Remembrances: Big Run Cemetery

Today, we bring you one of Sylvia Henricks’ “Remembrances.” You can read more of Sylvia’s columns weekly in The Franklin Township Informer, or in her book From The Ash Grove (available directly from the FTHS, and via the web site).

Big Run Cemetery

Big Run Cemetery, with the Meeting House beyond.

Historical Society member Dana Crapo has made a valuable contribution to our township history, and to genealogists who search for their roots in Franklin Township. He has researched what he calls “A Big Run Cemetery Talk and Tour,” presented at the Society’s Open Hours on September 16. Dana’s Tour occupied the first half of the afternoon. The second half was a book-signing for a new Society publication, Humble but Historic, the WPA Outhouses in Franklin Township. Both programs were well-attended, and everyone enjoyed the refreshments on the terrace afterward.

Dana, a retired music teacher, is also the Society Treasurer, and also guardian of the abstracts for township properties. His interest in the Big Run Cemetery, across the road from the Meeting House, has developed gradually as we try to answer queries on family history.

“According to the Society’s Called Home, The Pioneer Cemeteries of Franklin Township,” Dana said, “there are 74 people buried in the Big Run Cemetery. These include 25 children, 10 of whom died in the years 1861-1865. The latest burial was Ray Smith in 1986. Ray was a descendent of Samuel Smith who gave the church members the land for their church. Ray had asked permission to be buried next to his wife, Mary, who had died in 1981. Prior to 1981, the last burial had been in 1935.

“Many of the people interred here were pioneers and early settlers of Franklin Township,” he continued. “There are 15 members of Kemper families buried here, 11 Maze family members, 8 Carson members, and 7 Mathews members. Some of the roads and streets around here carry those names as well: Maze Road, Carson Avenue, Mathews and Ferguson Roads. Eight of the people interred here were born before the year 1800!

“We have been aware for several years that there are some very readable headstones in the Big Run Cemetery with names that are not listed in Called Home. Called Home and the supplement, Fisher Cemetery, list most of the burials in Franklin Township to the year 1936, including the pioneer and small family burial plots. The names listed in the Big Run section of Called Home were collected by WPA workers in the 1930s, by a survey of the cemetery in 1954, and by the memories of later church members.”

(To be continued.)

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