Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"Darke County Genealogy Society plans meeting" - March 3, 2019 - 2:00p.m. - Garst Museum - Misti Spillman presents program about headstone cleaning and restoration

"Misti Spillman, Executive Director at Preble County Historical Society and 2018 Volunteer of the Year at Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton, Ohio, will be at the Garst Museum on Sunday giving a program about headstone cleaning and restoration for the Darke County Genealogical Society
Learn more on how to properly care for and clean headstones. 
Program is free and open to the public. 
Sunday, March 3rd at 2:00 pm - Garst Museum, 205 N. Broadway St. in Greenville."

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"Man sentenced for theft of cemetery funds"

Man sentenced for theft of cemetery funds
This report is the latest regarding the thefts against the Belmont County Memorial Park in Saint Clarisville, Belmont County, Ohio.  The cemetery has 1,867 memorials posted for it on "Find A Grave." 

Sadly, recent serious crimes committed against Ohio's cemeteries and their lot owners are not as rare as we would like to think.  
The Facebook Group "Cemetery Advocacy Group" is dedicated to:
“... people who have loved ones buried in Fairview Memorial Park in Delaware, Ohio, Suburban Memorial Gardens in Dover, Pennsylvania and Grandview Memorial Park in Ravenna, Ohio to discuss issues with the cemeteries.”  

The "Columbus Dispatch", April 3, 2016

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ohio History Connection - "Enact Better Legislation to Protect Ohio's Human Burial Places"

Among the main focus issues of the Ohio History Connection on Ohio Statehood Day for its 2019 "Legislative Priorities" will be enacting better legislation to protect Ohio's human burial places.
This proposal helps us build upon and advance the belief that "All Cemeteries Matter" - which further translates into all gravesites and graves markers for them matter.  
Gravesites sit on land, whether it be at sprawling modern day cemeteries or "memorial park"settings, or on single gravesites left from long ago farm lands that have been built upon by developers.  These sacred spaces are more vulnerable than ever because too many have already been lost.  
Too much history and respect have already been lost.  One of the reasons for this crisis is that over time the laws provided little to no safeguards to protect them.  
Taking stronger steps now can prevent further harm to Ohio's cemeteries that they have for far too long faced.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

IRLAB - Institute for Research and Learning in Archaeology and Bioarchaeology announces 2019 field experience in bioarchaeology in Ohio

HTCC - Harrison Township Cholera Cemetery
Harrison Township, Pickaway County, Ohio 
850 Michigan Avenue
ColumbusOH 43215
"The application deadline is March 31, 2019. However, applications are reviewed as soon as they are received and successful applicants accepted on a first come, first served basis."


"This exclusively field-based program, now in its second year, aims at familiarizing participants with the professional excavation of human remains from archaeological contexts. 
Participants will work side by side with professional archaeologists and bioarchaeologists in the excavations of a historic cemetery in central Ohio (HTCC).
The cemetery, located just 20 minutes away from downtown Columbus, was originally established as early as 1804 to serve as a burial ground for the local community. 
Due to its proximity to the Ohio-Erie canal, the site was subsequently used as a resting place for victims of the infectious disease cholera – an infection of the small intestine that killed tens of millions of people worldwide through various pandemics since 1815. The cemetery remained in use until 1859.
Preliminary investigations at the site have revealed the presence of several single burials with predominant east-west orientation, which appear largely undisturbed and lined up in the western two thirds of the cemetery. 
Several tombstones or simple markers are scattered throughout the field, but evidence of vandalism and consequent removal and restoration attempts by the township administration suggest that their current location does not mark any specific graves and does likely not correspond to the original layout of the cemetery."

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Problems continue at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon, Lorain County, Ohio

Sharing the latest report of February 21, 2019 from Channel 5 in Cleveland -- compiled by news reporter Joe Pagonakis about Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon, Lorain County, Ohio. :
In the report we see the Cemetery Complaint Form's cover letter detailing the jurisdiction of the Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission, which is important to understand because there are limits to their power and role in resolving complaints. 
This link is for the Cemetery Complaint Form, October 29, 2018 version, is the latest version. 
It is helpful to know in advance the type of information needed to properly complete the form; and thus present the strongest case for a satisfactory resolution of the problem cited for review.


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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The latest report: The sentence of almost five years in prison for the second person involved with the crime of cemetery theft from the Belmont County Memorial Park

From Steubenville, Ohio WTOV-9 TV, here is a link to the latest report for the Belmont County Memorial Park case of the couple who committed theft from the cemetery.  

Excerpted from the news story.:

"Judge John Vavra sentenced Baratie to the same amount of time his wife is currently serving.
"On counts 1 and 2, the sentences will be served concurrent with each other while the sentence for count 3 will be served consecutively for a total of 54 months in the penitentiary," he said." 

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Shining a new Spotlight on Dr. William H. Wagstaff of North Lewisburg, Champaign County, Ohio

Dr. William H. Wagstaff of North Lewisburg, Champaign County,  Ohio has once again led me on another merry chase whisking me along through the many unexpected twists and turns that profoundly affected his life that I'm sure turned it upside down at times.  
Both Dr. John Milton Butcher (as well as his son Dr. John Calvert "J. C." Butcher) and Dr. Wagstaff all belonged to the Central Ohio Eclectic Medical Association. 
Below is a wonderful newspaper clipping about one of their meetings that took place in 1886:
This information led me to move into a new direction taking a different path at this fork in the road of Dr. Wagstaff's life where I also learned what the "H" stood for as his middle name - Harris!:


The Dr. John M. Butcher monument)
And, dare I say most recently learning that Dr. Wagstaff's wife; had became his ex-wife by 1891.  

Melissa Josephine (AKA "Jose or Jose B." was the daughter of Dr. John M. Butcher, a prominent physician in North Lewisburg.  
The cemetery carries Dr. Butcher's name as its alternate and more popularly known name.  
The official name is Walnut Grove Cemetery.  
 Dr. Wagstaff's residence caught on fire on November 20, 1899!:
There was once a Walnut Grove Cemetery Association that oversaw this cemetery that sits atop the hill on Tallman Street in the Village of North Lewisburg.  
After Dr. Wagstaff's death in 1904, the cemetery essentially became an orphan because the Village of North Lewisburg did not receive (or did not accept!) a proper deed to the cemetery from Dr. Wagstaff before he died.  
Till this day it shows the cemetery as being owned by the Walnut Grove Cemetery Association (a ghost association!) with no living members.  
But all of those details are another story....

The final wishes and words from Dr. William H. Wagstaff who, to date, rests in what we hope is eternal peace -- but sadly in an unmarked grave at the cemetery he once oversaw.:
The Will of William H. Wagstaff

 Above is the 1890 Veterans Census
showing Dr. William H. Wagstaff

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

'Niche' placed in Northwood Cemetery in Cambridge

Thursday, February 7, 2019

An Editorial from the "The Intelligencer - The Wheeling News-Register" - "Keep Cemeteries in Good Repair"

Sharing a link to this Editorial published February 7, 2019 by "The Intelligencer - The Wheeling News-Register" from Wheeling, West Virginia - "Keep Cemeteries in Good Repair." 
This editorial follows on the heels of a news story published on February 4, 2019 about Martins Ferry's Riverview Cemetery - "Martins Ferry Works to Address Problems at Riverview Cemetery."
Thanking "The Intelligencer" for publishing these cemetery-related stories because the public may not become aware of cemetery issues unless and until they are personally impacted by them. 

In my humble opinion, the public can never be informed enough when it comes to the news (both good and bad) about the final resting places of our relatives, ancestors, and friends.  

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An urgent plea from the Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio -- Seeking family of man who may have frozen to death

Ferncliff Cemetery in Springfield is seeking to find the family of Robert Pinkerton.  

Excerpt from news story.:

"Ferncliff Cemetery and Funeral Home is in possession of Robert Pinkerton’s body, general manager Rob Jones said, and hopes to reach his family before he is cremated."

"Pinkerton was found in the shed late on Sunday, Jan. 20. A Springfield police report says he was homeless and sleeping in a shed when he died.
He was 57." Jones said the cemetery and funeral home is seeking the family to notify them that he is in their care. 
He said two step-brothers of Pinkerton have been found, but if there is a closer relative the cemetery and funeral home would like to get authorization from them." 
“What we are not concerned about is any financial reimbursement,” Jones said. “There is some city of Springfield money available which we will be applying for but even if we can’t get that we are doing that as a charitable gesture to show our concern.”
Ferncliff Cemetery
501 West McCreight Avenue
Springfield, Clark CountyOhio45504 USA  

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Belmont County Memorial Park update on the first day of the trial of the co-defendant

Sharing a link to this updated article about the Belmont County Memorial Park that is published online by "The Times Leader" in Martins Ferry, Ohio.  
Story by Robert A. DeFrank.

"ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The trial of the second co-defendant accused of stealing almost $300,000 from the Belmont Memorial Park Cemetery while serving as its caretaker began Tuesday before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra.
Keith Dwayne Baratie, 51, of 121 Newell Ave., St. Clairsville, is accused of one count of forgery, one count of aggravated theft and one count of securing writing by deception.
His wife and co-defendant, Karen Sue Ellen Neff, was found guilty of the same charges and sentenced Monday to four and one-half years in prison and restitution of $282,240 to the cemetery, now the responsibility of Richland Township. She was found guilty after a four-day trial, in which extensive financial records were reviewed by the jury. During her sentencing hearing, Neff maintained that she and Baratie were the legitimate successors to the association." 
An observation
After reading various stories these past few years about cemeteries in Ohio -- and elsewhere -- that have been impacted by owners who commit crimes against them, it has become evident that the majority of those cemeteries are owned and operated by private associations or by larger conglomerate type owners who purchased cemeteries all across America, including Puerto Rico.   

The names of these cemeteries offer us a revealing tip off about their ownership.:
 "Memorial Park" or "Memorial Gardens", or 
"Memory Park"or "Memory Gardens"
are popular names for these cemeteries which are private cemetery association owned cemeteries (as opposed to being owned and operated by a municipality like a city, village, or township. Or a cemetery under the ownership of a religious society.)   
We can note that the word "Cemetery" is not included in their official name. Nor is it posted on the sign by the entrance.
  Quite often the gravesites at these cemeteries are mandated to have flat markers; sometimes only bronze plaque type markers.  Thus, there are limited options for the lot owner to choose from to mark their gravesite. 
Some important places to check are the Better Business Bureau, and the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission to learn if there are any outstanding complaints against the owners of a cemetery you are considering for yourself or your loved ones.
And, last but certainly not least, please do your homework by doing a simple "Google" search for the cemetery. Through these types of searches it can be learned if there have been any recent media reports posted online about it.  

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Saturday, February 2, 2019

Portage County, Ohio - WPA Cemetery Plat Maps

Below are various WPA Cemetery Plat maps for Portage County, Ohio.  


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