14 May 2010

Gone and Almost Forgotten

Maybe it is because I am a genealogist, but I believe if there is a cemetery located on your property, you have a responsibility for its upkeep. It does not matter if they are your family or not. Unfortunately I recently visited several cemeteries located on land where the owners do not share my views.

The Huff Cemetery is located in Fairfield Township, Highland County, Ohio. According to my GPS coordinates, it was located off Bridges Road. As we were closing in on the location, we saw a barn and it looked like the cemetery should have been located somewhere behind it.

My companions for the day and I approached the house by the barn and spotted a lady in the yard. I asked her if she knew of a nearby cemetery. She asked me my name and why I wanted to know about the cemetery. I gave her my business card and told her why I was interested in the cemetery. She said her husband had wanted some farm land so they had purchased this farm and the farm behind it in 1983. She knew about the cemetery and said she had even done some research on it. I thought this was my lucky day.

She was caring for her 2 young grandchildren so the 6 of us went on a hike to the cemetery. She pointed out the area where it was located. The closer we got, the more discouraged I became.
We arrived at our destination. So, this was the cemetery. After a short prayer that I would not encounter any snakes, spiders, ticks, or any other undesirable critters, I made my way through the tall grass and weeds, being careful not to trip over fallen branches.
All of the stones we found were illegible except for one. This was the one for Eleazar Huff who died 15 April 1836.

As we headed back to the house, the lady pointed to a house in the distance and said that was the old farmhouse. It did not look old enough to belong to Eleazar. They had not done any maintenance there either.
After we returned to the house, the lady offered to show me her research. Another disappointment. She had a transcription from the Highland County cemetery book that I own plus a listing of the 1850 census showing the people who lived around her farm.

We thanked her for her time and I guess she noticed my enthusiasm had waned. She said maybe they should have kept the cemetery up a little better. Yes, they should have and hopefully it will be on their to-do list for the near future.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

09 May 2010

A Life Reconstructed from a Photo

On my recent trip to Ohio, I spent a day with my brother browsing antique malls in Springfield. He was looking for sports memorabilia while I was hunting for old photos and books. I found a number of photos that were labeled with names. One especially caught my eye as it had an address with a familiar street name, Belmont Avenue. Some of my Allen and Campbell lines either lived on that road or nearby.

The photo was of a Robert Gordon. It was dated 15 Nov 1894. I did a search for his death certificate on familysearchlabs.com and found that he died 16 Feb 1939 at the age of 80 years, 5 months, 26 days, and was buried in Newcomers Cemetery. This is the same cemetery where my grandparents, a great-grandfather, and many collateral relatives rest.

My next stop was the library where his obituary gave me more details about his life. He spent 61 years of his life employed, 31 years at International Harvester and an addition 30 years as a custodian at Lagonda Elementary School. Many of my relatives worked at International Harvestor and my dad attended Lagonda Elementary. Mr. Gordon was a member of the same church my family attended.
I visited the cemetery and found his tombstone. He is not buried very far from my grandparents. I wonder if my family knew his? If so, did my grandmother send one of her wonderful chocolate cakes to the family? He was survived by 4 children so my final step is to find a living descendant so I may send them his photo.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.