Saturday, June 30, 2012

“Welcome sweet hour of full discharge”

The sandstone marker at the grave of Nathan Nettleton (d. 1823) is similar to many others of the time period here in central Ohio:

A flaming urn is framed by swagged drapery.
The inscription is carved in an oval.
And at the base, an epitaph—and it is a beauty!

died Oct. 4,
aged 33 years.
Welcome sweet hour of full discharge,
That sets our longing souls at large,
Unbinds our chains, breaks up our cell,
And give us with our God to dwell.

The epitaph is from the hymn “Now Let Our Souls on Wings Sublime” by Thomas Gibbons (b. 1720, d. 1785), a London clergyman.

We have seen that epitaph before, carved on the gravestone of Sarah Flanagan Cellar.

Compare the “handwriting” of the epitaph on the Cellar stone to the Nettleton stone. I suspect both were carved by the same unidentified hand. What do you think?

Sarah Flanagan Cellar epitaph

Nathan Nettleton epitaph
Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Without occupation

The monument at the grave of Delia Nettleton (d. 1884) features the carving of a tilted cross, which is sometimes understood to symbolize resurrection.

Do you agree with that interpretation?

(Note that the cross appears to be standing on a hill.)

Feb. 4, 1884
82 yrs 7 mos 20 ds

I could not make out the short epitaph, but it could be Asleep in Jesus.

Delia Nettleton was the sister-in-law of Samuel Patterson, whom we “met” in the recent post Africa and the Underground Railroad.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census record shows that Delia and her brother William Nettleton were living with Samuel and Hannah (Nettleton) Patterson. That census record (and the 1870 record as well) show that Delia was “without occupation.”

Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Mary L. Jackson

My only regret: Why did I not take time to read the epitaph on the foot stone at the grave of Mary Larah Jackson (d. 1874)? Maybe the summer heat? Lame excuse.

Mary Laura Jackson is the daughter of George W. Jackson, wagon maker (per 1870 U.S. Federal Census), and Mary E. Jackson.

Dau. of G. W. & M.
Jun. 16, 1874
Aged 5 Y’rs
[?? Ms ?? Ds]

Iberia Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Saturday, June 23, 2012


According to his death certificate, Carl C. Stone (b. 1873, d. 1927), a self-employed carpenter, died as the result of an “accident, fall from barn, resulting in fracture at base of skull” after being treated for more than a month in a Delaware, Ohio hospital.

When she died, Jessie L. Stone (b. 1876, d. 1952) was living in the Sarah Moore Home, a “home for the aged” in Delaware, Ohio. She had lived there for 16 years. The 1930 United States Federal Census shows that, for a time after her husband’s death, Jessie Stone lived alone (with no occupation) in Delaware.

I found no evidence that Carl and Jessie had children.

Who placed this beautiful monument?

Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware, Ohio

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Murder and mystery

The white marble obelisk at the grave of Phillip Rice (d. 1866) has a startling inscription.


These are not words you expect on a gravestone. Even supposed to be seems unusual.


IN Va.
July 26, 1866

An annotated reading of the cemetery’s inscriptions published in The “Old Northwest” Genealogical Quarterly, Volume 10 (1907) provides more detail. Only one problem: That reading does not agree with this gravestone!
Rice—Philip, d. June 4, 1874, æ. 75 y. Died from gunshot wounds received from men whom he knew were guilty of robbery. He was born a slave in Virginia, was made free in 1851; resided in Blendon Tp. with Wm. P. Needles, whose wife’s father owned and made free this negro. After 1870 he resided on his own land alone in a cabin 3½ miles west from New Albany, in Blendon. His murderers left the State, a reward of $1,000 being offered by the citizens for their conviction.

Blendon Central Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An unmarried woman

It is not uncommon to find relationships on a gravestone (son of, daughter of). Sometimes the relationship reveals marital status (wife of).

Less common is what we find on the gravestone of Mary Ann Clapham (b. 1823, d. 1897): Unmarried.

FEB. 2, 1823
OCT. 24, 1897

Look at the monument in the background. Yes, Miss Clapham is named there as well. Her age is written, but (thankfully?) not her marital status.

Blendon Central Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“Taught school when 17 yrs. old”

The Goldsmith monument—topped with a smooth gray sphere—in Blendon Central Cemetery bears four names. Just a bit of detective work reveals the relationships among the four:

John Goldsmith (d. 1864) and Sarah J. Goldsmith (d. 1894) are the parents of William C. Goldsmith (d. 1933). Nellie Romaine Goldsmith (d. 1951) is William’s wife.

CO. C. 133D REGT. O.N.C.
DIED JULY 18, 1864,
AGED 26 Y. 9 M. 10 D.
There is rest in Heaven.

OCT. 29, 1894
60 Y. 3 M. 5 D.
Gone but not forgotten

MAY 16, 1933
69 Y. 7 M. 16 D.
An honest man is the noblest
work of God

OCT. 10, 1951
80 Y. 8 M. 29 D.
Taught school when 17 yrs. old

The 1910 US Federal Census record for William C. Goldsmith lists a 36-year-old wife (could be consistent with Nellie), but what’s this? The wife’s name is given as William C. Goldsmith.

The 1930 US Federal Census record for Nellie R. Goldsmith lists her as an inmate in Columbus State Hospital, an institution once known as Lunatic Asylum of Ohio.

Blendon Central Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Monday, June 18, 2012

Broken bud

A small, white obelisk carved with a broken rosebud marks the grave of Sarah E. Day (d. 1879) in Houck Cemetery.

The broken bud, often found on gravestones of children or young adults, is a symbol for a premature or untimely death. Is it not the perfect symbol of a life that has ended before it has bloomed?

JAN. 23, 1879
31 Y. 6 M.

Sarah’s parents, Presley and Celinda Day, are buried nearby. Their FindAGrave memorial pages show their dates of death:

Presley Day (d. 1870)
Celinda Day (d. 1855)

Census records after 1855 imply that Presley, a farmer, remarried after Celinda’s death. In 1870, just months before her father’s death, Sarah was living with Presley and Pheby (Phoebe), who may have been her stepmother.

Sarah herself apparently never married.

Houck Cemetery, Knox County, Ohio

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Africa and the Underground Railroad

Alum Creek Dam is part of the flood control plan for the Ohio River Basin. The lake was authorized by Congress in the Flood Control Act of 1962. Construction began in August of 1970 and was completed in 1974.
During the Alum Creek Dam project, several cemeteries were relocated. One of them, Africa Cemetery, is where you will find the grave of Samuel Patterson (b. 1803, d. 1884), an Ohio farmer whose home was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

April 4, 1803,
April 17, 1884.

His Wife
Dec. 2, 1804,
Aug. 16, 1888.

The monument to Mr. and Mrs. Patterson is substantial, but unassuming. In fact, although I have visited Africa Cemetery many times, I had not photographed this monument until today—when I stopped in just to find this stone.

After leaving the cemetery, I drove to the park at the base the Alum Creek Dam to check out the related historic marker.

Samuel Patterson arrived in East Orange in 1824 and, within a few years, began to hide runaway slaves in his home. He also invited anti-slavery speakers to the pulpit of the East Orange Methodist Church, which brought Patterson an his neighbors into conflict with the bishop. Following their consciences, they became Wesleyan Methodists and built a new church. A pro-slavery neighbor mocked them by calling their community Africa, and so East Orange was renamed. The village has disappeared, but several homes owned by Patterson and his neighbors still stand in this vicinity.

The reverse side of the marker continues the story:

In 1859 slaves from a North Carolina plantation owned by the Alston family were sent north. The plantation’s mistress had disapproved of slavery and made arrangement for the slaves to travel to Ohio and freedom. These slaves moved to the community of Africa, lived in log homes, were employed by the anti-slavery farmers, and joined the Wesleyan Methodist Church. After the Civil War the freed slaves left Africa and settled in the communities of Delaware and Westerville, and Van Wert and Paulding Counties.

Coming soon. I hope to share more about the Alston freed slaves, because a number of them may be buried in nearby Oak Grove Cemetery. Can I find their graves?

Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kate’s bouquet

The monument at the grave of Kate L. Evans has a beautiful symmetry—and a beautiful bouquet of flowers that never wilt.

wife of
MAY 17, 1880,
42 yrs. 6 mos. & 9 ds.

Most likely Kate’s own husband, the local tombstone manufacturer, is responsible for the monument to his wife.

1870 Federal Census image for Franklin, Ohio via

Woodhill Cemetery, Warren County, Ohio

Monday, June 4, 2012

An acorn in Mound Hill Union Cemetery

The grave marker for Lucy Ann Marsh (d. 1854) is striking with its bold carving of an acorn with oak leaves.

Daughter of
John & Margaret
July 13, 1854
10 Y. 3 M. 20 D.

The 1850 Federal Census in the town of Eaton, Ohio shows Lucy Ann, then six years old, living in her father’s household. But where is her mother, who is identified as “Margaret” on Lucy’s gravestone?

The answer is found in The History of Delaware County, Indiana (Chicago, 1881) by Thomas B. Helm, which includes a short biography of John Marsh:

On the 25th of May 1835, he married Miss Margaret Mitchell, who died, of cholera at Eaton, Ohio, in 1849, leaving four children—Henry C., Mary J., Lucy and Phoebe. Lucy died at Eaton, Ohio, and Phoebe at Muncie, Ind. April 13, 1850, Mr. Marsh was married, at Eaton, Ohio, to Miss Mary A. Simpson, who died in April 1854.

According to, Margaret is buried at Mound Hill Union Cemetery also.

Mound Hill Union Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I always called them cherubs, but Wikipedia tells me that angelic winged babies like the ones on today’s gravestone are actually putti (plural of putto).

On the marker at the grave of Fergus Holderman (b. 1811, d. 1838), two putti festoon an urn that sits between two large willows. In artwork, putti are often nude. On this mid-nineteenth century gravestone, the babies are, not unsurprisingly, clothed.

Beautifully carved oak leaves, and laurel surround the inscription.

To the memory of
Born in Preble County, Ohio,
May 11th. A. D. 1811,
Died Feb. 8th. A. D. 1838;
Aged 26 years, 8 months
and 28 days.

In health and strength put not your trust
The strongest liver is but dust;
Repent in time make no delay;
For I in haste was called away.

Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary (Kent University Press, 2000) identifies the carver of this stone as Bazillar Clevenger (b. 1811, d. 1848). He carved and signed many of the gravestones in Mound Hill Union Cemetery—including his own and that of his wife.

Mound Hill Union Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio

Friday, June 1, 2012

Epitaph: And free’d from every care

We were heading toward the exit at Mound Hill Union Cemetery, ready to start the long drive home, when I spotted just a few more stones that begged for closer inspection.

Me: Wait! Just one more quick stop.
Daughter: Sure, Mom. [text, text, text]

Family members can be surprisingly patient when their “personal technology” is fully charged and cell coverage is good.

A sandstone tablet, showing signs of its age, stands at the grave of Dr. James Parramore (d. 1840).

The stone features an angel surrounded by clouds, her hands at her breast (in grief? supplication?) beside a flaming urn, which is thought to represent the soul rising from the ashes of death.

memory of
who died Sep. 25th
1840; aged 31 years
9 mo. & 19 days.
For if we believe that Je-
sus died and rose again,
even so them also which sl-
eep in Jesus will God
bring with him.

They die in Jesus and are bless,d
How sweet there slumbers are
From suffering and from sin
And free’d from every care.

Two passages make up the epitaph. The first is from the Bible, 1 Thessalonians 4:14; the second, from a hymn by Isaac Watts (b. 1674, d. 1748).

Hear what the voice from heav'n proclaims
For all the pious dead,
Sweet is the savor of their names,
And soft their sleeping bed.

They die in Jesus, and are bless’d;
How kind their slumbers are!
From suff’rings and from sin released,
And freed from every snare.

Far from this world of toil and strife,
They’re present with the Lord;
The labors of their mortal life
End in a large reward.

Mound Hill Union Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio
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