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."

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"She Lived In Three Centuries" -- Spotlighting Alma F. (nee Wasnich) Shambarger buried at Floral Grove Cemetery in West Unity, Williams County, Ohio

Sandi Litzenberg 'introduced' me to a person she learned about named Alma Shambarger and told me "she lived in 3 centuries."  I didn't want to believe it at first until Sandi sent photographs of the Shambarger monument.

Sandi wrote:  

"I also have a photo of a headstone of a woman who lived in 3 different centuries.. the 19th, 20th & 21st centuries.. I believe she lived to be 104??.". 

"her stone was already pre-dated, probably when her husband died, with the death date of 19-- and they had to inscribe next to that the 2002.. it caught my eye so I took a few pictures.."

Two views of the gray granite monument erected for Alma F. (Wasnich) Shambarger and her husband, Galen W. Shambarger, buried at Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, Williams County, Ohio.  

Photograph courtesy of Sandi Litzenberg. 


Below is an obituary for Alma F. Shambarger as it appeared in "The Toledo Blade" on Saturday, December 14, 2002.  This obituary is taken from the website of "infonewsbank.com" from a search via the Cleveland Public Library website's premium resources section:


Blade, The (Toledo, OH) - Saturday, December 14, 2002
Author: Blade

Alma Faye Shambarger [1899-2002], who was known for making apple dolls and speaking at area churches and schools, died Wednesday of complications from bronchitis at Harborside Healthcare in Bryan. She was 103.
Mrs. Shambarger graduated from West Unity High School in 1916 and married Galen Shambarger a year later. He died in 1971. 

The couple lived in Detroit for five years, then moved to Chicago. They lived there until 1963, when Mr. Shambarger retired and they returned to West Unity.

Mrs. Shambarger worked part time for 26 years as a beauty counselor for Vanda Cosmetics in Chicago. She visited people's homes to give makeovers and teach women about skin care. "She was kind of ahead of her time with the skin care," said her grandson, Russell Pritchett.

While living in Chicago, she was a member and secretary of the Federated Woman's Club from 1927 to 1942. After returning to West Unity, she spoke at churches and clubs about her experiences in Chicago.

She also gave talks on the history of her ancestors settling in the West Unity area. Her great-grandfather, a preacher, rode on horseback around the settlements in the region.

Mrs. Shambarger was featured in a local newspaper in the 1970s for her expertise making apple dolls. The dolls had padded bodies and carved dried apples for heads.

"She made the clothes for these dolls out of her parents' and grandparents' clothes," her grandson said. "They looked pretty authentic."

Mrs. Shambarger enjoyed taking train trips to Colorado and the West Coast. Her husband was a railroad detective, so she had access to discount train passes.

She belonged to West Unity United Methodist Church and the Jefferson Township Garden Club. Mrs. Shambarger was a staunch Democrat who was vocal about her political views, her grandson said.

Surviving are two grandsons, a great-granddaughter, and two great-great-grandsons. A son, Russell, died in 1970.

Services will be at 10 a.m. today in the Hollingshead Beck Funeral Home in West Unity. The family requests tributes to Harborside Healthcare in Bryan.
Page: B7
Index Terms: OBITUARY
Record Number: 0212140117
Copyright, 2002, The Blade

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Spotlighting Williams County, Ohio - Scattered Stones at Four Cemeteries Need Saving!

Extending my appreciation to Sandi Litzenberg of Williams County, Ohio
(Sandi is a "Find A Grave" contributor)
for bringing to my attention the need for preservation work to be conducted at four small Williams County cemeteries.  

Sandi located several groupings of broken gravestones in each cemetery that need repairing and re-setting -- most are Civil War era markers.  

In fact, one white marble marker belongs to Ohio Civil War veteran, Joseph T. (Joseph Theodore) Kast.  It is toppled over, but intact, lying on the ground at the West Jefferson Cemetery.  How sad since I'm sure the marker had stood upright for decades proudly marking the location of the veteran who was buried beneath it.

However, there is another grave marker for Pvt. Joseph Theodore Kast that Sandi photographed and it is shown below:

 Pvt. Joseph T. Kast, of Co. "D", 38th Regiment O.V.I. buried at the West Jefferson Cemetery

Original filed under Joseph T./Kast
nara publication title: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Ohio.
nara publication number: M552
nara roll number: 57
film number: 0882270

 John Kast - Gravestone for John Kast also buried at the West Jefferson Cemetery.  

John Kast also served as a private in Co. "D' of the 38th Regiment, O.V.I.
Sandi has sent over some of her pictures and identfies them by cemetery name.  All cemeteries are listed on "Find A Grave":

 Above is a photo of a grouping of small mostly sunken stones that appear to have been removed from their original location at some point and just placed next to the tree we see in this picture.  Judging by their small size, they could have once been placed as footstones for larger markers.  

These stones are at the Billingstown Cemetery which is located in Northwest Township.  Per the cemetery sign the cemetery was established in 1843. 

"This is the northwestern most cemetery in Ohio, being only 3100 feet from the intersection of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana."  There is a WPA map for this cemetery.  

Currently, there are 121 burials listed for the Billingstown Cemetery on "Find A Grave. "

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.68944, Longitude: -84.79694 


Above is a photograph of a grouping of tossed aside broken markers and perhaps some plot marker stones at the Lash Cemetery in Williams County.   
Obviously, the flat white marble stones sitting on each end are grave markers that were once intact and upright over their original burial locations.  The one on the far right may still be over its original location.  It is not easy to tell.   
The burial ground is located:  "Just west of where US 20 turns to the north.  On the north Side of SR107," per the O.G.S. "Cemeteries 1803 -2003" publication, page 686, (referenced above.)
Currently, there are 157 interments listed at the Lash Cemetery on "Find A Grave." 

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.58690, Longitude: -84.55970

Sandi has posted two nice recent longer shot photographs of the Lash Cemetery on its cemetery page on "Find A Grave."  Fortunately, most of the gravestone markers in those pictures are still standing. 

 The above photograph is for at least 2 broken white marble markers at the Ring Cemetery in Brady Township, Williams County.

Per the O.G.S. "Ohio Cemeteries 1803 - 2003" publication (see reference above), page 685:  "Rings (Ring) Cemetery is located "Northeast of West Unity.  On East Side of U.S. 127.  There is a WPA map for it.  
Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.59250, Longitude: -84.43000 
Currently, 129 interments are listed for the Ring Cemetery on "Find A Grave."  
 Above is a photograph Sandi took of a grouping of several random pieces of once standing marble grave markers now in a scattered pile at the West Jefferson Cemetery in Jefferson Township.  
The intact larger marker on the left belongs to Civil War Veteran, Joseph Theodore Kast, whose non-military white marble grave marker is shown in this post above.
There are 66 interments listed at the West Jefferson Cemetery on "Find A Grave." 

Per "Find A Grave": GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 41.57640, Longitude: -84.55640

 Hopefully, thanks to Sandi's concern and intervention, as more people in these communities become aware of the need to restore these broken markers, steps will be taken so these gravestones can once again be made whole and regarded with the respect they deserve from us and also from future generations. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963) - Find A Grave Memorial

Remembering President John Fitzgerald Kennedy on the 49th anniversary of his assasination.  How sad it was for America and the world to lose a president in such a horrific manner.  We will never forget.  

Edit: John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 - 1963) - Find A Grave Memorial

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012!! A Focus on Ohio History Central Thanks to the Ohio Historical Society.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, I find myself reflecting on Ohio's unique history.  

Because we know without people there would be no human history, we also know to understand Ohio and the character of its early settlers, we must consider the landscape they encountered upon arrival in wagons and horseback even before its statehood in 1803.

Thus, to learn more about the hardships and changes our Ohio ancestors faced, we need to learn more about their environment in the territory that would become the 17th state.  This means understanding the geography of the lands and early county boundaries that changed as the years progressed.  

If you're thinking that I am including the value of  maps in this discussion, then your thinking is right on the mark.  

Whether you are a life-long Ohioan or someone who never stepped foot in the state, gaining a good grasp of Ohio and how it evolved into a state of 88 counties with over 1,000 townships will serve you well when studying your ancestors' contributions to their communities.  It will help you to know where the records of their achievements, associations, and even outlandish adventures can be found. 

May I suggest an on-line stop at Ohio History Central !!  There are several links here and clicking on the title will also take you to the main site.  

Maps galore and so much more await you on this website.  Be sure to use the "Search" feature in the upper left and the Index Tab to help you navigate your way through the maps and history of Ohio; home to your ancestors who chose to live and be buried in the Buckeye State.   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spotlighting Mayfield Union Cemetery in Mayfield Village - Cuyahoga County, Ohio

From the Mayfield Village website:

Cemetery - Mayfield Union

Mayfield Union Cemetery is the original cemetery established in 1847 for the four communities of Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Mayfield Heights, and Mayfield Village. These four communities were once united as the Mayfield Township.  

In 1994 the financial operations were incorporated and a board of trustees representing Mayfield Village, Highland Heights and Mayfield Heights were appointed.

The Cemetery is located in Mayfield Village on Wilson Mills Road between Interstate 271 and S.O.M. Center Road (Route 91). 

The last burial in the Cemetery was in August 2009. To the best of knowledge there are possibly one or two available sites for burial but are held by family members. Records from the Cemetery were stored at the Mayfield United Methodist Church in Mayfield Village. 

A fire in 1950’s destroyed some the records. The Mayfield Township Historical Society has been able to gather information on the burials in the Cemetery by the grave markers and family members. 

Mayfield Township Historical Society’s genealogical library now has these records. The Library is located in the Bennett Van-Curen Historical Museum 606 S.O.M. Center Road, Mayfield Village Ohio 44143, 440.461.0055.

Interment records for Mayfield Union Cemetery on the website "Find A Grave" number 466.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spotlighting the Dean Cemetery in South Salem, Ross County, Ohio - Before and After Photos - and an Update from Scott Andersen on His November Clean Up.

From Scott - November 14, 2012:

Photo of Scott from a previous Dean Cemetery Visit

 "A comparison, taken from pretty much the same spot.  

If you look at the branches in the trees, you'll find many of the same shapes. 
Had the big bon fire out there last week.  Did not inhale any poison ivy fumes, although a truck load of that nasty stuff went in the fire.  
Sitll a long way to go, but it's looking like an open space instead of a jungle."
Before burn area photograph of the Dean Cemetery
 After burn area photograph of the Dean Cemetery
Currently, 25 interments are listed for the Dean Cemetery on "Find A Grave." 
Only six memorials lack gravestone photographs.  
Scott has posted all of the gravestone photographs for the stones he has found at the Dean Cemetery thus far. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Veterans Day Visit to All Saints Cemetery in Northfield, Summit County, Ohio

These veteran gravesites are all located in Section 8 at All Saints Cemetery.  

They all have been posted on "Find A Grave" memorials.

 Steve P. Agoston
 Rudolph D. DeFrange
 Louie J. Drowlette
 Steven J. Jaworski
 Leonard Lew - Navy
Otto J. Peck (Sr.)
U.S. Navy W.W.II Veteran

Honoring Our Veterans

Honoring Our Veterans

Nationwide Gravesite Locator from the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs

In honor of Veterans Day 2012, a reminder you can search for a gravesite of a burial from 1997 or later on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs national gravesite locator which is posted on the Internet.  Click on the title to access their site.  

Several links are provided on the website that may also be of value to you in your records search.  


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Honoring Our Deceased Veterans on Veterans Day 2012

Click on title to read a CNN story published today, November 10, 2012, in honor of Veterans Day this year.  

CNN writer Philip Gast wrote the story about Medal of Honor Recipient Rodney M. Davis.  
Excerpted from the story:

"Linwood Cemetery in Macon, Georgia, fell into disrepair over the years, prompting families and volunteers to clean the site and graves, including that of Marine Sgt. Rodney Davis. Thanks to one of the men Davis saved in Vietnam, veterans have rallied to create a lasting legacy to Davis this Veterans Day weekend."

Please check online or your local Ohio newspapers for Veterans Day services held in your area.   

  Above, gravesite of Private Henry S. Limes, Ohio Cavalry 1st Regiment, Company "A" buried at the Staunton Cemetery in Staunton, Fayette County, Ohio  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sharing a Philosophy about Tombstones from "Twisted Twigs On Gnarled Branches"

Sharing this message below from the website:

The tombstone is tangible evidence, with the name, dates and other relevant inscriptions inscribed on its front, as proof the person buried below it once lived.  That seems rather simple and straightforward doesn't it.  

To honor a deceased person, I feel we must also show regard and care for the tombstone that denotes their life -- whether the maker be grand or plain.

The negative effects of time with its relentless harsh weather, invasions of insects, acts of vandalism, and occurrences of accidental damage, all deteriorate and destroy an unprotected tombstone daily as it quietly braces itself to brave alone these outdoor elements year after year until the years turn into decades; and eventually centuries if the marker last that long that is.  

Just as you try to keep a prized trophy looking clean and shiny, so you would wish to see a tombstone looking as good as it can for its age, if possible, without it losing its integrity.  

Restoring a tombstone properly is one way of recognizing the deceased honorably, in my opinion.  

Thank you.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Gail Shares Photographs of Gravestones at Two Almost Forgotten Gravesites at the Washington Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio.

Below are photographs of two gravestones marking now almost forgotten gravesites in the older section in  the Washington Cemetery in Washington Court House.  

Gail Allen has been visting the Washington Cemetery this past week and photographing several gravestones.  

Thank you, Gail, for sharing these gravestone photographs -- these two gravesites are forgotten no more!

We don't often see a gravestone with the name "John Doe.I have not posted one on my blog until now.  

Perhaps if there was an article or death notice published in the newspapers at the time of this person's death we might be able to learn his identity from the details.   

Unfortunately, there are no inscriptions for age or birth date either that might help us know if he was a child or an adult when he died.

There is also an epitaph below the "23 days" that I am not able to read from looking at the picture.  


I'm sure the broken L. Ried stone could be restored and thus the inscriptions made more readable. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Spotlighting Washington Cemetery in Washington Court House, Fayette County, Ohio

Sending my thanks to Gail Allen, who visited the Washington Cemetery and its office on November 2, 2012.   

Gail so kindly shares some of her findings with us from her trip. 

Below are some of the photographs from Gail's visit.  

Included are photos that were requested by folks on "Find A Grave" who live at a distance and wish to see what their ancestors' gravestones look like. 

Also, Gail has provided a helpful cemetery map with section notations that can help a visitor find their way around the Washington Cemetery.   

Plus, Gail shares some good news about upcoming changes that will make finding your friends and family buried at the Washington Cemetery a lot easier in a few months!!


~~Washington Cemetery Map~~:
From Gail:

"As you can see on the map, the sections to the right of #'s 32, 29, 25, 22, and 21, are the newer sections and the road from the second entranceway photo, is the road between  B and E.
Sections 9, 13, 17, and 14 are the older ones where many veterans are; used after burials stopped at the Old Wash Cem."


~~News of Washington Cemetery Records to be online on the city's website~~:

From Gail:

"Good news! The Washington Cemetery is working with a programmer in Michigan who is getting all of their records online. I saw the model and it looks good. 

In late May of next year, anyone will be able to access any person's name on the City Cemetery website, to see if they or a relative is there and where."

~~Tombstone photos Gail took that were requested by Find A Grave members~~:

 From Gail:

"First, I will get the bad news out of the way. 
There is no record of any **Minnie Barton in the cemetery. 
Their records go back to 1845. 
She checked several Barton's to see if there were any matching names/relatives."
My thoughts are that perhaps "Minnie" married again and had a new married name?  Her name on Find A Grave is posted as:

Speaking of the surname of "Hatfield" - another tombstone photo request in the list was for Charles Osborn Hatfield
Gail located his gravesite in Section 2 and and photographed his flat marker shown above.  
It is now posted on his "Find A Grave" memorial.  
Thanks Gail -- and the photo requester is grateful!!
 Section 1, Lot 10
Dasie Cockerill  -- Another photo request fulfilled!

Section 5, Lot 73
The photo request was for Burrus M. Holcomb. 
 Charlotte Holcomb had not been posted yet on "Find A Grave."  
After I saw Charlotte's name on the monument, I created a separate "Find A Grave" memorial for her and added the tombstone photo.  
Thus, this photo that Gail took appears on both memorials.  
By the way, the "Find A Grave" Photo Volunteer Program is a wonderful feature of the website that has enabled so many people to view photos of the grave markers of their friends and loved ones that they might not otherwise have the joy of seeing.   
The photo volunteers do not charge; it is a labor of love for them!
So, it is always a courteous gesture for the requester to send the volunteer a thank you note for fulfilling their request.  The notes are always welcome!
All photo volunteers are to be congratulated for their time and effort in providing this valuable service that is appreciated by so many, including by this writer!!
 More photographs from Gail below:
  Main entrance on Washington Avenue
   Above: New Office
 A longer distance view of the new office at the Washington Cemetery