The Marietta Intelligencer, May 30, 1860:
It appears that an ordinance has passed the Council to levy a tax to purchase ground for a cemetery. This is a matter in which the present and future inhabitants of Marietta and its vicinity have a deep interest, and it is hoped that the Council will not, without consideration or examination, jump at the conclusion, that there is but one site in the region suitable for the purpose. The citizens of Harmar stand in equal if not greater need of a cemetery, and their Council will be glad to cooperate in the selection and purchase of grounds to accommodate both towns, if invited or allowed to do so.
A tract of wood land, of from thirty to two hundred acres, on the Harmar hill, in plain view from Marietta, and in many respects admirably adapted to the purpose of a cemetery, can be secured at less than one-fourth the price per acre which it is understood is to be exacted for the Judge Nye park. This site, and one on the lands of Judge Putnam, others on the lands of W. Fay and the Gates farm, with others which might be named, are worthy, at least, of examination and an intelligent report, as to their fitness or unfitness, by persons who are competent to select, before a matter so important to this and coming generations is decided. But if it is a foregone conclusion that "the Park," and the Park alone, is worthy of consideration, we must submit with the best grace we can, to what will be deemed the hasty and short-sighted action of the Council, by more than one TAX-PAYER.
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, June 6, 1860:
Marietta, May 30.
Dear Sir, - In your paper of the 29th inst., there is a communication in relation to the purchase of a Cemetery, in reply to which I wish to say a few words. In the first place I will admit that Mr. Tax-Payer and the rest of our citizens may have been unfortunate in their selection of the members of the present Council. It is to be regretted that the honor and the emoluments belonging to the office of City Council (without saying anything about the curses they receive) will not induce such "competent" citizens as Mr. Tax-Payer seems to think himself, to come forward and offer their services for the good of the city.
This much I will say for the members of the present Council, that although they may not have "competence" sufficient to satisfy Mr. Tax-Payer, he will find they have independence enough to do what they think to be right and for the good of the city, regardless of the squibs that may appear in your paper or that great and wonderful paper called the Home News. Would it not have been better for Mr. Tax-Payer to have known what the Committee (appointed by the City Council to examine and report to them the most suitable ground for a Cemetery) had done, before he "jumps at the conclusion, that the Council had decided without consideration or examination that there is but one site in this region suitable for a Cemetery."
In selecting a location for a Cemetery, there are other considerations more important than the mere cost of the ground. It is very desirable to have the Cemetery located as near the city as possible, both for the convenience of getting to it and to save expense to those who are under the necessity of using the ground.
There are many of our citizens who would feel unable to furnish carriages to attend the funeral of their friends, which they would be obliged to do should the Cemetery be located on Harmar hill or as far from town as Mr. W. Fay's or the Gates farm. There is no question but that the Harmar hill would make a beautiful and suitable location for a Cemetery, but the objections to it are, that it is too far off and too difficult to get up to it.
The Committee appointed by the Council for the purpose of selecting a location for a Cemetery, after having all the places mentioned by Mr. Tax-Payer (and in fact some others) under consideration, come to the conclusion that (all things considered) the ground known as "Nye's Park," was the most suitable, and reported the same to the Council. They also called upon Judge Nye and obtained from him his written proposition for the sale of the ground. In justice to Judge Nye, I must say that instead of thinking him "exacting" in his price, I think he has offered to sell the land as low as any one could expect. I have, as yet, not heard any citizen say that the price was too high. The Park contains a fraction over thirty-four acres, which is four times as large as the present Cemetery, so that there is ground enough to last at least one hundred years, which it seems to me is far enough ahead for us to provide for.
Before closing it may be well enough to state that the Council have not increased the taxes, although they have levied a tax for the purchase of ground for a Cemetery. In fact, the tax levied this year is less than it has been for the last six years.
J. D. Cotton.
* * *
The Marietta Ingelligencer, June 20, 1860:
That our readers may judge how the organ of the German population regards the project for a new cemetery, we copy the following from the Demokrat of this week:
"The City 'Paps,' commonly called the 'City Council,' have resolved to lay out a new burying place. This resolve was made known to the Americans, through the English paper; the Germans, however, were, of course, regarded as paid hounds, who needed to know nothing whatever of the matter, until, in consequence thereof, they should have to pay more taxes.
"To us the whole maneuver appears a gross swindle, against which each citizen should array himself with all his power. The burying-place still has room enough for many years, and the people are groaning deeply enough under the burden of taxes. Bloodsuckers of speculators, who have their accomplices in the City Council, should seek for themselves another field of operation, and not impose still heavier burdens upon the poor citizens, who already have to pay almost all the taxes."
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, June 20, 1860:
The meeting of citizens of Marietta, called to consider the expediency of establishing, at public expense, a new Cemetery, was not very largely attended. After some miscellaneous talking, it was voted to adjourn till next Monday evening.
There are two questions to be decided - first, is it expedient to increase the present burden of taxation for the purpose of purchasing and laying out a new Cemetery; and, second, if expedient, where shall the Cemetery be located. Many citizens, who would not ordinarily object to the purchase of Cemetery grounds by the city, think the present time inauspicious and desire to postpone the matter for awhile. It is believed that the present burial grounds are adequate for a few years to come.
Others are willing to be taxed, and immediately too, for this purpose, and earnestly desire such a Cemetery, but object to its being laid out and managed by the City Council. The Council is a changing body of men. They are elected without any reference to labors of this kind. This people remember how the Council has in past years looked after the Sacra Via. It would exhaust their time and abilities to look after the city of the living, and the city of the dead might receive little attention.
The persons, thus objecting to the City Council's having control of the matter, would prefer that a distinct Cemetery board or corporation be authorized to act in this matter, and into their hands whatever funds the Council might raise, should be placed. The advantage of this plan is, that a board would be chosen with reference to its special fitness to lay out and control a Cemetery. Such a board would constitute a guaranty that the people's money would be expended with wisdom and taste. A properly-digested plan of this kind, it is thought, would be acceptable to most of our citizens.
It was stated in the meeting by a member of the Council that Judge Nye's park would probably be the location selected. Many object to this spot as having fewer merits than some others which have been named.
We suppose the whole subject will be fully discussed at the adjourned meeting of the citizens on Monday evening. We hope to see a full attendance. The subject is one of very great importance. If we are to have a Cemetery at all, we should have it judiciously chosen and tastefully laid out.
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, June 20, 1860
At an adjourned meeting of the citizens of Marietta, held at the Court House on Monday evening, June 18th, to consult as to the expediency of the City Council's purchasing grounds near this city, for a public Cemetery, the following resolutions were offered and adopted almost unanimously, after a very full and fair expression of opinion by the very large and respectable assemblage of citizens there present:
Resolved, That in consideration of the deep indebtedness of the city of Marietta and the heavy burthen of taxation now resting upon its citizens, it is impolitic and inexpedient for the City Council to incur the debt of a new Cemetery.
Resolved, That it is the sense and opinion of the citizens of Marietta, that the present Cemetery grounds are sufficiently large for all interments of the dead belonging to the city proper for many years to come; and that the City Council be requested to lay out in lots and sell the same to heads of families residing in the city of Marietta, so much of the large, unoccupied plat of ground in front of, and belonging to the present Cemetery, as may be necessary for the supply of families now destitute of lots.
Resolved, That the Secretary be requested to publish the proceedings of this meeting in the newspapers of the city.
G. H. Wells, Secretary.
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, July 18, 1860
The square, now known as the "Mound Square" was originally laid out by the Ohio Company, before it was known that it would fall within Section No. 29; was named by the Directors, Maria Antoinette," and leased by them to General Rufus Putnam; in doing which, particular directions were given as to the kind of trees to be set out upon it, and the manner of ornamenting the square.
When the surveys of the Company had been completed in this vicinity, it was found that the Square came within the limits of Ministerial Section No. 29, and for that reason could not be disposed of by the agents of the Ohio Company. After this fact was ascertained, the Directors of that Company passed the following resolution:
"Whereas, The great mound falls within the line of Ministry lot, (so called);
"Resolved unanimously, as the sense of this meeting, That every prudent measure ought to be adopted to perpetuate the figure and appearance of so majestic a monument of antiquity."
Up to this time and for some years after, the square was in the possession of General Rufus Putnam, who, under the laws of the Territory, was entitled to a lease from the Trustees of Section No. 29.
The land appropriated by the Ohio Company for a burying ground was North of the town, on the ridge beyond the West branch of Market Square run, and containing about 10 acres. After having been used for some time, it was found inconvenient and difficult of access and the Town Council, through one of their members, the late William R. Putnam, Esq., applied to Gen. Rufus Putnam to give up the use of the Mound Square to the town, then embracing the entire township, to be used as a burying ground.
According to the laws of the Territory regulating Section No. 29, Gen. Putnam was entitled to a lease of the Square; but he consented, on the ground of the benefit it would be to the town, to give up the possession of the square to be used as a burying ground; and by the concurrence of the Trustees of Section No. 29, it was set apart for that purpose, without rent. This was probably about the year 1801 or 2, and since that time the Square has been occupied for burying purposes only.
At an early period the back part of the Square was surveyed and laid off into ranges of lots, but at what particular time, the papers of the city do not state. In 1837 a new survey was made, and the entire Square laid out into ranges of lots, except about 85 feet in depth on Fifth Street, which, by the Ordinances of June 6, 1820, and June 28, 1837, was reserved and burials prohibited upon it. The Ordinance of June 6, 1820, was passed by the people in general town meeting.
The Ordinances of the city have, for the last 40 years, allowed persons residing in the city, to select for the use of themselves and their families, a lot of convenient and suitable size for family burying, which selection it was the duty of the Sexton to record in the name of the person making the selection. While such persons or their families reside within the city, no burials will be allowed to be made on any such lots so selected, unless by the consent and direction of the person in whose name the lot has been entered or the family. When a family remove from the city they cease to have any right to bury in any such lots, for no person who, at the time of his or her death, was not a resident of the city, can be buried in any lot, without a permit from the Mayor.
An impression prevails that persons who have thus made selections of lots own them. This is a mistaken impression. No lots have been or can be sold, but the ordinances of the city protect persons who have selected lots, in the use of them, while they continue to reside in the city, but no longer. The ordinances of the city also protect the graves of those who have been buried, but unoccupied ground, in the lot of any person who has left the city, is at the disposal of the City Council.
All the lots between the mound and that portion of the Square on Fifth Street reserved by the ordinances of June 6, 1820, and June 28, 1839 [1837?], have been selected and recorded by families now residing in the city, except one lot 12 by 9 feet. With this exception there is no ground that can be selected for a family burying ground in the Square. For the burial of persons belonging to families which have made no selection of a lot for burying, the Sexton has been compelled, for some time past, to resort to lots that have been partially occupied, and when the family that made the selection have removed from the city or become extinct. This can only be done to a limited extent, and the necessity for more ground has been felt by the City Council for some years past and has received their careful consideration.
Until recently the laws of the State of Ohio have not given the needed authority to purchase ground for a Cemetery without imposing a tax too heavy to justify any such purchase. The law of March 17, 1860, authorizes the City Council to levy a tax of not exceeding half of one mill on the dollar for a period of not exceeding six years, for the purchase of ground for a Cemetery. The City Council have so far acted under this law as to pass an ordinance levying a tax of the half of a mill upon the dollar for a period of six years, if necessary, to pay for ground which may hereafter be purchased for a Cemetery. Several localities have been examined, and the matter has been under consideration by the Council for some time past, but as yet no such ground has been purchased.
It has been stated by some persons not acquainted with the facts, that the City Council propose to prohibit further burial in the Mound Square, and to require the remains of persons now interred there, to be removed. It is sufficient to say that the Council have never entertained any such purpose. They feel as much repugnance to disturbing the graves of the dead as any other persons can; but they also feel the necessity of providing some place for the burial of the dead where such a disturbance is not likely to take place.
It has been said that the Council propose to sell out the front on 5th Street for building lots. This they cannot do, if they would, for it would be a violation of the purposes for which the square is held. The number of lots selected by families now residing in the city is about 600. The number of families actually living within the city limits is estimated at about 900, hence, 300 families have as yet no lot in the Mound Square, nor can they select any, for no lots remain unappropriated except those now partly occupied.
For some years past the taxes of the city for city purposes have amounted to 10 mills on the dollar. This includes the tax for interest on Railroad, Landing, and other bonds of the city, including school house bonds, amounting in all to seven and a half mills on the dollar. As the school houses of the city have now been paid for, the tax for that purpose has been omitted. The tax to pay the interest on landing bonds has been reduced from one mill on the dollar to half a mill on the dollar, thus reducing the city taxes, exclusive of cemetery to 9 mills. Adding half a mill on the dollar for cemetery will make the total 9-1/2 mills, or half of a mill less than for some years past.
By order of the Council
Thomas F. Jones, president.
A. T. Nye, City Clerk.
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, August 1, 1860
In your paper of the 28th appears the following, as a part of the "Council proceedings":
"A remonstrance from D. C. Skinner, W. S. Ward, D. Soler, C. Boomer and J. Wood, against the purchase of the grounds known as "Nye's Woods" for a Cemetery, and asking that all action in the premises be postponed until after the spring election, was laid before the Council. The remonstrance was received and laid upon the table."
Your paper purports to be a news-paper, and of course, to give correct news, and not garbled items, tending to mislead the public.
If the above report was made by your regular reporter, he has most signally failed as a reporter, and if made by one of the City Council, he must be one who is in favor of buying "Nye's Woods," and was unwilling to have the public know the whole truth. The remonstrance, instead of being signed by only five persons, as your report would have the public believe, was signed by more than 330 (333 I believe), man of them heavy tax-payers, paying at least as much as some members of the Council.
The 333 citizens who signed the remonstrance further asked that the question of purchasing a Cemetery might be submitted to a vote of the people at the next spring election. This the report fails to state. Only one conclusion can be made; if the Council "go ahead" and buy "Nye's Woods" after a remonstrance has been presented to them, signed by about half of the legal voters of the city, and that is, that they are determined to use their power even if the will of the people is outraged, and that they are afraid to leave it to a vote of the people, for fear the favorite project of some members of the Council may be defeated.
I enclose a copy of the remonstrance, which I wish you would insert, that the public may judge of the truth of your report.
"To the City Council of Marietta:
"The undersigned, citizens of Marietta, in consideration of our present burdensome rate of taxation, and believing that there is no present necessity for purchasing grounds for a new Cemetery, respectfully remonstrate against the proposed purchase of the grounds known as "Nye's Woods," and should your honorable body not consider this remonstrance a sufficient expression of the public sentiment on this subject, we ask that you defer all action in the premises until after the annual Spring election, and take measures at that time to ascertain the same by submitting the question to a vote of the Citizens of the town.
Marietta, July 24th, 1860."
"Signer" is right. The Intelligencer is a newspaper and "of course, gives correct news and not garbled items, tending to mislead the public."
We endeavor to give correct reports of every matter that interests the people and are especially particular that the proceedings of the City Council should be accurately copied. We have access to the minutes of the Council as recorded by the City Clerk, and copied from them that part of the report which has provoked the communication of "Signer." The minutes read as follows: "A remonstrance from ____ and other citizens of Marietta against the purchase of the ground known as 'Nye's Woods' for a Cemetery and asking that all action in the premises be postponed until after the spring election was laid before the Council. The remonstrance was received and laid upon the table."
The City Clerk was absent and we put it in this form, "A remonstrance from certain citizens of Marietta against," &c. Soon after, the City Clerk came into the office and inquired what form we had put the remonstrance in. We told him and he expressed himself as satisfied with it. About noon another member of the council came in and asked to see the report. We showed it to him, and he handed us a paper signed by three members of the Council, himself one of them, with the following correction which he wished inserted: "A remonstrance from D. C. Skinner, W. S. Ward, D. Soler, C. Boomer, J. Wood, against," &c. This is our authority for giving the report as we did. The names of the Council who authorized the change can be seen at our office.
* * *
The New Cemetery
The Marietta Intelligencer, August 8, 1860
At the meeting of the City Council last evening, the following resolution, offered by Dr. Cotton, was adopted by a vote of four to two. C. F. Buell and C. Jones voting in the negative.
Whereas, The Committee, who were appointed to examine and report to the Council the most suitable location for a Cemetery, have reported that after a careful examination of several locations near the city, they regard the ground known as "Nye's Park," (all things considered) most suitable for that purpose; therefore
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to purchase the said Park.
Messrs. T. F. Jones, J. D. Cotton and C. F. Buell, were appointed said Committee.
In justice to those members of the Council who sent in a correction of our report of the Council proceedings respecting the remonstrance against the purchase of "Nye's Woods" for a Cemetery, we have to say that the paper containing their correction did have in it the words "and others," after the names D. C. Skinner, W. S. Ward, C. Boomer, D. Soler and J. Wood. They were written with a lead pencil and so indistinctly that no man could decipher them. The paper has been in the office several days, and out of all who have examined it, no one noticed the "and others" until it was pointed out and explained by one who signed it.
* * *
Is It True?
The Home News, August 11, 1860
Is it true that the deed for the new cemetery contains a condition that if the grounds should ever be used for any purpose other than burying the dead, they shall revert to the original heirs! What business is it to a person who sells a piece of property for its full value, to say the least, what the purchaser proposes to do with it? The deed in this case ought not to specify the object of the purchase on behalf of the city.
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, August 15, 1860
"The Home News" asks, "Is it true?" - and then proceeds with certain implied assumptions of fact, which are not true. This, negative answer, to his question, it would seem is "News" to the writer or publisher of the captious article which begins with that question, in his paper of the 11th instant. News, which he might easily have obtained by inquiry at the proper sources of information, on the subject, and in a proper spirit; and, thereby, have economized his time, paper and types for the more appropriate publication of correct "news." He might have learned and ought to have known - before he penned that article and committed it to print - that no deed of conveyance - such as he assumes, had, or has been, made the city for the new cemetery ground; and that, by the plain provisions of the law, under which the purchase was made, none could or can be, properly, made, until the purchase money shall be paid. He might too, and ought to have known, or been informed - what any competent legal adviser could have told him - that, by the law of public corporations, such corporations, or bodies, cannot, lawfully, deal in lands, as he seems to suppose; and can only purchase or hold them for appropriate public purposes, authorized by law - by Charter or Statute. He might, also, have learned, without assuming, by implications, the contrary, that no such "condition" as his questions imply, was, or is, in the contract for the purchase of Cemetery ground; or was proposed, or entered the minds of the parties immediately concerned in making it, and that such an idea only found a lodgment in those of ignorant and captious fault-finders.
It may be hoped and should, in fairness, be presumed, that it is not and will not be new to the writer of the article here noticed, that assumptions of fact, where other persons are interested in them, and without evidence to justify and sustain them, are, oft-times, dangerous; and, in the end, mischievous to those who employ them; as they are, in their consequences, to others; and, as they are, also, exceptionable in morals and tend to injustice; and that mistakes of or in law, in matters of importance, are, sometimes, equally serious in their effects; and it may be added, perhaps, that it would be discreet to take a cautionary hint (from, in substance, a chapter in Fielding's "Tom Jones") namely: "that a man can write better on a subject for knowing something about it."
A Friend to Truth and Justice
* * *
The Marietta Intelligencer, August 29, 1860
August 21, 1860.
Members all present . . .
Messrs. Cotton, J. O. Cram, Charles Sullivan, R. E. Harte and A. L. Haskin were appointed a Committee to make a survey and plat of the new Cemetery ground, and report to the Council.
The Street Superintendent was instructed to have "the weeds and briars cut and the bushes grubbed out of the Cemetery ground as early as possible," and to allow the Dwarf Chestnut bushes to remain.