Posts Tagged ‘pioneer cemetery’

Of all the double stones I found in West Herrick Cemetery, this one was the one that tugged at my heartstrings the most.


It is for Susan Grace and her Twin Sister. No name, just twin sister. I have struggled to read more of the inscription and just can’t make enough out. Susan must have outlived her twin. Was the twin stillborn? Did she only live an hour? Did Susan manage to survive her by days or weeks that would explain why one of them was named and one was not? Is the difference in the names to signify that one was christened or baptized and one was not?

I was finally able to read the line “Our daughters.” If anyone can make out more of this stone, I would love to know what you think it says.




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Double stones signify one of two things. What I mean by double stones is a grave marker that gives the impression of being two markers smashed very close together – if the marker was paper instead of stone, you could fold it right down the middle and have the outline of one tombstone. I’m not sure I’m explaining myself clearly, so let me post an example.


As I was saying, double stones signify one of two things – or really, relationships. The double stone we might think of immediately is a stone for a married couple. But in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a double stone was often used to signify siblings.


Now of course a married couple could die tragically young, but a double stone almost always signifies very early death. If a child had reached adulthood, he or she would likely be married and buried with a spouse. Not only that, but a double stone indicates that a family lost two children very young.


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At Malabar Farm State Park, there is a tiny pioneer cemetery up on the hill.

Entire cemetery surrounded by white picket fence

Never heard of Malabar Farm? My grandmother is disappointed in you.

It’s ok, she was disappointed in most of us, too, when we went there during a family reunion. Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, was the home of Louis Bromfield, author and conservationist. A prolific writer, he produced novels, plays, short stories, non-fiction works, and finally an autobiography, writing more and more about conservation later in his life. Four of his books were transformed into films and brought him acclaim on the silver screen. He won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel Early Autumn.

Despite Bromfield’s acclaim, in popular culture of my grandparents’ day, Malabar Farm’s wider claim to fame was as the location of the 1945 wedding and honeymoon of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart.

Malabar Farm and Bromfield’s passion are now preserved as an Ohio State Park, demonstrating the conservation methods that Bromfield pioneered. The Big House that Bromfield and his family lived in remains, full of artifacts of their lives, and a working farm surrounds it. On a small rise, a little pioneer cemetery stands, which nearly has more names than tombstones: Pioneer Cemetery, Olivet Cemetery, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Schrack Cemetery, Malabar Farm Cemetery, Bromfield Cemetery. The park calls it Pioneer Cemetery on the map and Olivet Cemetery on the sign.

Olivet Cemetery sign

Surrounded by a pristine white picket fence, the graves inside are sometimes swallowed by the lush plants that flourish in the farm’s sun and rain.

William Ferguson tombstone in a bed of grasses and flowers

The cemetery was there before Louis Bromfield bought his farm, as evidenced by the 19th century dates on a number of tombstones. George Franklin served in the Civil War, as did George Baughman.

George Franklin tombstone with American flag and GAR marker

George F. Baughman military tombstone
And there Louis Bromfield, his wife, his mother, and his father, lie in quiet repose with the residents of a previous century on the same land.

Louis Bromfield grave slab with American flag and metal veteran's marker

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