East Greene Cemetery
Exploring Ohio’s History
This is an abbreviated version of an article written by Gavin Esposito, to read the full article, please follow this link.
East Greene Cemetery sits next to Dennison-Ashtabula road, set at the edge of a forest glade and filled with rows upon rows of weatherworn headstones. Though it was established somewhat later than other cemeteries we’ve examined in this series, the East Greene Cemetery came into existence in February 1832 with the death of William Cowden, the young son of Simpson Cowden who emigrated to this area from Randolph, New York.
Used throughout the 19th century well into the early decades of the 20th, the last burial here took place in 1923. To easily find the graves featured in this presentation, markers are listed in order of appearance as one walks through the cemetery, starting at the front gate headed left, as well as photographs for easy identification.
Well-Known Figures in Kinsman Presbyterian Cemetery
Prepare Yourselves and Follow Me: Hannah Morehouse
A native of Fabius, Connecticut, a village along the coast of Long Island Sound that was famously torched by British troops in 1779, Hannah Morehouse was born in 1782 as the second out of three children to Thomas and Martha Knapp. Marrying Eli Morehouse at Norfolk, Connecticut, the couple settled in Onondaga County, New York where she had four children before moving westward to Ohio sometime prior to 1835 as implied by Wheeler's marriage record which lists him as marrying in Ashtabula.
While the children went their separate ways, Hannah and Eli settled in Greene Township, with Hannah passing away on December 27th, 1841, at the age of 58 years old. Buried in the South Cemetery, her brownstone marker contains a warning regarding morality: Stop travelers as you pass by/As you are now so once was I/As I am now you shall be/Prepare yourselves to follow me.” While these lines may seem grim and even inappropriate for a loved one’s memorial, it is all but a trope in historic cemeteries, and common in cemeteries of the late 19th century.
Strange As It Is But ‘Tis So: The Mysterious Epitaph of Ruth Sirrine
Ruth Sirrine was one of the many daughters of Issac and Mary “Polly” (Craig) Sirrine. Born in Ohio, her parents had come from Lima, New York in 1824 before arriving in Greene Township a year before her death. While it is not known what caused her death on April 19th, 1851 at only 18, the epitaph upon her plain, marble headstone seems to point to a sudden event, stating that as “strange as it is, but it is so/here are three sisters in a row, we were cut down in all of our prime/the daughters of I. and M. Sirrine.” There’s an issue with this though––there are no other names besides Ruth’s on the marker, and no other headstones surround her grave.
While it might seem possible that the mystery sisters could be buried in unmarked graves, a 1928 survey of the cemetery seems to discount this, as in the row Ruth is in, she is documented as the only member of the family to be buried there. More recently, FindAGrave says the same thing. Is it possible these recordings could be inaccurate though? Being the third out of seven children, four girls, and two boys, it is not recorded where or when her siblings died. It’s possible the markers for them had been simply discarded after a time along with their documentation.
Wyman Wakefield: The Man Who Voted Nine Times
Born on January 18th, 1770, in Brookfield, Vermont, Wyman Wakefield lived a long life spanning 90 years and 14 presidents, 9 of whom he voted for. An active participant in national elections, at the age of 20 years old in 1790, Wakefield cast his first ballot for George Washington in the nation’s first presidential election. Over the following 70 years, he’d subsequently vote in every presidential election except the years of 1840 and 1848. While little is personally known about Wyman’s life aside from his voting record, his brother Thomas, along with six other men traveled to what is now Greene Township in 1817, purchasing land there from the Connecticut Land Company.
It is assumed that it was around this time that Wyman, then 47 years old, joined his brother in the newly settled township. Unlike his married brother Thomas, Wyman was a lifelong bachelor. However, on August 16th, 1859 after 90 years on this earth, he passed away. Inscribed upon his headstone is the following epitaph, a testimony of his longevity and enthusiasm for the Republic: “During his life, he voted for and helped to elect the following presidents: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin van Buren, James K. Polk, Franklin Pierce.”