Monday, November 28, 2016

Pioneer Cemetery on Lake Road – Nov. 1956

The small cemetery on U.S. 6 located just east of the former Ford plant
Have you ever wondered about the pair of graves that you can see from U. S. Route 6 just east of the former Ford Plant?

If so, then you might enjoy the article below, which appeared in the Lorain Journal on November 9, 1956. The article was written at the time that the Ford plant was just under construction. It reveals who is buried on that “grassy knoll,” from a great source: a relative of the Claus family, whose farm (which I wrote about here) was located next to the cemetery.

Here’s the interesting article about this often overlooked cemetery.

The Motor Age Arrives
Progress Engulfs Cemetery


BROWNHELM TOWNSHIP – The only place the pioneers who lie buried on the grassy little knoll could have ever heard about horseless carriages was in the Good Book. But today their resting place lies within feet of the broad ribbon along which horseless carriages streak, and within inches of the boundaries of the giant structure which will soon be spawning them by the hundreds.

Progress has caught up with and almost engulfed the tiny, century-old graveyard which lies windswept and lonely to one side of busy Rte. 2 and 6, and at the eastern corner of the sprawling Ford plant site.

Two weathered tombstones huddle under a lone tree, while nearby the ponderous bulldozers and road graders make thunderous, and dust-clouded overtures as they level the Ford site.

A third stone succumbed to the rigors of advancement recently, snapping in two at its base apparently from the vibrations set up by the adjacent activity.

Remembering something of the early settlers buried here is Mrs. Florence Claus of Amherst, a granddaughter-in-law of one of the original owners of the land, Adam Klaus.

Klaus, she said, bought the land from the William Hershing family. One of the tombstones is that of Hershey’s [sic] aunt, Lucy Morgan, laid to rest in 1855 at the age of 80.

Mrs. Claus recalls the story of the accident which caused Lucy’s demise.

“She had come here all the way from England to visit Bill,” said Mrs. Claus. “The morning after her arrival she was out on the back stoop looking over the farm and when she turned to come in she fell and broke her hip. She never recovered.”

Mrs. Claus also believes that the tombstone (the broken one) of the 21-day-old infant, Armine Klaus, is that of the child called “Martha” by its family, who died of mysterious causes.

The baby’s mother, she recalled, was exposed to whooping cough one day, and blamed the death of the nursing infant on herself, believing she had transmitted to it the terrible fright she got from her exposure.

“For the baby died of convulsions the next day,” said Mrs. Claus.

Nothing is known about the third stone which stands there. Written in German, the legend tells of the death of an 11-month-old infant, Anna M. Leideloff in 1866. Mrs. Claus believes this may have been a child of one of the Klaus daughters living in the vicinity.

Mrs. Claus said that Adam and his wife met and married in this country although both had come here from Germany. Down the line somewhere a member of the family apparently changed the spelling of the name from “K” to the more Americanized “C.”

Owner of the property after Adam was his son Bernhardt, then Bernhardt’s son, Henry who was a brother to Mrs. Claus’ late husband Adam, namesake of the grandfather. Henry’s son, the second Bernhardt, was the last holder of the property, selling out not long ago to the real estate firm from whom the Ford company bought its site.

For the time being the little cemetery is safe. Frank Nardini, head of the firm, said he had no plans for the land and would be something at a loss to know what to do with it if he ever did have plans.

“I understand it is something the county commissioners have to pass on in the event it is to be disturbed,” he said.

With its fate in the hands of time and county commissioners, the ancient little burial ground stands as a somewhat captive spectator to an age in which something far fleeter than the horse is making inroads on it.

Today, the cemetery is surrounded by a chain link fence and is located on City of Lorain property.

Here is the stone (below) described as being “written in German” and inscribed with the legend of the death of an 11-month-old infant, Anna M. Leideloff in 1866.

And here is the stone (below) for Lucy Morgan. In the foreground is the broken one for the 21-day-old infant.


I almost forgot, in addition to the post that I did about the Claus farm,  I did a follow-up post about the Claus house (here) which was still standing up until a few years ago.


Anonymous said...

That was quite a trip for an 80 year old to travel in 1855. All the way from England to Lorain for a visit.

Rick Kurish said...

Old family cemeteries are always interesting, and can provide a strong connection to one's ancestors. About 20 years ago my wife and i were bitten by the genealogy bug, and we spent some time in western Pennsylvania researching my mother's ancestors, who settled in Fayette County prior to 1800. We spent one beautiful late summer afternoon searching a remote county road for a family cemetery that we had been told of by a fellow researcher. After driving and redriving the road a couple of times, we spotted what we thought might be a cemetery on the top of a small hill in the middle of a cow pasture. We pulled into the nearest house we could find, and asked about the cemetery. The man we talked with indicated that we had indeed found the old family cemetery, which was about 150 yards off the road in the middle of a cow pasture. His wife was in fact a descendent of the original settlers. The farm the cemetery was on was then owned by his wife's brother, who lived some distance down the road. He said it would be all right to visit the cemetery -- as long as we made sure to lock the gate after us so the cows didn't get loose.

After making our way warily through the cows, we arrived at the hill top cemetery. The cemetery was fenced to keep the cattle out and was well maintained by the property owner. The area was an acre or so and had a mix of unmarked fieldstone's and regular gravestones. It also provided a beautiful view in all directions of hills, farmland, and distant farmhouses. Being there, where my ancestors lived over 200 years before, was a unique experience that i'll always remember.

Loraine Ritchey said...

I also used to get a sad little twinge when driving past those headstones especially when the weeping willow stood over them - it was such a poignant little place. The willow is no more but I wish it were just seemed fitting somehow -