Rock donated at 195-year-old Middletown cemetery to honor 233 veterans

City of Middletown employees recently set a rock at the Middletown Cemetery on First Avenue that will honor the 233 veterans buried there. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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City of Middletown employees recently set a rock at the Middletown Cemetery on First Avenue that will honor the 233 veterans buried there. SUBMITTED PHOTO

A rock has been donated to a 195-year-old Middletown cemetery and soon a plaque will be added to honor the 233 veterans buried there.

Deb Morrison, chair of the cemetery board, said the board has searched for the “right rock” to be set at the Middletown Pioneers Cemetery on First Avenue.

She said the rock was discovered by board member Charlene Kiniyalocts at a home construction site in Hunter, then it was donated by Greg Martin Excavating, Inc. and recently set by city of Middletown employees.

The rock is located in a section of the cemetery where at least 10 Civil War veterans are buried, Morrison said.

She said there are more than 7,000 people buried in the cemetery that also is called the Middletown Cemetery and Middletown Historic Cemetery. The cemetery was founded in 1827 and is the burial ground of some of Middletown’s earliest settlers.

The cemetery began as four acres of land surveyed by James Heaton, and set aside as a potter’s field, according to library records. The plot of land expanded by two acres in 1863, and five acres in 1869.

On May 25, 1878, the Middletown Cemetery Association was organized. The cemetery was run by the association until financial difficulties caused it to close. Then financial responsibility for the cemetery was passed onto the city of Middletown.

This was not the first cemetery in Middletown. That honor goes to the Old Middletown Burying Grounds, located on the eastern bank of the Great Miami River and, according to tradition, was first used to inter a hunter who died in an accident in 1798.

The burying grounds were partially washed out during a 1802 flood, with human remains lost to the river; the recurring threat to this area of ground prompted Daniel Doty to set aside some of his farm land to establish a more sustainable resting place for the city’s deceased, according to library records.

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A giant rock has been set at the Middletown Cemetery on First Avenue to honor the veterans buried there. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

A giant rock has been set at the Middletown Cemetery on First Avenue to honor the veterans buried there. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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A giant rock has been set at the Middletown Cemetery on First Avenue to honor the veterans buried there. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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