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."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Scenes from the Dean Cemetery - Ross County, Ohio

Sharing two late April 2014 longer distance cemetery photographs from Scott Andersen who continues his work at the Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio. 

During the past three years, Scott has removed a large amount of weed overgrowth and some encroaching trees.  Also, several broken stones that had been lying on the ground for decades have been cleaned and re-set.  He has unearthed long buried gravestones; putting them upright once again to take their respected places in the cemetery.

The Dean Cemetery no longer looks neglected and abandoned thanks to the tireless ongoing work that is being carefully conducted by Scott and his wife, Venus. 

The Dean Cemetery is listed on "Find A Grave" with 28 interments.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Kent monument to son causes legal stir as father is told to take down posters at cemetery - Kent


Ohio Cemeteries have definitely been in the news of late not only in the Buckeye State but far beyond as well. 

 Here is another one that is bound to stir up strong emotions and cause folks to take sides.   

 
Link to the "Find A Grave" memorial for Adam Molai

Link to the photograph of the gravesite itself for Adam Molai

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Edit: Martha W Depoy Day (1839 - 1909) - Find A Grave Memorial


Thanking Claudia Ward, "Find A Grave" photo volunteer, for fulfilling my photo request for the gravestone of Martha W. Depoy Day.  

Sharing a link to the memorial on "Find A Grave."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Reminder: Upcoming Meetings of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force & Meeting Minutes and Testimonies to Date



A reminder about upcoming meetings of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force which are open to the public:
**
April 28, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. 77 South High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room Columbus, Ohio 43215
 
May 16, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. 77 South High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room Columbus, Ohio 43215

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click HERE to link to the listing of all of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force meeting minutes and testimonies posted to date on the Ohio Department of Real Estate's website. 

~~~~~~~~~
Anne M. Petit is a co-chair of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force
 ________________________
Anne M. Petit
Superintendent
Ohio Department of Commerce
Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing
Direct dial: 614-466-3411
Fax number: 614-644-0584
Office number: 614-466-4100

Anne.Petit@com.ohio.gov


 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Virginia Harriet Zagorsky Limes (1914 - 1995) - Find A Grave Memorial

Virginia Harriet Zagorsky Limes (1914 - 1995) - Find A Grave Memorial

Sharing this "Find A Grave" memorial I created for my mother.  "Find A Grave" has upgraded the family relationship links on a memorial to include siblings (previously it had been only spouse(s), parents and children family links).  A wonderful addition!  

Updates from the Meetings of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force for March 7th and April 4th, 2014

Below are the approved meeting minutes of the March 7, 2014 Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force meeting, and the draft minutes from the April 4, 2014 meeting:
 


MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE
OHIO CEMETERY LAW TASK FORCE    
      77 S. High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room                                            March 7, 2014
      Columbus, OH 43215-6133                                                                        9:30 a.m.
________________________________________________________________­

I.            Preliminary Matters
Co-chair Petit called the meeting to order.

Roll Call:Laura Monick conducted roll call. 

Present: Daniel Applegate, Stephen George, Hon. Keith G. Houts, Hon. Cory Noonan, Anne M. Petit, Patrick Piccininni, Jay Russell, David Snyder, James Turner, James Wright, Division Staff Attorney Laura Monick.

Excused:Dr. John N. Low

Review of Meeting Minutes:Co-chair Noonan opened the floor for discussion of the minutes of the January 24, 2014 meeting of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force.  Mr. Turner noted an errant “n” on line 3, page 2 of the minutes. Mr. Turner then moved to approve the minutes of the January 24th meeting with such correction.  Mr. Piccininni seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
II.            Old Business
Co-chair Noonan opened the floor for discussion of old business.   
Co-chair Noonan noted that the Ohio Farm Bureau was contacted and at this time they respectfully declined the invitation to provide testimony.

Mr. Turner then moved to amend his motion to be an approval of the February 21,2014 minutes. 
Mr. Piccininni seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

Co-chair Petit, on behalf of Mr. George, announced a change in staffing at the Ohio Historical Society. 
Ms. Dean left their employ prior to sending the contact information for the Tribal historical preservation offices.   
Mr. George and Dr. Low will now assist in finding contact information for the tribal leaders.

III.            New Business
Co-chair Petit brought the task force into new business and welcomed Heidi Fought with the Ohio Township Association (OTA) to the meeting.

Ohio Township Association (OTA) – represented by Heidi Fought, Director of Governmental Affairs. 
See written testimony attached.

Townships in Ohio maintain over 2,400 cemeteries and take pride in caring for those cemeteries.  Townships have specific requirements with respect to cemeteries as found in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 517.   Primarily, funding is a huge issue.  In their 2015-2017 requested legislative priorities, the OTA asked the General Assembly to address funding in two ways.  A few years ago, then Representative Widener introduced legislation allowing townships to sell cemetery related items to bring in additional revenue if a township wanted to sell those items.  This was House Bill 382 (126th GA). Municipalities currently can sell cemetery related items but townships cannot.  The other funding piece noted in their requested legislative priorities is a grant program proposed under ORC Chapter 4767. The OTA supports the grant program and thinks is a great opportunity.   

The OTA would also ask the task force to look at defining“abandoned” or “burial ground.”These need clearer definitions because while they are mentioned in the Ohio Revised Code there are not current definitions. If the definitions would include large numbers of additional cemeteries then townships will need adequate funding to match.  Another area for the task force to review is cemetery levies.  Currently, cemetery levies only can be five years in length but townships would like the ability to have a continuous levy option.   

With respect to maintenance schedules and standards, townships do have Ohio Revised Code Chapter 517 that generally speaks to cemetery maintenance.  The OTA likes the current minimum requirements but understands, perhaps, the need for more and looks forward to working with the task force on this issue. The loss of funding to townships has greatly impacted townships and the OTA tries to provide education and training opportunities and would like to look at creating a training program as an option to specific maintenance standards.Finally, there is an Attorney General opinion on extinguishment of burial easement and re-selling of lots which states that Ohio Revised Code Section 517.07 only permits townships to re-sell lots on lots with deeds executedfrom July 24, 1986 forward.  The townships would like the ability to re-sell lots that are older and where they can show that there is no existing family left.

During questioning the OTA supported the same text of ORC 517.07 and just removing the date restriction.  If the date is removed then the OTA thinks it would be reasonable if some more protection measures were added concerning when a township could re-sell a burial right but ideally they would like that date restriction be removed. With respect to former House Bill 382, in 2005 there were several hearings in the House and sellers of cemetery related items opposed the language that would permit townships to sell cemetery related items. Co-chair Noonan requested that the OTA mesh proposed changes into Ohio Revised Code Chapter 517 and provide that electronically to the task force.   

The OTA emphasized that with respect to the proposed grant program, any grant amount would help and how many townships would apply would depend on whether townships took the time to apply.  Townships know that grants are competitive and the OTA understands that a tiered process with restrictions on how often a township could apply for grant funds or placing a cap on grant amounts may be needed.

After some additional discussion of a potential grant program and townships selling cemetery related items, the task force moved forward with the agenda and began discussion about the American University Washington College of Law State Burial Laws Project. The task force had the opportunity to view the State Burial Laws Project website.

Discussion then began on the mission of the task force and what direction the task force wants to move with their process now that they have heard the testimony of many interested parties.  Discussion included thoughts on broader goals, what format the task force’s recommendations might take and how to organize the structure of the recommendations to help create a vision of how the State can move forward.  Each member of the task force had the opportunity to provide their views on moving forward and as a group the task force decided that they would have the homework of reviewing the previous meeting minutes and testimony then come up with their own lists of broad categories they feel the task force should discuss.  Co-chair Petit offered to work on compiling each member’s list and then sending a master list back out to the task force members prior to the next meeting.  It was then agreed that the master list could be the focus of next meeting agenda with the goal of setting out broad categories and then listing out under those broad categories more specific issues as identified by interested parties and the task force.
 
Next Meeting Dates:
April 4, 2014 at 9:30 am
April 28, 2014 at 9:30am

IV.    Adjournment
Mr. Turner moved to adjourn.   Mr. Russell seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

*********** 


MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE
OHIO CEMETERY LAW TASK FORCE

     
      77 S. High Street, 22nd Floor Hearing Room                                            April 4, 2014
      Columbus, OH 43215-6133                                                                        9:30 a.m.
_____________________________________________________________­

I.            Preliminary Matters
Co-chair Noonan called the meeting to order.

Roll Call:Laura Monick conducted roll call. 

Present: Stephen George, Hon. Keith G. Houts, Dr. John N. Low, Hon. Cory Noonan, Anne M. Petit, Jay Russell, James Turner, James Wright, Division Staff Attorney Laura Monick.

Excused: Daniel Applegate, David Snyder, Patrick Piccininni

Review of Meeting Minutes: Co-chair Petit opened the floor for discussion of the minutes of the March 7, 2014 meeting of the Ohio Cemetery Law Task Force.  It was noted that Dr. Low should be marked as excused.
Mr. Turner moved to approve the minutes of the March 7th meeting with the noted revision.  Mr. Russell seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
II.            Old Business
Co-chair Petit opened the floor for discussion of old business.  Co-chair Petit noted that based on the list provided by Dr. Low, twenty-three letters were sent inviting tribal leaders to attend the April 28, 2014 meeting or to provide written testimony.  The ORC Chapter 517 draft language was received from the Ohio Township Association.  In addition, an email from Gini Chandler, Wayne Twp. Trustee from Jefferson Co., OH was read into the record.

III.            New Business

Stephen George arrived during discussion of new business.

Co-chair Noonan brought the task force into new business.  Discussion commenced on the task force coming to a consensus on the topicsthat need to be addressed in any final recommendations madeby the task force.  In addition, the members acknowledged that there may be other topics where there is not a consensus but those topics may be issues that should be included in a separate section of the final recommendations so as to bring them to the attention of the legislature, should that body determine that any require further consideration or reexamination.

The task force then began a mapping exercise with open discussion on possible major topics, sub-topics and how to approach the sub-topics.

Main topics for discussion during mapping exercise:

1.      Enforcement

2.      Statutory Alignment
   
3.      Registration
a.       Cemetery vs. per burial
b.      Issue of unmarked graves

4.      Technology

5.      Record Keeping
a.       Importance of record keeping for cemeteries
b.      Issue of no existing records due to issues such as flooding, fires, etc.

6.      Maintenance

7.      Definitions

a.       Inactive

b.      Abandoned

c.       Natural Burial

d.      Human Remains

To be considered:
                                                              i.      Not limited by the passage of time
                                                            ii.      Whether it needs to be a limited definition for certain sections of ORC
                                                          iii.      Is it different for protected groups? Further research needed – see Indiana’s two definitions

e.       Burial Site/Grounds – Further research needed – see Indiana

To be considered:
                                                              i.      cremation
                                                            ii.      degree of intentionality
                                                          iii.      green cemeteries

f.       Historically Significant vs.Archeological Site;Burial vs. Native American remains;Funerary Objects/Artifacts

g.       Preservation

h.      Protection

i.        Restoration

j.        Maintenance

8.      Funding– One of the highest priorities
a.       sources for funding
b.      set standards for appropriations and equitable distribution
c.       account for the spending
d.      Provide townships funding to allow for selling merchandise
           
After initial discussion it was determined that the task force would save final discussion on funding for last so they would know which identifiedtopicswould need funding.  


9.      Protected Groups
a.       Is there a need to separate out American Indian protection/registration?
b.      Further research into OHS’ historic preservation office and any currently available state, federal, private funding.
c.       Promoting collaborations with Native American groups and making it easier to work together.
d.      Further research into discovery/notification requirements when grave sites are found;similar to IN
e.       Discussion on a Native American Commission similar to IN to address future disposition/re-internment of remains and standards for re-internment

10.  Preservation/Protection
a.       What does each mean and do the topics need to be separated out?
b.      Protection for burial artifacts and remains from antiquities/black market trades.
c.       Discussion commenced on different models such as a State trusteeship, land bank model, permitting cemeteries to return all or a portion of their grounds back to nature
d.      Can the differences be bridged with funding instead of using discussed models? 
e.       Discussion on how canal propertyis handled (ODNR)

Final discussion centered on the next steps of the task force.  It was determined that prior to discussing other topics, the task force needs to focus on solidifying definitions for the identified terms.  Before the next meeting the task force requested that research be completed with respect to other jurisdictions’ definitions in order to assist them in their discussion on April 28, 2014.  Mr. Russell offered to assist the Division with that research. 

Next Meeting Dates:

April 28, 2014 at 9:30am

May 16, 2014 at 9:30am

James Turner left at 1:00pm after the next meeting dates were set.

IV.      Adjournment

Mr. Russell moved to adjourn.  Mr. Houts seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.

 *****

 ~~~~~~~~~~
**Please note that the term "registered" in relation to cemeteries refers to those cemeteries where burials have been within the last 25 years or are NOT considered to be family cemeteries.  

If a cemetery fails to meet these requirements, then it is not currently eligible to be registered.