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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

May 31, 2013


My friend emailed me with an out of the way cemetery suggestion in Lancaster.

Turns out, this is just down the street and then down a cul-de-sac a few blocks from the elementary school where our daughters used to go. Marty taught there for a number of years too.

There are a number of hills in Lancaster, which is a gateway to the Hocking Hills, and this cemetery is located just above highway 22 as it heads out of town to Sheridan. Ranch style houses are all along this street, but you can park on the street and walk between two of the homes to the entrance to the cemetery. One of the neighbors put out a flag on a post to give it some sort of visibility.

It’s called Applegate Cemetery and I have no idea why. I suppose I could Google it or contact the city of Lancaster, but I’ll save that for another day. In any case, the city of Lancaster is the caretaker.

There is no sign over the entrance; it was fresh-mown when I visited, but I don’t get the feeling that too many make the journey there. Too bad. It’s a beautiful – if lonely – setting overlooking highway 22 which you cannot see because of the trees, and yet you can hear the traffic down below you.

I often wonder how and why old cemeteries pick their location. Did our ancestors seek out hilltops in order to be closer to God? Perhaps they avoided flood plains for the obvious reasons of flooding. Often times, churches placed their cemeteries out their back door. It’s comforting to me to think of a loved one placed in the ground near the holy ground of a church.

Just below Applegate is a church, though I doubt if it was there when these early and mid-1800’s graves were dug. Some of the cemetery residents were born in the mid 1700’s according to the few gravestones I could read. I identified maybe 30 stones, most of which were broken. I’m sure there is not a living relative within a hundred miles and if there were, they probably would not know their relatives reside in Applegate.

And there is a veteran or two there, I think. One was in the War of 1812.

I try to imagine what would bring folks to the middle of Ohio in the early 1800’s, to live out their lives just off the Zane Trace but a mile or so away, and then be buried on a hillside which is nearly forgotten today. Right across the road and through the trees is the Skyview Drive-In Theatre. How fitting.

But, I’m pleased the city mows the grounds; that a gentleman placed a flag at its entrance and after a solemn look around, I’m glad I came.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

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