“Vandals Destroy Cemetery from 1800s” — An NBC4i.com 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.

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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.

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Vandals Destroy Cemetery from 1800s” by Tony Mirones

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The Moonville Cemetery is quite small indeed.”  

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

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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.

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From the websites:

“The Ghosts. The Legends. The Town.”:

MoonvilleTunnel.net:

The link for the Moonville Cemetery.

 And,:

“Ohio Ghost Stories, Legends, and Haunts”

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

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Moonville on Wikipedia

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“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.”

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

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 

CemeteryGrants@com.state.oh.us. 

Complete information and forms can be found at www.com.ohio.gov/real.

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

and

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”:

“Notice:”

Publish Date:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Notice Content

NOTICE OF COMPLAINT FOR FORECLOSURE OF REAL ESTATE TAX LIEN 

“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 countyfusion2.kofiletech.us. 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?

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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?

Sharing side-by-side before repairs and after repairs photos of the Henry Wilson Irwin Family markers at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Ohio courtesy of Scott Andersen

It is my pleasure to share these side-by-side photographs taken by Scott Andersen on August 22, 2019 of the row of Henry Wilson Irwin family grave markers at the Old Burying Ground in Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio.  

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Another step in this process remains to be completed for these grave markers.  That is cleaning them with D/2 Biological Solution.

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All of this restoration progress for these nine grave markers was made possible through the efforts of Greenfield Historical Society volunteers, Scott Andersen, John King, and Michael Lee Anderson who largely handle the repairs and re-settings of grave markers; as well as the heavy lifting for the larger monuments at the Old Burying Ground. 

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One of Greenfield’s most notable native sons and decorated Naval hero was Rear Admiral Noble Edward Irwin.  

His parents were Henry Wilson Irwin and his fourth wife, Lavinia Ann “Lavina” Rogers Irwin.  

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Rear Admiral Irwin graduated from the United States Naval Academy in June 1891. He was wounded in action on May 1, 1898 while aboard the USS Baltimore at the Battle of Manila Bay. Admiral Irwin was awarded the Navy Cross for meritorious service as director of Naval Aviation during WWI.
The U.S. Destroyer, the USS Irwin, was named in his honor.”

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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 jfking@earthlink.net. :”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

Jonathan Appell Hands-On Cemetery Preservation Workshop at the North Fork Cemetery, Chesterville, Morrow County, Ohio – Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23, 2019 – each day 9:00 a.m. to 4:00p.m. – Free Event for attendees!

Announcing a free event upcoming hands-on cemetery preservation workshop for Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, 2019 – each day 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. conducted by nationally known professional gravestone conservator and preservation expert, Mr. Jonathan Appell

Location:  North Fork Cemetery (Also known as Blair CemeteryNorthfork CemeteryOwl Creek CemeteryOwl Creek Harmony Baptist Cemetery)

**Please see announcement below for further details**

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Ohio Contact for sign up information and questions:  

Mr. Tim Foor:

Phone # 419-210-4866 

Email:  tfoor28@yahoo.com

 

Facebook and website links for further information:

Jonathan Appell:

Jonathan Appell

Atlas Preservation

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Websites:  

Gravestone Conservation

Gravestone Preservation

Atlas Preservation – Gravestone Conservation/Preservation Supplies

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Tim Foor:
Facebook – Tim Foor

Hallowed Ground Cemetery Preservation, LLC

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Morrow County Preservation Society

Jonathan Appell – Hands-On Cemetery Preservation Workshop – A free to attend event – June 22 & June 23, 2019 – North Fork Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio – 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. each day.

Announcing a free event upcoming hands-on cemetery preservation workshop for Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23, 2019 – each day 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m. conducted by nationally known professional gravestone conservator and preservation expert, Mr. Jonathan Appell

 

Location:  North Fork Cemetery (Also known as Blair CemeteryNorthfork CemeteryOwl Creek CemeteryOwl Creek Harmony Baptist Cemetery)

**Please see announcement below for further details**

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Ohio Contact for sign up information and questions:  

Mr. Tim Foor:

Phone # 419-210-4866 

Email:  tfoor28@yahoo.com

Facebook and website links for further information:

Jonathan Appell:

Jonathan Appell

Atlas Preservation

**

Websites:  

Gravestone Conservation

Gravestone Preservation

Atlas Preservation – Gravestone Conservation/Preservation Supplies

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Tim Foor:
Facebook – Tim Foor

Hallowed Ground Cemetery Preservation, LLC

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Morrow County Preservation Society