COAL RUN -With stories of savage murder and a son's revenge, as well as a local boy who pursued his dream to play major league baseball, Round Bottom Cemetery near Coal Run is well known to local historians.
The relatively small cemetery, located just north of Coal Run on Ohio 60, has about 320 known burials. The earliest graves are from the late 1700s but the two-acre cemetery is still open and is operated by Waterford Township.
Local historian Louise Zimmer said Round Bottom Cemetery is the final resting place for many early pioneers, including Abel Sherman, who was a Revolutionary War veteran and a well-known farmer in that part of the county in the late 1700s.
BRAD BAUER The Marietta Times
Waterford Township employee Jared Huck opens the gate Thursday to Round Bottom Cemetery, located just north of Coal Run on Ohio 60, near the Witten Farm. The cemetery is one of the oldest of the 13 maintained by Waterford Township, with burials dating back to 1794.
"The story goes that on Aug. 15, 1794, Sherman was out looking for his cows," Zimmer said. "It was getting late and on his way back home he found a little field of (apples) and was gathering them in his shirt... That's when he was shot and scalped by an Indian, later determined to be Silverheels."
Sherman was 50 at the time of his death. Zimmer said in the few years after Sherman's death the Indian wars had calmed.
"A few years later, Silverheels was sharing stories with an audience about how he killed a man gathering apples and that his scalp was so full he was able to cut it in half and sell it to the British for the price of two scalps," she said. "Little did he know, one of Sherman's sons was in the audience."
Round Bottom Cemetery
Location: Just north of Coal Run on Ohio 60, near the Witten Farm.
Burials: Approximately 320, some dating back to the late 1700s. The two-acre cemetery is still open.
Maintained by Waterford Township.
Zimmer said accounts of the event indicate the men had been celebrating and drinking whiskey. Two days later Silverheels was found shot and killed near Stockport.
"It was always assumed it was a son taking revenge on the Indian for killing his father," she said.
A monument to Silverheels was placed in a Stockport cemetery at the base of the flagpole in 1979:
"In memory of Silverheels, Shawnee Indian, who kept his campfires at Bald Eagle Creek. Murdered in revenge 1798. Secrets and Whiskey do not mix," the monument reads.
Ernie Thode, manager of Local History and Genealogy at the Washington County Public Library, said the name Round Bottom is derived from the wide circle the Muskingum River makes around the bottomlands in that area.
"The area was settled, mainly as farms, following the Indian wars of the 1790s," he said.
Zimmer said William Dana, who is also buried at Round Bottom Cemetery, was one of those early farmers.
"He really revolutionized farming in the area," she said. "He had over 1,300 acres of land, was the among the first in the area to raise sheep and created a market for wool in this area."
Zimmer said Dana was among the first farmers in the area to construct sheds or barns to keep livestock.
"Many farmers found there was a financial advantage to imitate that," she said.
Local historian Phillip Crane, 63, of Waterford, said he knows the cemetery best as the area where the ashes of former Chicago Cubs pitcher Johnny Burrows were spread.
Burrows was born in Winnfield, La., in 1913 and died in a fire at his home on April 27, 1987 in Coal Run.
"He was someone I think everyone in this area would have known," Crane said. "He was born in Louisiana but he spent most of his life in Coal Run where his family was from."
Crane said he would often talk with Burrows about baseball and his two seasons in the big leagues, in 1943 and 1944.
"He was a great storyteller and loved the game of baseball," he said. "And certainly when he was playing, people from around here would go to watch him play."
Crane said Burrows was sent back down to the minor leagues after the 1944 season. He said Burrows played in more than 20 professional baseball leagues during his career.
"I think he may still hold the record," he said. "I came across his name and that (statistic) in a book once."
Waterford Township Trustee Matthew Cavanaugh said plots are still available in the cemetery and the last burial there was approximately two years ago. He said the small brick building adjacent to the cemetery is the old Round Bottom School, which the township also maintains.
"It's right there with the cemetery and we also maintain it, but it's separate," he said.