Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mary Lusk, under the walnut tree

Depending on the time of year, you may want a hardhat if you visit St. John’s Episcopal Cemetery: There are mature black walnut trees there.

Last weekend the walnuts were falling, so I risked a knot on the head when I visited the grave of Mary Lusk (d. 1846), but I had to learn who was buried next to the trunk of the large walnut tree.

Sept. 6, 1846,
Æ20 Y#8217;rs 9 M.

At first glance, the epitaph appears to have been written especially for here; it mentions her name.

Mary hath chosen
that good part which shall
not be taken away from her.

It is from the Bible, Luke 10:42, which reads, “But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

It is unusual that this marker does not identify Mary as either a “wife of” or a “daughter of” (or both), making it a bit more challenging to learn about her. Perhaps she never married and her parents were not living at the time of her death.

Mary may have been a student at Worthington Female Seminary. An 1842 list of pupils at the school, transcribed in the July, 1899 issue of “The ‘Old Northwest’ Genealogical Quarterly,” includes a Mary Lusk. Is this our Mary?

Mary Fitch Kilbourn, this week’s Wednesday’s child, is listed as a pupil also. Note that her home is listed as Milwaukee, which is consistent with her family history.

From the Ohio Memory Collection of the Ohio Historical Society:

The Worthington Female Seminary was founded in 1839. It was the first female seminary of the Methodist Church west of the Alleghenies. The seminary was originally located in the Masonic Temple New England Lodge No. 4, located at 634 High Street in Worthington. The seminary building was dedicated in 1842, with classrooms on the first floor and boarding rooms for students above. Students from Worthington and surrounding communities, as well as a few from around the country, primarily Methodist ministers' daughters, were educated at the seminary. The seminary was initially very successful, often having as many as one hundred and fifty students. After the establishment of the Ohio Wesleyan Female College in 1853, the Worthington Female Seminary lost support and closed in 1857. The building became home to the Ohio Central Normal School in 1871, providing training for kindergarten, primary, intermediate, and secondary teachers. After the closing of the Ohio Central Normal School in 1880, the building was converted into a residential hotel called the Park Hotel. It then became a sanitarium named Worthdale and finally apartments in 1920. The site later became a parking lot for the Worthington United Methodist Church.

“The ‘Old Northwest’ Genealogical Quarterly, Volumes 1–2.” Google Books. Web. 30 July 2011. <>.
“Ohio Memory, a Product of the Ohio Historical Society and the State Library of Ohio.” Ohio Memory. Web. 30 July 2011. <,24975>.
“Byron Kilbourn.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 30 July 2011. <>.

St John’s Episcopal Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

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