Posts Tagged ‘old hudson township burying ground’

Rev. Giles Doolittle

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Martha Egerton Wright
wife of Asher Wright,
Missionary among the Seneca
daughter of Asa and Emily Egerton
and adopted daughter of Rufus…?

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I can’t make out the names on this stone, but what I can read is heartbreaking. What I can make out is this:

9 months
they died
Sept. 6, 18?
Children of Ga? & Emily Sanford

So there are at least two siblings buried under this stone who died on the same day.

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Laurey Case

Sally Brown

The weeping willow seems an obvious funerary symbol because its name bespeaks an easy connection to grief and sorrow. However, according to Stories in Stone, the willow is also a symbol of immortality in a number of cultures. Weeping willows engravings are incredibly common on early 19th century headstones.

Leonard Adams


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My heart stopped when I saw this monument in the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground. The three willow trees told me immediately that it was probably a monument for three children.


The monument doesn’t say much, but it paints a sad picture. During August of 1825 over less than two weeks, John and Anna Lanterman lost six year old Henry, then toddler Lafayette, and finally eight year old Alanson. I am guessing it was likely disease that took the three brothers so close together. The stone doesn’t tell us if the Lantermans had any other children, but even if they did, it must have been devastating to watch so many hopes and dreams evaporate.

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Mrs. Ruth, Relict of Rev Joseph Tracy

One of the terms I wasn’t familiar with when I first started visiting cemeteries was relict.


According to a number of etymological dictionaries I have checked, relict comes from the Latin relinquere, which means to relinquish or leave behind. There were related nouns in Latin that meant left behind or abandoned – relictus and relicta (masculine and feminine). The term emerged according to these etymologies by the mid-15th century and was considered antiquated by the early 20th century. Some of these dictionaries state the term is gender neutral, but others specifically state that a relict is a widow, and that’s the only way I’ve seen it on tombstones thus far.


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Looking through my photographs from Old Hudson Township Burying Ground, I found tombstones for classmates.  You may recall that the graveyard adjoins the campus of Western Reserve Academy.

If you look carefully, you can read the words “Our Classmate” above Jacob Harshman’s name.  As far as I can see, he died in 1861.


Tunis V. Wilson died in 1849, less than a year after he graduated with the Class of 1848. The tombstone doesn’t tell you why he was buried by his alma mater. In the 19th century it was much more common for young men and women who completed advanced education to remain at those institutions as instructors after completing their studies. Maybe that is why he sleeps so close to the Academy.


Finally, we have the detailed stones for Flavel Loomis, native of New York state.  Loomis died while enrolled at the school at the age of 22, and, his gravestone informs us, his classmates buried him and provided his memorial.


We don’t live in a culture where dying while in school or within a year or two of completing school is a common occurrence. Yet, before the days of our advanced medical technology, it happened frequently. It is striking how different the world of a hundred or so years ago was.

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Kezia Edwards

Anyone who has walked a 19th century cemetery has seen the single upright hand with three fingers and thumb folded down on the palm while the pointer finger gestures straight up, like on the tombstone for Kezia Edwards in Doty Settlement Cemetery. Just a few tombstones away, Nathanial Moore is remembered with the same symbol.


The hand, and specifically the outstretched finger, are a representation of the soul ascending to heaven. The example below is from the Olde Hudson Township Burying Ground.

Anna C. Clark

Unfortunately, like other relatively thin pieces of cemetery sculpture, that outstretched finger sometimes gets damaged or broken off. The finger on Isaac Weakley’s stone in Old Carlisle Burying Ground seems awfully stubby.


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The Old Hudson Township Burying Ground
This weekend on the way to friend’s housewarming, we visited the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground.  When I read about the cemetery, a number of sources remarked that it was like an old New England cemetery – and based on my limited experience, I would say it is, or at least it fits our imagined picture of a New England cemetery.
Part of the reason for that is that the cemetery is just that old – the first burial was in 1808 and the last was in 1900, and most of the readable markers date from before 1850.
George R. Smith
Laurey Case
Charles Backus Storrs

The upkeep of the cemetery puts others to shame. The straight, neat rows of tombstones are punctuated by small flowering trees, and fallen tombstones seem to be righted with expediency.  The cemetery sits on the property of Western Reserve Academy, across from its neatly manicured sports’ fields on Chapel Street that terminates in front of a red brick, old-fashioned (dare I say?) New England style chapel. Western Reserve Academy was once Western Reserve College and Preparatory School (1826-1882) and gave birth to what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Rev. Caleb Pitkin
The cemetery is intertwined with the school, its confines populated with founders and early professors of the school, as well as a few students.
Professor Jarvis Gregg

Flavel Loomis
The archivist at Western Reserve Academy has an interesting website with historical photos and information about the school’s history and alumni here.

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