Wishing Everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and A Reminder to Stay Safe Visiting Cemeteries!

Sharing Messages below courtesy of Mark Morton of Gravestone Guardians of Ohio

Thanksgiving Day meme from Mark Morton - 2015Talking Tree safety message - 11-25-2015

Sending these messages and reminders as we look forward to Thanksgiving and the upcoming Holiday Season when more of us tend to visit cemeteries and decorate relatives and ancestors gravesites. 

Please remember to be safe while at a cemetery.  And staying safe at a cemetery includes being careful when walking around monuments that could topple over.  They don’t have to be large or old monuments; just unstable ones. 

Since we may not always be sure if a monument is entirely stable, to be safe rather than sorry, please be mindful not to lean against or accidentally push on a marker or monument. 

Please stay near and watch children that come with you to the cemetery.  Children are curious and often play hide and seek around monuments or other games, and tragedy can strike so suddenly.  

The monuments below may be unsecured to their base; they are leaning and could topple over.

Nancy A. (Mitchell) Smith’s Gravestone is now Clean, Readable, and Standing Tall at the Old Burying Ground Cemetery in Greenfield, Ohio

Sharing two photographs courtesy of Scott Andersen who, along with several other volunteers, have been restoring for the past two years Greenfield’s oldest cemetery – the Old Burying Ground. 

Below are the before restoration and after restoration photographs of the Nancy A. (Mitchell) Smith gravestone that is the oldest gravestone found to date at the Old Burying Ground. 

“The Hills of Highland”

Copyright 1971

by Elsie Johnson Ayres

Hillsboro, Ohio
Page 644



            The first cemetery in Greenfield known today as “The Old Burying Ground” was a four-acre tract on the west bank of Paint Creek, set aside by Duncan McArthur for a church, school and a burying ground. It is located between Front Street and Paint Creek, from South to Jefferson Sts. A schoolhouse built on the ground in 1815 was abandoned in 1837 as a school. A stone church erected in 1821 was replaced with a brick church in 1854, called the First Presbyterian Church of Greenfield.

            The first entry in the cemetery was a small child of John and Ruth Coffey. The first adult burial was William Wallace Bell. When the new cemetery was selected, descendants of Bell removed his body to the new cemetery. Bell and William Smith were veterans of the Revolution. Smith was the son of Robert Smith and Jean (Buchanan) Smith. His mother was a sister of Pres. James Buchanan.

            William Smith died Mar. 4, 1836. His son, Robert, 1786-1856, served in the War of 1812, as did the following men buried in the “Old Burying Ground”: Robert Adams, 1768-1843; Andrew Arnott, 1791-1853; Edward Byram, 1783 – 1865 (named for his father, a veteran of the Revolution); John Coffey, 1772-1853; Robert Duncan, 1777-1846; James M. Milligan, 1774-1848; Capt. Wm. Murray, 1784-1871; William Patterson, 1785- 1843 and Christopher Shrock, 1782-1847.

            Many who fought in the Civil War are buried in the oldest cemetery in the town. One of the oldest legible tombstones is that of Nancy (Mitchell) Smith, wife of Samuel and mother of Dr. Samuel Mitchell Smith, surgeon during the Civil War. She died at the age of twenty, in 1816.

            It also contains the graves of Joshua Merrill, 1791 – June 28, 1851 and his wife, Rhoda, 1797 – Mar. 17, 1850, parents of Bishop Merrill; Dr. Thomas McGarrough, 1780 – 1860, and his wife, Margaret, 1780 – 1859; members of the McMullen, Bonner, Crothers, Ferneau (Fernow), Fullerton, Murray, McWilliams, Robinsons and many many more.”

Sharing a New Video from the “Save Shannon Cemetery” Group of Bluffton, Allen County, Ohio

Click HERE to view the Save Shannon Cemetery Group’s  “Youtube” Video.  It tells the sad story of a small town’s cemetery demise at the hands of its own leaders and officials.
Shannon Cemetery is the pioneer cemetery in Bluffton, Allen County, Ohio where the town’s officials continue to push to proceed with their plans to turn their historical Shannon Cemetery into a “cemetery park”.
Already, the Shannon Cemetery has been vandalized by its own town government because the officials have allowed the willful removal of the remaining standing gravestones, some of which are veterans’ markers, and have put them in storage to be later placed in concrete with the idea they could then comprise a “headstone display” elsewhere on the property.
Ask yourself, would you want your ancestors’ gravestones removed from their proper gravesites because of a plan as disrespectful and ill-conceived as this one is that would normally be deemed as illegal?

How sad it is that such a shameful plan has had the backing of the town’s officials who one would think should want to honor their own town’s history by protecting it; instead of purposely destroying it.  Moreover, they still refuse to acknowledge the error of their ways.

Save Shannon Cemetery on Facebook

The Shannon Cemetery on Find A Grave