Monday, April 22, 2013

Perry Cemetery -- Another Walk Through History

Perry, Ohio occupies a small portion of the Lake County landscape. Settlers came to the area from the Western Reserve in the early 1800's.  Named for the famous naval commander Oliver H. Perry, who led the American forces to victory in the War of 1812, Perry, Ohio is perhaps best known today for its nursery history.  However, a more detailed chapter of its history may be found at the corner of Center and Middle Ridge Road.  The property deeded to the Perry Christian Church in 1805 is that of the Perry Cemetery.  Here another history lesson is there for the taking.

Many of the early travelers and settlers to the Western Reserve were of New England stock.  They followed a usual custom and buried their dead on grounds on their farm property.  However this practice changed and many family cemeteries became extinct.  Examples from a LCGS(OHIO) Project of Perry sites lost to time recalled these former grounds - Call Road Burying Grounds, Lemuel Ellis Cemetery, Mayers Woods, Palmer Cemetery, Parmley Cemetery, Ramsey Burying Ground, and the Axtell Farm Cemetery.  One site still remains.

Steel Archways mark the entrance to the Perry Cemetery.  Records indicate the cemetery was officially established in 1848.  Ezra Beebe, a Revolutionary War veteran and widely acclaimed first settler is buried in the cemetery.  Some dispute still persists as to his remains as it is also reported that the Call Road Cemetery and Lionidas Axtell Farm site were resting places for Beebe too.

An 1880 vault will catch your eye as you walk through history.  The vault, once used to store bodies in winter until the spring thaw, remembers those Civil War veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice.  Inscribed on the vault are the names of B. Bartholomew, H. Brown, Erastus Gray, Ebenezer Joy, W. Malone, T. Hickok, J. Howrey, J. Johnson, M.O. Mallory, A.H. Nash, and G. Tatro.  Revolutionary War veterans Lemuel Ellis and Caleb Sweet are also noted.

Other notable Perry residents to be found in the cemetery archives include James Rutherford (1986) - driver for Elliott Ness, and Ann Cook Whitman (1991) - secretary to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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