Battlefield Markers & Monuments: Johnson Island & McPherson’s Grave

Emerging Civil War

Emerging Civil War welcomes back Frank Jastrzembski to share about a recent trip and his musings on historical graveyard markers.

My wife reluctantly agreed to go on another of my weekend cemetery hunts. Only a few weeks before, we had taken another couple to visit Brevet Brigadier-General Orland Smith’s grave in Green Lawn Cemetery after a day at the Columbus Zoo. The best season to visit old cemeteries in Ohio is the fall. For our next trip, we headed west to hit both the Confederate cemetery on Johnson Island in Sandusky Bay and General James B. McPherson’s grave in Clyde, Ohio (a forty minute drive between the two).

Johnson Island Cemetery

This wasn’t the first time I had heard of the Johnson Island cemetery or of the prisoner-of-war camp. I had regrettably never made a point to visit the cemetery. I can now say that I had overlooked the most…

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The photographs below are from my October 17, 2017 visit to Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria, Ohio

 It was my first visit, and one that was much overdue.  These are just a small sampling of the historic gravestones and monuments to be found at this early Ohio cemetery.  

The earliest burial that I found belongs to Nathaniel Porter who died in June (13th?) 1822.

  His “Find A Grave” memorial contains an extensive biographical write-up.  He was re-interred from another cemetery, however.  Links to memorials for his spouse and children are included with his memorial.  

A visitor can spend several splendid hours exploring Ridgelawn Cemetery in Elyria and easily become immersed in its landscape of amazing variety of trees among towering military monuments. One is topped with a soaring Eagle while another has a life-size Civil War soldier painted in appropriate Union Regimental colors. 

The 1820s – 1840s delicately carved grave markers there are indeed remarkable in their simplicity and not to be missed before you leave.  Several impressive mausoleums include those that are reminiscent of small sandstone houses! 

A visitor cannot help but be drawn to the grand wrought iron gated family plot of Heman Ely and his descendants.  


Ridgelawn Cemetery is a sacred place  where pioneer history awaits visitors who are fortunate enough to come and walk its grounds.