Archive for May 1st, 2010

He Lies in Kirtland Hills

Sometimes a grave marker just grabs you. I know nothing else about the man or boy memorialized by this stone in Lake View Cemetery. The snow and ice crust on the top of the stone was too thick. But the epitaph “He lies in Kirtland Hills” called out to be read and recorded.

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One of the things I find fascinating about old tombstones is when they list the cause of death, which seems to appear mainly on tombstones from before  the mid-19th century in this area, unless the deceased met their end in a war or newsworthy tragedy.  Erie Street Cemetery in Cleveland has a number of these.  The ones today are for early settlers of Cleveland who were reinterred at Erie Street after Ontario Street Cemetery was closed in 1826.

Stephen Gilbert and Adolphus Stafford drowned in Lake Erie in 1808.  There’s surely a story here, but I have not been able to find out anything else about the two men.

Stephen Gilbert and Adolphus Spafford

Eliakim Nash died at age 39 of a “malignant fever.”  Without seeing poor Eliakim, it’s impossible to say what this malignant fever actually was – the terms seems to have been used to malaria in a lot of period texts, but not always.  There were a lot of other conditions in the early 19th century that could have produced a severe fever: typhus, scarlet fever, diphtheria, perhaps even an unrecognized infection.

Eliakim Nash

And finally, we have a special nominee for the category of “ways you’d rather not be famous”:
David Eldridge
David Eldridge is famous for being the first known person of European descent to die in the Western Reserve, as well as the first person to be buried in Cleveland. He drowned in 1797 while a part of the second surveying party the Connecticut Land Company sent to the Western Reserve. His original burial site is described in dozens of sources as being on the east side of Ontario Street, on the corner with Prospect Street (which is now East 9th Street). Eldridge was later moved to his current grave in Erie Street Cemetery. First died and first buried – what things to be famous for!

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