Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Little German Cemetery in Lisbon on Chestnut Street

I have been working on the Lisbon Ghost Tour for the last two weeks and I had heard about a little German Cemetery that was somewhere in town. I assumed it would be hard to find because initially I was told it was moved. I thought maybe someone had built something over top of it or something. I finally found it yesterday. You walk up these steps on Chestnut Street.

In the middle of this open, flat area is this little monument. It says: German Presbyterian and Lutheran Congregation of New Lisbon Feb 23, 1819. My first thought was that there were apparently no grave markers. So I looked around and...
Saw this. See the steps? I am thinking at this point that this is someones flower garden. But when I got closer, I saw this-


 All the grave markers from this cemetery are laid face up in the corner, made into a memorial of those who are laid to rest here.  I was annoyed first.


Here is this stone, laying on the ground, in perfect condition. It is the grave marker for David Hostetter who was born in 1760 and died in 1820. This stone is 189 years old and looks like this. Wow.



There are at least 16 stones here, laying on the ground. All the ones I have pictured I had to uncover.





Some of them were absolutely beautiful. This one is chipping away, covered in dirt and no one ever sees its fine detail or reads the names of the people it represents.  I would like to have seen it when it was first placed here.






 This is one of my favorite stones laid to rest in this memorial.  In Memory of...






I looked in the cemetery books that are at the library and found some information about this little cemetery. They refer to this as a memorial.  Apparently, no one maintained this little cemetery for many years, (that in 1977, had about 25 stones ) and it became an eyesore with high weeds and grass. The Garden Club planted a row of pine trees in front of it to hide the overgrown little cemetery. At one time they even allowed family members to dig up their loved ones (like Skeleton Park in East Liverpool) and take them to Lisbon City Cemetery. This added sunken areas as well. The book says "Someone has recently cleared the brush, leveled the ground, and prepared the memorial of remaining stones as it is seen today."  The owner of the property did try to get the community involved.  He had a meeting and invited everyone to come and see what he had in mind for this little memorial.  No one came.  So he went on with his plans.   I will say that at least someone did something. 
Somewhere, buried here, are three graves of American Veterans. David Hostetter, shown above, was a veteran of the War of 1812. Another marker is that of Samuel Hoover, also a veteran of the War of 1812. And finally, David McKinely, who was a veteran of the REVOLUTIONARY WAR!!

This little cemetery is definitely worth a moment of your time.





1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Wow! I'm one of those people who goes to cemeteries for peace and reflection and end up cleaning it up. I hate to see them neglected. I've even at times made markers for graves that had lost their marker and a sign for a cemetery that had no sign. It's worth finding out if there's a cemetery association for your state. Most states have them and you can go online and look up the cemetery too. Sometimes they need someone to document the graves for their records for online and they can give you permission to re-erect stones if need be. I've seen this kind of thing happen before in Virginia, where someone planted trees around a family site of graves to just cover it up. Sometimes they take the stones down so that they can just have an easier time of mowing, but that doesn't seem to be the case there. If it's on private property, you can't do much, but if it's a public cemetery, there's ways to volunteer to help it. Good luck. I'm so glad you're documenting these. My gosh! I'd love to do rubbings of those headstones before they completely decay, well, except for that one that's so spiffy--that's really weird. It really SHOULD have aged. (cue the Twilight Zone" music).