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."

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spotlighting "Stone Revival Historical Preservation" - Brad Manzenberger, Conservator

Brad Manzenberger of Stone Revival Historical Preservation has been a leader in presenting documentation of critical significance that supports the important reasons for anyone to always adhere to all Do No Harm Best Practices to clean, repair, and reset gravestones that will ensure the most beneficial results afterward.

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Sharing the latest from: 
"Stone Revival Historical Preservation": 
"Cleaning Headstones"
 August 19, 2016
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(Above photo courtesy of Brad Manzenberger)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sheep Pen Cemetery Update: Gravestones of William Irwin Sr., Margaret Irwin, and Julia Ann Yohn are the Latest to Be Restored


Sharing the latest photographs from Scott Andersen of cleaned, repaired, and reset gravestones at Sheep Pen Cemetery, Madison Twp., Highland County, Ohio.  

Click on their names to read more about them on their "Find A Grave" memorials. 


For the first time in a long time, the gravestones of William Irwin, Sr. and his wife, Margaret McCormick Irwin, are standing upright next to each other and supported within their bases.  

AND

The small broken marker for Julia Ann (Aber) Yohn - wife of William, has been cleaned, and placed in its base.  A section of the upper left corner of the stone that had broken off years ago has progressively become ill-shaped.  

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Thanking Scott Andersen for all of the additional extensive restoration work that has brought these fragile grave markers back to their rightful and respectful presence in the Sheep Pen Cemetery.  



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Remembering a Civil War Veteran Buried at Sheep Pen Cemetery - Corp. Noah Turner "N. T." McVay

Remembering Corp. Noah Turner "N. T." McVay buried at Sheep Pen Cemetery in Madison Township, Highland County, Ohio. 

Thanking Scott Andersen for two new 2016 photos of Corp. McVay's gravestone after it was dug up out of the ground and put in a new base that was made for it. The photo on the upper left was taken in 2010 before it was dug up and properly cleaned, repaired and reset.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Remembering My Aunt Mary Zagorsky Stitak Today

Sharing my Find A Grave memorial for my Aunt Mary Zagorsky Stitak who was born August 14, 1912.

My Aunt Mary was the best baker of cakes, nut and poppyseed rolls that I enjoyed eating so much!  She made her homemade chicken noodle soup with her own hand cut homemade noodles.  She was talented with crocheting afghans.  Later in her life she learned ceramics and created ceramic clocks, decorative wall Christmas trees, lighted glitter balls, and angel figurines.  She was a devout practicing Catholic all of her life who walked to church each morning before walking to her cleaning lady job for 17 years.  People like my Aunt Mary don't come along all that often, and I feel so blessed to have been her niece.

In this photo, my mother is standing to the left and my Aunt Mary to the right.  They were best friends as well as sisters, born about 2 years apart.  They could speak to each other in English, Polish or Slovak.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Spotlighting the Friends (Quaker) Cemetery in North Lewisburg, Champaign County, Ohio

Sharing my latest view of the Friends (Quaker) Cemetery in North Lewisburg.  

Thanking Nathan Holycross of North Lewisburg for stopping by the Friends Cemetery and taking this photo.  

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There are 56 interments listed for the Friends Cemetery on Find A Grave.
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Below are some of my earlier photographs of gravestones at the Friends (Quaker) Cemetery in North Lewisburg:

(Above)
 Pvt. William Wright Fell - new government marker
(Above)


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Ohio Revised Codes Affecting Cemeteries Need to be Clarified, Revised, and Strengthened to Protect Them Now and in the Future


Pondering the Ohio Revised Codes and specifically 2927.11 Desecration

Note in (A):  
"(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat any of the following:"


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Personally, I cannot think of any situations where someone would or should have privilege (and I understand "privilege" to mean having permission from owners) to "purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat" a cemetery, i.e. including the property and/or gravesites and/or gravestones.  

However, and this is a huge however, there could be situations where, for whatever reasons, and we can call being ignorant of what is right/good or wrong/bad, as reasons where an owner of a cemetery grants permission to a person or group of people to engage in conduct most of us would consider to be a desecration of a cemetery and that would mean that illegal desecration did not take place.  

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Thus, quite sadly, I can cite one recent example that I feel fits into this category.  It is the current adverse issue affecting the Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton, Ohio where the village granted authority to an individual to purposely remove existing gravestones (including those for veterans) from gravesites at the Shannon Cemetery and store them in a storage facility to be later placed in concrete at another area of the Shannon Cemetery property to create a new "historic tombstone display." 


This is because the person convinced the village that a "Cemetery Park" would be an improvement for the Village rather than allowing  Shannon Cemetery to remain as it has been from the beginning - a cemetery - sacred ground which deserves our respect of being the final resting place for those who are interred in it.  

So, yes, this removal of existing gravestones from gravesites did, in fact, occur and the decision to approve such an action was defended by the attorney for the Village of Bluffton in a six page letter citing, in part, ORC 2927.11.  


Pages 5 and 6 of the multi-page letter of May 31, 2015, written by the Attorney for the Village of Bluffton, Ohio to the village's mayor and council members appears below. 

**Please note the yellow highlighted area on the last page, Page 6, below.




What true value does an ORC (Ohio Revised Code) really have if five words in it can be used to defend an action that results in an outcome that would go against the statute?  Removing existing gravestones under any other circumstances (without permission from an owner) would be considered in the category of: "purposely deface, damage ..." since gravesites would no longer be marked by their gravestones.
I feel that there are no Ohio Revised Codes in place that defend cemeteries against those who are in control of them yet do wrong by them through ill-conceived ideas that become actions that adversely affect them and the course of their future.  

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Below is a link to ORC 2927.11 and its wording.:

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Link:
http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2927.11

2927.11 Desecration.

(A) No person, without privilege to do so, shall purposely deface, damage, pollute, or otherwise physically mistreat any of the following:
(1) The flag of the United States or of this state;
(2) Any public monument;
(3) Any historical or commemorative marker, or any structure, Indian mound or earthwork, cemetery, thing, or site of great historical or archaeological interest;
(4) A place of worship, its furnishings, or religious artifacts or sacred texts within the place of worship or within the grounds upon which the place of worship is located;
(5) A work of art or museum piece;
(6) Any other object of reverence or sacred devotion.
(B) Whoever violates this section is guilty of desecration. A violation of division (A)(1), (2), (3), (5), or (6) of this section is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Except as otherwise provided in this division, a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is a felony of the fifth degree that is punishable by a fine of up to two thousand five hundred dollars in addition to the penalties specified for a felony of the fifth degree in sections 2929.13 to 2929.18 of the Revised Code. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved in a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is five thousand dollars or more but less than one hundred thousand dollars, a violation of that division is a felony of the fourth degree. If the value of the property or the amount of physical harm involved in a violation of division (A)(4) of this section is one hundred thousand dollars or more, a violation of that division is a felony of the third degree.
(C) As used in this section, "cemetery" means any place of burial and includes burial sites that contain American Indian burial objects placed with or containing American Indian human remains.
Effective Date: 09-20-1999

Thursday, August 4, 2016

John Thomas Limes (1851 - 1923) - Find A Grave Memorial


My great-grandfather's birthday, born exactly 20 years after his father's birthday!

Wesley Limes (1831 - 1916) - Find A Grave Memorial


Happy 185th Birthday (in heaven!) to my great-great grandfather. My only Civil War direct line ancestor.  

Despite the Day being Hot & Muggy a Work Session was Held at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield on August 3rd.

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Check with the Society's Calendar for future work sessions at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 2, 2016 Update from Sheep Pen Cemetery: William Irwin, Sr.'s Grave Marker Restored and Reset in Its Original Stone Base


At rural Sheep Pen Cemetery there is a rather plain looking white marble tablet gravestone that was left to lean against a large slow sinking table top slab that holds the marker made for Maria Dick.  This scene had been undisturbed for years that sadly turned into decades, that is until now.  

In 1858, the flat topped gravestone was carved and installed to mark the final resting place of William R. Irwin, Sr. who came to America from Ireland in 1798.  His life story was well written up in the book:  "History of Ross and Highland Counties, Ohio."  

William and his wife, Margaret McCormick Irwin, were the parents of 11 children; 10 of whom lived to adulthood.  The children lived out their lives and made their own mark in their community and for some, far beyond it. 


William and Margaret Irwin are an example of how couples (like countless others who rest in peace at so many of Ohio's early burial grounds that have now been deemed to be inactive or even abandoned) whose children became builders in their communities through service as teachers, doctors, lawyers, shopkeepers, and farmers - and at professions no longer in existence.  

Thankfully, through biographical information and drawings published in 1880s era county history books, (and Ohio has several of them!), we are privileged to learn more details of the generations of ancestors, who during their lifetimes, fulfilled the dreams of their pioneer parents.  

Living descendants may not always be aware of the stories of the lives led by their great or great-great grandparents who are now buried in grave sites with sunken or unreadable gravestones.

However, there is renewed hope because of a resurgent interest to restore, and in some cases even unearth, gravestones at cemeteries like Sheep Pen. 



The interest has become a concerted effort through volunteers working independently and in like-minded groups.  

Thus, I would like to thank the dedicated group of volunteers of the Greenfield Historical Society !  Since 2014 they have worked together to clean, repair, straighten up, and reset markers, like those of William Irwin, Sr.,  at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield.  They have inspired new folks who desire to learn and participate to come and join them. 
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Extending my personal thanks to Scott and Venus Andersen for their immeasurable contributions at Sheep Pen Cemetery to make it the cemetery it is today.  They have also volunteered and contributed regularly at the Old Burying Ground since the work sessions began.  

Thanking also John King of the Greenfield Historical Society who has done so much of the physical digging work that has led to discoveries of bases, and fragments of gravestones that were needed to make one whole again.  All this work that has become the remaking of a cemetery is indeed utterly remarkable!  Everyone who contributes is appreciated!  
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It is my pleasure to share Scott Andersen's three photographs's below of the William Irwin, Sr. gravestone, before, during, and after it was put back where it belongs at Sheep Pen Cemetery.: