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, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!! Let's Honor Cemeteries on Halloween Not Haunt Them!

To honor some of Northeast Ohio's Cemeteries, here is a link to a "Cleveland.Com" story by Brian Byrne with a slide show of scenes from some of the Cleveland area's most historic cemeteries.  Enjoy! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taking a Look at the Lawhead Family Buried at the Dean Cemetery in Ross County, Ohio

Once again, we'll return to the Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio to learn more about the recent gravestone discoveries made by Scott an Venus Andersen.  They have been working for several months to restore the grounds and gravestones in this rural burying ground where so many early area pioneers were buried and, truly until Scott and Venus came along; largely forgotten about.  

Today, we'll focus specifically on their breakthroughs that pertain to the Lawhead family buried at the Dean Cemetery

Sharing Scott's comments and photographs below:

October 25, 2013

     "Venus and I had another very successful day.  We put William Lawhead's stone back in place, found the stone belonging to a child of Mary Henry and Thomas Lawhead, and found the base for Mary Henry's broken off headstone.
     Venus is magic with the prober.  I found the base to a headstone 1 space over from where William Lawhead is buried.  I probed around just a bit, hoping to find more of it, but gave up quickly, and started working at getting the base out of the ground to have a look at it.  Venus started probing around, and eventually not only found the rest of the headstone, found the completely intact foot stone.  The child is Lafayette Lawhead, son of Thomas and Mary, died July 19 1827, aged 2 years 6 months and 7 days.  These stones were almost 8 inches below the surface!  The attached picture just doesn't show how deep they were.  I was shocked to say the least.  This was a cool discovery for us, as this is the first find of a complete headstone and footstone, of a never before transcribed person. 
     We also found the base for Mary Henry Lawhead's stone.  It was next to Lafayette's, and also way down deep.  This was pretty rewarding as this stone is one of the original bunch we found in the big pile in the middle of the yard.  All of these discoveries come from that little nub of William Lawhead's stone poking out of the ground."


 Gravestone for Mary Henry Lawhead

 Gravestone for William Lawhead 


**Final Result!**
  Mary M. Henry Lawhead and Lafayette her son's gravestones standing tall and -- headstones and footstone in their proper places!
A parting glance leaving Dean Cemetery for the day -- quiet and content -- looking better than ever!

Thank you for sharing your discoveries with us, Scott and Venus!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Celestine A. or Celestinea Collins? She died in 1814 and was Buried at the Dean Cemetery in Ross County, Ohio - How Her Once Fragmented Gravestone is Whole Again Thanks to Venus and Scott Andersen

Sharing two reports from Scott and Venus Andersen describing their discovery of a missing piece of the Celestine A. or Celestinea Collins' gravestone at the Dean Cemetery.

The three photogaphs that follow show "before" and "after" views of their progress making this gravestone whole once again:


October 22, 2013:

"This stone is unusual, at least at the Dean Cemetery.  It is of a red lime or sandstone, totally different from all the others there.  It has a big chunk missing at the top just above the inscribed name Collins.  

I began digging around it to get it standing straight again, and Venus found a small piece of the missing chunk.  It has the letters "CE" on it.  I got the stone standing straight, and meanwhile Venus was probing around behind the stone looking for the rest of the missing chunk.  Other things to work on, so I was off to investigate the lower portion of another stone we had identified on a previous trip.  

Venus would not give up on that chunk, and after about 20 minutes of probing, she found it!  The rest of the first name was on the stone, and a date, 1814.  The name is Celestina.  

So, I've got to research Celestina Collins, who died in 1814, and see what can be learned.  Venus was my hero today.  I'd been hoping that we might find the rest of that stone somehow.  I'm still shocked that she did."

October 24, 2013:

"The Bizzare just gets odder.  While I was at the cemetery today, I sort of assembled all the pieces Venus had found of the Collins stone.  Had a chance to get all of the mud off of them yesterday afternoon.  
We couldn't do much with them after digging them up, they were just so muddy.  Anyway, I now think her name is Celestinea Collins.  That's all in capital letters on the stone, so it could potentially be Celestine A. Collins, but there doesnt seem to be a "period" between the E and A. 
I found a copy of the Buckskin Prebyterian Church sessions book at the historical society today.  It has a transcription of the Dean Cemetery from about 1950, best I can tell.  This piece of the Collins stone was missing even then according to the transcription.  
If 63 years ago the missing chunk wasn't obvious, lying there on the ground where you could pick it up and read it, how long has it been buried?  At least 70 years, maybe more?"

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Exploring the Old Settlement Cemetery on Mayfield Road, Chester Township, Geauga County, Ohio

Thanking my friend, Rick, for stopping to visit and taking some photographs at the "Old Settlement" Cemetery located on Mayfield Road (Route 322) east of Chesterland in Geauga County, Ohio.  

On page 223 of the book:  "Ohio Cemeteries:  1803 - 2003" K. Roger Troutman, Editor, published by the Ohio Genealogical Society 2003:  "OLD SETTLEMENT - East of Chesterland, 1.9 miles east of SR 306.  South side of US 322 (Mayfield Road.)  Between Sperry Road and Kenyon Drive."

As the photographs reveal, the cemetery grounds appear to be maintained on a routine schedule.  However, as with most inactive cemeteries of its age, we see gravestones that are broken, leaning, and sinking out of sight.  Many early gravestones now have unreadable inscriptions.   

Thus, unfortunately, no conservations measures have been taken to preserve the gravestones themselves.

(Above) Longer shot view near Mayfield Road - facing West
(Above) Longer shot view near Mayfield Road - facing East

(Above) Longer shot view including the ornate bi-color monument for David Scott and his wife, Mary Scott.
(Above) Close-up view of the ornate bi-color monument for David Scott and his wife, Mary Scott).

(Above and Full view below) Monument for Artes Scott and his wife, Martha Scott.
(Above) upright marker for Horace N. Fisk.

(Above) Dark gray granite monument for  J. O. Chamberlin and his wife, Emily C. Chamberlin.

(Above) Cracked gravestone for James Tanner.  The lower portion appears to be missing.

(Above) Marble tablet marker for Justice Miner, "He was a Revolutionary War veteran who served at West Point. "
(Above) Gray granite monument for Orvill Nichols and his wife, Lavira Nichols.
(Above) close up view of Reuben Scott inscription on large monument.
(Above) close up view of the base of the large  Reuben Scott monument.
(Above) Full view of the large Reuben Scott monument.

(Above close up and photograph below) Large dark gray granite monument for  Silas T. Gilmore and his wife, Lois Nichols Gilmore

The above photograph illustrates how well the proper amount of sunlight cast down on a gravestone can make the inscription much more clear and readable. 


The Old Settlement Cemetery currently has 140 interments listed for it on "Find A Grave."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spotlighting the Repair of the Joseph Hull Gravestone - Old Burying Ground - Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio

Thanking Scott Andersen for sharing these "before" and "after" photographs shown below of the Joseph Hull gravestone at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio. 

Scott first saw this 1875 white marble gravestone on October 12, 2013 and began his work to repair (re-piece!) it immediately.  

The top photograph is an 'as found' picture of the Joseph Hull stone as it lay on the ground in a state of several broken pieces.  

Scott said that fortunately the base for the stone was still intact, however, there was an added problem of a broken off stub from the gravestone itself still stuck in the base.

The next photograph documents the progress of the restoration work applied to the gravestone now seen repaired and ready to be installed back in its base.  

The last two photographs were taken after the work was completed showing the cleaned and repaired gravestone securely back in its slotted base.  

The last photograph shows the stark contrast between the Joseph Hull gravestone standing straight and tall next to a 'neighbor' gravestone that is leaning to its side and in dire need of cleaning.  

Thanks to Scott, the Joseph Hull gravestone has resumed its stately stance to once again properly honor the person whose name is inscribed on it.     


Gravestones Standing Straight and Tall at the Dean Cemetery, Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio

    Scott and Venus Andersen report on their latest restoration work at the Dean Cemetery in Ross County, Ohio that they began in 2011.  

Their accomplishments include:  removing a large portion of the plant life overgrowth and trees that were encroaching around the gravestones, uncovering and cleaning long buried gravestones, with repairing, re-setting and straightening several that needed the additional attention.  

Their efforts have brought about a reformation that is remarkable!   

     Today, we'll take a look at the gravestones for John Cadwellander Wallace and his son, Alexander Wallace, both buried at the Dean Cemetery

     And, the final two photographs tell the amazing story of how the appearance of straight and tall standing gravestones, no matter how old or even chipped they may be, profoundly affect our senses as we admire their resiliency.  

We realize that such an improved condition was created by dedicated human hands.  This concern and caring of the living for the dead invites our respect for both. 
(Gravestone Photographs below)
John Cadwellander Wallace, top photograph, as found by Scott and Venus in 2011, middle photograph taken in September, 2011 and lower photograph taken October 21, 2013
 (Gravestone Photographs Below)
Alexander Wallace as found by Scott and Venus in 2011, middle photograph taken in September, 2011, and lower photograph taken October 21, 2013

  (Gravestone Photographs Below )
Top Photograph taken in December 2012 before some of the gravestones were straightened.  

The leaning stones were also sinking further into the ground.  If left as is, they would eventually sink out of sight.

 The lower photograph shows more gravestones standing tall in straight rows.  

Mary Dickey's gravestone is closest to the camera.

Thanking Scott and Venus Andersen for sharing their photographs that exhibit the evolution of the Dean Cemetery -- an early Southern Ohio burial ground that has progressed from being almost invisible to looking lovingly cared for because of their continued improvements.  


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sharing Scenes of Walnut Creek Cemetery After Clean Up of October 18, 2013

Sharing photographs from Gail Allen taken during the course of the October 18, 2013 clean up at Walnut Creek Cemetery in Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio.  

Below, bags of wrapped up trash sit on the ground after emptying the once overflowing trash can; the only one at the cemetery.  

Next, we see Gail's truck loaded with 18 bags of cleaned up debris found in the trash can and raked up from mostly the older sections in the back of the cemetery.  

  Following these two photographs, are scenes of the the older sections of Walnut Creek Cemetery that were taken as the cleaning project progressed.

This area includes burials of some of the earliest area pioneers from families such as: Carothers, Doster, Ellis, JuryLimes, Moon, Rees, Todhunter, and Waln.  

Many veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War were laid to rest in the back neglected section and are now mostly visited only by those placing flags to honor them on Memorial Day each year.

Many thanks again to Gail for taking the all important photographs, and participating in the raking work; going one step beyond the general clean-up with uncovering many buried stones and photographing those individually. 

Thanks also to the Fayette County Probation Department for extending their services to help with the raking and bagging.   

Looking ahead, the long-term goal of course, is for the Perry Township Trustees to "pick up the ball from here" and schedule regular maintenance work at Walnut Creek Cemetery and stick to it!! 


 Uncovered gravestone for Elizabeth Howe

 Uncovered gravestone for Joseph Rees

Uncovered gravestone of Anney Bennet, wife of B. 
Uncovered gravestone of Lewis R. Doster