Thursday, August 25, 2011

Isaac Dewitt, “an old settler”

The gravestone for Isaac Dewitt (d. 1843) in Rivercliff Cemetery stands in the shade of a large maple tree. It features carvings of stars and a draped urn, the drapery neatly swagged on the urn.

In memory of
who died July 17,
1843; aged 49 yrs
4 mo & 11 ds.

Tis finished tis done the spirit is fled,
The prisner is gone the christian is dead:
The chistrian is living through Jesuss love,
And gladly receiving a kingdom above.

Text = Prepare to meet thy God.

In researching Mr. Dewitt, I found a passage in an 1880 book, History of Morrow County and Ohio by W. H. Perrin and J. H. Battle, that describes some early deaths in Gilead Township, one of which is Isaac Dewitt’s:

In early times the health of the people was remarkably good in this township, though a few were broken down by the hardships of a new country. There were no deaths in the township for about eight years after its first settlement. The first death was that of Elizabeth Bryant, daughter of Mrs. H. Ustick by a former husband, September 9, 1825, about eight years old; then there were some deaths of young children, and, in August, 1832, Mrs. John McQuig died, probably the first married person who died in the township; the next was Mrs. Charles Webster, who died in January, 1833, a resident of the village. Some disasters occurred, which may be properly noticed. About 1830 or 1831, three sons, nearly grown up, of Mr. Smith, a blind man, perished in the well; something like a snake was seen in the water, and one of them went down to get it out and fell, then another went down and he met with the same fate, and then another; and all perished by what is called damps. A few years after, a man committed suicide by poison, and, in the year 1843, Isaac DeWitt, Esq., an old settler, was killed in his own house by lightning.

As for the epitaph, the spelling and punctuation are less than perfect, but the sentiment is recognizable as the first verse of “A Funeral Hymn” by Charles Wesley (b. 1707, d. 1788).

Rivercliff Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio


  1. What Great Stories......
    Struck by lightning in your own home, now that's what I call bad luck !

  2. I'll be thinking about this one next time we have a thunderstorm.


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