A PIONEER CEMETERY
By Kenneth Baker, Dist. 77.
Since I wrote my last pioneer story I have become very much interested in
an old cemetery which is believed to be the oldest one in Eden Township.
The cemetery is located in the timber about one-quarter mile northeast of Cedar Point, off Route 89A.
It is the burial place of many of the Township's earliest settlers, and is no longer used today.
It is seldom visited by anyone, however, Mr. Elmer Whitaker who lives only a short distance from the cemetery, and who is now eighty-two years of age, takes a very great interest in it.
He obtains much enjoyment in telling about the lives of some of the early settlers buried there.
I was very much interested in finding that Nathaniel Richey and his wife, who were some of Eden Township's first settlers are buried in this cemetery. Mr. Richey and his wife came to this township over one hundred two years ago. Mr. Richey was seventy-seven years old when he died. They came through the wilderness from Ohio to Eden. Mr. Richey's daughter Sophia, and her husband, James Robinson and their children Isabelle, Amanda, and William are buried there, also.
Other tombstones there show the names of Letts, Despar, Hetrick, Vandervort and Swan, also Delana and Charles Weston who in eighteen-seventy-five went to visit relatives in Iowa. While there they both died, and were brought back here to be buried. The grave of William Kelly is also found there. He came from England. He was born in seventeen hundred eighty, came to Eden Township in 1835 and died in August, 1851.
My greatest delight I have kept until last to tell, and that is this: My great-great-grandfather and grandmother, Michael and Helen Gingerich are buried there. I did not know this until last summer. They came here from Germany when they were only fourteen years old. They spent their entire lives on the farm where I now live.
Henry and Margaret Ernst, great-grandfather of one of the other pupils of our school are buried there.
There are also five Civil War Veterans' graves found there. They are: Newton Shelton, who was known for miles around as "Pegleg", because he lost one of his legs in that war. He died at the age of twenty-seven, so he was a very young man when he fought in the war. Also Charlie and David Tullis, who were cousins. Sergeant Jonathan Tullis, father of Charles Tullis just mentioned, and James Moore who died of consumption.
The graves of these soldiers are decorated by Mr. Whitaker every Memorial Day. He has been doing this for the last twelve years.
The last burial made in this cemetery was in the year 1889.
The cemetery as a whole has been neglected. It is surrounded by an old barb-wire fence that is broken down in many places. Cattle have been allowed to graze in it. Many of the graves have sunk into the ground and some have almost disappeared. Some of the markers are large rough stones, that have been brought up from the creek. Many have no inscriptions upon them at all. Some have been hand chisled, and a great many of the taller markers have fallen over.
There are still some rose bushes and low shrubs and lilies beginning to show signs of growth marking the resting places of these early pioneers.