Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rainbow Cemetery

The Marietta Register - Semi-Weekly, June 13, 1884

Reading in a late issue of the Register, the number of octogenarians living in Marietta, suggested to me the idea of looking over the record of those buried in our cemetery.

There are two hundred and thirty names and twenty of those are eighty years and upward, the average age being nearly eighty-five.  This, I think, must be an unusually large proportion of old persons.

The first person buried was Mrs. Ruth Wright, who died March 12th, 1796, aged 20 years and 9 months.  She had two children - one of them, William Wright, who edited and published a newspaper in New Orleans about the year 1820.  I remember of seeing several numbers of his paper which he sent to his father, and my recollection of it is that it was of quite good size and ably conducted.

A little more than a month afterward was buried Mrs. Mary Lake, who died April 27, 1796, aged 68 years.  She was the first person who taught a Sunday school northwest of the Ohio river.

And what is quite remarkable, one of her pupils, Mrs. Nancy Frost, is still living, now in her 100th year.  A few months ago I visited "Grandma" Frost, who recollects as distinctly as though it was but yesterday, of being at the weekly gathering of the children who were taught by Mrs. Lake at the garrison, as it was then generally termed, and also called the stockade fort, on the plain in Marietta.

She taught, some of the time, a sort of an Irish Sunday school, that is, it was taught on Saturday whenever there was to be preaching on the following Sabbath.  Perhaps the exercises were longer then than now and did not leave much time for anything else.

When there was to be no preaching she gathered her little flock of pupils on the Sabbath, and read and explained to them the scriptures much after the fashion of teaching now-a-days.

Mrs. Frost is, without doubt, the oldest Sabbath school scholar now living in the United States.  She and others represent Mrs. Lake to have been a very amiable woman of a quiet, gentle disposition, and desirous of doing all the good she could.

The cedars in the cemetery cast their morning and evening shadows across the green turf over her grave, but there is no memorial stone save the small, rude piece of sandstone placed there by friendly hands eighty-eight years ago.

Would it not be well enough for the Sunday schools to take this matter in hand and contribute enough to put up a plain and suitable monument at her grave?  If all the Sabbath school scholars, of Ohio, even, would contribute the fractional part of a cent it would be all sufficient.

Here is also buried George W. Ridgway, who enlisted in the three months service - the first call made for troops.  He died May 18th, 1861.  He was the first enlisted soldier of the late war to die from this county.  Many of the citizens of Marietta will remember of being at his funeral.

Near by is the grave of Desire Nye, whose tombstone is supposed to be the oldest in Ohio.  It was put there by her husband, Deacon Nye, a brother, I think, of the late col. Ichabod Nye, of Marietta.  He fashioned the sandstone, and chiseled upon it in quaint lettering the following inscription which is yet easy to read:

In Memory of
Desire Nye, the
wife of Ebenezer Nye,
who departed this
life October 9th, A.D.,
1800.  Aged 49 years.

It is not easy to prove the exact time of placing the tombstones at these old grave, but it was the recollection of old people, with whom I used to converse, that it was done within a year or two of her death, making the date of erection in 1800 or 1802.

At any time, when at home, I shall be glad to go with any person who feels disposed to make a visit to the pleasant grounds where sleep our dead.

Joseph Wood.

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