Thursday, February 23, 2012

“The night was dark and the path obscure”

Jonas Vining (d. 1844), a farmer, was an early settler in Morrow County, Ohio. He is buried beneath a weathered sandstone marker in Butter Cemetery.

In Memory of
who departed this life, May 25,
in the 76. year of his age.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
From henceforth yea saith the Spirit
That they may rest from their labors
And their works do follow them

History of Morrow County, Ohio by Abraham J. Baughman and Robert Franklin Bartlett (1911) includes this tale of a unique danger that Jonas Vining encountered while returning home from a “shopping trip” to nearby Delaware County:

The following was related by Jonas Vining, one of the settlers of Bennington township: He had gone to the Sunbury Mills, and, being obliged to wait until late at night for his bag of flour, resolved to start for home, though the night was dark and the path obscure. It was a chilly night late in autumn, and the wind sighed mournfully through the branches of the trees, and the sudden rustling of leaves and weird creaking of the trees kept the traveler on the anxious lookout for signs of danger. The wolves began uttering their discordant notes, and, to add to the unpleasant situation, heavy thunder was heard in the distance. Mr. Vining drew his “great coat” closely about him, and urged his horse on as fast as could be safely done through the deep woods. Finally a startling wail, ending with a peculiar, heavy tone, was heard above the rustling leaves and sighing winds, and he new that he was followed by a panther. He heard it bounding lightly over the leaves to “leeward,” endeavoring to ascertain by scent the nature of the game it was in pursuit of. It appeared several times, but only for an instant, as it flitted through the glades of the forest. It finally veered off into the wilderness, and its screams were lost in the sounds of the gathering storm. When his jaded horse carried him into the clearing at home, which he reached in safety, it was almost daybreak.

Butter Cemetery has also been known as Fargo North Cemetery and as Vining Cemetery.

Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

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