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."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

An Update on the Status of the George D. and Lucy L. Stedman Original White Marble Double Marker


I have been told that this double marker for George D. and Lucy L. Stedman was rescued from a storefront building in downtown Wellington, Ohio. It is not known where it was before that. 

This stone is currently at Addie's Antiques at 135 East Herrick Avenue, in Wellington. Phone # 440-647-0990. The contact person for this stone is Mr. Doug Dunham who works most Sundays at Addie's Antiques. He is selling this stone for $250.00. The children and their family are buried at the Spencer Cemetery in Spencer, Medina County, Ohio. 

When I first saw this beautiful old gravemarker a week ago I did not see any pricetag on it. I was hopeful that perhaps it was waiting for pick up by a Stedman family descendant. But, that is not the case apparently. I learned today that the stone is indeed for sale. It would require a great deal of skillful work to remove the cement, brick etc. from the stone without destroying it. I am hoping it goes to a good home regardless.

The children are buried at the Spencer Cemetery in Medina County where there is a large four-sided monument erected for the family. The children's names are inscribed on one of the sides. Memorials for them are posted on Find A Grave.

I am not aware if there are any laws that prevent people from selling old gravestones in Ohio, especially in cases such as this where there is another marker in place at the gravesites.

I spoke to Doug Dunham this afternoon who is working at Addie's Antiques, and he said that the people he got the stone from said they were going to throw it out otherwise. 

I hope it goes to a good home; preferably to a descendant or to a historical society that would accept it and properly take care of it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

How My Antiquing Adventure Turned into an Unexpected Tombstone Discovery

A successful summer trip for me would include researching at local libraries, looking for local artifacts at antique stores, and of course, walking through local cemeteries.  

What I don't expect would happen, though, is to find a tombstone sitting on the floor at an antique store!  But, that is exactly what did happen to me this past weekend in Wellington, Ohio! 

I photographed the mystery tombstone, and below are the pictures: 



This beautiful old double tablet white marble gravestone appears to be original for brother and sister, George D. and Lucy L. Stedman who died as children in 1861 and 1862, respectively.  Unfortunately, there is a heavy amount of cement encasing the back of the whole stone, and part of a red brick was attached to the top center suggesting that the marker was once part of a structure; in a wall perhaps at the Stedman family home?  There was no price tag on it, thankfully, and no one in the store knew why it was there. 

When I got home, I started my search on "Find A Grave" for George D. and Lucy L. Stedman.  I discovered that brother and sister, George and Lucy, and their parents, George S. and Lucy, and their brother, Charles M. Stedman, were all buried at the Spencer Cemetery in Medina County, Ohio.  So, I was pleased to learn where they were resting in peace and that they were with their family.  But, I noted no gravestone photographs are posted for any members of the Stedman family.
At this point, I knew I had to contact a Spencer Township Trustee about George D. and Lucy L. Stedman to learn if there are, indeed, gravestones at their gravesites at the Spencer Cemetery.
Fortunately,  I found Spencer Township trustee, Mr. Scott Neptune, and Mr. Tom Brown, who also works at the Spencer Cemetery.  Both were of great help with answering my questions.  
Thanking Tom Brown for visting the gravesites of the Medina County Stedman family and for taking photographs of the tall four-sided dark gray granite monument that includes all of their names. 
(See Tom Brown's pictures below)

Questions remain where the children's original stone was located for so many years.  Perhaps it was kept at the Stedman family homestead and was saved prior to its demolition? 
And, what about its future, if that can be known at this point, for this beautifully carved original marble gravestone for a brother and sister who died so young and so long ago.  

Sharing a Newsnet5.com Story about 18,000 Unclaimed Remains Buried in Unmarked Graves at the Highland Park Cemetery in Highland Hills, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

Click HERE to read this sad news account about some of the burials at the Highland Park Cemetery in Highland Hills, Cuyahoga County, Ohio

It is posted online today and written by Kristin Volk of TV Channel 5 - Newsnet5.com - in Cleveland, Ohio.
The story reveals almost inconceivable facts about 18,000 people who had died in or near Cleveland, Ohio.  How no one came forward or could be found to step up and claim their bodies.  Reading the details should stop us in our tracks and make us shake our heads; and hang our heads and cry with deep sorrow.  

Watching the short yet profound video forces us to contemplate just how truly lost these souls became after their death -- prompting us to question how they could have met such a lonely forgotten end as they did. 

In the video, we see names imprinted on some of the tiny white cardboard boxes that hold their cremated remains.  Some of their names are even mentioned aloud as the reporter continues her account of what we are witnessing while some of the 24 boxes of cremated human remains scheduled for burial that day were being set down one-by-one, by the hands of a stranger who never knew them, into a single dug out plot of ground.  We realize some are identified and are not among the unknowns -- we hope their names are at least in the cemetery's written records if nothing else. 

We are told there will be no marker above ground for them.

The story is emphatic that the searches were exhaustive to locate living people who are relatives or others who would claim these bodies.

 Yet, in my opinion, the story is sparse in specifics to explain how the exhaustive searches were conducted.  What steps were taken?  Were their names published in the newspaper before being buried?  Were funeral homes contacted asking about them; and asking if any had pre-need funeral arrangements for themselves that no one knew about?  

I personally feel there are a lot of details missing that need to be shared to help me understand how it happened that departed souls, that number in the thousands, were lost and relegated to an obscurity they most likely never considered would be their fate after they drew their final breath. 

Surely, something can be done to ensure that no one has to meet an end of life situation where their remains are left to be forgotten and buried in a mass unmarked grave simply because there is no one to claim them or care they died. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Two More Smith Gravestones Now Stand Upright at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio

The "before restoration" and "after restoration" photographs below were taken by Scott Andersen who, along with John King (both of the Greenfield Historical Society), conducted gravestone repair this week at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield.
Scott and John carefully pieced back together two small white marble gravestones that had been lying down; with one that had been severely cracked for several years.  
One gravestone is for John R. Smith, and the other one is for Infant Smith.

The badly cracked gravestone of John R. Smith  prior to being repaired and entirely reset.
Mr. John King of the Greenfield Historical Society arranging the broken pieces of the John R. Smith gravestone prior to its repair.

The after restoration photograph that shows the John R. Smith gravestone now whole and standing upright in its base.  
Scott Andersen completed the tricky epoxy repairs to adhere the pieces together to ensure the final step is successful.
Left: the Infant Smith gravestone after repair and now reset in its base.
Right: the John R. Smith gravestone after repair and now reset in its base.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sharing the Latest Photographs of the Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio

Scott Andersen has been continuing with clean up work at the Dean Cemetery in Buckskin Township, Ross County, Ohio.

  More of the overgrowth on the grounds has been cleaned up and cleared away greatly improving the appearance and overall condition of this smaller size cemetery.

Thanking Scott for sharing his latest photographs posted below.

 All of these Lawhead stones were down. The center one, Layfayette, was the one about 6 to 8 inches underground, and never before transcribed.

The gravesite of Revolutionary War veteran Robert Dickey.
 The above photograph shows an area needing additional work to repair and re-set downed stones.  The number of damaged and downed gravestones is much less than it was when Scott first started working on restoring the Dean Cemetery.
Below are two longer range views of the Dean Cemetery as it currently appears.
The last picture shown below is what some of the Dean Cemetery looked like before Scott started his work only a few years ago.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Volunteers uncover pioneer cemeteries long lost | Local News - KCCI Home

This story is in Iowa, but it could be in any state, including Ohio.  It is a very well done story that shows how several volunteers working together can make a huge difference to bring a cemetery back to life so it is no longer lost and forgotten. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Discovering Sarah M. Curran's Gravestone at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio

Thanks to Scott Andersen for sharing the photographs below and the news of the discovery of the Sarah M. Curran gravestone at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio. 

from Scott Andersen:

"We had another day at the OBG. Here is the best discovery;

One of the Historical Society members had a book on hand with a photo of the portion of the yard we are working in, taken in the 50's. We could see a missing headstone in the photo. We were able to locate the stone, which was close by leaning against one of the above ground crypts, and found it's broken off base by digging in the area seen in the photo. Sarah Curran. I have her posted on Findagrave."

"Daughter of James B. and J. A. Death date calculated from info on headstones" 

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries Association Burials Are Partially On-Line AND Important Information to Know Regarding Black Granite Markers Installed at Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries

Sharing a link HERE for the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries Association Log-In Page for their online burials. 

From the website of the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries Association: 

"Find the burial location of a family member or friend

Over the past two years the Catholic Cemeteries Association has embarked upon the consolidation of all burial records into a centralized database. The following cemeteries have been uploaded into the centralized database: All Saints, Northfield; All Souls, Chardon; Resurrection, Valley City; and St. Joseph, Avon.
Work is ongoing on the following cemeteries: Calvary, Cleveland; Holy Cross, Akron; and Holy Cross, Brook Park.
To search our database for names and burial locations, you will need to create an account using the link below. We will email you when the database becomes available."


I wish to add that I did experience an "application error" when clicking a "2" for a page 2 when searching for the surname of "Ellis" at All Saints Cemetery.  Thus, it is possible, you may receive an error during your search after logging on to search for a burial; following your registration which you will need to do in order to use the burial search. 
 ~~ AND ~~
Sharing this information, which may be of particular interest to you if you have a black granite marker, and it is installed at a Cleveland Catholic Cemetery:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Spotlighting Rosa (Rozalia) Csereszynak Csillag (Csilag) - Buried in Section 0-3A at Calvary Cemetery - Lorain, Ohio

I am not fluent in any language other than English, so with that reality in mind, I often have to coax myself to photograph a grave marker inscribed in a foreign language knowing I will have the added steps of finding the correct translation for every word carved on the stone.  Learning what the language is has been the first hurdle to overcome and that can consume some time as well.  

Fortunately, today we have some resources for help.  I have found Facebook Groups particularly helpful.  Two of them are the "Hungary Exchange" and "Polish Genealogy."  Both are closed groups.  

Thanks to some extremely helpful members from the "Hungary Exchange", and some of my own Facebook friends, the translation mystery was solved for this small flat stone shown below belonging to  Rosa (Rozalia)Csereszynak Csillag (Csilag).    

Following the gravestone photograph is a scanned image from "FamilySearch.org" of her death certificate. 

"Rosa Csilag" was buried in Section 0-3A of the Calvary Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.  It is the same section where my own Polish great-grandmother, Antonina Szczepankiewicz, was buried in 1918.  This is a section with predominately single burials and many who died 1918 - 1919. 
May they all rest in eternal peace, and may all of their gravestones be correctly translated and transcribed.  
ISTEN = God. The "ben" or "ban" at the end of a word signifies IN or WITH
 Mrs. Mihaly Csillag ( Mihályné ). The top part is something like " Here in God's Rest".
Her  maiden name would be Cseresznyak as her father's name is Steve Cseresznyak.Her mother is Rosa Kovacs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sharing Photographs of the Ohio Historical Marker for Urbana's Old Grave Yard & Update on Ordering the Commemorative Paperweight

For anyone desiring to purchase the commemorative paperweight shown below: 

"The markers (small wood marker shown below) are 15 dollars each and 6 dollars each for a shipping charge - total 21 dollars."
Thanking Sally Johnson of Urbana, Ohio for taking and sharing the photographs of each side of the newly installed Ohio Historical Marker at the site of the Old Grave Yard in Urbana, Ohio.  

Photographs of both sides of the marker - "Old Grave Yard" and "War Council of 1812"