Some of you know, and some may not, that my husband and I and our three children recently moved to Rush Creek Township in Logan County, Ohio. I have been listening to our new friends talk about the history of the area, read a book, and plan on visiting the local history museum in the near future. I’ve always found history interesting. I was the type of child that always picked out the biography books from the library. I immersed myself in stories of Annie Sullivan, Clara Barton, and Lottie Moon. I’m a firm believer in not forgetting our past. Remembering is important.
So, it was not out of character for me to suggest to my husband on our evening stroll that we visit a cemetary. At the end of our road is an old cemetary named “Equality”. I don’t know the origin of the name (yet!) but, I find it a rather fitting name for a cemetary. It is true that death is the great equalizer, so the name equality speaks volumes. While we were walking amongst the tombstones we were also reading them. The majority of the residents of this particular resting spot lived and died during the 1800’s. I believe we only saw one stone that showed a man that lived to be 91 yrs. 1 month and a few days. Most people didn’t live very long lives, if one made it to their late 50’s they were doing well. Some of the stones were so old that we could barely read the information on them.
As I stood there in the midst of the gravestones, under the shelter of a large tree, I looked out over the fields that surround the area. The land itself probably hasn’t changed all that much in the 160+ years since these people walked it. Still open farm land, woods, and rivers. I realize that there are many people that are unnerved by cemetaries and would choose not to step foot in one, unless absolutely necessary. To me there is something very calming about being in such a place. The passage of time echoes down through the years, and for just a split second, as their names are read off and their ages calculated, they are remembered. They are real people, who had real lives. Happiness and heartache…in the very same area that we now walk. The names have changed over the decades. We hardly hear the popular women’s names of the mid 1800’s any longer. Ethel, Agnes, Gertrude, Dalvina and Clara are but a few that called this area home. Life was hard. How heartbreaking it must have been for them to bury their young children, just infants or toddlers, because of illness. The illnesses that took their young lives would in this day and time just require a quick trip for antibiotics from the doctors office.
One young family rode their Conestoga wagon all the way from New Jersey to settle here in Rush Creek Township, Ohio. What a long trip. What a desire to start someplace new. How driven they must have been! To think that I had a difficult time driving from Tennessee to Ohio while we were building our house….but that only took me six hours! (and I certainly wasn’t riding in a wagon all that way!)
Last night, my sweet husband found a book on Logan County history in a PDF file online. What a treasure. I will blog about what we learned tomorrow in Rush Creek Township history part two.