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Grave Matters: Waterman

Group working to get headstone for Revolutionary War vet

March 31, 2012
By Evan Bevins ( , The Marietta Times

WATERTOWN TWP. - The cemetery on Ohio 339 across from Camp Hervida Road is known by three different names and serves as the final resting place for at least two Revolutionary War soldiers and four Civil War veterans.

A sign bearing the name Sherman Cemetery sits at the bottom of the hill where more than 100 people are interred beneath markers in varying stages of decay. But historical records also identify it as the Stanley or Waterman Cemetery.

With no official name more than 100 years ago, Jean Yost, president of the Marietta chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, said people likely just made reference to the graveyard based on who was buried there and other people picked up on those names.

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"It's not unusual, but it does make it confusing," he said.

Yost came out to the cemetery in early March at the request of out-of-state descendants of Joel Adams, a Revolutionary War soldier and early settler in the area. He found the bottom half of a Sons of the American Revolution flag-holder at the wrong grave but was unable to locate Adams' marker on one of this winter's few snowy days. The family members sent him a photo of the stone, and Yost returned, this time locating the marker, which was broken into several pieces and barely legible.

During his first search of the cemetery, Yost spotted another flag-holder beside a marker that was almost gone except for the base. Using data on file at the county courthouse and collected by workers with the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, Yost was able to identify the soldier as Capt. William Ford II.

Fact Box

Waterman Cemetery

Also known as the Sherman or Stanley Cemetery.

Located in Watertown Township on Ohio 339, across from Camp Hervida Road.

More than 100 people are interred there, including at least two Revolutionary War veterans and four Civil War veterans.

The earliest burial on record was in 1797; the most recent was in 1930.

"Without the marker and without the WPA map, there is no way that people would ever know who is buried there," he said.

According to documents at the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library in Marietta, Ford's wife, three of his sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson and his wife are all buried in the Waterman Cemetery.

One son, Giles Ford, died in 1797 and appears to be the first person buried in the cemetery. The most recent burial on record in local historian Arthur McKitrick's 1973 reading of the cemetery is Martha (Linder) Waterman, who died in 1930.

The local SAR chapter is working on obtaining new markers for both William Ford II and Joel Adams through the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Yost said he suspects there may be other Revolutionary War veterans buried in the Waterman Cemetery. The chapter is committed to discovering every such burial site in the county, he said.

"These are the guys that served our country to make us what we are today," Yost said.

There are also at least four Civil War veterans laid to rest in the cemetery, and possibly a fifth, according to Scott Britton, a member of both the Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of Union Veterans.

One of those is Alfred D. Newbanks, to whom Britton is related. According to Britton's records, Newbanks, David Devore and Harvey Green all died of illnesses while serving in 1862.

Orton Humphrey was buried in Waterman Cemetery in 1917. He was a member of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry's 148th Regiment, Company I, known as the "Watertown Wildcats."

So was Charles Waterman, for whom a marker is placed in the cemetery. But Britton said there's also a record of a stone for him in Virginia, so it's not clear in which cemetery he was actually buried.

The cemetery is one of several cared for by the Watertown Township trustees, who contract out its mowing. Yost said they've done a good job maintaining the cemetery, but time and the elements are causing the markers to deteriorate.

Trustee Gene Morris said he'd like to do more to protect the markers, but, like other townships, Watertown doesn't have any dedicated revenue for cemeteries.

"We just haven't got the money to take care of it like we should," he said.



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