Monday, October 27, 2014

Castalia Cemetery Tour Last September

On September 21, 2014, I led a brief tour of the Castalia Cemetery for the Castalia Area Historical Society. Here are some of the graves that we visited. We started at the Soldiers Monument.

The contract for construction of the Soldiers Monument in Castalia Cemetery was awarded to Hughes Granite and Marble Company of Clyde, Ohio. The cost of the monument was $2,500. Another $500 was spent for the monument foundation and site preparation. Hughes Granite and Marble Company was one of the best known granite companies in the United States. Among the many monuments produced by Hughes Granite were Ohio's monument to its Civil War soldiers who died at Andersonville, the McKinley Monument at Antietam, and all of the monuments dedicated to Ohio units at Shiloh and Vicksburg. The monument erected in Castalia Cemetery in 1904 was dedicated to 264 men of the area who had served the Union during the Civil War from the Margaretta Township area.

The tombstone of Mary Ann Fally is an example of a siltstone tombstone. My experience has been that many tombstones that were carved from siltstone are almost as legible today as they were over one hundred years ago.

Major Frederick Falley took part in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. He died in Margaretta, July 3, 1828, aged sixty-four.

A memorial to Hannah Snow, who was murdered in a massacre in 1813, along with her son Robert, is located on the back of the monument honoring Willard Snow.  Willard Snow escaped the attack. He died on January 22, 1875. Willard Snow served in the 40th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. An account of the Snow Massacre is found on page 392 of Harriet Taylor Upton's HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available on Google Books.

George Nickle served during the Civil War, in Co. M, 1st Regiment, Ohio Heavy Artillery.

Dr. Samuel B. Carpender was an early physician in Castalia, and also was an early postmaster at Margaretta Township. He was married five times, and four of his wives are buried in the Castalia Cemetery. Betsy (wife #4) died in 1854; Clarissa (wife #1)  died in 1823; Catharine (wife #2) died in 1824; and Welthy (wife #3) died in 1825.

August G. Miller was the superintendent of the Castalia Sporting Club. He fell from a ladder at the fish hatchery, and was killed on December 31, 1905. According to Glenn Kuebeler’s book, Castalia, Cold Creek, and the Blue Hole, Mr. Miller was born in North Prussia and he began his job as keeper of the Castalia Sporting Club in 1878. He was also a prominent farmer in this area. 

Wells W. Miller was born in New York, but moved to Castalia in 1852. He served as a Captain in the Ohio 8th Infantry during the Civil War. Eventually he taught school in Castalia, Ohio. Mr. Miller was one of Ohio’s best known agriculturalists, serving as Ohio’s ninth Secretary of Agriculture. Wells W. Miller and his wife Mary Caswell Miller are buried in Castalia Cemetery. A beautiful monument honors their memory. Mr. Miller died in 1906, and his wife passed away in 1913.

Having settled in Margaretta Township in 1838, Calvin Caswell was one of the largest wheat producers in Erie County. Mr. Caswell was an Erie County Commissioner from 1863 to 1868. He served as president of the Erie County Agricultural Society for a number of years. Caswell was also a member of the Margaretta Grange, and had served as a fifer for the Bay City Guards. Calvin Caswell was married twice, first to Louisa Ellison, and then to Serena Jackson Caswell. (After Calvin’s first wife died, he married his brother Daniel’s wife, who had become a widow in 1855.) An engraving of Mr. Caswell’s farm appears in the 1874 Erie County Atlas, which can be seen at the Sandusky Library.

In the book HISTORY OF ERIE COUNTY, OHIO, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich (D. Mason & Co.., 1889), we read that Thomas Caswell was born in the state of Massachusetts, and resided in Steuben, New York, before settling on 500 acres in Margaretta Township, Erie County, Ohio. His wife was Elinor/Eleanor Force. Thomas and Elinor Caswell had a family of seven children. Their son Calvin Caswell was a prominent agriculturist in Erie County, and he served as Erie County Commissioner from 1863 to 1868.  During the War of 1812, Thomas Caswell served in a unit from the State of New York. Thomas Caswell died in Margaretta Township, Erie County, Ohio, on September 2, 1853, at the age of 60. 

Harriet Wray was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her tombstone features birds on it, and there is also an actual bird bath adjacent to her grave.  She was born on January 18, 1918 in Castalia, Ohio, the daughter of the late Karl and Flossie Mae (Smith) Ketterer.  She died on May 7, 2011, and had resided in Port Clinton prior to her death. Mrs. Wray was a second grade teacher at Sandusky City Schools for many years.

Several members of the Zehner family served in the military. Darwin Zehner and Daniel Zehner served in the Civil War, and George Zehner served in the Spanish American War.

This lovely monument at the Castalia Cemetery honors the memory of Jallier and Ruth Billings, who died in 1870 and 1891, respectively. In the 1855 List of Post Offices of the United States, available full-text on Google Books, Jallier Billings was listed as the Postmaster of the Castalia Post Office. 

A lengthy obituary for Mrs. Ruth Billings appeared in the April 11, 1891 issue of the Sandusky Register. Mrs. Ruth Billings died on April 3, 1891 at her son's home. She was born Ruth Lapham on July 3, 1806 in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. At age 17, Ruth married Mr. Herman Kelley. In 1826, Herman and Ruth Kelley moved to New York State, and they moved to Republic, Ohio in 1834. Herman Kelley died in that year. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley had a family of six children. In 1838, Ruth Lapham Kelley married Jallier Billings, and they also had a family of six children. 
Mrs. Ruth Billings was buried with her husband Jallier Billings in Castalia Cemetery. She was survived by these children: Daniel Kelley, Benjamin Kelley, Oliver Kelley, Mrs. Adeline Stearns, Lafayette Billings, and Mrs. Ella Nickle. (Several of Ruth's children had died prior to their mother's death.)  The writer of the obituary of Mrs. Billings stated: "Mrs. Billings was of Quaker parentage and has always remained a believer in the forms and religion of her parents and family. The benevolent and helpful spirit, the kindness of brotherly love which has always been manifested by this body of believers, was the strong characteristic of this friend of ours. The helping hand was held out to all...." A decorative wreath is at the top of the Billings monument. In the background, a memorial to the Civil War soldiers from Margaretta Township can be seen next to the American flag.

Rev. Philip Ried (sometimes spelled Reid) was the first pastor of Grace Lutheran Church in Castalia. 

Rev. Theodore Stellhorn had taught catechism to some of the young people in Margaretta Township in the early 1900’s, but in the summer of 1901, Rev. Ried was called to minister to three different parishes, those in Mustcash (an area of Western Erie County near Crystal Rock), Groton Township, and Castalia. Rev. Ried traveled between the congregations on horseback and taught catechism classes in his home. A building fund was started in 1905, and the cornerstone for the Lutheran Church in Castalia was laid on October 2, 1910. Dedication of the new church building was held on August 27, 1911. In February of 1912, only five months after the church’s dedication, Rev. Philip Ried died. He had been attending a session of Luther League in Toledo, when he was suddenly was taken ill. Rev. Ried had been well respected in the community. His obituary, from the front page of the February 6, 1912 Sandusky Daily Register reported that Rev. Reid was “a faithful worker and an excellent preacher as well as a man whose advice and counsel was sought in affairs of citizenship as well as religion, the Rev. Mr. Reid had none but friends. There were many manifestations of sorrow when the announcement of his death was received at Castalia.” Rev. Philip Ried’s parents outlived him by many years. At the Castalia Cemetery, there is a striking monument on the Ried family plot. The cross is inscribed with the words “Simply to thy cross I cling.” At the base of the Ried monument is the Ried surname, formed in the shape of tree branches.

There are thousands of stories told by the many tombstones in the Castalia Cemetery. I hope you have enjoyed hearing just a few of those stories.

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