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."

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.
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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:

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"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."
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Website Links below: 

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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.)
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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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