“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.

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.”

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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.

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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. 

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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

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Above is a fragment of the gravemarker

for Captain James M. S. Butcher

at the Butcher 

AKA Walnut Grove Cemetery

in North Lewisburg, Ohio

Shining a new spotlight on Dr. William H. Wagstaff of North Lewisburg, Champaign County, Ohio

Dr. William H. Wagstaff of North Lewisburg, Champaign County,  Ohio has once again led me on another merry chase whisking me along through the many unexpected twists and turns that profoundly affected his life that I’m sure turned it upside down at times.  

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Both Dr. John Milton Butcher (as well as his son Dr. John Calvert “J. C.” Butcher) and Dr. Wagstaff all belonged to the Central Ohio Eclectic Medical Association. 

Below is a wonderful newspaper clipping about one of their meetings that took place in 1886:

This information led me to move into a new direction taking a different path at this fork in the road of Dr. Wagstaff’s life where I also learned what the “H” stood for as his middle name – Harris!:

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(Above:)
The Dr. John M. Butcher monument)

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And, dare I say most recently learning that Dr. Wagstaff’s wife; had became his ex-wife by 1891.  

Melissa Josephine (AKA “Jose or Jose B.” was the daughter of Dr. John M. Butcher, a prominent physician in North Lewisburg.  

The cemetery carries Dr. Butcher’s name as its alternate and more popularly known name.  

The official name is Walnut Grove Cemetery.  

 

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 Dr. Wagstaff’s residence caught on fire on November 20, 1899!:

 

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There was once a Walnut Grove Cemetery Association that oversaw this cemetery that sits atop the hill on Tallman Street in the Village of North Lewisburg.  

After Dr. Wagstaff’s death in 1904, the cemetery essentially became an orphan because the Village of North Lewisburg did not receive (or did not accept!) a proper deed to the cemetery from Dr. Wagstaff before he died.  

Till this day it shows the cemetery as being owned by the Walnut Grove Cemetery Association (a ghost association!) with no living members.  

But all of those details are another story….

The final wishes and words from Dr. William H. Wagstaff who, to date, rests in what we hope is eternal peace — but sadly in an unmarked grave at the cemetery he once oversaw.:

(Below:)
The Will of William H. Wagstaff

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 Above is the 1890 Veterans Census

showing Dr. William H. Wagstaff

 

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The Eagles Building in Lorain, Ohio – A favorite historic building crumbling due to lack of restoration work.

A visit to my hometown of Lorain, Ohio on February 5th, 2019 brought an unanticipated scene – part of Broadway being cordoned off due to some loose structural pieces of the Eagles Building that had broken off near the top of the building and crashed down to the street and alley; thus alerting those in the area that there was a potentially serious problem.  

BLUE RIBBON GRAPHIC FOR USE ON CEMETERY BLOG

The Elyria “Chronicle-Telegram” has published an in-depth story about this incident with the Eagles Building on February 5, 2019 along with a video. 

BLUE RIBBON GRAPHIC FOR USE ON CEMETERY BLOG

Below are photos of the Eagles Building that I took. 

The top photo was taken November 23, 2012 – with a close up view of the upper left portion of the building, and the lower photo was taken February 5, 2019.  

BLUE RIBBON GRAPHIC FOR USE ON CEMETERY BLOG

LORAIN EAGLES BUILDING - 11-23-2012

Below is a close up of the left upper portion of the Eagles Building – November 23, 2012 –  showing more details of the structural deterioration.

EAGLES BUILDING CLOSE UP - NOVEMBER 23 2012 WITH TEXT AND FRAME

KODAK Digital Still Camera

BLUE RIBBON GRAPHIC FOR USE ON CEMETERY BLOG

 

BLUE RIBBON GRAPHIC FOR USE ON CEMETERY BLOG

Dan Brady’s Blog Post about the Eagles Building – September 10, 2012

Halloween was more than Ghosts & Goblins in Greenfield! Recapping the October 31st Old Burying Ground work session

John King and Scott Andersen were undaunted by the threat of rain on the last day of October, 2018 to proceed and conduct a work session where over a dozen gravestones were repaired and restored by them. 

Below are ‘sneak peek’ photos which illustrate the type of  preservation work that John and Scott, and other volunteers from the Greenfield Historical Society, have undertaken throughout their 5-year total restoration project of Greenfield Ohio’s earliest burial ground.  

The historic cemetery is adjacent to the historic Travellers Rest. 

 

Above composite photo courtesy of the 

Greenfield Historical Society

October 31, 2018 work session

Old Burying Ground – Greenfield

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From the Greenfield Historical Society’s web page

for the October 31, 2018 “OBG” work session:

“Volunteer Session – October 31, 2018”

“Halloween turned out to be another productive morning at the OBG. Although it looked like rain would drown us out, we managed to work on over a dozen stones before quitting just minutes before rains came. 

Scott Andersen and John King leveled and straightened tombstones and planned for the next area to address in the cemetery. Venus Andersen stopped by to offer encouragement and bring us soft drinks. This might have been the last session for the year, but maybe with a break in weather later in November or December we might be able to do some more work in 2018. This was probably one of the more productive years at the cemetery! 

Many thanks to ALL the volunteers who help throughout the years making this a very successful project.”

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Old Burying Ground Restoration Project  

Photos below from the June 9th, 2018

Old Burying Ground Work Session:

Above – Left to Right:  

John King, Jackie Doles, 

and Michael Lee Anderson

June 9, 2018

Photo belong is a scene from

the June 9, 2018 work session

Check out the Past Events Page

for “OBG Preservation” to

view the Recaps and photos 

of each of the work sessions

at the Old Burying Ground

since 2014! 

Be sure and check out!:

The Old Burying Ground in Greenfield

on “Find A Grave”

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25 new memorials have been added

by Scott Andersen in the last 30 days

at the Old Burying Ground

many with grave marker photos!

Total burials at the “OBG” on “Find A Grave”

now at 801!!!   

Poor maintenance practices plague Lorain’s Elmwood Cemetery – Lorain, Ohio

Below is the related Lorain “MorningJournal” News Story;

“Lorain cemetery grounds-keeping raises concerns”

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These photographs below were taken on August 12, 2018 at Elmwood Cemetery in Lorain.  They illustrate maintenance practices that are causing clumps of thick dead grass to stick to the stones and dry in the hot sun; making it difficult to remove the clumps from the stone.  

I think most folks would consider this an unsightly mess and disrespectful to the deceased.  This situation means that family members must clean off the dried up clumps from their family’s markers and monuments.  What about the markers and monuments where there is no family to handle this situation?  Will the cemetery groundskeepers come back to remove the thick clumps from the surface?  We just don’t know at this point.  

Sadly, this is the worst Elmwood Cemetery has looked since I have been visiting it for over 20 years.  

 

 

 

 

This last photo above illustrates where part of the problem lies.

Taking too long between trimmings.  

Allowing gravemarkers

to become too overgrown means taking too aggressive

of an approach to remove the grass/weeds around them. 

As we can easily see here; it has been awhile since there has been any trimming around this flat marker.  

Thankfully, there is no dead grass/weeds covering it; but live grass/weeds are covering over and around it to the point eventually it may no longer be seen. 

Spotlighting a New Update from “Past Lives Photography” that also Brought Back a Memory and a Sad Discovery for me.

Beth Wilson Shoemaker and her “A Grave Sight Cemetery Photographs by BAWS” posted a new link on Facebook, on March 3, 2018, connecting to her Past Lives Photography Blog (a link for it is also included in this blog) with an update detailing her visit to the almost lost and forgotten Mastin Family Cemetery in Clay Twp., Scioto County, Ohio.  

Learning of Beth’s discovery led to my own recollection of someone who helped me in 1997 with documenting a relatively obscure Ohio cemetery — the Friends (Quaker) Cemetery in North Lewisburg, Champaign County Ohio.  

I am writing about surveyor, Mr. James L. Murphy, who, himself, had paid an earlier visit to the Mastin Cemetery.  Thankfully, he shared his research results on the USGenWeb site on November 16, 2007.  He provided his listing of the inscriptions on the gravestones he found at the Mastin Cemetery.  His work included surveying the little cemetery for the Ohio Historic Inventory . The cemetery information was added to the official records at the Ohio Historical Society (now the Ohio History Connection).  The OHI number for the Mastin Cemetery is SCI0046813.

So, while searching for information on the Mastin (Mastin Family) Cemetery in Scioto County, I decided to do a “Google” search for James L. Murphy who I had not communicated with for several years following our exchanges regarding the Friends Cemetery.  

Sadly, I learned that he had passed away on October 8th, 2012.  

I dedicate this blog post to James L. Murphy whose assistance helped me complete the first Ohio Historic Inventory Form that I finished in 1997.  Over the years, I completed seven more OHI forms for other early Ohio cemeteries.

Sharing James L. Murphy’s “Forgotten” Cemeteries and the Ohio Historic Inventory publication.  

Please take a moment to read it, and if you feel so inclined, contact the Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection to learn more how these forms can help protect Ohio’s almost forgotten cemeteries.