Sheriff’s Sale Notice – Floral Hills Memory Gardens – Circleville, Pickaway County, Ohio

What is happening with the Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Circleville, Pickaway County, Ohio  — should not happen to any Ohio cemetery regardless of its status; most certainly it should not be happening to one that is active.  The township should have taken it over and assumed responsibility for it when it became abandoned by its owners.  Ohio law mandates this is what should be done.  

Sharing an April 3, 2016 story in the Columbus Dispatch about the Floral Hills Memory Gardens which spotlighted the Pickaway County location and included information about the Ross County location and its plight as well.

Excerpt from: 

MATTHEW J. DeTEMPLE, Executive Director

House State & Local Government Committee

May 16, 2017

Proponent Testimony

HB 168 Modify Cemetery Law


“Townships and Cemeteries”

“Townships maintain over 2400 cemeteries in Ohio. Township cemetery law may generally be found in Ch. 517 of the Ohio Revised Code. A township is required to have a cemetery laid out in lots, number the lots, and the township fiscal officer must keep careful records of said actions (ORC §517.06). The board of trustees is required to make and enforce all needful rules and regulations for the division of the cemetery into lots and the allotment of lots to families or individuals, and for the care, supervision and improvements of said lots. ORC §517.06 further requires that the grass and weeds in the cemetery be cut at least twice a year.

The ORC mandates that a township provide for the protection and preservation of cemeteries under its jurisdiction (ORC §517.11). While the Code states that townships may re-erect any fallen tombstones, a 1975 Attorney General Opinion (OAG 75-083) states that “boards of township trustees have a duty to repair and re-erect monuments and tombstones in public cemeteries within their jurisdiction when the repair is necessary to keep the cemetery in good repair.” The opinion further states that “a board of township trustees has a duty to repair and re-erect monuments in a cemetery that has been vandalized.”

The township may choose to enclose township cemeteries with a fence or hedge but should they do so, the township is required to keep the fence or hedge in good repair (ORC §517.11). When a board of county commissioners has enclosed with a fence all abandoned public cemeteries in the county from which remains have not been removed, the board of township trustees shall keep the fence in good repair and remove the undergrowth and weeds at least once a year (ORC §517.32).

Townships, per ORC §517.11, are charged with the protection and preservation of cemeteries under their jurisdiction. If a public cemetery or a cemetery association wishes to have a board of township trustees take over responsibility of said cemetery, the board of trustees shall accept the transfer (ORC §517.27). Furthermore, a municipal corporation may abandon a cemetery outside the boundaries of the municipality and the trustees shall assume responsibility for the cemetery (ORC §517.28).”

The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Department has announced on its website the upcoming Sheriff’s Auction of the Floral Hills Memory Gardens, which is an active cemetery with at least 672 interments:.

Auction Date & Time: March 3, 2020 @ 1:30 p.m.
If Not Sold Second Sale Date: March 24, 2020 @ 1:30 p.m.
Case Number: 2019DLT003
Address: Floral Hills Cemetery
City: Circleville
State: Ohio
ZIP: 43113
Parcel Number: M30-0-004-00-037-00, M30-0-004-00-033-02, M30-0-004-00-048-00, M30-0-004-00-038-00, M30-0-004-00-039-00
Appraised Amount:
Start Bid: $100,853.78
Minimum Deposit: $15,000.00
Attorney Name: Jeffrey A. Catri

Spotlighting the Staunton Methodist Cemetery – Staunton, Concord Township, Fayette County, Ohio

Below are photographs courtesy of those who have so kindly offered to share them as documentation for the Ohio History Inventory Form for the Staunton Methodist Cemetery


Thanking Christopher Riley for sharing his beautiful photograph seen below taken of the Staunton Methodist Church. 

Thanking Eugene “Gene” Wilt for sharing a photograph from his Staunton Methodist Cemetery collection of the William Johnson marker at the Staunton Methodist Cemetery. 
With his death listed as having been 1833, William Johnson is the earliest known burial at this still active cemetery. 

Thanking Bob Russell of the Fayette County Historical Society for providing  important and striking scenes of the stately Staunton Methodist Church with it original wrought iron gate and fence that still runs along Staunton-Sugar Grove Road (County Road 52).  

Views of some of the taller monuments are included in most photos.

 (Above photo collage)
Left to right:  

The Joseph Trimble Limes monument and bugler statue; the tallest monument in the Staunton Methodist Cemetery.

Photograph taken by Mr. Ted Waddle on January 7, 2020.

The graves of Levi Limes, his parents Harmon Limes, and Elizabeth Rowe Limes, are marked by the two white marble monuments and half-round marker shown in a photograph taken by Linda Jean Limes Ellis who also took photographs of the dark granite Limes family monument which stands for some of the remaining children of Harmon and Elizabeth Limes.  They are Henry S. LimesMartha Jane Limes Sharp, and Herressa A. Limes.


Two images and map insets from Google 

Excerpted from:
“Selected Histories of

Fayette County Churches”

Project requested by: 

Christopher Siscoe

Records compiled and printed by: 

Maria Wilburn

Page 100


“The Staunton M. E. Church Society in the village of Staunton, Concord Township, was organized A. D. 1820, and the first church was a rude structure, erected A. D. 1833.

According to early information the building was of log construction. Prior to the erection of the old log church, the pioneers had held their meetings in the various cabins and later on in the school house. Henry Turner is mentioned as an early circuit rider, coming to the community from Hillsboro to conduct meetings. In order to be present at his many

appointments, it was said that he was compelled to travel twenty-eight days each month and thus had but little time for recreation.

An early preacher mentioned in Dills History of Fayette County was Ebenezer Webster. Among the first elders were John Collins and William Simmons.

The Society enlarged until in 1851 a substantial frame church was built. This church was used by the parishioners until around the turn of the century when plans were discussed

for the construction of a brick edifice for worship services.g

It was definitely decided in the spring of 1900 to build the present church, a leading incentive to the construction of the building being the demise of $1,000 left by the late Robert Worthington.

In order to make room for the building of the new structure, the old church was moved to a vacant lot at the eastern edge of the village. It stood there for sometime until Mr. Morris Sharp, of Washington Court House, Ohio, paid $100 for the building, which was dismantled and moved to Washington C. H. where it was rebuilt on South Fayette Street and known for years as Wesley Chapel. The building replacing the old frame church was constructed of brick and stone with a slate roof. It has a bowled floor, seated with circular pews of quartered oak, which will comfortably seat about 400 persons, There are three large Gothic windows, elegantly set with beautiful art stained glass adorning the superstructure. One contains designs of the “Good Shepherd,” the “Cross,” “Crown” and “Anchor,” dedicated to the memory of the late Robert Worthington who for many years was a devoted member of the church and its causes.

On either side of the pulpit are two small rooms used for choir and library purposes. The Staunton M. E. Church Society deserve great credit for their cheerful and liberal contributions to the Building Fund and they take real pleasure in voicing appreciation to the many who so liberally contributed. The Ladies’ Aid Society displayed great tact and untiring energy in their efforts to raise as large a contribution as possible. The Ladies’ Aid was organized on May 9, 1899 with the following officers serving;

Mrs. P. W. Drumm, President; Mrs. Robert Worthington, Vice-President; Miss Stella Watson, Secretary; Mrs. Mattie McCoy, Asst. Sect’.; Mrs. J. E. Mark Treasurer. Many dollars were indirectly added to the Building Fund by donations to the society ranging in value from fractional parts of a. dollar to several dollars. Listed as members of the building committee were: Henry Mark, President; E. R. VanPelt, Vice-President; I. N. Rowe, Rec. Sect’.; J. E. Mark, Cor. Sect’,; Wm. Worthington, Treas.; L. H. Mark, and P. W. Drumm. Board of Trustees at the time included; Henry Mark, E. R. VanPelt, John Deer, Lewis Mark, Charles Stafford, Spencer Calvert, Clark Rowe, A. C. McCoy, J. E. Mark.

Dedicatory services were held on Sunday, February 3, 1901, with worship at 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. During the morning hour scripture readings were offered by Rev. D. Y. Murdock and Rev. J. W. Baker while invocation was pronounced by Rev. R. Watson. The morning sermon was given by Rev. J. W. Bashford, D, D., President of the Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, Ohio. Rev. A. H, Norcross, D. D., pastor of Grace M. E. Church, Washington C. H., Ohio, had the sermon at the evening service. Formal dedication was made by Rev. Bashford. The minister of the Staunton Methodist Church. at the time was Rev. P. W. Drumm.

In the early days, Staunton, Buena Vista, Mt. Carmel and Asbury Chapel made up the circuit. When Mt. Carmel burned and wasn’t rebuilt, Maple Grove and Camp Grove were added, That was about the years, 1912 to 1914. Staunton became part of a parish later on. Other churches in the parish included Good Hope, Buena Vista, Cochran, Maple Grove, Sugar Grove and New Martinsburg. The parsonage was then changed from Staunton to Good Hope. In the 1940’s-, Staunton became part of the Bloomingburg District, of which district it is now identified. Rev. Lester Taylor, of Bloomingburg is the present pastor. Other pastors who have served the church through the years included such names as Rev. Postle, Rev. Drumm, Rev. Bancroft, Rev. Clifford, Rev. Isaac Sollars, Rev. Ricketts, Rev. Creamer, Rev. Sudlow, Rev. Rose, Rev. Jones, Rev. N. H. Peterson, Rev. Meyers, Rev. Beckett, Rev. Haycock, Rev. Tucker, Rev. Marshall, Rev. Baughn, and Frank Hughes, Ohio Wesleyan University student, who served as substitute preacher during one summer.

Floors were sanded and the church redecorated about 12 years ago – 1943. A dedication was held then with Rev. Baughn the pastor in charge at that time.

Extensive redecorating to the interior has been underway at the church in recent months. New carpet has also been laid to further add to the attractiveness of the surroundings.

This year – 1955 – membership stands at approximately 100. Preaching services are held every two weeks at 9:30 a.m. Sunday School is held every Sunday, one morning at 9:30 a.m. and the next at 10:30 a.m., depending on preaching.”


1955 Dedication

“Most of the 100 members of Staunton Methodist Church, together with guests and former members from Washington C. H., Springfield, Chillicothe and Cleveland attended dedication services for the redecorated church on Sunday, May 22, 1955. 

The interior of the church has been completely done over. The floors and pews have been refinished, new carpeting has

been laid and new drapes hung, and a large portrait of Christ now dominates the front of the church.

Following the morning class session a worship service was held at 11 a.m. with Rev. Lester Taylor offering a sermon based on the Book of Psalms. In the congregation were 18 families from Selden Grange. At noon a potluck dinner was held at Staunton school.  Returning to the church, members and guests enjoyed the formal dedication service at 2 p.m. conducted by Rev. Marshall, a former pastor of the Staunton Church. Other than the dedication sermon, there were several talks given by members of long standing covering major events in the history of the church. The talks were prepared and delivered by W. P. Wikel, Miss Blanche Roberts, Miss Mazie Rowe, Miss Annette Stafford, Mrs. Pearl McCurdy and Lawrence Sheridan.  Present at the dedication service were a dozen members of the Sunday School class taught for years by Mrs. Mary Stafford, who would be over a century old if she were still living. 

Eight church members who attended the original dedication of the church after its construction in 1901 were on hand for the services May 22, 1955. They were Miss Blanche Roberts, Miss Mazie Rowe, Miss Annette Stafford, Mr. and Mrs. Foster Wikle, W. E. Sollars, Mrs. Vada McCoy and W. P. Wikel.”

(Facts from Record-Herald dated May 23, 1955.)

The two images above comprise the W.P.A. Cemetery Plat map created for the Staunton Methodist Cemetery with the listing

of known veterans up to and including World War I.   

The veterans’ names, grave locations, and war designations are listed.

Their burial plots are noted on the map. 

 Below are the Veterans Graves Registration Cards obtained from the Fayette County Recorder’s Office.

These cards can serve as companion records for the W.P.A. Cemetery Plat maps.    

Note that James Cannon, M. D. was re-interred at the Washington  Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio

































“Vandals Destroy Cemetery from 1800s” — An Spotlight Story about the Moonville Cemetery in Vinton County, Ohio

This horrific story of what may have been repeated vandalism attacks over a period of time at a small Ohio cemetery that has been circulating on Facebook in the last day or so, is now more publicly covered.


On January 3, 2020, Channel 4, an NBC Affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, offered further details including a link to the county sheriff’s office for submitting tips.


Vandals Destroy Cemetery from 1800s” by Tony Mirones


The Moonville Cemetery is quite small indeed.”  

Find A Grave” lists only 26 known burials for it.


Although the Moonville Cemetery is located in a remote location in Ohio’s least populous county, it has attracted attention over the years for paranormal reasons.


From the websites:

“The Ghosts. The Legends. The Town.”:

The link for the Moonville Cemetery.


“Ohio Ghost Stories, Legends, and Haunts”

“Ghostly Geocaches – “Moonville (the town and tunnel)


Moonville on Wikipedia


“Vinton County Sheriff’s Office Captain Lydel Cain confirmed with NBC4 that the cemetery was vandalized.”

“It’s under investigation. 

We have a little bit of information, 

and we would like more. 

We are trying to pin down

 a certain area of time,” said Cain. 

“Until we get more information 

there is no police report.”

“Anyone with information is asked to call

 the Vinton County Sheriff’s office at

 740-596-4222 or, 

you can drop them an email by clicking this link.”


We look forward to reading follow-up stories that bring news of the apprehension of those responsible for desecrating this early Ohio cemetery.

Spotlighting Captain James M. S. Butcher – Co. “I” of the 30th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry – Civil War – Buried at the Butcher Cemetery in North Lewisburg, Ohio

“Captain James M. S. Butcher – 

He left more than ‘His Mark’ behind as his legacy.”


Letters written in his own hand

Captain James M. S. Butcher;

“Reel # 942, page 19, Series M653, of the 1860 U.S. Federal Census: the Butcher family is shown residing in North Lewisburg (Lewisburgh). 

John M. Butcher’s age was 42, and occupation is shown as physician. 

Nancy age 35; male, J. M. S., age 22, occupation listed as “teacher of penmanship”; female, M. J. age 20, occupation listed as “school teacher”; female, E. A., age 17; male, J. C., age 15 and Minerva Helms, age 4.


Even though Captain James M. S. Butcher led a short life, dying at age 28, he left a legacy that should not be forgotten.

Per Butcher family bible records, James M. S. Butcher was the son of John Milton Butcher and Mary Ann Johnson Butcher.   *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Dr. John Milton Butcher was married twice. First, to Mary Ann Johnson who was born on December 15, 1816. They married on December 8, 1836. Mary Ann Johnson Butcher died on February 10, 1842. 

On February 23, 1843, Dr. John Milton Butcher married Nancy Brock who was born on September 22, 1823. Nancy Brock Butcher died on August 8, 1898.


James M.S. Butcher was Mustered-In as a 1st Sergeant on September 24, 1861 at Fort Wayne, Indiana for 3 years. During his time fighting in the Civil War, he was promoted several times; finally becoming a Captain. 


Captain James M. S. Butcher was wounded 

at Murfreesboro or Stone River, Tennessee – December 30 to January 3, 1863

Captain James M. S. Butcher suffered a gun shot wound of his left hand.   

January 8, 1863 

Captain James M. S. Butcher was wounded at Chickamauga – contusion of the ankle joint.  

September 19-20 1863


Above is a fragment of the gravemarker

for Captain James M. S. Butcher

at the Butcher 

AKA Walnut Grove Cemetery

in North Lewisburg, Ohio

HB168 – Ohio Cemetery Grant Program – Recipients Listing Released

September 9, 2019: 

From the Ohio Department of Commerce

 Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing:
“The Division received 143 on-time cemetery grant applications! 

What a tremendous response to the first year of this grant program.” 

October 9, 2019:

Sharing a Ohio Department of Commerce 

“News Release”

HB168 Ohio Cemetery Grant Program 

Listing of Recipients for 2020

If you have any questions or require additional assistance, 

please contact the Division at: 

614-466-5384 or 

Complete information and forms can be found at

From the office of Rep. Dick Stein – House Bill 168 Sponsor:

“Each year/ grant cycle, $100k will be transferred from the Division of Cemeteries burial permit fund to the Cemetery Grant Fund. Annual issuance of burial permits exceeds the grant fund amount to ensure its future availability. There is an existing statute that caps distribution of many state grants to 80% of the total fund–this is to account for administering funds and financial market fluctuations. It is possible for leftover monies to carryover to the next grant cycle. We are very happy to see so much interest and hope those projects not funded this round have a future opportunity.”

Please keep in mind that inactive cemeteries with no burials during the prior 25 calendar years, family burial cemeteries, and for-profit cemeteries are not eligible to receive a grant under this program. 

Ohio Administrative Code – 1301:13-7 Eligibility for Grants

Link to Cemetery Grant Forms

Scroll down to find the

 Cemetery Grant Application Instructions


The Cemetery Grant Application

Floral Hills Memory Gardens at both the Ross County and Pickaway County locations are heading toward a resolution of their long-standing problems

Sharing two newspaper reports about two Ohio cemeteries – with the same name – one in Ross County and the other one in Pickaway County.  

They are Floral Hills Memory Gardens.  News about their situations has been shared in several posts on this blog. 

First, thanking Sheridan Hendrix for researching and writing this news story primarily regarding the Floral Hills Memory Gardens location in Ross County that was published in the “Columbus Dispatch” on October 3, 2019. :

“Despite Law Change, Ohio’s abandoned cemeteries still in limbo” 

Abandoned, yet active, cemeteries are an increasing reality in Ohio. 

Because of this fact, a broader outreach to educate the general public about them is important.

This feature article also cites and has links to stories that have been published about Fairview Memorial Park in Delaware County, and Grandview Memorial Park in Portage County — both cemeteries were victims of criminal activity committed by their owners who are currently in prison. 

A sobering focus details the ongoing maintenance issues for those left behind  through no fault of their own.   

It has been six years since Dave Robertson began tending to the 37-acre lawn of Floral Hills Memory Gardens near Chillicothe.”

I’d rather we don’t ever need to write and read stories like this one, but since they are a reality, bringing increased awareness about them IS needed. 

This is a sobering story indeed.  So sad because it should not have to be that in the 21st Century, and in Ohio, we have abandoned and orphaned, active cemeteries that have also lost their registration with the state.  

Those with complaints about such cemeteries must proceed through the steps of first submitting them to the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission (“OCDRC”)  The OCDRC will investigate the complaint and act upon it accordingly.Because of the passage of HB 168 in 2018, the OCDRC can refer the case to a local Court of Common Pleas. Next, will be the appointment of a suitable Receiver who will have the duty of handling the operations of the cemetery, which includes re-registering it with the Department of Real Estate; until a permanent owner can be found.


Meanwhile, the adversely affected cemetery sits with no legal owner to care for it in all of the ways a cemetery deserves to be maintained. 


 Hopefully, the Floral Hills Memory Gardens in Ross County gets the much-needed and long-awaited help in the form of a Receiver and finding a suitable and permanent owner for it.   

“Clean Up Floral Hills” – on Facebook Ross County Location. 


Now, we turn our attention to this notice published in the “Circleville Herald”:


Publish Date:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Notice Content


“Notice is hereby given that an action against Ronald L. Downey and Joseph L. Miller, in the Court of Common Pleas, Pickaway County, OH, 207 S. Court Street, Circleville, OH 43113, was filed on 3/14/19 styled Ellery Elick, Treasurer, Pickaway County, Ohio, Plaintiff v. Ronald L. Downey, et al, Defendants, Case No. 2019DLT003. 

The Complaint is to foreclose the lien of real estate taxes due and payable on the real property known as Floral Hills Cemetery, US 23 and Little Walnut Road, Circleville, OH 43113, PPN M30-0-004-00-037-00, M30-0-004-00-033-02, M30-0-004-00-048-00, M30-0-004-00-038-00 and M30-0-004-00-039-00, last transfer OR Vol. 615, Pg. 2642; OR Vol. 646, Pg. 2365. Legal description can be viewed on the Pickaway County Recorders website at The prayer in the complaint is: 1. The Treasurer be found to have a good and valid lien on the within described real property, in the sums of $55,246.63, 11,974.61, 8,648.27, 8,648.27 and 976.67, respectively, plus accrued taxes, assessments, penalties, interest and costs. 2. That all defendants be required to set up their claims or be forever barred. 3. That unless the amount found to be due to this plaintiff be paid within a reasonable time as established by this Court, the equity of redemption be foreclosed and an order of sale issue to the Sheriff of Pickaway County, Ohio directing him to sell the real property which is the subject of this action as provided in 5721.19 ORC. 4. Such other and further relief in law and in equity as proper. All defendants are required to answer the complaint within 28 days after the last publication of this notice which will be published once each week for six successive weeks. The last publication will be made on 11/01/19 and the 28 days for answer will commence on that date. if defendant fails to answer or otherwise respond as required, judgment by default will be rendered against you for the relief demanded in the complaint. Jeffrey A. Catri Asst. Prosecuting Attorney Pickaway County, Ohio 203 South Scioto Street, P.O. Box 910 Circleville, Ohio 43113 (740) 474-6066 Phone JAMES W. DEAN, CLERK OF COURTS 207 SOUTH COURT STREET CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO 43113 (740) 474-5231 September 27, 2019 October 4, 11, 18, 25, 2019 Nov 1, 2019 Circleville Herald – 561581″

At this time, it is unknown if there is a precedent in Ohio where an active, yet abandoned, cemetery went into foreclosure and was sold at a Sheriff’s sale. 


Questions remain.:

It is unclear what the reasons are that the Pickaway County Floral Hills Memory Gardens apparently would not also have a Receiver assigned to it rather than the cemetery be offered in a Sheriff’s sale?


Or, why hasn’t the municipality where the cemetery is located accept responsibility for its ownership during the past decade?  Would it finally agree to accept it if the cemetery fails to get a new owner through the Sheriff’s sale?

REMINDER: Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Volunteer work session at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio — Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio

The Greenfield Historical Society of Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio is making great strides in 2019 during their sixth year of volunteer work preserving and restoring their village’s Old Burying Ground; often referred to as the “OBG”!Mr. John King is the contact person at :”Please join other volunteers as we continue to make improvements to…

via REMINDER: Thursday, August 22, 2019 – Volunteer work session at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio — Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in the Great State of Ohio