Tag Archives: Ohio

Centuries-old cemetery defaults to Michigan township after owner cannot be found

ATLAS TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN — Tucked behind a row of residential properties and Atlas Township’s only historical church is a small, family cemetery that houses the remains of Sally Hebbard, a direct descendant of a military leader on the Mayflower, and Norman Davison, a War of 1812 veteran who served as a part of Michigan’s earliest government.

Formerly known as Atlas Cemetery, Davison originally intended the land to be used as “common grounds,” or public parks and spaces, according to local historian Dawn Bastian.

After his daughter died, he split the property up to make a private cemetery for family and friends.

The property is now the location of some of Michigan’s last standing oak slab headstones, which have been reset multiple times due to wear and tear.

Davison eventually gave the property to his son, Paul Davison, who is recorded as the last known owner of the cemetery.

Paul Davison later moved south and likely never passed on the deed to the property, leaving it unkept and isolated for nearly a century.

Many locals and Atlas Township government officials assumed the private cemetery was kept and cared for by the church that sits in front of it.

When the church changed hands over the years, some would prioritize taking care of the property and others would let it sit.

“I think it is important to respect the people that came before us. They made us who we are today.”

ajh

There’s Got To Be A Connection — Somewhere

jabez_001
Pages from a book on George Darling of Scotland focusing on his great grandson Jabez

jabez_002

Let me give you a scenario.

Two men, both named Jabez, both with the surname Darling, both born in the 18th century. There’s got to be a familial connection, right?

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. Unfortunately, I haven’t found it yet.

The first Jabez died during the American Revolution. He was caught up in a nasty back-and-forth between the colonists and the Brits and their Native allies.

Before the Revolution, there was conflict between the colonists in the Wyoming Valley, a region in northeastern Pennsylvania. Connecticut had claimed the northern part of Pennsylvania as its own. Of course, Pennsylvanians thought otherwise. Hence, a series of skirmishes known as the Yankee-Pennamite Wars ensued, which were interrupted by the Revolution.

Jabez Darling was on the losing side, though he may not have lived long enough to feel the repercussions. Most of the Connecticut settlers, the Yankees, lost their land.

In 1778, the British, their redcoats and their Indian allies, swept through the Wyoming Valley, burning and killing and scalping along the way. When word of the first killings reached the civilians, most of them fled in what was described as the Great Runaway. Those who remained stayed to fight and protect what was theirs. Jabez was one who stayed behind. He was killed on July 3rd, 1778, just two years after the Declaration of Independence was drafted in Philadelphia, during an attack on Forty Fort, not far from Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.

Another branch of the family, on the Hill side, was there, too, at the time. Martin Tidd, future father-in-law of James Hill, witnessed the same events. He probably knew the Darling family and Jabez Darling in particular. Both the Darlings and the Tidds had come from Connecticut, making them Yankees. Yankees didn’t come from New York. They were from New England.

Martin Tidd, like many of the Darlings, ended up in Ohio, thanks, at least in part, to Congress intervening and settling the land disputes in favor of the Pennsylvanians. Connecticut claimed land in the Ohio country, too, what was called the Northwest Territory.

A portion was set aside for Connecticut known as the Western Reserve. Part of the Western Reserve was for those who had lost property by fire, intentionally set by the British and their allies to terrorize the citizens, during the Revolution. Thus, the term Fire Lands was used to describe this area.

Many of the Connecticut settlers of the Wyoming Valley took advantage of the opportunity and left for what would become the state of Ohio. Martin Tidd did so. He was among the first settlers of Youngstown in 1797, a small band which included his daughter Sarah Tidd and her husband, his son-in-law, James Hill.

Another Jabez Darling, my ancestor who was apparently named after the Jabez who was killed in 1778, went to Ohio, too, after having lived in New York for decades. There he died, in 1836. Who his parents were is unclear, though I am convinced there is a connection to the previous Jabez who died in 1778 during the Revolution.

Another connection is David Darling, a longtime resident of Seneca County, New York, who shows up at Jabez’s youngest son’s farm in Washington County, Iowa in May of 1871. Jabez’s son, Ezra Darwin Darling, had married one of his boss’s daughters in New York and then left for Iowa after the well-to-do father didn’t take it well. I’m guessing that David Darling is an uncle of Ezra and brother of Jabez the Younger.

Now, I just have to prove it. I have some digging and poking around to do. Hopefully, I can piece it together, finding a clue here or there.

ajh

A Snapshot of Warren Hay’s Farm in 1860

32804_241771-00252

Warren Hay, my great-great-great grandfather, was born into a family of farmers. He had a farm in Hanover Township, Ashland County, Ohio. On August 20th, 1860 the federal government conducted an agriculture survey of the area.

Warren had 44 acres of land, 34 that had been “improved,” and ten that hadn’t. The cash value of the farm was $1200, and he had equipment worth $300.

He had five horses, three milch cows, three cattle, forty-two sheep, ten pigs, with the total value of the livestock amounting to $450. He had one hundred bushels of Indian corn, fifty bushels of oats, and sixty lbs. of wool.

Sadly, Warren died four years later, in 1864 at the age of 42.

ajh