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, October 21, 2017

Spotlighting the Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria (Lorain County) Ohio

The photographs below are from my October 17, 2017 visit to Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria, Ohio

 It was my first visit, and one that was much overdue.  These are just a small sampling of the historic gravestones and monuments to be found at this early Ohio cemetery.  

The earliest burial that I found belongs to Nathaniel Porter who died in June (13th?) 1822.

  His "Find A Grave" memorial contains an extensive biographical write-up.  He was re-interred from another cemetery, however.  Links to memorials for his spouse and children are included with his memorial.  

A visitor can spend several splendid hours exploring Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria and easily become immersed in its landscape of amazing variety of trees among towering military monuments. One is topped with a soaring Eagle while another has a life-size Civil War soldier painted in appropriate Union Regimental colors. 

The 1820s - 1840s delicately carved grave markers there are indeed remarkable in their simplicity and not to be missed before you leave.  Several impressive mausoleums include those that are reminiscent of small sandstone houses! 

A visitor cannot help but be drawn to the grand wrought iron gated family plot of Heman Ely and his descendants.  

Ridgelawn Cemetery is a sacred place  where pioneer history awaits visitors who are fortunate enough to come and walk its grounds. 





Sunday, October 15, 2017

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Lively Spirits Gathered at Greenfield's Old Burying Ground on October 9th

The Highland County Press published a great story on its website on October 9, 2017 covering the "Ghostly Goings On" that occurred during the Ghost Walk at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield thanks to the re-enactors (members of the Greenfield Historical Society  - link for photos and description of this event) who revived those long ago souls resting in peace at those sacred grounds -- for a day at least -- so that visitors can learn details about them they may not know.  The re-enactors researched the lives of those whom they portrayed and dressed in period attire.

I think you'll enjoy stepping back in history because the Ghost Walk was a true History Tour of Greenfield's Old Burying Ground; one of the earliest cemeteries in Highland County, Ohio. 

Thanking Michael Anderson, a member of the Greenfield Historical Society who attended the Ghost Walk, for so kindly sharing some of his photographs of re-enactors in action and the restored area of gravestones.  

(Below are photographs of Scott Andersen who led the group through the Old Burying Ground.  He portrayed George Meech, an extremely talented gravestone carver who carved some of the most highly detailed markers at the cemetery.  
Also, Teena Thornton who portrayed Mary MilliganTonia McClanahan who portrayed Elizabeth Linn McMillen, Susan Long who portrayed Susanna Jane Crothers, and Danny Long who portrayed Alexander Crawford Sr.) 

Monday, October 9, 2017

REMINDER: "Buried Beneath Cleveland" Presentation Tonight at 7p.m. at the Bay Village Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library at 7:00p.m. -- A Fascinating and Free Event!!

Upcoming Events:

Lecture and Book Signings:
Monday, October 9, 2017
Cuyahoga County Public Library
502 Cahoon Rd.
Bay Village, OH 44140


Click on the link above to Register!! A Fascinating and Free Event!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

October in Ohio is Cemetery Tour Month - Check it out!

Those of us who live in Ohio have been enjoying truly exceptional weather so far this October.  It means this is a great time to learn if there are cemetery tours coming up during October that would be of interest.  

***Please Note***:

Some cemetery tours require registration and/or payment, so please read the details to learn the requirements.   

You'll find that tours of cemeteries can be at larger urban areas while some are in smaller villages.  

Some of the cemeteries may still have active burials, and thus hold a mixture of older and newer grave markers and monuments.  

     If the tour is at an inactive cemetery, however, you can expect to find burials that range from the early 19th Century to the early to mid 20th Century. Representative gravemarkers or monuments are white marble, sandstone, limestone, "white bronze"which are zinc, and perhaps a few that are granite.  

Below is a representative sample of upcoming cemetery tours in Ohio, and I'm sure there are many more.  

Check your local historical and genealogical societies for news of upcoming cemetery tours, even if you are not a member.  Also, doing  simple"Googling" online for cemetery tours in your area could produce great possibilities for you! 

So, if you have not done cemetery exploring on your own, try joining a cemetery tour to get started!

Ohio's Tourism Slogan is "Find it Here" -- indeed when it comes to history, diversity, beauty, serenity, and so much more... you will "Find It Here" at an Ohio Cemetery! 

Go Cemetery Exploring in Ohio in October!

October 7th and October 21st

in Lorain County

"The tours are scheduled for October 19, 20 and 21. Times are 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. The 5:45 p.m. tour each day will be the virtual tour held inside the Folger Home.
Cost for each tour is $12 for HAL members and seniors; $15 for all others. To purchase a ticket, visit www.heritageavonlake.org or call 440-549-4425."


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

100-year-old gate returns to Milton cemetery

Sharing this story from Milton, FL; but there is an interesting Ohio connection that is mentioned in the description under the photograph.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spotlighting the Haruff Cemetery in Auglaize County, Ohio and its history as researched by Scott Knerr

Scott Knerr does not fit the definition of being a "cemeterian" as it is stated, however; Scott "Knows Cemeteries" -- in particular Auglaize County, Ohio cemeteries.  

Scott has been delving into the history of Auglaize County cemeteries because he cares so much about them.  He has brought to life the stories of those who have found peace and rest on their sacred grounds.  

Scott has been so kind to share the history of two of those cemeteries in the closed Facebook Group: "Preserving Ohio's Cemeteries."  

One is Greenlawn Cemetery, and the other is Haruff Cemetery which will be featured in this blog post.  

Thank you so much Scott for studying Auglaize County, Ohio cemeteries and sharing your knowledge about them with us!


"A couple of years ago I stopped at Haruff Cemetery on St. Rt. 33 to have a look around. It was there I found a Civil War vet named Jacob LaPole who I wrote about. I always wanted to go back and study more of the people buried there.

This cemetery has many names that are still here in our area today. As I walked around it was so sad to see how bad of shape this old pioneer cemetery is in. Many of the headstones are broken off and piled up in spots. 

There are 83 known burials here. It would take me a long time to research all of them like I did Lockhart Cemetery. But I do want to touch on some of the families that are there. I found that around fifteen "Kantner's" are buried in Haruff, so I think I will start with them. 

The Kantner family has been here in Auglaize County long before we were even a county. Many of us know Roger Kantner who was a teacher in Wapakoneta for many years. His son Ron owns and operates Kantner & West Chiropratic offices on Redskin Trail. So with that all being said I'd like to take this time for us to learn and honor this awesome family. 

" The Kantner's"

"I'd like to start this story with Jacob Sr. Jacob Sr. was born in 1716 in Germany and came to America with his parents Hans and Anna (Lutz) on the clipper ship " Adventure". The family arrived in the Port of Philadelphia on Sept 23rd 1732. 

The family settled in Berks county Penn after their arrival here. Jacob Sr. married Susanna Hubler and together they had ten children between 1741 and 1766. They named their first born son Jacob Jr. who was born on May 9th 1743. Their second son john was born in 1751. 

In 1775 The American Revolutionary War started. Both Jacob Jr. and his brother John joined the Pennsylvania 6th Battalion 3rd Class, Captain Baldi’s Company in 1780 and fought to the end of the war which ended in 1783. Sorry to say I couldn’t find any information about the 6th Battalion due to records being destroyed during the war of 1812.

Jacob Jr. married Susanna Fey in 1769 in Berks County Penn. The two had in total ten children together. There 1st son was named John Martin Kantner who was born January 10th 1774. Jacob Jr. didn’t have a very long life and died in 1791 at the age of 47 years. 

John married a young lady named Elizabeth Kuerschner in October of 1803 at the age of 29 years with his bride being just 18 years old. John and Elizabeth stayed in Penn. until 1830 and had 8 children there. In the 1830 census it shows the family still living in Berks county with a total of 11 people in the household. The census shows one adult aged between 71 to 79 years old.

I checked on the death dates of John and Elizabeth parents and found Elizabeth’s mother was the only one left after 1828. There is no death date to be found for her but I believe she died shortly after the 1830 census because the family moved to Montgomery county in early 1831 and had their last child Israel on a cold winter day in Dec. of 1831. 

I couldn’t find any land records for the family but they arrived here in Allen/Auglaize, Pusheta township sometime around 1832 or 1833. Elizabeth only lived here a short time. She died Feb. 5th 1837 being 52 years old. At the age of 63 John remarried to Rebecca Bigel on April 1st 1839. She was 55 years old. There is no record as to where Elizabeth was buried but she may very well be an unknown burial in Haruff being that early of a time frame. 

By 1840 all of the kids have moved out except two. The family has been farming the whole time they have been here. The 1850 census records occupation for the first time and shows John now 74 years old, still farming with a real estate value of $1500. Israel is the last child home being 18 years old and helping his father run the farm.

The last record of John is the 1860 census. John must have been one tough old guy. He is 84 years old and still farming. They have a young girl Martha Fisher living with them. Martha was just 15 so I think she may have been there to help aid John and Rebecca. Their real estate value jumped to $2500. John died at the ripe old age of 88 years on May 7th 1862 and was laid to rest in Haruff Cemetery. His stone now leans against another one. 

I’m going to end part 1 here. Like Lockhart Cemetery I’m not sure how many parts it will take to cover the people I’d like to study. But as I get them researched and written I’ll pass them on to you. Until Next time…

"The Kantner's part 2"

"Hello again all: In my first part of the Kantner family I studied John Martin Kantner. John and Elizabeth were only two out of fifteen Kantner's that are buried in Haruff Cemetery. But I still wanted to see what else I could find on some of the other Kantner's buried there. Below I think you will enjoy learning more about these great pioneers of Auglaize county.

In part one I mentioned John and Elizabeth had at least 8 children. I'm going to start this part talking about their son Martin. Martin was born Nov. 15th 1810 in Berks county Penn. and was given John Jr.'s middle name.

I've now learned since part one that John Jr. came here in 1832. I'm not sure who came with him in the early part of 1832 because I found some of the family remained in Montgomery county for a couple of years after John's arrival here.

But I do know that John Jr. and Martin came here in the Spring of 1832. This was also the year the Shawnee Indians were moved out west. I'm pretty sure they were here to witness that sad day. After the Shawnee left John and Martin took a couple of horses on the Indian trail east between Wapakoneta and Chief Blackhoof's village now known as St. John's and found a decent plat of land to start a farm.

Even though the land wasn't for sale yet John and Martin still decided to go ahead and plant some wheat on the property to see how well the soil was for farming. After the planting Martin returned back to Montgomery county while his father stayed behind to tend to the wheat crop.

The wheat crop must have done very well on this piece of ground because that following winter John attended the land sale meeting in Wapakoneta and bought the land.

While in Montgomery county Martin married Catherine Bechdolt on Christmas day 1831. This may be how the Bechdolt family ended up settling here also. Her parents William and Maria if you remember I wrote about earlier were buried in Lockhart Cemetery.

Martin and Catherine had their first two children both boys in Montgomery county. Shortly after the birth of their second son John Martin on May 3rd 1834 ( who was named after Martin's father) Martin and Catherine came to Allen/Auglaize county to be close to Martin's parents and also Catherine's parents came too.

Martin and Catherine must have lived with his parents for a short time and possibly Catherine's parents too. I'm sure the cabin must have pretty cramped. But Martin wanted his own land and on Sept. 15th 1835 bought 80 acres in Duchonquet township. Less then a month after buying the 80 acres Martin went back on Oct. 8th 1835 and purchased another 40 acres beside the original 80 giving him a grand total of 120 acres.

By the 1840 census Martin and Catherine already have 6 children. He has cleared some of the land and has a good stand of crops in his new fields. He also has his cabin built and the family seems to be doing very well.

The family shows up next in the 1850 census. The family has grown even larger. Martin and Catherine now have 10 children ranging in ages from 19 years old to a 6 month old baby. The farm is still doing very well with a value of $1200.

For some reason I couldn't find the 1860 census for Martin. But by 1870 they have had another 5 children. Only 6 remain at home. The value of the farm has soared since 1850 and is now worth nearly $8000 which was quite a lot of money in 1850. Martin is now 62 years old and all the children still living at home are all helping with the household chores and helping on the farm.

Martin shows up one last time in the 1880 census. All of the children are grown except Joseph who is just 14 years old. Their daughter Hannah aged 22 is still at home helping her parents with the farm. All the rest of the family has since moved out on their own and have started their own families.

The last bit of information I found was Martin and Catherine's obits. Martin died March 23rd 1894 at the age of 83 and Catherine followed just a few weeks later and died April 13th 1894 at the age of 80. In total the two had 15 children together. At the time of their deaths they had 9 children still living. They also had a whopping 94 grandchildren and 59 great grandchildren at the time of their deaths.

What an amazing couple to study. To have all those children and all the grandkids had to make one awesome gathering when everyone got together. A total of 170 people came from this marriage alone. And I haven't even studied Martin's brother George yet who settled here also.

Their farm must have been pretty impressive in it's time. So far in my research the Kantner's have been very successful here. I wonder how many descendants just this one family has produced since the time of Martin and Catherine's death. Whew!! Anyway I'm going to end part 2 here. 

Until next time..."


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Cemetery Walk to be held October 8 in Vermilion" -- at the Brownhelm Cemetery

Don't miss out on attending the Cemetery Walk at the historic Brownhelm Cemetery.  

"The fourth annual Cemetery Walk where history is brought to life in a unique experience will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at Brownhelm Cemetery, at the corners of North Ridge and Sunnyside Road in Vermilion."
(Photographs below of the Brownhelm Cemetery
by Linda Jean Limes Ellis
September 17, 2017)