Part 2: Hidden History of Harmar Cemetery

September 28, 2018

 

 

Honoring Those Who Served Their Country

 

No cemetery would be complete without recognizing those people who gave service during war or peace. In Harmar Cemetery, a Civil War Memorial was erected in 1913 in memory of Charles Beman Gates, Post # 452 GAR that was chartered in 1884. The monument holds the names of the forty-five men who served. The only general recognized is General Benjamin Dana Fearing. He was a graduate of Marietta College in 1856 at the age of 19. When war broke out he joined the Union Army. General Dana served at the battles of Chickamauga and Bentonville and died later from the effect of the wounds. Spanish American, World War I, and World War II soldiers have taken their final rest here as well. The names of almost all soldiers are male except for Irma M. Whiting. She served as a corporal for the US army during World War II and died in 1998.

 

 Most of the founders of Marietta had served in the American Revolution as officers or soldiers. This cemetery contains the burials of three, and maybe four, Revolutionary War soldiers. Noah Fearing appeared on the Northwest Territory census records as being in Marietta in 1790. During the war, he was the captain of a company of Minute Men of Massachusetts. Captain Fearing was the father of Paul Fearing, first lawyer of the Northwest Territory. Elias Newton, a Connecticut silversmith, served as a fifer with several companies and was part of the “Lexington Alarm.” By 1804 he was in Washington County and part of a group of settlers who petitioned the County Commissioners to establish the township of Warren.

 

As the war was raging, Christopher Burlingame, of Rhode Island, led a life of danger and adventure before enlisting in the Continental Army. This apprentice of the hatter trade was solicited as a privateer on a vessel heading to the West Indies. Suffering cruelties, he changed ships only to be captured by the British who gave the offer to join their side in the war with the America colonies or be taken as a prisoner. After escaping this ship, he secured passage on another British ship bound for Halifax. An American vessel captured the ship and he was taken prisoner by his native land. Burlingame was returned to Providence, Rhode Island, and identified properly. Foregoing his wanderlust of the sea, he enlisted in the Continental Army, and was with Washington’s army at the time of the famed crossing of the Delaware. As the war

 

soon ended, Burlingame now wanted to find a wife and had his eye on Susanna Putnam, daughter of General Rufus Putnam. The general, who was in the midst of forming the Ohio Company of Associates, intended to take his family with him to the Northwest Territory. If Burlingame agreed to move with the family, then he could marry Susanna. After the birth of two children, Christopher and Susanna arrived in Marietta in November of 1790 where they took up residence in the Putnam home at Campus Martius.

 

The fourth Revolutionary War soldier, James Lawrence Glover, is on record as buried in Harmar Cemetery.  But who was he and where exactly did his remains come to rest? Little documentation has been located concerning this man, who was born in France, participated in the Revolution, and died in Harmar in 1825. Supposedly, his stone and remains were moved within the cemetery in 1888 when the Zanesville & Ohio River Railroad track took off a portion of the east section of the cemetery, and moved to the north side of cemetery. No marker indicates his burial. Interestingly, James Glover is cited in the Mound Cemetery Memorial for Revolutionary War soldiers with unknown gravesites. Where is James Glover?

 

According to a letter written in 1926 by Glover’s great grandson, Edward M. Smith to the Marietta Chapter of the DAR, Glover “came over to this country with General Lafayette and his father also had command of an army with Lafayette, his name was also James Lawrence Glover, they settled Glover’s Gap, Va., and lived there until the second James Lawrence Glover married Mary Wood of Alexandria VA, and came to Marietta Ohio and lived in the Block House, Fort Harmar, where my grandmother Sophronia Glover was born April 22- 1814. Now, her father, General James Glover, took a drove of horses to Baltimore, Maryland, and sold them and while on his way back, at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, he was murdered, his horse taken and his money. He was buried in the old cemetery at Marietta, Ohio – Harmar Cemetery, and sandstone was put at his grave, with the inscription “General James Lawrence Glover, a Revolutionary Soldier, died at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, June 1825. Born in France, August 10, 1757.” Edward Smith goes on to say that when he was a small boy the Zanesville & Ohio River Railroad built a new line that edged the cemetery.  The grave of his great grandfather had to be moved for the railroad. Smith stated, “I can remember a small box that held a few bones and the old sandstone with the name, birth and death of Gen. James Lawrence Glover. This grave should be over to the North side of the Harmar Cemetery, but the stone has disappeared years ago.”

 

 

Is a Final Resting Place Final?

 

When a person is buried, we usually think that will be for eternity. Not for some people. The remains of twenty people have been exhumed from Harmar Cemetery and removed to other “final” resting places. The remains of Ralph Campbell and Charles Chidester, both teenagers at the time of death, were exhumed on October 11, 1901 and reinterred in Tunnel Cemetery in Warren Township. The reason is unknown. In 1904, the Putnam family decided to move eighteen ancestors and kin to Oak Grove Cemetery. One can only imagine the process of many workers in these exhumations on October 30. To make that a little bit more eerie, October 30 is the eve of Halloween and, in 1904, that day was a Sunday, an odd day for an exhumation. The reason for the removal was due to the continued flooding of the cemetery especially where these gravesites were located. It has often been wondered what effect flooding had on the coffins and remains. Concrete burial vaults were invented in the 1880s long after most of these deaths. Some earlier burials had “vaults” made of brick. So when these graves were disturbed, it is unknown what was found. Modern embalming of bodies first began during the Civil War. 

 

 More than half of all of those removed died before the end of the war. All of the removals were from the David Putnam, Sr. line or married into those families, except David Putnam Jr. who was buried on the hillside. One of the most prominent members of the Putnam family was Douglas Putnam who built a grand stone house in 1859 overlooking Marietta. Today, the Washington County Historical Society owns Putnam Villa/Anchorage.  Douglas Putnam (1806-1894) acquired his wealth by investing in real estate and the first railroad to Marietta from the west. He promoted higher education and was the secretary of Marietta College from its inception in 1835 until his death in 1894. Putnam signed every diploma during that time.

 

OTHER NOTEWORTHY CITIZENS

 

Levi Barber – Early government surveyor in Marietta. Barber was an aide to Governor Meigs in the War of 1812, served in the courts, and was in US Congress for two terms.

 

Henry Fearing – Property developer. Donated land with funds directed to the Woman's Home and an advocate for the Temperance Movement. The Washington County Historical Society purchased the Henry Fearing house in Harmar and opened to the public as a house museum in 1982.

 

Paul Fearing – First attorney of the Northwest Territory.

 

Charles S. Harrison – Became the first black graduate of Marietta College in 1876.

 

David Putnam Jr. – Businessmen known for his work in the abolition movement and Underground Railroad.

 

William Skinner – First sworn sheriff in Marietta under the newly written Constitution of the United States.

 

James Whitney – The first mayor of Harmar when it separated from Marietta in 1837.

 

In Conclusion

 

Harmar Cemetery, hidden and tucked away in the village, was established as a burial ground in less than ten years after the first pioneers arrived. As with all cemeteries, the presence of tombstones attempts to allow a sort of immortality of the departed. However, here, one has to tread lightly over the unmarked graves of those who lie on the open grassland. Some of their stories are lauded in the history and local lore, while most sleep silently as their stories are forgotten. Though a busy highway and an active railroad line border the cemetery, a sense of peacefulness and solitude can be felt within the confines of these resting souls who so long ago walked the streets and built a community. 

 

 

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