Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beech Grove Cemetery Newly Erected Sign

You may have went past this cemetery on St. Rt. 503 near the intersection of Arcanum-Hollansburg Road and Rt. 503 and never noticed this small and forgotten cemetery. In Anita Short’s book “Cemetery Inscriptions Darke County Volume I” we read the cemetery was located in section 2 of Butler Township. Many of the stones are no longer standing and these inscriptions were taken in the summer of 1964.

The oldest burial is Susannah Karn, wife of Henry. She died November 29, 1849 at age of 46 years. Thus, the date of the cemetery was established from this burial as 1849. There are around 15 different last names listed from the stones and burials: Henninger, Camblin, Gauby, Bobenmeyer, Karn, Shafer, Vogt, Long, Borger, Werkle, Bruss, Gebhart, Hileman, Bruss and Hursh.

Beech Grove was a little settlement on the Wayne Trace or Rt. 503. Beech Grove school sat on the same NW corner near the cemetery but is gone today. The church sat on the NE opposite corner and is a residence today. At one time a store and post office operated here. Per the AWTHS Spring 2015 newsletter we read “ Beech Grove “was named due to the large number of beech trees growing in the area. John and Harry Karn owned properties from Arcanum Hollansburg Rd north to Neave Township. There was a large number of family members living in this section. The Atlas of Darke County 1875-1888 shows the cemetery, church, first school (each established in the mid-1850s) and store as well as several residences located on their properties.” You may remember the large house on the NW corner which has been torn down.

The first church was called the Beech Grove Reformed Church and was built in 1854. The first pastor was John Vogt. First members were Karns, Hurschs, Shaffers, Jacoby, Bruss, Steinmetz, Whiteneck and Shuler. Many of these names are seen on the cemetery stones.

"Beech Grove Service Station, owned and operated by R. L. Homes is now open for business--they built a modern filling station and carry the usual line of gasoline, motor oils, groceries, candy, cigars and tobacco." (Arcanum Times Aug. 18, 1932) Located on a small section of the southeast corner near a current residence. The legend of the corner house, 5007 Arcanum Hollansburger Rd., has been passed on to each owner. The house dates back to the early days of Beech Grove when Rt. 503 was a busy pike called “Ithaca Pike” and used by the military, settlers moving north and families going to Greenville, the county seat. It's reported to have been a stage coach stop and served as a place for a wake for a couple soldiers killed in the area.

Beech Grove cemetery and settlement is listed on the Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society’s historic driving tour of Ithaca that was completed last year. The AWTHS recommended the sign to the Butler Township trustees who put the plan in action. Our thanks to them and Mark Loxley for acquiring the sign and marking the cemetery.

If you have ancestors buried here please consider the stone upkeep as many of them need attention. Check with the Butler Township Trustees for approval and seek local qualified and professional people to help. If you are a hands on person you might consider a workshop on proper restoration of stones such as Gravestone Guardians of Ohio.

Thank you
Written by:
Annette Stewart
June 2016

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