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, February 28, 2020

Fort Ancient Cemetery Workshop with Jonathan Appell - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - Warren County, Ohio

March is almost here!
It's that time of the year to start looking ahead to news of cemetery preservation workshops -- and in particular those that will be held in Ohio.  Most importantly, to those that offer training that adheres to NCPTT guidelines of "Do No Harm." 
On Thursday, April 16, 2020 from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. the Warren County Genealogical Society will be holding their cemetery preservation workshop at the Fort Ancient Cemetery in Turtlecreek Township. 
Jonathan Appell will be the instructor.  Mr. Appell is a nationally known cemetery conservator who has demonstrated both basic and complex repairs to various types of gravestones found across America. 
Below is the link to the details about this upcoming workshop:

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Spotlighting the Lake Shore Cemetery - Avon Lake, Ohio - February 23, 2020

The Lake Shore Cemetery in Avon Lake, Lorain County, Ohio is a historic gem of a cemetery with a past that is so well told in a new book by Sherry Newman Spenzer "Lake Shore Cemetery of Avon Lake" for Heritage Avon Lake published by Arcadia Publishing.
 This handy self-guided tour book serves to better acquaint a visitor with all of the unique features the cemetery has to offer.  It provides the reader with a greater understanding of its role as an important place in the community.  It goes beyond giving us a glimpse into the lives of those who rest in peace on its lake side landscape -- it makes their stories vibrantly come alive from their time to ours! 

Saturday, February 22, 2020

"From The Grave To The Cradle: Restoring African American History" -

It is my pleasure to share this announcement of two upcoming presentations. 
Please see details below for further information of day, time, and location for each.:
"Please join us for a very special afternoon of history and conversation as two local historians present From the Grave to The Cradle: Restoring African American History in Cincinnati. Presenters Carl Westmoreland, Senior Historian at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and Chris Hanlin, retired architect-turned-history researcher, will discuss both the historical actions and current impact of those interred at Union Baptist Church‘s cemeteries.
Founded in 1864, Union Baptist is the oldest in situ cemetery in Hamilton County purchased, maintained, and still managed by the historic Union Baptist Church. Since its inception, it has been one of the only places that African Americans could be buried in the city of Cincinnati, and as such, serves as the final resting place for many notable historic figures including two descendants of Thomas Jefferson, five Union Baptist ministers, a female abolitionist, dozens of American veterans including a Civil War era Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, an Ohio legislator, a founder of a national church denomination, and a prominent woman educator.
1:30 pm reception/2 pm program
Free event and open to the public. Reservations requested via ticketing, or by calling 513-621-0717, or emailing reservations@mercantilelibrary.com
Union Baptist Church will continue the conversation the following day, Sunday, March 1 at Union Baptist Church, 405 West Seventh Street, Cincinnati, OH 45203.  
The Sunday, March 1 program will begin at 2:00 PM;  speakers for March 1 will be Dr.  Paul LaRue and Arzell Nelson."
This program is made possible, in part, by Ohio "Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities"

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Resthaven Memory Gardens - Avon, Ohio is once again in the news for its unresolved flooding issues.

Avon (Lorain County) Ohio:  
Resthaven Memory Gardens once again is in the local spotlight -  sadly for one of its most glaringly unresolved problems that has plagued this late 20th century cemetery for years, if not for a decade by now -- flooding issues at the gravesites and throughout the grounds -- lest we forget Spring is yet more than a month away.  
"Cemetery known for its issues, says it has plans to fix them" reported by Amanda VanAllen of Channel 5 news (ABC affiliate) in Cleveland - February 18, 2020 - is the latest news story about Resthaven Memory Gardens.  It is the first for the year 2020, but I doubt it will be the last.  
(The above photos taken by this writer on September 19, 2019 during a time when there was a lack of rain.)
Below is a listing with links for many of the news stories that have come to our attention, both in the media and in print, about the ongoing unresolved problems at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Avon.:

Avon, Lorain County, Ohio:

Resthaven Memory Gardens – Avon, Lorain County, Ohio.:
Find A Grave.:

Elyria Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.:
By:  Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton

April 4, 2019:

March 15, 2019:

March 6, 2019:


WKYC – Channel 3 – TV station – Cleveland

April 30, 2019:


NewsNet 5 – TV station – Cleveland:

February 18, 2020:

April 21, 2019:

February 20, 2019:

Channel 19 TV station  – Cleveland:

March 29, 2019:

March 22, 2019 (following the face to face meeting with the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission.:

December 27, 2018:

August 31, 2018:

Fox 8 News TV Station – Cleveland:

December 26, 2018:


Saturday, February 15, 2020


What is happening with the Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Circleville, Pickaway County, Ohio  -- should not happen to any Ohio cemetery regardless of its status; most certainly it should not be happening to one that is active.  The township should have taken it over and assumed responsibility for it when it became abandoned by its owners.  Ohio law mandates this is what should be done.  
Sharing an April 3, 2016 story in the Columbus Dispatch about the Floral Hills Memory Gardens which spotlighted the Pickaway County location and included information about the Ross County location and its plight as well.
Excerpt from: 
MATTHEW J. DeTEMPLE, Executive Director
House State & Local Government Committee
May 16, 2017
Proponent Testimony
HB 168 Modify Cemetery Law
"Townships and Cemeteries"

"Townships maintain over 2400 cemeteries in Ohio. Township cemetery law may generally be found in Ch. 517 of the Ohio Revised Code. A township is required to have a cemetery laid out in lots, number the lots, and the township fiscal officer must keep careful records of said actions (ORC §517.06). The board of trustees is required to make and enforce all needful rules and regulations for the division of the cemetery into lots and the allotment of lots to families or individuals, and for the care, supervision and improvements of said lots. ORC §517.06 further requires that the grass and weeds in the cemetery be cut at least twice a year.

The ORC mandates that a township provide for the protection and preservation of cemeteries under its jurisdiction (ORC §517.11). While the Code states that townships may re-erect any fallen tombstones, a 1975 Attorney General Opinion (OAG 75-083) states that “boards of township trustees have a duty to repair and re-erect monuments and tombstones in public cemeteries within their jurisdiction when the repair is necessary to keep the cemetery in good repair.” The opinion further states that “a board of township trustees has a duty to repair and re-erect monuments in a cemetery that has been vandalized.”

The township may choose to enclose township cemeteries with a fence or hedge but should they do so, the township is required to keep the fence or hedge in good repair (ORC §517.11). When a board of county commissioners has enclosed with a fence all abandoned public cemeteries in the county from which remains have not been removed, the board of township trustees shall keep the fence in good repair and remove the undergrowth and weeds at least once a year (ORC §517.32).

Townships, per ORC §517.11, are charged with the protection and preservation of cemeteries under their jurisdiction. If a public cemetery or a cemetery association wishes to have a board of township trustees take over responsibility of said cemetery, the board of trustees shall accept the transfer (ORC §517.27). Furthermore, a municipal corporation may abandon a cemetery outside the boundaries of the municipality and the trustees shall assume responsibility for the cemetery (ORC §517.28)."
The Pickaway County Sheriff's Department has announced on its website the upcoming Sheriff's Auction of the Floral Hills Memory Gardens, which is an active cemetery with at least 672 interments:.


Auction Date & Time:March 3, 2020 @ 1:30 p.m.
If Not Sold Second Sale Date:March 24, 2020 @ 1:30 p.m.
Case Number:2019DLT003
Address:Floral Hills Cemetery
Parcel Number:M30-0-004-00-037-00, M30-0-004-00-033-02, M30-0-004-00-048-00, M30-0-004-00-038-00, M30-0-004-00-039-00
Appraised Amount:
Start Bid:$100,853.78
Minimum Deposit:$15,000.00
Attorney Name:Jeffrey A. Catri