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."

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Green Lawn Abbey in Columbus Looks to Ohio Legislators for Needed State Funds

By Tom Knox, Columbus Business First Reporter


"It’s an expensive proposition to remake the once-neglected, 14,500 square-foot neoclassical architectural structure. Needed work includes roof repairs, 45 windows that cost between $8,000 and $9,000 each to fix, $25,000 for new first-floor doors, new parking and bathrooms that people with disabilities can use."


Friday, February 19, 2016

Saving an Endangered Cemetery in Gallia County, Ohio - The Koontz Cemetery #1 in Racoon Township

Richard Koontz has recently brought to my attention the plight of a small family cemetery known as the Koontz Cemetery #1 located in Raccoon Township in Gallia County, Ohio.

(photo courtesy of Richard Koontz)

Richard Koontz took the photo during his 2012 visit to the Koontz Cemetery #1, and he has been quite concerned about its condition.  He seeks to learn who owns the cemetery, and how it can be better cared for.  

There is at least one known Revolutionary War soldier buried at Koontz Cemetery #1 - Oliver Scott.

Below is the inscription on the beautiful original marker:

"Life and death two different lessons give: Life teaches how to die; death teaches how to live."  

A Masonic Emblem is etched in the stone with an inscription below it of:

 "Sacred by this monument to the memory of Oliver Scott who was a soldier in the armies of the U.S. in the Revolutionary War and was born in the state of Connecticut in Dec 1762 died Mar 19, 1845 in the 83d year of age"
(photo courtesy of Richard Koontz)
Oliver Scott is listed in the "The Ohio 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services with their names, ages, and places of residence, as returned by the marshals of the several Judicial Districts, under the act for taking the sixth census."

Oliver Scott's wife, Rosannah Scott is also buried at the Koontz Cemetery #1 and her beautifully carved grave marker is posted on her Find A Grave memorial and is shown below. 

(photo courtesy of Richard Koontz)
Hopefully, the local DAR and SAR Chapters would further promote awareness of the Koontz Cemetery #1 and its historic importance to Gallia County because of the burial of Revolutionary War veteran Oliver Scott.

The Koontz Cemetery #1 in Raccoon Township, Gallia County, Ohio deserves to be properly preserved.

A good beginning would be a clean up of the grounds and removal of the overgrowth and downed tree limbs and branches that are overtaking the cemetery itself and the gravestones.  

The cemetery should also be properly fenced in and a cemetery sign erected with a gate installed.  

Any fallen gravestones should be properly repaired and reset.  It is not too much to ask for a cemetery as small as Koontz Cemetery #1 is; with only 21 interments listed for it on Find A Grave. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Spotlighting the Preservation and Restoration of Bronze Grave Markers and Memorials - Mr. Dennis Montagna, Historian of the National Park Serivce

Sharing the following statements about preserving and restoring bronze grave markers and memorials.  

As a blog update, this information is now listed as a permanent post on the right sidebar of this blog.  

There has been much interest expressed in the "Preserving Ohio's Cemeteries" Facebook Group for gaining a better understanding of how to properly preserve bronze grave markers (many of which are government issued military plaques for deceased veterans), as well as properly (again the key word -- as always! -- is properly!) restore those markers that have more serious condition issues due to the ravages of time and weather.  

I am proud to share this statement from the National Park Service's Historian, Mr. Dennis Montagna, who has a vast educational background and personal experience in this field with the preservation of bronze statues, monuments, and markers; and who has so kindly offered to accept serious questions and provide one-on-one guidance with an emphasis on adopting best practice procedures that will properly protect, preserve, and restore bronze grave markers.

So, it is with great pleasure that I share Mr. Montagna's statements and his NPS email address as his contact information.  I would suggest when contacting him to provide a good quality photograph of your bronze marker in need of care so Mr. Montagna can better assess its condition and the steps that should be taken to care for it.

****Bronze Grave Markers****

Dennis Montagna, Historian at the National Park Service:

For those who have questions on the subject of bronze grave markers and memorials, please contact Mr. Dennis Montagna, Historian at the National Park Service at his email address below to ask questions for one-on-one guidance for their care and restoration:



Statements from Dennis Montagna: 
January 27, 2016: 

"Most commercially produced bronze plaques for the last 40 or 50 years have a painted surface--usually a brownish background (letters and other high points burnished bright) and then the whole thing gets a clear topcoat. At some point, the coatings need to be removed and reapplied. Mild gel paint strippers usually work well, although folks who work fast and dirty will uses abrasives. If you're just doing a washing, I'd use a very small amount of any of the conservation soaps you're used to using...Orvus, Igepal, Triton-X...and the apply a cold paste wax that is free of abrasives. Sort of treat it like your car, but don't use car wax. Use the wax sparingly and buff it out. I like using shoe shine brushes. This may not make a big difference in appearance, but waxes will likely make the lacquer coating last somewhat longer.

From what I've seen, some foundries, like Matthews Bronze, apply long-lived coatings. They use a proprietary coating called Diamond Shield, and I don't know how it should be removed. It might be best to send it back to them for refinishing. Other producers seem to have less durable coatings, but they may be more easy to remove.

When coatings begin to fail, they usually do it at the edges of things, where it is thinner. Lacquer coatings want to pull away from edges and collect in recesses. Coatings on ground-mounted plaques fail faster because they get beat upon by weather and other things far more than do vertical ones. If you have a chance to influence placement, always push for vertical! Also, if you can maintain them from the beginning, that's best, if unlikely."

January 28, 2016:

"The methods used to produce a bronze plaque are not necessarily ones you would choose to conserve them. Always strive for a light touch. Just because power grinding and sanding tools were used to make a plaque, it doesn't mean they're a good idea in the preservation area. Aggressive cleaning means loss of surface...just like we see in misguided efforts to clean stone."

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sharing a Special Early Ohio Gravestone in Honor of Valentine's Day!

Sharing from Scott Andersen this photograph of a lovely carved early Ohio gravestone at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio.  It is for Mary Davis, consort of James Davis.  

The word “consort” on a women’s tombstone usually indicates that she predeceased her husband.  Scott stated that this stone was carved by George Meech of Chillicothe, Ohio (in Ross County).

It is always a bonus to see the carver's name inscribed on a gravestone.  This is particularly true for one as intricately created as this one is which still stands in almost perfect condition after 182 years. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Grave markers, thousands of pounds of plastic found in scrapyard sting

"A Columbus-area scrapyard sting led police officers to a few obvious finds: Copper wire, aluminum wire, about 4 tons of shredded plastic.

But when they searched one city scrapyard, they found a World War II grave marker meant to hold the American flag. When detectives looked more closely, they saw the name "Circle" on the back. The marker, police later discovered, belonged to the grave of John Circle, a World War II veteran who served as Franklin County's engineer from 1980 until his death in 2000 at age 78.
Circle's marker was one of 56 veterans' markers that officers found when police scoured the scrapyards, stolen from Union Cemetery on the North Side. Many of the markers, including Circle's, were returned to the cemetery, but some already had been destroyed by the scrapyards.
"That becomes a disturbing circumstance, when someone is in a cemetery stealing veterans' grave markers and turning them in for cash," Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said.

A Franklin County grand jury this week returned indictments against six area scrapyards and five scrapyard employees, with charges ranging from violating scrap-metal laws to receiving stolen property to engaging in a pattern of criminal activity. The scrapyards that were indicted are New World Recycling, PSC Metals, Masser Metals & Recycling, G-Cor, Sims Brothers Recycling, and A to Z Recycling Inc.

Lin Wang and Xiaodong Qu of A to Z Recycling; Adam Greenblott of G-Cor; Jeremy Webster of PSC Metals; and Yujian Wang of New World Recycling also were indicted.
O'Brien said all are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 19.

The sting, the first of its kind in Columbus, began in January 2014, when detectives took metal that appeared to be stolen to 19 area scrapyards and tried to sell it.

Columbus Police detective Jack Addington, the department's scrapyard detective, said the police maintain a list of known thieves, and scrapyards are not permitted to buy material from those people. In March 2014, detectives returned to the scrapyards and again tried to sell materials that appeared to be stolen. Six scrapyards bought those materials again. Some of the detectives' undercover names had been added to the "Do Not Sell To" list, and in several cases, Addington said, those detectives still made sales.

That summer, police returned to scrapyards that had bought from detectives both times, this time with a search warrant. They found plastic crates and bins, beer kegs and thousands of pounds of shredded plastic being prepped to ship to China. Much of the plastic belonged to large soda corporations — the large shells used to stack bottles. Police believe it had been stolen from area grocery stores. The plastic can be expensive: The Pepsi Company reported a loss of $100,000 in the central Ohio area in 2013.

Addington, however, said that most central Ohio scrapyards are behaving well.
"The ones that are not doing it right are the ones that are indicted," he said."

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Joseph F. Smith (1836 - 1875) - Find A Grave Photos

Comparing the two photos on this memorial.  The most recent one in November of 2015 is after this beautiful original white marble marker was "Nyaloxed", and the one from 2013 shows the same marker before.

A simple treatment of water and Orvus soap, soft bristle brushes only, and a lot of rinsing afterward would have been sufficient to clean this marker. 

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

Remembering my mother, Virginia Limes, who passed away 21 years ago today.