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, August 24, 2015

Old Burying Ground, Greenfield, Ohio - More Volunteers Returned to Clean and Reset Gravestones

Several volunteers came and devoted part of their Sunday on August 23, 2015 to be at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio.  They were aided by good weather to complete projects that included cleaning and resetting of several grave markers as part of an ongoing program sponsored by the Greenfield Historical Society to restore the monuments and markers at the city's oldest cemetery. 


Thanking Scott Andersen, who has been involved with all of the work sessions since the beginning, for sharing before and after views of three Devoss family grave markers that were in need of being repaired, reset, and cleaned.  Most of that process is complete except for cleaning two of the three gravestones. 

Following Scott's photos are those from work session volunteer, Melanie Rene Peters, who was able to take some photos during the time she was at the Old Burying Ground working.  

The photographs with descriptions link to "Find A Grave" memorials where photographs from an earlier time are posted.  

It is quite evident as in the cases of the Devoss gravestones, and Infant Templeton marker, the great extent of restoration work that was done in order for them to look as readable and clean as they currently do; bearing in mind that no power tools or harsh chemicals were used in the cleaning process.  
Thanking Scott and Melanie for sharing their photographs with us!    
(Above Photos by Scott Andersen)
Left to Right: Gravestones for Anne Devoss, Elizabeth Devoss, Margaret Devoss

(Above Photo)
Left to Right:  Gravestones for Juliet Doggett and Lucinda Doggett
(Above Photo)
The middle tall monument is for John C. Thompson

(Above Photo)
Grave marker for Infant Adams
About this Infant Adams marker from Scott Andersen 
"There are several of these infant Adams stones at the Old Burying Ground.
I found this one leaning against a tree last week.
Melanie Rene Peters cleaned it yesterday, and Venus was able to locate the broken off base part with the prober. John King dug it up. I'll be casting a base to place the tablet in now that we know where it belongs."

(Photo Above)
Grave marker in base for Infant Templeton

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Spotlightling Cochran Cemetery, Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio - Ohio Historic Inventory Form Finalized!

Sharing the scanned images of the Ohio Historic Inventory Form for the Cochran Cemetery, on the site of the former Cochran Methodist Episcopal Church in Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio.  Cochran Cemetery's Ohio Historic Preservation Office Number is:  FAY0022509.

I had a lot of help with compiling the information to complete these pages! 

Thanking Renee Loyd and Cathy Templin of the Fayette County Recorder's Office for their help with locating deeds for Cochran Cemetery.  

Renee also visited Cochran Cemetery herself and took photographs of the six Smith Family children's broken gravestones that were featured here recently in another post.  All of the children died in 1837 within days of each other from "Milk Sickness".


Thanking Carol Holliger, Archivist, 
Archives of Ohio United Methodism, Ohio Wesleyan University,
Beeghly Library in Delaware, Ohio for providing me with information about Barnabus AKA Barnabas Cochran and the history of the Cochran Methodist Episcopal Churches (there were 3 of them over the years) on the property where the Cochran Cemetery is located.  

Information from Carol Holliger:

"The history written by John Versteeg in 1963 (History of the Methodist Protestant Church) includes histories of many M.E. churches, including Cochran. I do not know where John got his information but he claims there were three churches, the original log church, the 1851 frame building, and the 1893 brick building.
I do not have a closed church file for Cochran, but I did find some information in the Ohio Conference journals. An entry appears in 1931 indicating that the following was authorized:
“Sale of Staunton Parsonage, net proceeds to be divided by order of Fayette County Parish Quarterly Conference. Transfer of Cochran Church on Fayette County Parish to trustees of Perry Township, Fayette, County, Ohio, to be used for a cemetery chapel—this in such manner as the civil law provides.” – FYI, the churches in the Fayette County Parish were Good Hope, Sugar Grove, Staunton, Maple Grove, Buena Vista, New Martinsburg, and Cochrans. There is no documentation that the transfer ever took place.
Then in 1949, the following authorization appears:
“Cochran Church, Good Hope Charge, proceeds to be used by the Chillicothe District. The recommendation was that it be declared abandoned by the Annual Conference and sold.” This authorization appears again in 1950, 1951, and 1952. Again, there is no documentation that a sale ever took place.
I have also attached the 1865 list of missionary donations by members of the Staunton Circuit. You can see that Cochran’s is part of this circuit then, and there is a list of those members."



Thanking Susan Tietz:  Susan Tietz | National Register and Inventory Manager, State Historic Preservation Office Ohio History Connection | 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211
p. 614.298.2000 | f. 614.298.2037 | stietz@ohiohistory.org

With Susan's guidance and patience, she answered all of my questions as I moved along completing each block and section on the form.  

Susan imparted some advice that would aid in completing another OHI form for a cemetery:

"Assimilate the sources of information you have into narratives for the physical description, historical significance and environmental setting, add them to the fillable pdf form and we could just transfer your narrative?  Below is a better explanation of the intent and type of information typically contained in the open text fields.
The open text fields have specific functions and are designed to include specific information --the physical description field is typically for describing a building, but can be adjusted to address a cemetery. This field should discuss the topography and physical appearance of the cemetery. Things like—is the ground flat or rolling? Are there mature trees or small shrubs? Sidewalks or walkways? A fence? How are the graves arranged? Large/small/deteriorated/high style/vernacular designs to the gravestones? Are there any distinctive landscape or built features that merit mention?  These are just a few things to think about as you look at the cemetery—there may be others.
The historic significance field should include basic information about the history of the cemetery…was it a family or community cemetery? Was there historically a church associated with the cemetery (extant or existing).  What is the date range of the markers? In a sentence or two, say who is buried here? Early community members? Primarily German/English/any specific background? Here, you could mention a couple of the most prominent people that are buried at the cemetery, but we don’t have space to include extended genealogy.
The description of environment and outbuildings field should include a narrative that describes the environment in which the cemetery sits—quiet 2 lane country roads? Busy 4 lane county roads? Is it easily accessed on foot? Long gravel driveway? Abuts the road? Set in agricultural fields? Neglected/well kept?
The narrative for these fields should be succinct but descriptive and use complete sentences. We don’t necessarily include all of the information discovered through research, the form should provide a road map for future researchers, which is why we include the bibliography. If additional detail is desired by a future researcher, the bibliography shows them where to go for more information."

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thanking the Ohio Society Sons of the American Revolution for Their Support of Save Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton, Allen County, Ohio

Thanking the Ohio Society of Sons of the American Revolution for their public support of the Save Shannon Cemetery organization. This dedicated group of descendants and other concerned citizens have been tirelessly trying to get reversed what has already been done, and the plans proposed, by the officials of the Village of Bluffton who have allowed the removal of gravestones from their original gravesites at the Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton to be returned to those original gravesites. 

This post is a companion to the one posted earlier today that details the plans put forth by the Save Shannon Cemetery organization, which is independent of the city of Bluffton, (Bluffton has formed their own cemetery group excluding any  Save Shannon Cemetery members.) 

The members of Save Shannon Cemetery do not want Shannon Cemetery to be turned into a park where gravestones would be put in concrete and made into a display apart from the cemetery area itself -- forever leaving the gravesites without the gravestones that were removed from them.    

Sharing The Plan as Put Forth By the "Save Shannon Cemetery" Group -- Shannon Cemetery, Bluffton, Allen County, Ohio

"Our Plan and Links to all news articles and blogs written on the Shannon Cemetery Park Project in chronological order. If you are new to our cause please take a look it's all there in black and white. Please help us Save Shannon Cemetery!"

*This list will be updated as new things are published.


To Preserve, Restore and Memorialize Shannon Cemetery. Return and restore the removed gravestones
to their grave sites. Have a full Ground Penetrating Radar Scan performed in an attempt to locate graves.
To preserve and restore stones where no grave site is known and put them in a memorial area. To work
with a cemetery conservationist so that work is done in the proper manner. Continuing the research of
cemetery history, burial history, family history. Continued contact of families of those buried here,
so they may visit here. To work with any group or individual(s) and be willing to compromise our
efforts to obtain our goal to return this property at the entrance of downtown Bluffton, Ohio back to its
intended use, a Cemetery, an Ohio historic pioneer cemetery.

A. That the development and renovation of the property known as Shannon Cemetery be stopped
under the present plan known as Shannon Cemetery Park. That this plan established under,
Village of Bluffton Resolution No. 07-13, is modified, per Section 2 of said resolution. And that
any and all modifications are done per Section 1, in a manner to memorialize those buried there
in a respectful manner. That the name of the plan known at Shannon Cemetery Park be changed,
to what Resolution No. 07-13 refers to, Shannon Cemetery. The property known as Shannon Cemetery
shall be protected, maintained and preserved for what it was meant to be and what it has always been,
a cemetery; an Ohio historic pioneer cemetery.

B. That a sample G.P.R. (ground penetrating radar) scan be performed on the Shannon Cemetery
property, as surveyed and or originally platted, in an attempt to locate all unmarked and unknown
graves. Pending positive results of this sample scan in locating grave(s), a full G.P.R. scan will be
recommended to be done.

C. That all known graves be marked, both with or without gravestone in a manner to memorialize
those buried there.

D. That all know gravestones be cataloged and individually photographed prior to any move, under
the instructions and or directions from a Cemetery Conservationist.

E. Research will be done on both the cemetery and those that are buried there, both known and
unknown. In an attempt to identify those interred at Shannon Cemetery.

F. Attempt will be made to identify each row and plot (lot) number located at Shannon Cemetery.

G. Members of the Save Shannon Cemetery group shall be appointed as members to the Shannon
Cemetery Commission.

H. That we all and foremost realize and respect that this property we wish to protect and preserve is
a cemetery of the founding fathers of Shannon, Ohio; which one day became Bluffton. An historic
cemetery in Bluffton, Ohio.


A. Restoration workers before restoring gravestones agree to take a class conducted by a cemetery
Conservationist. To be trained in the proper methods and products to use in restoration efforts.

B. That all restoration efforts be under the advice, direction and guidance of a professional cemetery

C. Restoration will be done in a professional and respectful manner.

D. All gravesites. Rows, plots (lots) will be ground marked and charted to a master chart for future
location and identification.

E. Stones will be reset onto their original gravesite, if located, in a respective manner which is
prescribed by a professional cemetery conservationist.

F. Gravestones which are restored and their original gravesite can’t be located will be placed at a
permanent memorial site in Shannon Cemetery where no graves are known to exist.

G. When a gravestone from the memorial site has been identified to belong on a specific grave
it will be removed from the memorial site and placed upon the specified grave.

H. Any partial gravestone will also be preserved; no partial stone will be discarded and or destroyed.

I. Partial gravestones and or pieces shall also be displayed at the said memorial site respectfully.

J. All restoration efforts and work performed on the Village of Bluffton property known as Shannon
Cemetery will be performed in a safe and respectful manner.


A. Every attempt will be made to relocate each and every stone on their respective grave site.

B. An application should be applied for to have Shannon Cemetery an Ohio Historical Society
site and marked with an historical marker. With local historians writing what should be said
of both the town of Shannon and those buried here.

C. A memorial plaque with names of those buried here both known and unknown could be erected.
This plaque could include the row and plot (lot) number if known. Memorial should only memorialize
those interred here; not any village, business, organization or public participant in this endeavor.

D. Any veteran with no gravestone on their grave should have a government stone applied for.

E. A flag pole would be very appropriate on the cemetery grounds, but not over any grave(s).

F. While parking may be nice it has not been an issue in the past, would be an added expense and
would have to be maintained; if built it must and can’t be built over any known or unknown.
grave area.

G. Walking trails, rain gardens, gazebo, service club wall are not needed and detract on how we
feel that Shannon Cemetery should be memorialized, after all this is a Cemetery.
Remembering to preserve, restore, and memorialize Shannon Cemetery in a respectful manner.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

John Smith (1791 - 1865) - Find A Grave Memorial

Edit requests were sent but have not yet been honored so I added in direct links in John Smith's bio section on his Find A Grave Memorial to his children, including Jabez Smith who was a Civil War veteran and the only child that survived to adulthood in the John and Eleanor Smith Family.  Jabez Smith was buried at the Geenfield Cemetery and the rest of the family at the Cochran Cemetery.   

Monday, August 10, 2015

Focusing on the Cochran Cemetery - Past and Present (Perry Township, Fayette County, Ohio)

First, I wish to express my gratitude to Renee Loyd for sharing her gravestone photographs that are shown below taken Saturday, August 8th. 

After reading the February 26, 1959 "Record-Herald" (Washington Court House, Fayette County, Ohio) newspaper story about the six Smith Family children who all died from "Milk Sickness" in 1837, Renee was prompted to visit the Cochran Cemetery and photograph their gravesites which are shown in the article when their upright markers were each standing in one piece at the time.

Sadly, as it so often happens at Ohio's cemeteries, the ravages of time and vandalism have taken their toll on the Cochran Cemetery and the gravestones; including those of the John and Eleanor Smith family and their children:  John, Lewis, Harrison, Elizabeth, Sarah J., and Anna which are now lying on the ground in mostly poor condition. 

The newspaper story pages appear above the photographs (Source "Newspaperarchive.com".) 
Only son John's gravestone is missing from the photographs.   

A view of how the row of the John and Eleanor Smith family gravestones look today.
Father, John Smith's gravestone 
Mother, Eleanor Smith's gravestone, fortunately mostly intact.

  (Above two photographs)
Pieces of the Harrison Smith gravestone and a close up photo of the inscription on the top broken portion of the marker.
Elizabeth and Sarah J. Smith -- same marker, mostly intact.
 (Below two photographs)
The Lewis Smith gravestone now in two parts and lying on the ground
 The young children of John and Eleanor Smith of Fayette County, Ohio have not been forgotten -- neither in 1959 nor today. 

The historic details of their tragic story endures despite the shortened years of their lives.  

Appealing to those responsible for the care at the Cochran Cemetery --

These grave markers deserve to be properly repaired, cleaned, and re-set to truly honor the children's memory.   The inscriptions on their gravestones are worth saving.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

REMINDER: Materials Conservator, Jason Church, of the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training (NCPTT) will be Conducting a Hands-On Cemetery Preservation Workshop on September 10, 2015 in Paducah, Kentucky

This will be the closest to Ohio for a Jason Church cemetery preservation workshop in 2015. 
 If you live near or plan to travel near the Paducah, Kentucky area in September this year, AND would like the unique opportunity to attend a hands-on cemetery preservation workshop taught by nationally known instructor and conservator, Jason Church, here is your opportunity as there still are some available slots for enrollment.  

      The National Cemetery for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) a research and training office of the National Park Service, in partnership with the City of Paducah, Parks Department will offer a cemetery monument conservation basics workshop September 10, 2015, in Paducah, Kentucky. 

     This training is targeted to the nonprofessional, such as church sextons, genealogists, cemetery grounds keepers, and family members. 

     The workshop registration is $25 per person and limited to 30 people, so please register early.

The lecture portion of the workshop will begin at 9:00 at the Paducah Recreation Center (1527 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.). 

     NCPTT Materials Conservator Jason Church will talk about techniques for cemetery documentation and developing a preservation plan followed by a talk on cleaning and care recommendations for historic headstones. 

     After lunch the workshop will travel to Oak Grove Cemetery (1613 Park Avenue) for hands-on activities including proper cleaning techniques. For more information on the class contact Jason Church, jason_church@contractor.nps.gov

     More information can be found at:


 To register for the workshop contact:

Les Evans

Parks Maintenance Superintendent

City of Paducah

Parks Department

1400 H.C. Mathis Drive

Paducah, KY 42001



Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Woman fights for sign, fence at old cemetery

 Find A Grave Link to Old Town Cemetery
Also known as: Oldtown Valley Methodist Cemetery
Barrs Mills
Tuscarawas County
Ohio  USA


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Spotlighting the Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cleveland and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland

Today's Cleveland "Plain Dealer" newspaper has a feature article entitled:  "Honoring the Dead with an Act of Kindness" that is reproduced on their website of "Cleveland.com" under the title: 

"Neglected Jewish cemeteries to get loving care" that is well written and presented by Roxanne Washington with photographs by Lisa DeJong, both of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

I submitted my comments online about the story and will also share them here.  Also, below is a link to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland's website section dedicated to their cemetery preservation campaign where additional information can be found about this wonderful and important cemetery preservation project that is unfolding at the Jewish cemeteries in the Greater Cleveland area. 


(My comment posted online below)
Sadly, the photographs tell this story of the reality at these Cleveland area cemeteries that also exists at many cemeteries in Ohio and every state in America today whether the cemeteries are small or large; urban or rural.  The deteriorated conditions stem from several reasons that include the negative elements of time and weather, accidents from fallen tree limbs and trees, and no regular grounds maintenance.  But, none are more disheartening than the aftermath that comes from the hands of humans with their savage vandalism and thefts which keeps happening at cemeteries across America.

Unfortunately, cemetery maintenance is a local issue, and funds for their purposes are often meager or non-existent.  There are some cemeteries in Ohio that solely depend on donations for handling basic mowing chores because their township levies did not pass.

The Ohio Revised Codes that pertain to cemeteries provide few provisions to protect them. Inactive/abandoned (non-registered) cemeteries receive even less protection mandates than do active registered cemeteries in the state.

I invite those who are seriously interested in cemetery preservation in the state of Ohio and/or who desire to learn the proper Do No Harm methods and proper products to use for cleaning, repairing, and re-setting gravestones, to ask to join "Preserving Ohio's Cemeteries" which is a closed Facebook Group.

It is a reality that cemeteries are an integral part of the communities where they are located.  Too often though the living either pass by them and ignore them or perhaps do not even know they exist once plant life have had free reign to overtake and obscure them. Thankfully, because of articles like this one, however, more people are becoming aware of this ongoing quiet crisis that exists in what should be well kept landscapes where those whose lives came to a close had once chosen to rest in eternal peace, but now decades later have become places largely lost and forgotten.
“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals."  William Gladstone.