Cemeteries of Claridon Township Geauga County, Ohio
“The first cemetery laid out in west Claridon and covering an acre of ground, marks the last resting place of the very early settlers.The Cowles, Spencers, Pitkins and Halls were there, and the first interment of a child, that of Aranda and Laura Cowles Kellogg.”(There is no record of a stone.)
Thirteen veterans are remembered at Memorial Day services.Their names are inscribed on the monument at East Claridon.
There are records of 165 burials.The earliest death was Sally Eaton, daughter of Simon Gager, in 1817.The last one was in 1959 when Ralph Johnson was buried there.He was killed on the highway; no known relatives.
While there are spaces available, the difficulty of entrance, parking, etc., preclude any activity.
“The Claridon Center cemetery was deeded to the township trustees by Chester Treat.This deed was not recorded until October 14, 1851, although the plot had been used as a burial place for many years.The first recorded burial was Edward Bissell, age 4, in March, 1813.”This date was misread and should be 1843.Lydia Taylor died in 1817; Timothy Wellsin 1820; Allyn Humphrey in 1825; Benjamin Mastick in 1830.
In 1879, a vault was built of Berea grit-free stone.A ledger, in the possession of the township clerk, gives the use of the vault from 1881 through April 1923.There is no record of use after 1923.
Each lot contains 6 graves in 20 ft. making each grave 40 in.
In 1948, an additional two-thirds of an acre was purchased, Sec 10. Cloyd Graber surveyed and provided a map. Each grave is 42 in. wide, and a lot has 4 graves.The exception is the north row (west to east) where there are 2 graves per lot. Vaults are required for a full burial.At least 2 cremains can be buried per grave, possibly 3 although the issue hasn’t come up.
“At East Claridon the plot contains one and a half acres.The oldest marker there was for a Captain Wood, who died in 1829, and whose body along with two others was removed from an abandoned graveyard one mile south of East Claridon in 1908.”It is doubtful that any bodies were moved as a wood coffin would not have survived for that length of time. The township still owns the land where the burials had been made.The next oldest marker belonged to Mosier Ames who died in 1837.
Pleasant Hill/County Infirmary Cemetery
The Infirmary was established in 1839, but the only record extant is a large ledger which apparently was started about 1910.Each grave is marked with a cement slab with a number.With various sources, numbers 95 through 254 were identified with a name.The last burial through Claridon Township was in 1976.Now the cemetery is under the administration of the Geauga County commissioners.
It is apparent that some sort of record keeping was done on a map with entries into ledgers.Official records of deaths were not mandated until 1867.These were recorded by the Tax Assessor and taken to the Probate Court where they were entered into a ledger. In 1909, the statistics were kept by the Ohio Department of Health, and burial permits were required.
Over the years, various sextons and clerks have made an attempt to complete the ledgers.In many cases, the only information available came from the tombstones.Any records of those without tombstones are lost forever.
During the early 1920s, there was an endowment to “read” the cemeteries of the Western Reserve.Over a period of five or six years, Geauga County, Lake County, Portage County, and at least part of Cuyahoga County were covered.The work was done by Edith Holton Sherman and Grace Price Rawson.The volumes were not published; the work was in typescript.Only a few copies were available.
In order for a community or township to qualify as a Bicentennial Community, a committee was required to submit certain types of projects.Claridon Township qualified by selecting the project of updating the cemetery records and compiling a history of The First Congregational Church of Claridon established in 1827 with 27 charter members.Nine of these were Lucy Cotton Kellogg, her four children and their mates.All nine are buried in Claridon cemeteries.
The Geauga County Genealogical Society “read” the cemeteries from 1980 through October 1983.4” x 6” cards were designed to enter the inscriptions.Of immense help were the Official Government maps of the cemeteries which identified graves of veterans from the Revolution through World War I.These gave lot numbers which helped to identify location.Most lot numbers are difficult if not impossible to find.
Clerks and Sextons in other townships were visited.Much information was added which would aid a researcher but would not be found on the tombstone.
During the period of 1995 to 2000, the cemeteries were revisited.Cards were made for those burials that were added after 1983.All of this was computerized and is on line.