Where my great grandparents are
Covered o’er with corn.
I have been keeping notes since 1996 on anything I have discovered about the cemetery where our ancestor-grandparents were buried, the land on which it is located, and the people who were somehow involved with it. When it was time for me to bring our family history up-to-date from 1900 to 2000, I planned on just mentioning the burial site. However, when I pulled out my notes I found there were some perceived errors which have occurred in reporting this cemetery and the other Quaker cemetery next door over the years, these errors repeating over time. It may be that we have just been misinterpreting what we are reading. It is difficult to visualize properly from a long distance. For a family descendant who lives several states away, misconceptions can easily occur. I also found very interesting pieces of history connected to the two cemeteries that involve other families and events that have impacted on our old family.
What I found was, this old Quaker cemetery on the Sears farm is not the same as the Old Quaker Cemetery, Section 2, in the rear of the Greenmont Union Cemetery just half a mile away. I had been in the process of trying to prove through plotting on paper that both Quaker cemeteries were one and the same, or were immediately adjacent to one another. Given to detail, I could not prove that. Digging deeper, I found information that was new to our family, though perhaps not to others.
In 1996 I visited with township historian of Freeport, Ohio, Alice Hayhurst Morton, who told me of a visit she had made to the cemetery at the Sears farm some time before 1988. She gave me a description of the stones for Godfrey and Sarah – “in the Quaker style,” she said, “not tombstones or markers we are used to seeing, but rounded stones, not dressed, except that their initials were carved into the rocks, which were probably not more than eight or ten inches in diameter.” She said each of them (Godfrey and Sarah) had a stone at the head and at the foot of the two graves. My question, for a long time was, "Why were they buried in a Quaker Cemetery?"
We can’t verify that those rounded stones were “in the Quaker style” since my understanding is Quakers did not use any markers. We believe Sarah was of Quaker stock, but have no documentation, and we are pretty sure that Godfrey never became a Quaker. As an immigrant, he had come from a Lutheran background. My personal opinion is that if Sarah at one time was Quaker, then it may have been as a child in her family before the Revolutionary War, before she was the age of sixteen when she married Godfrey. As I read through the Hinshaw Quaker records,36 volumes 1-7, which hold the records for Ohio Quakers, I noticed that Sarah was not recorded at all in their records. If we had been able to locate her parents back in Virginia or Baltimore, and if she were Quaker, we would have known her status, though I understand that the Maryland records were lost. In any event, if she had been Quaker back in Baltimore when she married Godfrey, her name would probably have been labeled "mou" (married out of unity). We have found no such record.
I received a later note from Mrs. Morton in which she related to me that in 1988 she had returned to the Boone-Sears Cemetery again, and the stones were no longer visible. She also told me “there was a grid of the graves published somewhere, or stored somewhere" to show where each person was buried and she said she thought there were names on that paper. She said she had seen the paper but was not in a position to examine it.
Next was a short E-mail correspondence with Harry Liggett of Akron, Ohio relating to him some of my information about this cemetery, with an inquiry as to whether he was aware of the document on which the cemetery graves were listed. Harry is a former web site coordinator for the Rootsweb “Harrison County, Ohio Cemetery Locations Including Freeport Township” having already documented the location of Freeport cemeteries on the web. He said he was not aware of it, but suggested that I bring this subject to the Harrison County chapter of the Genealogical Society and perhaps get them interested in locating the document.
Mr. Liggett also said the current Freeport township trustees may have some old records, and the county engineer might be able to help. He said there is a possibility that some of the grave records were recorded by the county recorder. Another idea he gave me was that in Cadiz (county seat of Harrison County) grave plots were recorded as land deeds. So we have a little work to do here to see if we are able to find the ‘grid of graves’ document. I am not aware this document is related to any WPA65 records. The WPA publication that lists military graves in many counties across the country shows Hamilton Boone listed in the WPA Civil War records and the cemetery was listed as Boone-Sears Cemetery. But a separate list, just for the Boone-Sears Cemetery, apparently does not exist, or has been lost. One interesting word-of-mouth piece of information I have heard is that the WPA documentation for Ohio was never finished. I don’t know if that is so.
The cemetery on the Sears farm was established in 1830 according to those who have listed the address of the cemetery in publications. I have not been able, yet, to find documentation for the reason for the 1830 date, but it had already been a cemetery over ten years before my fourth great grandmother was buried there in 1815, two years before the second site was built half a mile away. The date does not match any of the records we have found.
Through the research on the Boone-Sears Cemetery, the township historian, and the people who have been associated with the site, I have compiled a list of individuals who are known (*) to be buried there or thought (?) to be buried there. Historians have said there were 50 to 75 graves but to this date we have not been able to find a complete list of that many burials. It is also possible the “space” allotted for the cemetery was the equivalent of 50 to 75 graves, but hadn’t yet been fully used. Since the second cemetery was available to the Friends beginning in 1817 at the new site, it is possible that the cemetery at the first site was used by members of the community, since at that particular time, there were very few cemeteries exisiting in Freeport township. We should also take into consideration that this quarter-section of property almost always had been private property, and perhaps no real records would have been kept, or if kept, then stayed with one of the owners of the property, or filed in the county archives. Our only hope, then, to make additions to the list, is to hear from families who have Bible pages, diaries, or other documentation that tells us of the others who are buried on this first site.
(*) Rebecca Whealdon, infant daughter of Isaac Whealdon and Elizabeth Manlove, b. Oct 27, 1804, d. Nov 3, 1804. Margaret Gunning, in her “History of Freeport, Ohio From 1810 to 1900” says her source for this information was Paul W. Morton.17 18 Paul Morton was a descendant of the old Sears family and the husband of Alice Hayhurst Morton, Freeport township historian.
(*) Sarah Townsend Speck, d. Dec 13, 181519 (my fourth great grandmother, not ? Quaker) The Freeport Township historian told me that Sarah was buried here because there was not another cemetery available in 1815.
(*) Godfrey Augustus Speck, d. Dec 24, 182820 (my fourth great grandfather, not Quaker).
(*) Rachel Brown burial (no date) as described by Isaac Speck, author of the SPECK family history. We are trying to ascertain this would have been a second wife for Godfrey, (marriage record - 1819- in Belmont County) and whose last name would have been Pickering when she married Godfrey.
(*) Isaac Whealdon, owner of property when he died in 1840. Eight years later, his children sold the property and his wife, Elizabeth Manlove Whealdon, moved with some of her family to Ipava, Illinois. In Mrs. Morton’s Freeport Cemeteries publication, she has listed Isaac’s name in the Index for page 3, for the Boone-Sears Cemetery. Rebecca, Tabitha and Tabitha’s infant son (below) were Isaac’s daughters and grandson.
(*) Infant Kinsey, son of Tabitha and Reese Kinsey, b. May 06, 1845, d. May 06, 184521
(*) Tabitha Whealdon Kinsey, b. Mar 07, 1820, d. May 06, 1845. Husband was Reese Kinsey22, son of Richard Kinsey.
(*) Hamilton Boone, (ref 1: WPA register, Row 1, Grave 16, Civil War Veteran (the grave placement reads differently between WPA and the Grave Registration Card)) (ref 2: Graves Registration Card, date of death 1870 or 1872, via suicide. Row 2, Grave 1. Date of birth, January 2, 1832, Harrison County, Ohio. Please note the inconsistency in the two sources for the grave placement. A more detailed documentation of the burials could have solved this problem. If there was such a list, it may have been in the records collections of either the Whealdon or the Sears family, or even later owners. Name of cemetery[at the time of Mr. Boone's burial]: The Pvt. E. Johnson Farm at Freeport, Ohio. Next of [Boone's] Kin, Grant Confer [sic, Compher], Freeport, Ohio. Service record: Civil War. Enlisted Aug 21, 1861; discharged (no record) Serial No: (blank). Branch of Service, Army; rank: Pvt. Company: Co. F-30th Reg. OVI. We aren’t sure why the farm would have been called The Pvt. E. Johnson Farm, unless he owned it for a period of time, or lived on the property for some time. Alice Hayhurst Morton, in her “Freeport Township Cemeteries” lists Everett Johnson in her index for the page 3 information of burials/owners of what we describe as the Sears farm. When we go to her page 3, we see a list of former owners of the Sears farm land as well as a very short list of those who are known to be buried there but Mr. Johnson’s name doesn’t appear on that page. We haven’t found a record for Everett Johnson as a former owner of the property, but it is possible she had meant to include that information. Pvt. E. Johnson was a World War I veteran23 and is buried in Section 9 of the Greenmont Union Cemetery.
(*) Elizabeth Ann Sears, daughter of David and Margaret(Morton) Sears, died in childhood, 1869 or after.24 The year 1869 is based on the year David bought the property.
(*) Mary Jane Sears, daughter of David and Margaret (Morton) Sears, died in childhood, 1869 or after.25
(*) Hanna B. Sears, daughter of David and Margaret (Morton) Sears, died when small, 1869 or after.26
(*) Jonathan Sears, son of David and Margaret (Morton) Sears, died in infancy, 1869 or after.27
(?) Clyde Craig; not documented, but see Freeport Press in Chapter 3 "What the Land Records Tell Us."
I have spent some time studying the old histories, and securing documents from various sources, and have learned that in 1976 cemetery deeds and other types of documents were removed from the Harrison County court house and portioned out to various Ohio State archives. This means I can not walk into the recorder’s office and collect some copies of the documents which would find all the deed recordings we would like. The current recorder tells me (July 8, 2003) that of their cemetery deeds on file now, the first ones start in 1924.
We have always called and labeled the cemetery the Boone-Sears Cemetery, only because it is the most recent popular name for it. The name, “Boone-Sears” emanates from: Hamilton Boone, Civil War veteran, who was buried there, and David Sears, whose family owned the property for over a half century.
As far as we know, our own grandparents buried there were probably not Quaker, but they seemed always to have Quaker connections. Grandmother’s last name, Townsend, hints to us that she may be of Quaker stock. While looking for her parents (have not yet found them), we went through hundreds (thousands?) of Townsend family records and Quaker records. Before the Revolutionary War, I found no Townsends that were not Quaker. This changed rapidly during and after the war in many Quaker communities.
Sarah and Godfrey Speck, so the old timers have said, were in the company of six Townsend families at the 1800 census in East Bethlehem Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania on their way from Baltimore through Virginia with their eventual destination to be Ohio. The Hinshaw records (Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volumes IV and V) show that at least some of those Townsends were on the Quaker records at that time, and some were not.
Our old families say Sarah and Godfrey traveled with her brothers to Ohio, but we cannot document that with proof, though we saw in the 1800 census for East Bethlehem, Godfrey and the names of those we had already supposed were her brothers.
There was a lapse of twelve years between the time Godfrey and Sarah left Baltimore in 1788, until their arrival in Ohio in 1800. It was a normal progression of the migrating families to spend a few months or years in Washington County, Pennsylvania until the Land Treaties were signed with the Indians which would allow entrance into the Ohio Territory. Though the possibility is there, we have not been able to link, positively, Sarah's name with any of the six Townsend families in East Bethlehem Township in 1800.
In the Pennsylvania Archives I have since found land warrants in East Bethlehem Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, for the same group of Townsends that had roots in Baltimore, Maryland and in Virginia and later appearing in the Ohio censuses - this being our supposed connection to Sarah. One land warrant in East Bethlehem is an interesting piece of information because it was patented by one John Townsend, another possible connection to Sarah. I wondered if it might be her father or a brother.
I have corresponded with Jeffrey W. Bryant,28 a descendant of Isaac Whealdon’s brother, Nathan. He gives me this information from his family records:
This would be the home that Whealdon built for his family. Unfortunately, that correspondent did not give a description of the original home and I have not been able to secure a more recent contact address to make the confirmation. Jeffrey Bryant’s Personal Ancestral File notes that “Isaac took a land claim near Freeport, erected a commodious two-story house in which his children were born.”
Margaret Gunning wrote that Isaac Whealdon owned what eventually became the Sears farm. Actually, he did not take title to the land until 1817. In 1803, Isaac and his wife had just gotten married in Delaware and moved on to Ohio to settle in 1804. In 1804, the township hadn’t even been surveyed and established yet, but there were a great number of people who had already started building their homes awaiting the time the national survey would be completed. So it’s a real possibility this is where Isaac Whealdon had settled his family so early, and then bought it later because he was already there. Reading through the list of landowners in the next chapter, “What the Land Records Tell Us,” we see that even though he was apparently living on the property, he did not purchase it until 1817.
Louise Westhafer Mellor of Urichsville, Ohio published her SPECK line in 1978. I have included here, her photo copy29 of her visit in 1977 to the Boone-Sears cemetery. She writes: