James H. Dean we found today, married one of Robert Dickey's daughters, and this is how my family is linked to the Deans.

Nelle Miller's middle name was Dean, so I think these families had close bonds for many years."

Additional Note:

Hopefully, Scott will also locate a gravestone for James McGinnis (1744 - 1822) because currently there is a photo request for his gravestone posted on "Find A Grave".  He is also listed as a Revolutionary War Veteran

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Progress Report from Scott Andersen on his work at the Dean Cemetery - Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio

Scott Andersen will be sending progress reports this week about his current work at Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township in Ross County, Ohio. 

Scott has visited Dean Cemetery in the past but is now working to unearth buried gravestones and clean away the overgrowth there.

 Click on title to access Dean Cemetery's memorials posted on "Find A Grave" where currently 21 are listed. 

Here is an excerpt from Scott's email today: 

"Found 22 headstones today at the Dean Cemetery. We worked for about four hours. Planning to do the same tomorow. We didn't try to read any of the stones today, just trying to locate as many as possible at this point. I 'll have another report tomorow."

Thank you Scott!

Looking forward to receiving your next report and later photographs you wish to share with us.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Monroe Street Cemetery - Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Click on title to access the website for the Monroe Street Cemetery Foundation to view a list of their upcoming events which includes this Sunday, September 18 at 2:00pm. 

I am not sure if a person can attend without registering and paying the $15.00 fee ahead of time, however,  if you are interested to learn more you can contact them at: 

Monroe Street Cemetery Foundation
3302 Hancock Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: 216 961 6945

From their website:

September 18thTours start at 2:00 PM
"Meet the Neighbors: Monroe Goes to War Edition returns and this time it is all about the Civil War. How appropriate since this year is the sesquicentennial of the start of that purging of our national pride. Monroe Street Cemetery is the resting place of over 400 veterans of the CW but also is the resting spot of an avid abolitionist who spoke at a memorial after John Brown was hanged, the operator of a stop on the Underground Railroad, the leader of the Fugitive Slave Society of Cleveland, and, believe it or not, a Confederate soldier. Remember the Civil War during this sesquicentennial year. Join us for a guided tour of Monroe Street Cemetery.


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Southern Ohio Genealogical Society's September meeting to be held on September 15, 2011 at 6:30p.m. at the New Market Baptist Cemetery in New Market Township, Highland County, Ohio

The information below provided by Bob Patton of the Southern Ohio Genealogical Society:
"Don’t forget the September meeting of the Southern Ohio Genealogical Society, which will be held Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 PM in the New Market Baptist Cemetery.

The topic will be cleaning and restoring old tombstones, and using mirrors and/or chalk to aid in reading very old monuments.

This is a topic which should be of interest to anyone who is into genealogical research.

The New Market Baptist Cemetery is located on East New Market Road, just a few hundred feet east of Route 62, in the village of New Market.

There will be very little walking. You may want to bring a folding lawn chair. Hopefully, an umbrella will not be necessary.

See you September 15 at 6:30."

Bob and Joyce Patton
Click on title to access the New Market Cemetery on "Find A Grave" where there are currently 335 memorials posted.  

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Revisting Simeon Shepard

This afternoon I received a nice email from Mary Whitmer that I would like to share regarding Simeon Shepard:
My connection is that my 3 greats grandfather married a Sarah Sheppard as his first wife.

I think Simeon probably was her father. If you read the article about the finding of the headstone dated Aug. 20, 2011, it says the headstone is inscribed Died in 1864 at age 82 years and 16 days. This matches what is inscribed on the marble monument in the Andress cemetery. I think it was the same person! What I have to wonder is why there were two monuments, and of course, how the second one wound up in Lorain. What do you think?


Mary Whitmer
Now, here is the best part!
!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~!"Speculation continues over headstone"

Saturday, August 20, 2011


"LORAIN — After two days of searching and calling, the mystery behind why Simeon Shepard's headstone is in the back yard of a West 23 Street, Lorain, home isn't known, but there is a plausible theory.

"It was either replaced or stolen," Diane Wargo Medina said.

Since she was 19 years-old, Medina has been helping care for the Charleston Village Cemetery on West Sixth Street, Lorain.

So when she heard about the backyard tombstone she was determined to discover where Shepard came from and belonged.

Her investigation ended up being very fruitful, as she studied U.S. Census and death records.

"The date of death matches and they were from the Lorain County area," she said.

There is a monument at Andress Cemetery with Simeon and his wife, Aseneth, names.

Aseneth passed away a few years after Simeon.

Which is one of the reasons, Medina believed that the headstone could have been replaced.

Whether the stone ended in the West 23rd Street back yard by accident or on purpose, she believes it belongs in one place only.

"I personally think that (the headstone) should go back over there (cemetery)," she said.

Medina, who repairs headstone at the West Sixth Street cemetery, stated that she would be happy to help relocate and repair the stone.

"I will gladly repair it," she said. "It should go back."

While the mystery of how the headstone ended up in the backyard may never be solved, the mystery of who Shepard was has been.

Shepard was a farmer, born in Massachusetts, who moved to Henrietta with his wife, Aseneth and their daughter, Sarah Shepard, according to the website

He died in 1864 at age 82 years and 16 days, according to the grave stone.
© 2011, a Journal Register Property

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Spotlighting "Adopt A Tombstone" - Fairview Park Cemetery - Fairview Park, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Click on title to access the website: "":

"Definition of Adopt-A-Tombstone:

Adopt-A-Tombstone is a community project to restore historical markers, please consider getting involved.
How adoption works:

You can volunteer to take ownership for the restoration work performed on a gravestone, monument or tombstone


You can make a financial donation to be used for the purchase of supplies and material necessary for the project.


If you have a special talent or skill that would be helpful to make this project successful that you are willing to donate your time and knowledge.

Type of work performed by volunteers:

Light duty - cleaning a small stone; takes about 1 hour.

Somewhere between Light & Heavy duty - clean and detail a large monument; takes about 4 hours.

Heavy duty - lower a monument so the base can be leveled; perform the restoration and repairs; raise the stone back into position; takes about 8 hours, min.

~ Adopt-A-Tombstone ~

Cuyahoga County, Ohio or call 440-356-9454

Email Chris Gerrett: 

developed by Marcus Gerrett 3/20/2007
All Rights Reserved ©"

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Offering a suggestion for a befitting gift for an avid "Graver" -- "Final Thoughts - Eternal Beauty in Stone" Book by John Thomas Grant is available via Amazon (pre-order)

Click on title to access where you can place your order for the John Thomas Grant book "Final Thoughts - Eternal Beauty in Stone".  You may also wish to read more about Mr. Grant's book on the blog:

You can order directly from Mr. Grant and obtain an autographed copy!:

"We're happy to announce that - FINAL THOUGHTS: ETERNAL BEAUTY IN STONE - can now be purchased as a signed copy. The proceeds will go to benefit the completion of Lisa's book, "The Fashionable Victorians."

With the book we'll include one of our JOHN THOMAS GRANT collectible cards - The Mourning Angel - and the book cover card (both signed). They make good bookmarks, framed pieces, or just save them for posterity. Never can tell ...what they may be worth on some future Antique Roadshow:)) Your kids will be thrilled!"

As some of my fans have expressed it:

"John, your use of your art, the beauty of the images and the power evoked by the written words will do more for cemetery preservation than any group, website, or individual could hope to aspire to." Robin Biddle

"John Grant’s photographs show us that cemeteries may be the realm of the dead, but they are for the living. Get thee to a cemetery. And see it through John Grant’s eyes and heart. View the photographs in Final Thoughts with your heart. They do not speak of death. They most assuredly speak of life." Douglas Keister (author)

The total package for the book & cards, postage & packaging is only $43! All signed!
(International postage will increase postal rate; local pickup or delivery will eliminate postal charge)

To process your order, you need only to select one of the following payment options:

1. Via Paypal - or
2. Call us with your visa, mastercard, or discover card - 570-655-8392
3. Send a check to: John Thomas Grant, P.O. Box 3278, West Pittston, PA. 18643

Allow approximately 6 weeks for your package to arrive. We're doing this so that we can place our order with the publisher. They would still have to receive FT from the manufacturer. But they're on the way!!!!
Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"The story of life and death in America as told through beautiful cemetery art photography accompanied by meaningful epitaphs from cemeteries up to 300 years old. View 68 cemeteries in 224 beautiful photographs that breathe life into existence of those who have passed before us, and who are now enshrined for eternity in landscaped paradises. Within each placid scene and through heartfelt words displayed upon markers, join photographer John Thomas Grant in his one-of-a-kind study of an American tradition."

About the Author

"After 30 years in the music business, John Thomas Grant's new creative outlet came through the lens of the camera. Genealogy introduced John to the cemetery. The cemetery gave John back his life. Final Thoughts is his first adventure."

"Author/photographer John Thomas Grant
John & Lisa aka Victoriana Lady
The Passion Projects, John Grant & Victoriana Lady Lisa,thank you all for your kind support!!"

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Update on Sugar Grove (Methodist) Cemetery - Perry Township - Fayette County, Ohio

Click on title to access the Sugar Grove (Methodist) Cemetery on "Find A Grave".  Currently, there are 29 memorials listed. 

Below is an update from the Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio Trustees regarding the care and upkeep of the Sugar Grove Cemetery:

"We are not sure about the future? All we can say is the church owns the cemetery at this time and they are responsible for it at this time."

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Spotlighting Robert Dickey buried at the Dean Cemetery in Ross County, Ohio

Click on title to view Capt. Robert Dickey's memorial on "Find A Grave"

Per Scott Andersen, the photograph of the Robert Dickey Stone and the row of new government gravestones is actually at the South Salem Cemetery. 

"I believe someone put up that row of memorials to honor the men of Ross County who fought in the Revolution, but did not have a known Grave site."

"At least two of the memorials are for men buried less than a mile away in the Dean Cemetery." 

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