An Account of a Novice Tombstone Hunter
On my first day in Ohio, I set off, directions in hand, to visit three cemeteries, two in Union County and one just over the boundary into Madison County. The first stop was in Plain City, Madison County at the Darby Township Cemetery. I barely got lost and immediately found the site of my 4X great grandmother, Mary Croy. Beyond death date, this site verifies Jacob Croy as her husband. While Pennsylvania records and land records name Jacob, he died early so probate records do not name him and, though all the children had the last name “Croy,” Mary’s name was Roberts for her second husband, George Roberts.
My next objective–look for Eleanor Croy Marquis (seventh child of Mary and Jacob Croy) and John Marquis– proved equally easy. Their stones lay right next to hers, along with their daughter Eliza’s grave marker showing a life only five days long.Except for one detail–when I got home, I couldn’t find Eleanor’s picture. What? Had I not taken it. After cursing my dumb cluck foolishness, I filed it in lessons learned.
Stop number two, Mitchell Cemetery. I drove (almost) right there! The place was serene and labeled the oldest cemetery in Union County. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the signage, but you can find a great account of the cemetery established on Big Darby Creek here. With a little hunting I found the tombstone for Margaret Croy Jolley, Mary and Jacob’s tenth and last child, born a little before Jacob died. I also found her husband, John Jolley, and his first wife, Hannah Cook Jolley. I took pictures but forgot to release my flash! Could they have been better? Probably. (Note: They read: Margaret Jolley, 31 Jan 1805-8 Jan 1889, ae 83y 11m 8d, wife of John Jolley and John Jolley, d 31 Jul 1860, ae 77y 7m 12d
On to Watkins Cemetery. I was feeling pretty successful, maybe a little too cocky. I had reversed my directions so got miserably lost. Finally after asking directions, discovering that sometimes even locals don’t know what lies close at hand, and resorting to my phone using cross streets, I found the cemetery on a charming little corner of Bucks Road. Sadly, the stones showed severe wear, accosted as they were by a lively golden lichen, and the marker of David (ninth child) and that of his wife, Sarah Wasson Croy, were illegible. Thank goodness for the photo posted ten years ago on findagrave. I was able to get two good pictures of his son’s markers. But this is about Mary’s children, so I won’t post them here…for now. (Okay, I know I posted little Eliza above, but it was just so sad. I felt obligated.)
What did I learn from my first foray?
- Carry batteries, know your camera, and open your flash
- Preview findagrave information for the cemetery you are visiting and make a check list. That way you can take a picture that may seem unreadable…who knows. You also won’t miss an important marker!
- Take pictures of all signage.
- Double check your directions and always carry our gift of technology, a phone with mapping directions!
Next stop after the Ohio Genealogical Conference (more on that later), Coshocton County. Maybe I can get beyond novice at the three cemeteries I will visit there. What suggestions do you have toward expert grave hopping?