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."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Could Graveyard Across the Street from Progressive Field Play a Role in World Series?"

Sharing a link to a timely story that connects the Erie Street Cemetery across from Progressive Field in Cleveland, to the outcome of upcoming World Series games -- if the legend is true.  

It is nicely written by Rick Uldricks and appears on the "Cleveland Patch" website this morning, October 25, 2016 - the day that this historic World Series match up between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs begins.  

We hear a lot of stories about the curses that have prevented sports teams from winning, and this one is quite chilling!  We hope that the Tribe will debunk it starting tonight!  

Joc-O-Sot is featured in this news story.  He is among those who are on the list of famous people interred at the Erie Street Cemetery.  

We hope he rests in peace -- unless it is to haunt the Chicago Cubs of course!  

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

"No Fix for Green Lawn Cemetery" in Columbus, Ohio -- Growing Problem of Vandalism; and Hope for Repairs is Less at Privately Operated Cemeteries in Ohio

Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio has at least 142,854 interments according to "Find A Grave".

The Green Lawn Cemetery's website states:
"As one of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Ohio, Green Lawn serves as the resting place for well known and influential individuals who made significant contributions to Columbus, the state of Ohio and the entire country."


This news story:
"No Fix for Green Lawn Cemetery" by Shelby Croft of Columbus television station, WBNS Channel 10, is a disheartening one indeed.

".....crews try to right fallen stones but the graves are personal property and the responsibility of owners.
The cemetery doesn't have the money to repair them. in many cases, owners just don't exist anymore.
The cemetery website says its supported through sales of lots, memorials and tax-deductible donations. The management company says it takes care of maintenance of the grounds but not the graves."
In the video several downed monuments are seen around the reporter who is at Green Lawn Cemetery.  She explains how old some of them are by referring to the dates of death carved on the stones.
Please click on the link to read more details about this sad situation, and view the short video -- which I feel is quite touching because of the interview that brought this problem to the television station's attention; especially if you have ancestors buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Cemeteries See Improvements" -- INDEED -- Newton Township, Trumbull County, Ohio !!

Sharing this news story from the "Tribune Chronicle" in Warren, Ohio (Trumbull County) -- "Cemeteries See Improvements

There is so much more to this story than what this short title might imply.  

Newton Township, Trumbull County, Ohio cemeteries have been the beneficiaries of many generous and kind-hearted residents.  Concerned folks who passed the needed cemetery levies, moved forward with yearly fund raisers, and continued with their active volunteerism and personal donations -- all for the betterment of their township cemeteries. 

The more I read through each paragraph in this article, the more it becomes evident that advancing cemetery preservation in a community comes through active local participation and creative fund raising efforts.  Donors and volunteers are so important and their work and contributions are needed and appreciated. 
Below are links to the cemeteries mentioned in the news article; and a link and quotation by the Newton Township Cemetery Association:




"The Newton Township Cemetery Association is a non profit organization that oversees the chapel at the Newton Falls East Cemetery. 
This all volunteer group is committed to the restoration of all Newton Township cemeteries and has spent countless hours researching and documenting all grave sites and repairing damaged/aged grave markers and monuments. 
They donate time, labor, money and materials to preserve the history of the cemeteries in the township. 
They are also working to develop new cemetery maps and enter information into a database to modernize records and reduce the time necessary to locate cemetery information. 
The group's most recent project was fundraising for the restoration of the old historical fence and gates at the Newton Falls East Cemetery. 
The Newton Township Cemetery Association is funded solely by private donations, fund raisers and membership dues. 
Annual memberships to help further the goals of the Association are $10.00 per member and $5.00 per member's spouse.
Meetings are held monthly at the Newton Township Administration Building as noted on the calendar of events and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Brief Look at Ohio Revised Code - Title V - Chapter 517 - Cemeteries

The Ohio Revised Codes contain laws that affect the Buckeye State's Cemeteries whether they be active, inactive, or abandoned.  

Townships in Ohio have a significant number of cemeteries; some are active and registered while many cemeteries fall into the categories of inactive (and thus not registered) or abandoned.  

Title V - Townships - Chapter 517 - Cemeteries of the Ohio Revised Codes  (ORC) contains the codes that affect township cemeteries in various ways, including some new provisions that have gone into effect on September 28, 2016:

"To defray the expenses of the purchase or appropriation, and the enclosing, care, supervision, repair, and improving of lands for cemetery purposes, and of maintaining and improving entombments, including mausoleums, columbariums, and other interment rights, the board of township trustees may levy a tax sufficient for that purpose."

Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 413, §1, eff. 9/28/2016.
Effective Date: 11-21-1973


"The board of township trustees shall provide for the protection and preservation of cemeteries under its jurisdiction, and shall prohibit interments therein when new grounds have been procured for township cemeteries or burial grounds. Where such old cemeteries are in or near village plats, and the public health is liable to be injured by further interments therein, the board shall institute suits to recover possession thereof, remove trespassers therefrom, and may recover damages for injuries thereto or any part thereof, or to any fence or hedge enclosing them, or to any tomb or monument therein.

The board may enclose cemeteries under its jurisdiction with a substantial fence or hedge, and shall keep any such fence or hedge in good repair. It may re-erect any fallen tombstones, regardless of the cause of the falling, in such cemeteries. The board, as it considers necessary, may purchase, maintain, and improve entombments, including mausoleums, columbariums, and other interment rights. The board may levy a tax to meet any costs incurred for these purposes, not to exceed one-half mill in any one year, upon all the taxable property of the township."

Amended by 131st General Assembly File No. TBD, HB 413, §1, eff. 9/28/2016.
Effective Date: 07-24-1986

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sharing Photos of Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio

Sharing a few photographs from my recent short visit to Lorain's Calvary Catholic Cemetery where many of my Zagorsky and Szczepankiewicz relatives are buried.  

Calvary Cemetery has a nice new shiny black granite marker bearing its name and address standing at its entrance driveway with a defining border of large size rocks encircling it.  The marker is so much more welcoming to visitors than the old one that stood for so long. That old one reminded me of a sign at a logging site that had been crudely created from an old piece of wood by someone using a jagged saw.  It was suspended between two metal poles and just didn't do justice to this beautiful cemetery!  
So, I congratulate the Cleveland Catholic Diocese for replacing that old Calvary Cemetery sign!  


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Sharing My Thoughts about the NPS #48 Preservation Brief: "Preserving Grave Markers in Historic Cemeteries"

I definitely agree about cemeteries being deemed to be in the category of "historic" in their nature.  

Many of us who visit what most would consider to be pioneer cemeteries, or the older sections of newer cemeteries, can attest that these are the burial grounds where those who were the creators of the area's earliest history rest -- hopefully in peace, yet the cemetery 'lives' on in the community in the midst of modern day structures standing as neighbors to folks like you and me. 

We sometimes walk past them, in some cases not even realizing they are there if they have been neglected for years.  Some are tucked away on side streets or off township roads, but they occupy land that holds the remains of those who came before us.  

These ancestors learned that they had to be hardy souls; and they walked more than they rode, they worked with their hands and hearts, they started the villages that grew and thrived, or in some cases remained the small towns we have come to know and love today.   
Adhering to the proper Do No Harm practices of cleaning gravestones, and choosing an individual or company to hire who will adhere to them, are key decisions that profoundly affect a gravestone's quality of existence for many years to come.

This #48 Preservation Brief addresses many issues and helps us make wiser decisions that will best benefit the gravestones, gravesites, and cemeteries in our communities.   Early gravestones are fragile, one-of-a-kind historic artifacts that also mark the resting places of those whom we should remember, honor, and respect for their contributions and sacrifices.  

We must do our part to keep their gravesites as intact and presentable as we possibly can so those who come after us can show their proper respect as well.