About the West Branch Cemetery in Miami County Ohio
A Walk in a Country Churchyard
Luke Smith Mote
Transcribed from the Original MS, March 2000
by Bruce Barrington Abbott
Return to the West Branch Cemetery Inscriptions
'Tis said that the heart is made better if dipped into baptism with sorrow, that its obdurateness is softened by scenes of affliction -- and a visit to the villages of the dead -- gives this impressive lesson -- as they have gone so shall we -- the clods of the valley cover all human greatness --the rich and the poor all fare alike quietly in their graves. They are taking their last long sleep -- no ruling passion or hatred or malice disturbs their quiet repose. As they are now so we shall be -- till aroused by the angels' trumpet on the last day.
Thinking on these things I stepped out one day to take a stroll in our churchyard (only a short walk) for meditation, not so much because I was a stranger there (for I had seen many a cold and lifeless form (and some of them near and dear to me) deposited beneath its grassy sod), but to review the resting place of some well known to me in life many years ago.
Entering the gate on the north and turning to the right we come to the old part, where those were interred in the earlier part of the present century, some of them some fifty or sixty years ago -- and no lettered stones to tell their names and ages -- in this part also many graves are entirely lost --all because the friends of the dead were not enough interested in them to keep their burial place in decent order. After passing the family group J. J. and wife S. J. and Grandson, with small, neat marble lettered stones, we come to an old thin slab of grey boulder on which is faintly chiseled below the peak the letters S. A. --1819--. Sally Abbott, wife of John Abbott died in the sixth month (or June) of that in her thirty-fifth year, leaving a small son and daughter. She was the second daughter of Samuel Jones and Mary his wife from the State of Georgia, early emigrants.
Nearby on a small, undressed stone are the letters R. P. I.: Robert Park Iddings, son of Talbot Iddings, died in spring or early winter of 1823 from effects of cold taken on an "overheat" in play at the school we attended together -- well remembered and a likely boy not yet in his teens -- close beside lies his father named above: the noted wheelwright -- died in December, 1830 of smallpox brought into the family by his son (having varioloid). He was son of Benjamin Iddings whose name frequently occurs on our Monthly Meeting records, but Talbot was not a member though [he] lived one and a half miles east of [the] meeting house.
Further up on a shelly, shattered stone is the name William Eagens, a recent emigrant from Maryland -- left a second wife and three children, called from works to rewards -- in a very short sickness, unlooked for by him.
Further south rises a dark gray peak of granite with the letters W. J. --William Jackson, 1810 -- 2 years and bright young man stricken down in the bloom of life.
Bearing southwest, we come to a peaked slate-colored stone, unlettered; this marks the grave of David Mote Sr., one of the first emigrants from Georgia -- originally lived in Chester Co., Pa., son of Jonathan Mote of Middlesex England. Many of his children and descendants once lived around here -- a few remain of the same name, in membership with the church. He come in by convincement in early life and remained steady to the end --died in spring of 1817 in his eighty-fourth year. His wife Dorcas was laid by his side in fall of same year in her eighty-sixth year.
Moving westward a little further we see a row of small graves with broader, rough headstones well down in the earth, and by parting the grass we discover a few initials and figures cut upon their face: N E B H A B [?] c, children of Oliver and N. Benton, little girls only a little way out of childhood, taken away from the evil to come -- but a great grief to their mother as then her only daughters. O. B. was one of Milton's first merchant[s] for some twenty years -- he put up the corner brick now owned (1878) by Coates -- they went to Wapelto in Iowa many years ago, 1838-9. His wife died there some years after, and he in Saint Louis not long since.
Over south of these are three graves with rough headstones set in to tell that here lies the remains of humanity -- but nothing to indicate whose it is that rest beneath these silent mounds. Few indeed are living now that remember the Rigley family that lived below Milton and awhile above on the old state road -- a widowed mother, three daughters and a son all grown to maturity. That destroyer of so large a portion of the human race, phthisis pulmonalis, entered that dwelling and took away said mother and two of her single daughters, and here they are, laid side by side awaiting the resurrection morn. Jane was first called; long she lingered on the bed of affliction, and as day by day her frail body wasted away, friends and comrades were wont to come and lend a helping hand by day and keep the vigils of the tedious hours of the stilly night -- and as the change drew near -- the mournful dove in the midnight hour from the apex of the cottage roof poured forth her sorrowing notes -- as if aware that the solemn summons was at hand. The last of the three taken was Lucy, the younger. Oft as I passed by that way have I seen her emaciated form in the large cushioned chair placed under the screening shade of the cottage trees, with her attendant fanning the heated cheek glowing with consuming heat that the soft vernal breeze failed to assuage.
On an undressed limestone a little northeast beyond two tiers I notice the letters N. M. rudely chiseled: This is the grave of Nannie Moss (or Mast as now spelt), said to be the first stone set up with letters on it (made by Frederick Yount, a relative of hers). She was one of the early settlers and was buried here amongst the first (before my remembrance). South of this is seen a peaked, undressed stone with the initials S. B. 1829 -- meaning that Samuel Brown died in summer of that year and was buried here. He was amongst the earlier emigrants from Bush River S. C. His name occurs in O'Neall's Annals of Newberry as one [of] the members composing "friends meeting" there in the beginning of the century. His wife died soon after coming out here, lived a widower some years afterwards. He had two married daughters (Anna Patty and Sarah Thornburgh) and a son Daniel --subsequently (about the year 1814) he married the widow Mary Tucker -- who had a large family of children (mostly minors) who had recently been received into our church -- by West Branch Monthly Meeting. It was quite a task upon him to have charge of eight children, six sons and two daughters. Some of the former a few times caused the old man a good deal trouble of mind by their rudeness. But he did his part nobly, faithfully -- as a father towards them. I speak of him more, especially as I find his name frequently on our church records as one that was useful in his day, once occupied the position of an Elder. A man of good natural endowments and a ready writer, he was often chosen clerk of the meeting and quite a large space in the record book is in his hand write. He closed his life in peace, full of years, being near four score.
I cast my eyes on a small drilled stone in the next tier east, whereon are the letters S. M. 1841. This recalls rapidly to mind the endearing name and kindnesses of a beloved grandmother -- Susanna Mendenhall -- who died of bronchial affection in the early spring of that year at the residence of her daughter, T. T., five miles southwest of here. Her funeral was on one of those dreary, sleety, snowy days early in March. As I viewed her cold lifeless form for the last time, I called to mind the many little favors she had bestowed upon me as far back as my memory could reach: always ready with some nice fruit or cake to hand to the little ones -- and in our maturer years whilst disease and pain were wasting and wearing her declining energy fast away, many's the times she has called me and her youngest son to her bedside and gave us much Christian counsel and advice. How to do and how to live, in order to secure an inheritance in that blissful abode on high, to which she felt herself fast tending to and fully prepared for -- oft have heard her weak voice uttering the praises of God in his great mercy extended to her -- so earnest at times that it seemed like she felt she could not do it enough and glorify His great and worthy name as much as she desired to and thought the Lord worthy of. Of what priceless worth is a kind Christian grandmother.
Near the middle of the older ground, rather southwesterly, lie the remains of three of the older Mote brothers (sons of David afore named), identity of graves lost by negligence of their families. William, the third son, died first early in the spring of 1830 of paralysis. He was smaller in stature than any [of] the brothers and very quiet in demeanor -- lived single till about his fortieth year, married Betsy Woodhouse (of Dutch descent). She survived him several years and two daughters and a son are still living (1877); his age was about sixty-seven years.
Jonathan died of gastric disease in spring of 1839 -- aged eighty-one years -- was of a different temperament, more stout built, and corpulent in his older years, and at one time in life kept for sale alcoholic liquors and indulged in their use. He raised a large family, mostly boys, who scattered off in the world. He built the first brick house on the river this side [of] Dayton, in 1801, which is still standing. He had a second wife, which lived no great while; his old farm is occupied now by some [of] the Vore family one half mile southwest of Milton.
John the doctor was one [of] the noted characters in this vicinity as a practicing physician and good nurse; made a great deal attending the sick. He lived one mile south of our meeting house (farm owned now by J. Hoke and L. Mote). He had a considerable sized family but the germs of scrofula was in several of the children, who reached no great age, and at this writing none are living. He died of paralysis also, in the winter of 1845, in his seventy-ninth year. His wife was daughter of Daniel Mote, a relative. These all come east from Georgia, Columbiana Co., amongst the first emigrants, 1802-4.
As mentioned in the forepart of these notes, in older parts of this enclosure many graves of those buried here are lost and their names forgotten or unknown to the present generation.
There was laid blind Jim McCoole, so called for distinction. Lost his eyesight by his imprudence going into cold water after the use of mercury, inflaming his eyes till his sight was gone. Thus he lived a good many years before his death, unhappily unmarried.
"Old Granddaddy" (as his grandchildren called him) John North. He come from the South also. His wife's name was Rachel (Nichols) a sister to my great grandmother (Dorcas Mote). The old man was full of years when he died: 103. Some [of] his sons said 105; be that as it may he appears to have been the oldest man interred here.
Grace Vernon, too, was one [of] the old emigrants, was the widow of Nathaniel Vernon, who died in 1815 (see records). She was sister to my grandfather (Caleb Mendenhall). She died some ten or eleven years after her husband. She then lived fifteen or sixteen miles up the river and was brought here and buried (her age was never recorded here).
Jesse Mote and his wife Dorcas was buried here before my remembrance (previous to 1820). He was the youngest son of my great grandfather (David Mote). Rachel Davis, second wife of Abiather Davis and eldest daughter of David Mote afore named, was buried here about the years 1829 or 30. She had lived apart (voluntarily) from her husband for many years, for which she lost her right in the church. She held the place of an Elder several years previous to the said separation. She died at her son John Jones (on Ludlow Creek) in indigent circumstances.
James Patty, another of the old S. C. emigrants and a man of considerable note, both outside and inside of the Church, was buried here in 1830. He bought my grandfather Mote's farm (now owned by John Hesson) in 1814. He lived there until fall, 1827. Sold out and moved in [the] neighborhood of Randolph meeting (east of Little York) in Montgomery Co., and from thence back to Milton in 1829, where he owned town lots. In the interim, he had embraced the doctrines of Elias Hicks and consequently was disowned by Friends there, and so ended his days in limited circumstances (to what he once was) apparently forsaken in his old age. He had lost that life and energy he once possessed. He employed himself in doing little jobs teaming till dyspepsia and weak lungs undermined his (not robust) system and he sunk into the tomb. (I helped make the coffin he was buried in in my eighteenth year.) What a commentary on the life of one of West Branch's leading characters for many years, whose name is so often recorded in minutes of said Monthly Meeting.
Near the same place and the same year was buried John Mast (whose headstone bears the initials J. M.). He was not a member but his wife was; she died in 1813 (see records). He built the first grist mill [?] in the settlement, which was a great help to the early settlers in getting the grinding done. He never married again and lived the latter part of his life with three of his grandchildren, or rather they with him, at the old home by his mill. He was a little under medium in size, fair skinned and blue eyes, quiet and unobtrusive and loved hunting. He attended religious meetings occasionally but never made an open profession. Not many years afterwards, his daughter Lizzie Jones and her husband David Jones followed him to the tomb. David was a sort of pow-wow doctor and performed some rather remarkable cures.
I could name others that lie here in their last resting place, to say nothing about the younger class and many children who have nothing to their graves to tell "where they lie." In closing up the notices of those without any headstones to their graves, who died long since and their graves are unknown and their memory lost, I will mention one other I call to mind. Old Betty McDonald -- the mother of Joseph McDonald, one amongst the first emigrants, who died at her son-in-law's, Francis Jones (who lies north of the Meeting-house) the latter part of the year 1823, before cold weather set in (month not remembered but in middling warm weather), from the effects of an ugly cancer on her face which had destroyed about half of it. She appeared patient under great suffering and her daughter (Mary Jones) did what she could to alleviate her sufferings, being in feeble health herself. It was almost impossible to keep her as she ought to have been in such a [?].
We will now retrace our steps back towards the entrance and take a turn round amongst those tombstones having names and dates carved upon them. The little group of white marble we passed near the gate when we first came in. John Jones, September, 1835 -- was the eldest son of Samuel Jones of or from Georgia. His death was quite sudden (of only a few hours) from spasmodis cholic (?). He left a wife and a large family of children (eight girls, one son). His occupation was blacksmithing. He had a kind, affectionate heart and was useful in the service of the service of the Church to a considerable extent. He was in his fifty-fifth year. Sarah his wife survived her husband nine years , dying in 1844. She was first cousin to my mother (Aunt Mary's daughter) and her husband John was first cousin to my father. After his death she suffered great prostration -- from which she never recovered, having for many years previous had low nervous depressions at times. John Jones, on the less stone, was a grandson of theirs, Samuel's son [?] in childhood.
A little further to the southwest, on an old style dressed limestone, we read "Mary Hoover 1817." She was the wife of Solomon Hoover (son of John Hoover) and daughter of Samuel Jones Sr. afore named. She died young in years, under thirty, and left one son.
A few steps further on in the same direction we come to a group of headstones of similar fashion and read on one Susanna Jones, died twenty-second of fifth month (May) 1817, aged twenty-eight years, eight months, nine days, killed by a stroke of lightning on the forenoon of that day. This was a sad affair to that family -- a nice, kind, affectionate, Christian mother snatched away in a moment from a family of little dependent children, four girls and a son, the eldest ten years and youngest not two (the youngest daughter being now the wife of one who pens these notes). Why this dispensation was ordered or permitted is beyond the reach of our finite vision, seeing what followed its wake in after years.
The next reads "Elisha Jones 1840": This was her husband, who died of typhoid fever in September of that year in the fifty-fifth year of his age and twenty-three years after his wife's death. He married a second wife in about a year after her death and raised up quite a family of children by her. But the blow fell so heavily on him in the loss of his first one that he never forgot her nor the incident of her death. He told he had been forewarned of its approach but did not understand the meaning of the sign given him in still watches of the night. He was one of the active members of the Monthly Meeting held at this place and held the post of an Elder for a good many years.
The next one over south is marked with the initials "S. H. 1830," which stands for Susanna Hollingsworth, the mother of Susanna Jones above, died at her son-in-law's Robert Pearson three miles northwest of here on the thirty-first of July of that year. Her home then was with her daughter Sarah in Clinton Co., but was taken sick there whilst on a social visit to her children and [?]here away: She had lived a widow many years amongst her children. Her husband (I. Hollingsworth) died in 1809, who was also buried in this tier. She was a recorded minister of the gospel and one of the first older emigrants from Bush River, S. C. She had traveled considerable in different states in the service of the gospel, as the records show.
Others of her family were buried on the south side where she lies: her daughter Kezia Pearson, who died of typhoid fever in September, 1826, and Ruth (Pearson) Jones. She first married John Pearson, brother to Robert, who died not many years after coming to this country, and left her to struggle along with several small children. After living a widow some twenty years, she was married to Wallace Jones, then a widower. Being never robust in health, she died early summer of 1854 in the seventy-third year of her age. The simple initials R. J. is on her tombstone. On the next stone, we read W. J., who died about three months afterwards; stands for Wallace Jones, her second husband. He also came from South Carolina, was once an officer in the militia and also in civil service -- was considered then in the South a pretty fearless, rough man. But after he and his wife and their children come to Ohio they become convinced of Friends' principles and joined the church and were useful in it in their day. His first wife was Rachel Patty, sister to the Patty brothers, who lived here (vis James, David and Charles). She died in the spring of 1828 in the fifty-fifth [year] of her age, but no stone marks her grave. Seven children were born to them, five sons and two daughters.
Casting my eye east in the second row, I read "Henry Fouts, Decr 1822" on a small marble. (This stone was put here by his only son, John, a number of years after his burial in place of an older and much less intelligible). This H. F. was accounted a sober, thoughtful, steady man, lived on the state road one mile east of here and had a middling large family (some four or five girls living and a son at the time of his death). His sickness was short. He was a regular attender of meetings at West Branch. At this writing all are dead except his eldest daughter Mary Wheelock. His son's widow now occupies the old homestead. His is another case of premature or earlier death brought about by excessive hard labor, like many of the first pioneers, he being of this class. Aged.
In the next row west, a few steps further on to the south, stands a broader headstone of common marble; here we read the name in full letters, "Anna Simpson -- wife of W. B. Jones. Jany 1857 Aged 35 yrs." Her life closed in West Milton at the time noted whilst her husband was absent on business in Georgia. She was the third daughter of Dr. John Mote. Her complaint was of a pulmonary character that proved fatal to so many of this family. She left three children -- two daughters and a son, who afterwards removed to Burlington, Iowa with their father (but not till they had spent their minority under the care of their uncle L. J. Jones of Newberry, S. C.), where they were married subsequently (in Iowa above stated). Her oldest daughter Laura was one [of] those pleasant, lovely girls that gave her favor with all who knew her.
A little further south on a low, small, mossy marble we read "Daniel Mote, Mar 30 1839, Aged 31 yrs." -- The youngest son of Dr. Mote and brother of the preceding; apparently robust as the commonality in early life, but no great while after his marriage that same disease (consumption) so prevalent in that family began to develop in his system and increased till it closed his life. His wife and five small children survived him.
South of his grave nearby are those of his four daughters. Rachel married Danl Elder Jr. and died in March, 1850, aged twenty- two years, and left a small son; Caroline, married William Aldrich but had no children, died in September, 1858, aged twenty-eight years; Hannah in April, 1855, aged twenty-one years (unmarried); Rhoda the following June (1855) aged sixteen years. In this group lies their grandparents, John and (Molly) Mary Wagoner, and also their mother. First named John Wagoner was one of the first settlers from Randolf Co., N. C. in spring of 1802. His old farm joins the county line one mile south-southeast from here. His wife was sister to John and David Mast, and died at an advanced age in January, 1850 in her seventy-ninth year. He outlived her several years, dying in June, 1857 in his eighty-third year. His name is frequently found in the old Monthly Meeting records.
Here also we read on a small marble, "Mary Mote Aug. 1858." This was Dr. Mote's youngest daughter, who died at the "Yellow Springs," Green Co., Ohio, whither she had gone for medical treatment for scrofulous disease. She was in her [?]th year and unmarried. Nancy (Mote) Yorty, in the northwest part of this group, was the third daughter of John and Mary Wagoner named above, wife of Daniel Mote and mother to those young women recorded above. She married JacobYorty, her [?] [?], some fourteen or fifteen years after her first husband's death. She died of puerperal congestive fever at her father's residence. She had lived for a good many years, in April 1854. Her sickness was short and clouded her mind before her death. Her girls were opposed to her marrying again and were discourteous toward [?] their stepfather. But death removed their mother in a year or so afterward and they soon followed her to the tomb. Silently here thus lie [?] [?] grassy tomb, where no passions disturb their last long repose.
We will pause here and refer back to that group northwest where Oliver Jones and wife were mentioned. In one of those unmarked graves was buried Kezia Pearson, sister to Susanna Jones and wife of Robert Pearson, who died of typhoid fever in September, 1826 (contracted is was [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] wife who died of this fever). She left a large family of children [?] [?] child -- who grew to manhood and was buried in this [?] a few years ago. Also her eldest married daughter Sarah and her son Robert, but there is nothing to mark their graves.
Not far from this spot, Mary Hickman was buried, wife of Joseph Hickman and daughter of Jonathan Mote (noticed on another page). She died in February, 1837 in her thirty-seventh year. Her husband followed her here in November, 1838. They left six or seven children, all minors (a couple of their youngest was previous laid here). As hinted at in the beginning of this notice, we did not expect to mention or go into detail of all names and persons buried in this inclosure, but only to give a little sketch of those of my former acquaintance.
Going a little further south, standing side by side, are two plain marbles on bases that mark the graves of two of the first settlers, Frederick Yount and Mary (his wife). She died in October, 1859, aged eighty years (abating one month). She was daughter of John Mast, who built the first grist mill in the township, or near here. She was the mother of nine children who grew to mature age and were married (four sons and five daughters). Her husband (Frederick) followed her in a few years; he died early in March, 1864 of short illness, aged eighty-six years (lacking one month). They joined the church in its early settlement. He was useful in his day. His name frequently occurring in its minutes; he had a very retentive memory and was a walking record of the history of the early settlement and a close observer of men and things during his life. He was over the average size of men and had a quick step.
A small stone in this group has the name of Seth Kelly engraved on it, who died in September, 1852 in the fifty-eighth year of his age. (His brother Samuel Kelly come out from Massachusetts in early times and set up one of the first wood cording machines in the Township. This was much enhanced in after years. He also built a cotton factory and did a good deal spinning in that early day.) His brother Seth noted above followed him in a few years, he being a blacksmith by trade. Set up a scythe factory in addition to other works, and although not large he employed experienced workmen from the east and turned out a great many scythes in a season, and was a great help and convenience there to the farming community. It was built on the river three-quarter mile southeast of Milton. The echo of its trip hammer was heard for miles around in the early morn during the busy season. These two brothers were sons of Seth Kelly of the aforesaid eastern state, who was a substantial Elder in the Friend's Church there. His sons' rights of membership were sent to West Branch, but by their inattention to retain them they were both discontinued a number of years before their death. They become connected with Frederick Yount's family (noted above), by said marrying his daughter Mahala, and Seth, Mitty (Amelia). [The] last- named wife lived not many years and left him no children; he subsequently married Mary Ann (Coppock) Wagoner (Jacob Wagoner's widow), who died some time before him and was buried in this enclosure a few steps [?] of this spot. Two sons and two daughters of theirs are yet living, [the] first named at Troy at this writing, [the] last named in St. Mary's, Ohio (Sarah being the wife of Oliver Jay). Samuel bought some mill privileges at Iowa Falls in Iowa and removed there in his old age but not till he had buried his first and second wife. No great while after, [he] received a hurt by being thrown from his wagon by his team running away, from which he died. His children are scattered a good deal. His eldest son lives near Milton and another son in Troy, Ohio.
As we approach the southern boundary, near the fence on a small marble spire (obelisk shaped), on the north side is chiseled the name "Jacob Weddle died Sept 1857, Aged 59 yrs 8 mo," and on the opposite side, "Susanna, wife of aforenamed, died Jan'y 1874 Aged 75 yrs 11 mos." They were emigrants from the state of Maryland a number of years ago; he was a miller by occupation and did good honest work in his day. But not much of a church goer and having neglected too much the Lord's proffered mercy, he was sensibly brought to feel his undone condition on his dying bed and sent one day in haste to a certain gospel minister to come and pray for him. The writer accompanied him there and a precious time of prayer was had by his bedside, which seemed to much relieve his mind. His family gathered round his bed deeply sorrowing, and he was enabled to give good advise in this trying time and we hope his end was peace.
On the south side lies a daughter, the wife of Daniel Childress -- nicely lettered -- when we read them we are reminded what we have often seen on those costly tombstones in public burial places, where the many virtues of the dead are engraved which [were] scarcely known whilst living.
Turning eastward, the marble slabs rise up thickly; next in course comes "Sarah Pearson, June 18 Aged 73 yrs 7 ms." She was the oldest child and daughter of Robert and Kezia Pearson referred on another page; in her older age she married William Pearson, son of Benjamin, also from S. C., still retaining her family. She served some years as a kind step-mother to his [?] children; after his death his old homestead was sold to pay some standing debts -- when she and an afflicted son took their reduced means and bought their small new home. She lived no great while afterwards.
Next east of this, "Wm S. Pearson" is read on a headstone. He died of congestive fever early in May in 1871, in the [?] and vigor of his day in his thirty-eighth year, leaving a wife and a good sized family of children all in their monority and needing his care -- a very promising and useful member of the church also; in our estimation many others could [have] been spared better than him. But such are the ways of "Providence" -- beyond our finiteness to comprehend.
Nearby, north, lies his sister, Mary S. Pearson, who was taken away in the early bloom of womanhood, dying October 30,. 1856 of congestive fever, aged nineteen and a half years. A very smart young woman.
William S.'s daughter Laura E. lies over north a couple graves; died in April, 1863 in her ninth year, suddenly of that deceitful diphtheria. Between these, a small stone has the name "Asa Jones, died in May 1857 Æd 58 yrs"; he was the youngest son of Samuel and Mary Jones, noted elsewhere. [At the] time of his death, he lived nine or ten miles north of Milton on Ludlow's Creek, where he settled a number of years before.
Several steps north is a plain stone with the name "Dr. Benjn Crew," who died in October 1833, aged thirty-four years. A very promising physician; left a young wife and two little boys, five and two years old, respectively, who grew into respectable manhood and citizenship. The doctor was well versed in his profession. In person he was rather spare -- full medium in height, bilious temperament, black hair and heavy beard; taciturn in manners, natural endowments above medium and predisposed to bronchial disease, which eventually closed his life.
We must refer again to the old part of these grounds north of his grave, where a few were buried long since. We omitted mentioning -- A little southwest of Henry Fout's grave is a double grave; two small stones, roughly dressed, with the initials S. D. and L. D. marks the burial place of Lydia Davis and Sarah Davis, who were buried in this grave at the same time. They were sisters in law. Lydia was the wife of John Davis and daughter of Henry Coate; Sarah was daughter of Abiather Davis, unmarried; both were in prime of life, scarcely thirty-five years of age; last named was much concerned for her eternal welfare, often calling on [?] to have mercy on her and save her soul -- whilst languishing on her dying couch. She had much to say to the family present, her brothers and sisters, pleading with them to close in with the Lord's proffered love and mercy whilst it was yet extended to them; warning them also, if they did not and change their manner of life, they would be all be eternally lost (go to hell, as she expressed it). Lydia left four sons and a daughter.
Further down towards the gate -- in or by the group of John Jones and wife's graves is the unmarked grave of Samuel Jones Sr. (father of John and others named in this sketch). His was one of several families who came from near Wrightsboro in Georgia in 1804 and settled one mile and [a] half north of Milton, on the Troy road. (His farm is now owned by David Davis, son of Benjamin.) His name is frequently seen on all the early church transactions book; was one of the first Elders in the Monthly Meeting and traveled a good deal in its service in his younger days. His wife Mary was sister to Dr. Mote and brothers and third daughter of David and Dorcas Mote mentioned in the forepart of this article. They had eleven children, seven sons and four daughters, which all grew to maturity and were married and several had large families, only one of which (a son) is living at this writing, at an advanced age. He died (Samuel Sr.) about Christmas in 1836 in the eighty-second year of his age, she in December, also in the year 1847, in her eighty- eighth year -- and buried beside or near her husband.
A little south by west is the grave of her daughter Dorcas Davis, the wife of Samuel Davis, who died in May, 1841 of hepatitis in the fifty-seventh year of her age. Further south was buried an aged widow (Sarah Allison by name) who had not any long before come out from Pennsylvania from Dunning's Creek with a large family of grown-up children and were renters round for several years -- two of the girls married here after awhile and the rest moved west into Illinois. She died in January, 1840 in the sixty-third year of her age. A son in law who also come near the same time (Isaac Fisher), who died in the spring of 1843 in the fiftieth year of his age, was buried near by, also two of Isaac's sons were interred here -- adult persons, some six or seven years afterwards. John left a wife and small family; Caleb was single.
It would be doing injustice to the name and memory of our early pioneers not to note the death and burial of another of these in this older part of the cemetery -- Abiathar Davis, who come out from near Augusta, Georgia. He settled on the farm currently owned by Eli Boyer, deed chosen for its large cold springs (the pioneers early selecting these). His family, three daughters and four sons, were all grown up and settled in life, except the two youngest, when we were yet in boyhood. He lost his first wife early in the beginning of the current century -- and some years afterwards married another woman which from some cause proved unhappy, and she left him, and they lived apart before their deaths (her children was thought to be implicated in it). His first wife was sister to Isaac Emery, from the same state, whose name frequently appeaers on our church books; his second wife, Rachel (widow) Jones, sister to Dr. Mote. The old man was a regular attendee of meetings whilst his physical strength held out -- how oft have we seen him ride up and hitch his pony, and then with limping walk, come to the company around the church doors and salute each one with his wimped hand; young and old were alike to him, often passing some pleasant words. He closed his life in a good old age at the old homestead in early part of September, 1840, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. His grey hairs were few at this great age.
As I look eastward and see so many of the white slabs of marble from two to four feet high, with their lettering and nice carving to praise the dead who lie beneath, children and great grandchildren, etc. of the first settlers -- I am led to wonder why so many of the pioneer fathers and mothers who[se] labor and industry laid the foundation for the prosperity of their descendants, and the means that enabled them to put up those costly tombstones, that their graves are lost amongst the unknown and no marble tells where they lie or speaks of their moral worth.
One more name I will mention in this part of the unmarked graves. On a small half-dressed limestone, low in the grass in faintly chisseled letters, we read "Bethany Smith: wife of Geo. Smith died April -- 1829 Agd 22 yrs 2 mos." She was a granddaughter of John Hoover, and made her home with her grandparents till after marriage, and was little known outside her near relatives. Her husband was of Dutch descent and followed the trade of a ploiterer (?) many years; he never married again and died not many years ago over the river southeast of Milton.
Thence moving eastward we come to a headstone with the name "Abram Hoover" on it, "died Feb 3d 1846 Agd 52 yrs 9 mos." He was the son of John and Sarah Hoover Sr. When he was young in years, his worthy mother joined our church and had him and others of his children taken in also. But this did not change their hearts, and to comply with her wishes and live a Christian life within its pale was too straight for some [of] them, and the too common use of intoxicants by the first settlers was taken up by their children, leading into brails and profanity, causing much [?] to their parents labor for the church and their final ejectment -- and a good many of a certain class ran far down the stream of intemperance and shortened their days. The foregoing named -- though not so far in this current --undoubtedly foreclosed his life. He married two wives in his days and left several children.
There are two graves of aged people: Simon Turnpaugh and his wife. She was rising of eighty years and he eighty-eight years. They came from the east in the latter times and not much known; lived east of the river and were brought here and buried.
In the group next to the fence of young persons were children of James Kendall, who lived near Gettysburg, Dark Co., from five to fifteen years of age, who died in quick succession by the introduction of smallpox into their family (great grandchildren of Joseph Mendenhall). That tall stone with a stag and sword engraved on it is an uncle of theirs, Joseph M. Kendall. He also died of the same disease after he had come back from the army in 1864, in his twenty-ninth year. His brother J. T. lies beside him.
Over by the fence, south, on a small stone is the name of "Ruth Bolinger, wife of David Bolinger, died May 1864, 57 yrs 5 mos," daughter of Joseph and Rachel Mendenhall. Her husband was a Pennsylvanian, come out here in latter times and settled west of here in the (then) flats; lost his first wife soon after by a hurt [?] [?] falling of a board kiln -- afterwards married Ruth Mendenhall noted above (who was in her elder maidenhood). She left several children who survived her.
Joseph Mendenhall and Rachel Mendenhall (his wife) two of the pioneers' graves are thus distinctly marked; he died in September, 1856 in his seventy-ninth year and she in February, 1860 in her eighty-eighth. They had ten children born to them, most of whom survived them. He set up the first tan yard for public work or service in the township; was industrious and accumulated a good deal of property. For further information regarding him and his brother Caleb we refer to Miami County History 1880 or Genealogy of the Men[den]hall Family by Edward Mendenhall of Cincinnati, Ohio.
North of these graves is that of Lydia McDonald, who was the third daughter of the above Joseph and R. Mendenhall and wife of Mark McDonald. She was between thirty and forty years of age when married; they lived up on Greenville Creek north, where she died some ten to twelve years afterwards, in her forty-seventh year, leaving two children. She was considered a belle in that family and rather prided herself with the idea, so between choosing and refusing, she fell and remained unmarried a number of years. King Solomon said vanity of vanities is all human presumption.
Down over by the fence south of the pine tree, on a small piece of dressed marble, is the name of "Mary Brown," who "died May 30 1865, Æ 88 yrs 10 mos." She was the second wife of Samuel Brown, noticed in the forepart of this article. His first wife was buried at Union graveyard north, and here man and wife are buried rods apart, an act of improper management in laying off the grounds in sections, lots, aisles, and walks at first -- and a curious entertained idea that the dead must be laid in close, compact rows disregardful of all family relationship, as though burial space was very scarce and must be economized.
If any woman deserved a distinguishing mark at her grave, this old grandmother did, being one of those rare exceptions that filled the name of "a mother in Israel." It was a treat to be in her company and feel the sweet influence of that spirit that filled her breast and hear the overflow of words emanating therefrom. She had lived to a great age and seen much of human life, and had passed through many trials and was therefore enabled oft-times to speak a word of comfort and consolation to those in these [?] [?] baptisms. Some of her children were at times disposed to be a little wayward, and a son she lived with (at her old home one and a half mile southwest of here) was intemperate and was difficult many times for her to get to her meetings here when younger. She was much called on to women in their [?] [word crossed out] and after her husband's death, two of his daughters set out claims against his estate and sued at court for claims that they would not dared present to him whilst living. This involved much trouble and expense and she was forced to sell off much of her farm to meet it and the gain those women got thereby benefitted them little. In her last sickness she lay some time (something of Erysipelas (?) phoraotic (?)). We [?] and conversed with a day or two before she died. She said, "I have never quit praying for that boy" (meaning her son she lived with). And these prayers of hers were answered after her death, for he sold out soon afterwards and went to the northern part of Indiana and reformed; quit the use of intoxicants and hard language and joined Christian Church and continued steadfast unto the end (dying about a year ago, February, 1880 --at a ripe age [of] seventy- six).
A number of her descendent grandchildren, great grandchildren are living in the upper settlement north at present. North of her grave several of her grandchildren are buried: Milo Thomas' wife, Samuel Tucker, Mary Tucker, Elizabeth Z. Albaugh, etc. all died early adult age. Her daughter Naomi Jones was also buried here early in March, 1852 aged fifty-three years [?]. Her first husband was Philemon Jones, son of Wallace (already noticed). He died in spring of 1830, leaving her with several minor children to care for. Some four or five years afterwards she married Jesse Jones, a widower with a family also. But this pleasant union was broken as above by a tedious illness of typhoid fever which closed her life.* She carried the comeliness of her mother in her older age, like her, but was some less in stature and not so fleshy as her, and solid in her department; most of her children are yet living and valuable members of the church, and also some grandchildren. The other children of Grandmother Brown who resembled her in feature and temperament most was Jonathan (noted above) and Mitchener to a considerable extent. The oldest son Nicholas did too but had auburn hair.
Note: I want to note the burial here in these grounds (the older part) of two persons of advanced age, many years ago, who were of the earlier settlers, viz Joseph McConnel and his wife Mary from S. C. but natives of Ireland -- clever old people in their was but so different in their manners and customs from the commonality (especially the old man). [He] was noted for his singularity in expression and demeanor (mention is made of him in Judge O'Neall's Annals of Newberry S. C. from whence he came). But we will not detail anything here. He went to his long rest some years before here. I remember stooping over her husband's open grave and calling his name aloud as he was being lowered to his last resting place. But no great while afterwards she was laid beside him. And now "there is no stone to tell where they lie."
Moving in our course a little northeast we come to a group of graves with small round-top headstones -- that of the Hasket family.
*I have to wonder oft times that the people will be so doped and dosed by the doctors, and I have no doubts many lives are thus shortened by starving and dosing with drugs, where if they had been attended by a good common sense nurse, they had lived longer.
To improve readability, I have taken the liberty of changing some of the punctuation, spelling out many abbreviated words, and including certain words where it is obvious that these were intended but omitted. (Added words are enclosed in square brackets.) Question marks enclosed in square brackets mark areas where the text was unreadable in my copy of the manuscript. I hope to replace these with the proper words after I have had a chance to review the original. -- BBA, April 2000
The orignal seventeen-page handwritten manuscript was discovered by Dr. Thomas Hamm, curator of the Lilly Library Friends Collection at Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, who found it written in the back pages of a notebook containing the records of the West Branch Quarterly Meeting Committee on Concerns of People of Color, 1828-1868.
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