Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An intentionally misplaced gravestone

The oldest gravestone that I have found in this part of Ohio is an old slate marker, but it does not belong here. It belongs in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania at the graves of Jean Mitchell (d. 1746) and David Mitchell (d. 1757).

In memory of Jean
Mitchell who depd
this life August the
2d 1746 aged 40 YEars
& David Mitchell
who depd this life
November the 7 1757
aged 76 years.

The old slate stone is mounted on a larger memorial that explains how the slate gravestone found its way to Ohio.

This David Mitchell, head of our line of Mitchells in America, born in 1681, probably near Oromore, County Down, N.E. Ireland, settled in S.W. Lancaster County, Pa., Drumore Twp. about 1713, and was buried in the Morrison graveyard, near Chestnut Level, Pa. where W. G. Mitchell, my brother, and I, personally found this tablet with other Mitchell graves.

Because the graveyard was being rapidly obliterated, we brought the tablet with us in 1928. David Mitchell’s will, with other legal papers found in the records of Lancaster County Pa., “was duly proven Nov. 21, 1757.” The children named in this will were Samuel, Jean, Abraham, Margaret, Heleanor, Sarah, George and David. Samuel and his wife are buried under this monument. (Erected in 1947)

The legend is signed J. F. Mitchell, who is identified on FindAGrave.com as James Franklin Mitchell (b. 1867, d. 1947).

J. F. Mitchell is buried near his ancestors in Mitchell Cemetery.

Does the old slate gravestone belong here or there? What would you do if you came upon a cemetery in serious disrepair? Would you collect your ancestor’s stones to save them from possible destruction?

Mitchell Cemetery, Union County, Ohio

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fragments: Horace Andrews

The gravestone that once marked the grave of Horace Andrews (d. 1859) is broken and two large pieces lean against the standing gravestone for Catharine Michael (d. 1862).

Apr. 22, 1859
69 Yrs. [4?] ms.
& 16 da’s

    Milford Center Cemetery, Union County, Ohio

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A classic epitaph

The gravestone for John Everett (d. 1857) has been flat on the ground for a number of years. In fact, there are quite a few stones laid flat alongside the old church building at Liberty Church Cemetery.

Are they in their original locations? Or are the graves to which they belong now unmarked?

July 26, 1857.
23 ys. 11 mo. 28 ds.

The epitaph is a young man’s version of a classic. Spend any time at all in an old graveyard and you are sure to find some version of this epitaph:

Stop young friend as you passby
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, January 27, 2012

A draped monument

The monument that marks the grave of John F. Cummins (b. 1836, d. 1897) is modest, with nicely carved drapery that has been “died” brownish-orange with lichen.

(Or is it algae? Must study up on identifying lichen, algae, and mosses.)

NOV. 20, 1836,
DEC. 27, 1897.

A quick search on FamilySearch.org yields a potential document for this Mr. Cummins: A marriage record. John F. Cummins married Emily Everett on July 25, 1875 in Delaware County.

Delaware County Burials published online by Delaware County Genealogical and Historical Societies lists this Mr. Cummins as John Frank Cummins.

The 1870 Federal Census for Orange Township in Delaware County (adjacent to the cemetery’s township) shows Frank Cummins as head of household with Emily Everett, housekeeper, residing in the home.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Until death do us part

Thomas B. Berry (d. 1856) was only 35 years old when he died. His wife, Maria Berry (d. 1900) lived as an unmarried widow until her death. She was 79.

Maria is buried with her husband, her inscription added to his gravestone.

Thos. B. BERRY
Feb. 3, 1856
35 Y’16 D’s
DIED DEC. 16, 1900
AGED 79 Y. 1M. 4D.

The book carved on the monument is most likely meant to be a Bible. The words inscribed on the pages are too weathered to read today.

Prospect Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Infant Harrold

Tiny Red Bank Cemetery offers only one tiny clue to the family of Infant daughter Harrold (d. 1844): Nearby is the grave of a possible relative, James Harrold, who died in 1823 at about 52 years of age.

In Memory of
daughter of
died Dec. 1, 1844;
Aged 10 days

The small tablet marker has no decorative carvings, but the shape itself is decorative with its gothic-arch-shaped tympanum and rounded shoulders.

Red Bank Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Grandpa was a male

After all this time, I noticed only yesterday that the 1900 Federal Census lists Hallie Grover O’Neal (b. 1890, d. 1971) as a female.

At best, the name Hallie is gender neutral, but Grandpa was a male.

1900 Federal Census image (Preble Co., OH) from FamilySearch.org

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wife and second wife, side by side

These matching stones interested me the moment I read them. Both are simply done in white marble. Both have well-intentioned repairs to serious breaks.

Both women, Jane Harrison (d. 1840) and Esther Harrison (d. 1846), were married to the same man. One is declared to be “second wife.”

Second wife of
Feb. 17, 1846.
Aged 57 yrs.
wife of
July 18, 1840.
Aged 62 yrs.

In April 1907, The “Old Northwest” Genealogical Quarterly published a listing of monument inscriptions (with annotations) for the cemetery, including the inscriptions for the Harrisons:

Curious about where Isaac is buried? Right next to Jane, his first wife.

Blendon Central Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Our Family” of one?

The solid, arched monument proclaims “Our Family” across the arch—but only one name is inscribed, Isiblia J. Bonner (d. 1887).

wife of
Jan. 26, 1887
Aged 55 Ys.
3 M. 9 D.

Not only is there only one name on the monument, it is apparently misspelled. This likely should be Isabella Bonner, wife of John Bonner.

A license for John Bonner and Isabella David to marry was recorded in Delaware County on March 15, 1854. The 1880 Federal Census in Thompson Township, Delaware County shows John and Isabella living on a farm with three children.

1880 Federal Census image from Ancestry.com

The marriage of John Bonner and Malinda Liggett (widow of Joseph Liggett) was recorded in Delaware County on January 25, 1891. The 1900 Federal Census shows John and Malinda Bonner living in Scioto Township, Delaware County. The 1910 Federal Census lists Malinda Bonner as a widow.

Delaware County Burials published online by Delaware County Genealogical and Historical Societies shows Malinda Bonner buried in Mill Creek Cemetery. John Bonner’s burial location is not listed.

Subset of Bonner burials from Delaware County Burials online

Is Isabella buried alone in Radnor Cemetery?

Perhaps John, who may have been a Civil War veteran, is buried next to Isabella after all: There is a GAR star at the gravesite.

Radnor Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, January 20, 2012

“By hard work and economy”

A few of the old gravestones in Old Radnor Welsh Cemetery (also known as Troedrhiwdalar Cemetery) are broken, but the cemetery and the church building are being well cared for. In fact, the old church building recently underwent a renovation and, at the time of my visit, was flying a Welsh flag.

The monument at the grave of David Lewis (b. 1817, d. 1877) is a handsome draped obelisk. It offers what I think of as a family history bonus: Place of birth.

in Trelech Parish
SEP. 28, 1877
60 Yrs. 29 Ds.
For to me to live is
Christ, and to die
is gain.
History of Delaware County and Ohio by William Henry Perrin and O.L. Baskin & Co. (1880) includes a short biographical sketch of David Lewis:

One by one the old settlers of Delaware Co. are passing away; among the highly honored men of the county may be mentioned Mr. Lewis, who was born in South Wales Aug. 29, 1817. He was married in that county at 19 years of age to Miss Anna Thomas, and came to America with his wife and one child and located in Newark, Ohio, where he remained some ten years; he then moved to Delaware Co., and settled on a farm about one and a half miles northwest of Delaware; he worked at his trade of bricklaying in Delaware for a number of years; by hard work and economy he managed to save enough money to purchase a farm, where he engaged in farming for a number of years before his death. He was a member of the Welsh Church from the time the present church was build, for a number of years being a Deacon of this church. After the death of his first wife, he married Miss Margaret Griffiths; five children are living. Mr. Lewis accumulated a good farm of some 240 acres. He departed this life Sept. 29, 1877, a Christian man and a kind father and husband, and respected by his fellow-men. Geo. W. Lewis, who was born in Delaware Co., is conducting the farm.

Old Radnor Welsh Cemetery aka Troedhiwdalar Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Rhoda P. Dean

When the census taker knocked on the Dean family’s farm house door in July 1850, Rhoda P. Dean (d. 1850) was just four months old. She died before reaching her first birthday.

RHODA P. Daug’r
of Wm. & H. Dean
Died Sept. 5, 1850.
Aged 7 M. & 6 D’s.

1850 Federal Census image from FamilySearch.org

Rivercliff Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grave images: Doves

The dove is a traditional Christian symbol for love and peace. It also is a symbol for the Holy Spirit.

Does the direction of a dove’s flight (for example, descending) give us a clue to its intended meaning on a gravestone?

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. (Matthew 3:16)
Not all gravestone doves are in flight. It is not unusual to find the statue of a lifeless dove on a gravestone, especially a child’s: A strong symbol for an innocent life cut short.

Milford Center Cemetery, Union County, Ohio; Pleasant Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio; Darby Township Cemetery, Madison County, Ohio; Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio; West Rushville Cemetery, Fairfield County, Ohio; Thomas Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, January 16, 2012

Epitaph: When the day of life is fled

The stone that marks the grave of Jane Carver (d. 1846) is a rather plain tablet marker. While some of the lettering is decorative, there are no symbolic carvings—no willows, no urns, no drapery.

There is, however, a poetically hopeful epitaph.

Daughter of
Feb. 26, 1846;
Aged 20 years

Dearest Sister; thou has left us,
Here the loss we deeply feel,
But ’tis God that hath bereft us,
He can all our sorrows heal.

Yet again we hope to meet thee,
When the day of life is fled,
Then in heaven with joy to greet thee,
Where no farewell tear [is shed.]

Samuel Francis Smith
The epitaph is from the hymn “The Departed” by Samuel Francis Smith (b. 1808, d. 1895), a Baptist minister, author, and editor who is perhaps best known as the author of the “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”

Sister, thou was mild and lovely,
Gentle as the summer breeze,
Pleasant as the air of evening,
When it floats among the trees.

Peaceful be thy silent slumber,—
Peaceful in the grave so low:
Thou no more wilt join our number;
Thous no more our song shalt know.

Dearest sister, thou hast left us;
Here thy loss we deeply feel;
But ’tis God that hath bereft us:
He can all our sorrows heal.

Yet again we hope to meet thee
When the day of life is fled;
Then, in heaven, with joy to greet thee,
Where no farewell tear is shed.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A restored monument

The marble gravestone for William James (d. 1875) has a graceful silhouette and a classic willow carving.

Mar. 15, 1875
In his 62 year.

“Jesus said I am the resurrection
and the life he that believeth in me
though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

The stone, once broken in half, has been repaired and reset on a rough concrete (or other composite material) base. There is a small metal tag affixed to the base that presumably identifies the company that restored the James gravestone:

Dunkirk, OH 45836
419 759 [NNNN]

It is interesting to note that Dunkirk is quite a distance from Liberty Township—75 miles, according to Google Maps. Were there no local craftsmen or companies who would undertake the restoration?

Then again, perhaps whoever arranged for the restoration (a James descendant?) was a Hardin County resident.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, January 13, 2012

Doorway to...where?

At first glance, the simple carving on the gravestone for Phebe Jane Kellam in Butter Cemetery appears to be an obelisk on a pedestal.

But why is there a doorway in it?

Daughter of
George and
Sarah M. Kellam,

The door could be interpreted as a doorway to the afterlife, especially if it were ajar. Or does the carving represent Phebe’s tomb? Is this simply a door such as one you would see on a mausoleum?

Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Thursday, January 12, 2012

“First female white child born in Ohio”

Last summer I heard that the first female white child born in Ohio was buried in a nearby county.

I love superlatives: first, biggest, smallest, tallest. So at the first opportunity, I checked the cemetery location with Google Maps on my smartphone and headed out to find the grave of the FFWCBIO.

When I reached Mitchell Cemetery, I immediately noticed an engraved boulder that promised me I was in the right spot for the grave of the FFWCBIO.

It took a just a few minutes more to find the grave of Mary Hawn (b. 1791, d. 1881) at the edge of the cemetery next to a cornfield.

Will you forgive me if I confess a moment of disappointment? I didn’t realize it until I stood at the monument, but I had expected to find an early 1800s gravestone for a child or young girl. This was a late 1800s monument for an adult woman.

(Or it may even be a newer, replacement monument. The style of the lettering seems rather modern.)

The moment of disappointment quickly passed. The monument may not be particularly old or unique in its design, but this is the FFWCBIO!

mar. 5, 1791
june 21, 1861

The monument declares that Mary Hawn was “born in a block house where Cincinnati now stands; and the first white female child born in Ohio.”

According to The History of Union County by Pliny A. Durant (1883),

Philip Hawn settled on Survey 3,750, of 100 acres, in the western part of the township in 1819, and remained there till his death. His wife, Mrs. Mary Hawn, claimed to have been the first white female child born at Cincinnati, where her birth occurred March 5, 1791. Her father was Jacob Linsicome, who came down the Ohio from Pennsylvania in the fall of 1790 and stayed during the ensuing winter with his family within what are now the limits of Cincinnati. Soon after the birth of Mary, he purchased land in Turkey Bottom and removed his family there. He died of small-pox within three years after, and his widow subsequently became the wife of Samuel Edwards. After a short time they moved to a place on the stream called Sycamore, and in 1821 to the Pickaway plains, settling three miles from Circleville. Here Mary married Philip Hawn, and having exchanged her share of her father’s land in Hamilton County for the 100 acres in Jerome, removed to it with her husband in 1819. She survived her husband some years and died at the residence of her son Joseph Hawn near Unionville Center, June 21, 1861.

The 1860 Federal Census for Darby Township in Union County shows a Mary Hohn, 69 years old and born in Ohio, in the John Miner household. Is this our Mary? Mary is not listed in the Joseph Hawn household (which is only a few households away from the Miner household) in 1860.

1860 Federal Census image from Ancestry.com

Was Mary Linsicome Hawn the first female born in Ohio? She evidently believed it to be so—and so does the Union County Historical Society.

Mitchell Cemetery, Union County, Ohio

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Lewis L. McCay

The little angel on the gravestone of Lewis L. McCay (d. 1864) points upward, reassuring us that young Lewis has gone on to heaven.

son of
J. & E. McCAY,
Sep. 11, 1864,
Æ. 11y. 8m. 8d.

The stone bears the mark of the monument maker: Cotton, Mt. Vernon (Ohio).

Lewis’s parents appear to be John and Eliza McCay who, together with seven children (all boys!), were living in nearby Porter Township, Delaware County at the time of the 1860 Federal census. Lewis, the middle child of the seven, was 7 years old.

1860 Federal census image from Ancestry.com

Rich Hill Cemetery, Knox County, Ohio
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