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Historic Watertown Cemetery

March 3, 2012
By Sam Shawver (sshawver@mariettatimes.com) , The Marietta Times

WATERTOWN-A centerpiece of the historic Watertown Cemetery is a large, gated stone mausoleum dug into the hillside that bears several vaults from the William Woodford family. One of the two huge cut stone walls leading to the mausoleum entrance has crumbled, but the other wall still stands firm.

"The wall collapsed a couple of years ago and we've not been able to afford to have it repaired," said Watertown Cemetery Board member Mike Harra as he looked over the damaged wall Thursday afternoon.

He said an engraving over the mausoleum entrance indicates it may have been built around 1858.

Article Photos

SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Cemetery board member Mike Harra looks over a fallen stone wall Thursday at the William Woodford mausoleum in the Watertown Cemetery.

"Woodford came to this area after the Revolutionary War and was apparently pretty well off," Harra said.

According to the "History of Washington County, Ohio, 1788-1881" by H. Z. Williams and Brothers, William Woodford emigrated from his native Connecticut in 1779 and eventually settled in the village of Watertown.

He and wife, Dianna (Ford) Woodford, had four children, including Seth, Miles, Laura and William G.

Fact Box

About Watertown Cemetery

The historic Watertown Cemetery is located at the United Presbyterian Church along County Road 109 (Watertown Road), just east of Watertown.

Still an active cemetery, the graveyard is overseen by the four-member Watertown Cemetery Board.

Gravestones in the cemetery date back to the early 1800s.

Seth was a businessman and farmer in Watertown who served two terms in the state legislature. Miles engaged in the southern produce trade and Laura married a merchant, Abijah Brooks who operated in Watertown, Waterford and the Harmar district.

William G. Woodford became quite successful, dealing in real estate after striking out on his own at age 21.

H. Z. Williams wrote that at different periods the younger Woodford owned several farms in Watertown, Belpre and Warren townships, as well as 640 acres in Indiana, and a one-third interest in a 10,000-acre tract in Illinois.

Although he was initially a success, William G. lost a good portion of his fortune in 1875 by "having gone security for another-a loss he met out of his own hard-earned savings," according to Williams' county history.

In 1881, William G. and his son also opened a general store in Watertown.

Approximately 46 Civil War veterans were also laid to rest in the Watertown Cemetery, according to Dan Hinton, commander of the Gen. Benjamin D. Fearing Camp No. 2 of the Sons of Union Veterans, and a local historian.

"Among those soldiers is Levi Thornberry, who served under (Major Marcus) Reno during Custer's famous 'last stand' at the Battle of the Little Big Horn," Hinton said.

Although Gen. George Armstrong Custer and his men were destroyed by Indians from the Sioux Nation during the battle, some of Reno's troops, including Thornberry, survived.

"He came back to Ohio and is buried in Watertown Cemetery," Hinton said.

Also buried at Watertown is Hinton's great-great grandfather, William B. Hinton, who served in the Civil War with Company F, 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, along with his brother Samuel.

"He was at Shiloh and was later captured in Arkansas and spent 10 months in a Confederate prison camp in Texas," Hinton said. "While there he contracted scurvy and suffered from its effects for the rest of his life."

Another local who served with the 77th OVI was Conrad Bohl, Hinton said.

"He was born in what is now Germany in 1826 and operated a store in Watertown where he was postmaster from 1861 to 1873," he said.

Bohl died in 1899 and is also buried at Watertown Cemetery.

 
 

 

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