Thanking The “Chillicothe Gazette” and Chris Balusik and Jona Ison for their in-depth research and reporting of the ongoing crisis that has overtaken Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio.
This once registered cemetery, that is still active, has not had a legal owner for several years.
This situation of unwanted abandonment has meant plot owners, and family and friends of those buried at Floral Hills Memory Gardens — as well as additional help from caring and concerned volunteers — have all had to continually step in to maintain the grounds and gravesites.
This story describes the events causing this long crisis and how its effects are creating unbearable hardship and heartache for those who have friends and loved ones buried at Floral Hills Memory Gardens; a modern cemetery that once held so much promise to be a beautiful place of eternal peace and rest.
Answers need to come for Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Chillicothe (and also the Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Circleville), and soon.
It happened to me late last night before shutting down the computer. Maybe it has happened to you too? Let me try to explain.
We contact other genealogical researchers; or vice versa. We correspond with them for a while (maybe it was years ago before the Internet and handwritten letters with SASE’s were the preferred choice of contact, or using your manual or electric typewriter to compile a neatly typed up correspondence with SASE’s), but time moves on and the exchanges trailed off. We move on to other unsolved genealogical mysteries that we realize lie before us begging to be solved.
And, speaking of ‘trails’…quite often among our last steps on the trail to learn more about the lives of our ancestors are those that lead us to the cemetery where they were buried. Invariably, we must pass by one grave marker after another; eagerly looking for the names on stones we are hoping to find. We see veterans with gravestones or waving flags that tell us they served in an early war such as the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, or the Civil War. Our ancestor may have also been a veteran. Our slow walk through the cemetery gives us a good look at who else found eternal rest and peace at the same cemetery our ancestor and their family chose for themselves.
So, whether you found your ancestor’s gravesite marked by a readable grave marker or not, you can gain a certain sense of who your ancestors’ neighbors were and how they also helped shape their community. You want to learn more about these folks whom you suspect your ancestor often greeted after church was over, shook hands with, or served alongside in one of those long ago wars.
You widen your research to include contacting those who are researching others buried at the same cemetery as your ancestor. It is easier to do since the Internet now too!
So it was that last night I decided to once again read through one of the documents I had compiled several years ago about the Butcher (AKA Walnut Grove) Cemetery in North Lewisburg, in Champaign County, Ohio where a 3rd great-aunt and her first husband, daughter, and a grand-daughter were buried. The document I chose to browse through was about just the veterans buried at this cemetery. In the notes, I came across two emails I had copied into the document from a charming lady named Jane “Janie” Martin Whitty. Her email address was “Whittyfun” which I thought was unique and yes, funny. Jane had actually found me first and decided to contact me; and I am so glad that she did.
Sharing Jane “Janie” Martin Whitty’s email to me from April of 2010.:
“I am trying to contact you. I am the Evans/Underwood descendant of Charles E. Evans, Civil War Veteran buried in Butcher/Garwood Cemetery in Champaign County, Ohio, mentioned in your PDF file at the North Lewisburg website (I am OhioHeritage with the Evans/Underwood family histories).
Charles E. Evans was my Great-great grandfather, and I also have info on the Underwood family Francis Sara Jane Underwood, daughter of Amos Underwood, who was his, Charles E. Evans’, wife). Amos Underwood and Sara Jane Rossell, his wife, were also residents of North Lewisburg, Champaign County, Ohio and are in the 1881 Beers history.
I have pictures and histories on them. One of their grandchildren, Frankie Underwood is also buried in Butcher Cemetery (and a daughter and son of Charles E. Evans, as well, buried there with Charles).
If there is any info I can contribute for your excellent research of that area and those residents during that time, please contact me at this site
I would also very much appreciate if you could send me a copy or transcription of the news article on Charles E. Evans death May 10, 1888 (published in the Urbana Daily citizen you referenced on the additional info). I live in Florida and this article has eluded me. Our family history has handed down that his death was a “hunting accident” but suspected suicide and they weren’t sure.
I would like to know more and can tell you what I know from what was handed down.
My email is: email@example.com of mine you found on Charles E. Evans
(Cached version as of May 15, 2018.: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://ohioheritage.tripod.com/ohioheritagephotoalbum/id1.html )
Thank you so much for your excellent research!!
Janie Martin Whitty – an Evans/Underwood Descendant…still researching after all these years.”
Of course, I recall being totally thrilled to hear from Janie and her email (which I can no longer find in my Yahoo email account!) which thankfully remains in that document for me to re-read anytime I want!
As I re-read Janie’s email again last night I felt an urging to see what Janie has been ‘up to’ since we last corresponded over 8 years ago. A Google search gave me my answer. Sadly, I learned that Janie passed away on December 25, 2015. I was overcome with grief knowing that Janie had passed away. With my feelings of loss came my guilt that I had not found a way to continue our correspondence so we could have stayed connected longer.
Thus, I want to share this beautifully touching tribute to Jane “Janie” Martin Whitty that was compiled by her family and shared in a slideshow of photographs from Janie’s childhood years to her last years. To me Janie and her research work live on, and what we shared with each other about her ancestors, my ancestors, the condition of the cemetery — all of it — remain with me in my memories and from re-reading her emails to me.
Sharing this moving and loving tribute to a dynamic lady who touched my life in a way I won’t ever forget.:
A cemetery is a sacred ground that lives and breathes with a history that changed a community during its years of early development. It may look long forgotten and neglected, but under the layers of vines, possibly intertwined with poison ivy, are what remain of the gravestones and monuments that mark the final resting places of those who came before us. If they want to be found, they will, I always tell myself; and there is a reason they reach out to those of us who are receptive to them. Not to just tell us their story, but to help us connect with each other!
“Memorializing the dead with grave markers, headstones and tombstones, family burial plots were marked with rough stones, rocks or wood as a way to keep the dead from rising. The deceased’s name, age and year of death were inscribed. From 1650-1900 square shaped tombstones from slate and sandstone evolved with churchyard burials. During the Victorian era (1837-1901) lavish and decorated gravestones included sculptured designs, artwork and symbols. Marble, granite, iron and wood were popular materials from 1780 to the present.
Mary Milne, professional genealogist, presents Epitaphs and Icons: Interpreting Gravestones on Monday, May 14, 2018 at the Avon Lake Public Library’s Waugaman Gallery. She has investigated cemetery records, carvings, and statues that provide clues to aid genealogy research. Learn how to interpret often-overlooked messages on gravestones.
All events, which are free, will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Waugaman Gallery at Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd.
Heritage Avon Lake is a local history organization that collects, preserves, and promotes oral, written, and physical history. For more information, visit www.heritageavonlake.org or call 440.549.4425.”
Reminder: The Next Volunteer Hands-On Cemetery Preservation Work Session at Greenfield’s earliest cemetery, The Old Burying Ground, will be coming up on Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 beginning at 9:00a.m. — it is a “stay as long as you can environment”.
The Old Burying Ground’s restoration/preservation efforts are now in their 5th year…and still going strong!!
Many of the historical society’s volunteers, namely, John King, Scott and Venus Andersen, Harold Schmidt, and Gloria Losey, have been volunteering since the beginning. Others have also joined them over the past years, including, Michael Lee Anderson and Jackie Doles, who are regulars as well.
You won’t find a more dedicated, and experienced group of caring individuals who are working to restore an early Ohio cemetery than these volunteers!
“What a beautiful day for work in the cemetery! We were able to realign more stones, repair a couple broken stones, clean some stones, and using the hoist, lift and reset a few of the heavier stones. Joining in were Scott Andersen, John King, Jackie Doles, Mike Anderson, Gloria Losey and her sister Karen, Harold Schmidt, and Avery Applegate (who came from Hillsboro to help).”
****How Can YOU Help?****
***Sunday, April 22, 2018***
Beginning at 9:00a.m.
“Since 2014, the Old Burying Ground (OBG) in Greenfield, Ohio, has been undergoing work by a group of dedicated volunteers. Throughout each year, work sessions have been held by project leaders Scott and Venus Andersen and John King.
Contact John King at the Greenfield Historical Society if you plan to attend.”
John King’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Old Burial Ground next to Travellers Rest
“Please join other volunteers as we continue to make improvements to the Old Burial Ground.
Join us for an upcoming work session. You can stay as long as you like.
We will help you get started if you have not participated previously.
Tasks range from cleaning stones, straightening stones, recording information, etc.
We post our scheduled sessions on the Greenfield Historical Society website calendar.”
(Select photographs below
from the 2014 Old Burying Ground Project
by Linda Jean Limes Ellis)
Link to the document for:
Visiting the men who fought and died
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