North GraveyardProhibitory Ordinance of 1856Its Repeal, etc.East GraveyardCatholic GraveyardGreen Lawn CemeteryDate of IncorporationPic Nic and Dedication, etc.

THERE are four burying grounds that may properly be included under this head.  First, the old North Graveyard; second, the East Graveyard, or burying place; third, the Catholic burying ground; and fourth, Green Lawn Cemetery.

THE NORTH GRAVEYARD, adjoining the north line of the city, was the first.  One and a half acres of this lot was donated by the proprietors of Columbus on the second of July, 1813, for a "burial ground for the use of the citizens of Columbus," and commenced being used for that purpose soon after, though Mr. Kerr, who was authorized to make the deed of conveyance, did not do it until the 21st of April, 1821.  He then conveyed it to the "Mayor and Council of the Borough of Columbus and their successors in office,"–to be used solely as


a public burying ground, and for no other purpose, with a proviso, "that if the corporation should cease, or the ground from any cause should cease to be used for that purpose, it should revert to the grantors or their heirs."

In February, 1830, William Doherty and wife conveyed to the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Columbus about ten acres, partly surrounding the above, and making about eleven and a half acres in all.

This purchase was made expressly for the enlargement of the burying ground, (though not so expressed in the deed,) and was, by the Town Council, laid out into lots for that purpose – pretty uniform in size and shape, and the lots were sold by the town authorities, and a form of receipt and certificate of purchase was adopted and used in lieu of a deed, and signed by the Mayor.

In October, 1845, John Brickell also added a strip of ground, twenty feet in width, along the north side of the above grounds, which he laid out into lots , and conveyed direct to the purchasers – the corporation having no title to, or control over them.

These three pieces of ground are now all enclosed by a good board fence, embracing near twelve acres, and constitute what is generally called the North Graveyard.  This burying place, with the exception of Brick-


ell's lots, has always been under the control of the Town or City Council, and they have always appointed one of their own body a kind of special committee man, or superintendent, to keep the plat of the grounds, make sale of the lots, and receive the pay therefor, and also a sexton to attend to the digging of graves, his compensation being defined by ordinance.

A part of the ground, however, being set off for that purpose, was free for the use of anyone without charge.  And another part was designated for, and sold to, colored persons on the same terms as to whites.

On the 21st of July, 1856, the City Council attempted to prohibit burials in the graveyard, making it a penal offense to use the lots for the very purpose that they had themselves sold them.  The following is a copy of the ordinance passed on that occasion:

"SEC. 1.  Be it ordained and enacted by the City Council of Columbus, That it shall be unlawful to deposit or bury any dead person in any graveyard within the present corporate limits of said city, or in the enclosure commonly known as the North Graveyard.

"SEC. 2.  Any person or society of persons violating any provision of this ordinance, shall, on conviction thereof, before the Mayor, be fined the sum of twenty-five dollars and the costs of prosecution.

"SEC. 3.  This ordinance to be in force from and after the first day of November, 1856."

This act of the Council created, to say the least of it, a general surprise, and several communications expressive of that surprise immediately appeared in the newspapers of the city; and on the 18th of August, in the same year, the ordinance was repealed.

THE EAST GRAVEYARD, situate on the Livingston road, so called, about a mile and a half east of the Court House, contains eleven and a quarter acres, and was conveyed to the City of Columbus by Matthew King and wife, in the year 1839, without specification or restriction as to its uses.  It was, however, bought for the express purpose of a burying ground, and part of it was laid out into family lots, and sold and conveyed similar to those in the North Graveyard.

THE CATHOLIC BURYING GROUND, situate in the northeasterly part of the city limits, contains three and a quarter acres, and was, on the 11th of September, 1848, conveyed by Peter Ury and wife, to "John Baptist Purcell, Roman Catholic Bishop, of Cincinnati, Ohio, as such Bishop, as a burial ground, etc., and to his heirs and assigns forever–to be held by said Bishop in trust as a burying ground for the Roman Catholics of Colum-


bus," though the ground had been used for this purpose some two or three years before the date of this deed.

This location was objectionable to some of the residents and property holders in that vicinity, and in the summer of 1856, they petitioned the City Council to prohibit further interments.  The reasons assigned for asking the prohibition were, that the decomposition of the dead affected the water in the neighborhood – and that the said burying ground was a great objection to the settlement of the neighborhood and the improvement of the adjoining lots.  This petition doubtless led to the passage of the foregoing prohibitory ordinance, so far as related to this cemetery.

GREEN LAWN CEMETERY.—Although this cemetery is situated beyond the jurisdiction, and entirely independent of the city authorities of Columbus, yet as the corporators and principal part of the stockholders reside in Columbus, it is proper to class it amongst, and indeed as the principal one of the Columbus cemeteries.  It is situated in Franklin Township, about two and a half miles westward from Columbus.

In March, 1848, an act was passed by the Legislature, incorporating Joseph Sullivant, William A. Platt, Alfred P. Stone, William B. Thrall, Thomas Sparrow, A. C. Brown, William G. Deshler, and their associates, under


the name of "Green Lawn Cemetery of Columbus."  In the spring of 1849, the first purchase of ground was made, and on the 23d of May, 1849, a public Pic Nic was held on the ground, which was numerously attended; and a partial clearing off of part of the ground was effected, preparatory to the laying out of lots, etc.; and soon after some of the lots and avenues were laid out by Howard Daniels, engineer; and on the 9th of July, 1849, there was a formal dedication of the grounds on the premises; the proceedings of which, together with the rules, regulations, etc., adopted by the Board of Trustees, form an interesting pamphlet.  One or two subsequent purchases of ground were made, until the association now owns about eighty-four acres in one body and in good shape.  this Cemetery Association is governed by a Board of seven Trustees, elected by the stockholder or lot owners.

The first board of Trustees, elected August 20, 1848, were W. B. Hubbard, Joseph Sullivant, Aaron F. Perry, Thomas Sparrow, Alfred P. Stone, Wm. B. Thrall, and John W. Andrews.  Alex. E. Glenn, Clerk.

Richard Woolley was employed as sexton or superintendent of the grounds, in 1849, and has been continued ever since.

The Trustees keep an office in Columbus, where they


hold monthly meetings, and where all the financial affairs of the association are attended to, and a register of all interments is kept by the Secretary.

In the arrangement of the grounds, irregularity or variety seems to have been one object aimed at.  The sections all vary in size and shape; the lots also vary in size from one hundred to twelve hundred square feet, and all kinds of shapes; and the improvements vary according to the taste of the lot owners.  The lots are kept clean and in neat order, which shows not only a becoming respect for departed friends, but strips the place of half its gloom.

There are a number of costly and elegant monuments erected here, with impressive and appropriate inscriptions, dictated by surviving friends.  But there is perhaps only one that was prepared by the tenant of the tomb, while living, and that is on the head stone or our old and esteemed fellow-citizen, Jeremiah Miner — an old bachelor, somewhat eccentric in character, and who had been a man of considerable wealth, but had become reduced by too freely accommodating his friends.  He died at Sandusky, in Wyandot County, and was brought to Green Lawn for burial.  He had prepared the inscription for his grave stone, leaving only a blank for the day of his death to be inserted.  It is as follows:


Born in Massachusetts,
On the fifteenth of November, 1780.

I owed the world nothing;
It owed me a small amount;
But on the 4th of March, 1854,
We balanced all accounts."

In the summer of 1856, a question arose as to the propriety of selling lots to colored persons, and thereby admitting them as members of the association; and by order of the trustees, the following circular was addressed to each of the stockholders:

Columbus, Sept. 15, 1856. }

"Pleas attend a meeting of the stockholders of Green Lawn Cemetery Association, at their office, corner of Friend and Front streets, on Thursday, October 2d, at 3 o'clock, P. M.

"The object of the meeting is to determine as to the expediency of setting apart a section of our grounds for the burial of colored persons.

"Should you engagements be such as to prevent your attendance, please indorse your preference upon the back of this notice.  Say 'Opposed;' or, 'In favor,' as the case may be, subscribe your name, and return to this office by the day of the meeting.


"The Board of Trustees are desirous of a full expression from the stockholders upon this question, as a guide for their future action.

"By order of the Board

"Very respectfully,
"------------, Sec'y."

Of these circulars distributed through the post office, to the number of three hundred and forty, only one hundred and eleven were returned appropriately indorsed, and they were —"In favor,"e; twenty; "Opposed," ninety-one.  There being so large a majority of those who voted opposed, the question was consdered as settled, at least for the present, against selling lots to colored persons.

The first burial in this Cemetery was a child of A. F. Perry, Esq., on the 7th of July, 1849; the second was Dr. B. F. Gard, on the 12th of the same month.  On the 1st of January, 1858, the Secretary reported that there had been 1,079 burials to that date, of which two hundred and forty-seven were removals from other burying grounds.

The present Board of Trustees are:  Wm. A. Platt, Pres't; Wm. T. Martin, Sec'y; Thos. Sparrow, Treas'r' Joseph Sullivant, Dr. W. E. Ide, Robert Hume, John Greenleaf.  Richard Woolley, sexton and superintendent of the ground.

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