History of Conneaut - Durkee Cemetery Area - Found at Conneaut Public Library, Conneaut, OH
(south of Conneaut)
Ashtabula County, Ohio
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The following was taken from the letters to Mrs. Marion T. Allds, written by Mrs. George E. (Clara Stanford) Hale, 6023 Center Rd., Conneaut, Ohio, and occupant of the residence adjacent Durkee Cemetery.
"At the time this article was written in the year of 1934, the Durkee Cemetery was 101 years old. Mrs. Simonds (Kate), was well known in Conneaut as a teacher and also Principal of Conneaut Junior High School. I noticed that I am making this copy of Dec. 27, 1974, the date of Solomon Durkee's death on hundred and forty-one years ago, showing the Cemetery has existed at least 141 years."
Just beyond where the old twin bridges crossed the divided stream of Conneaut Creek at Farnham, a bluff rises abruptly from the Center Road. On this bluff is a plot of ground called the Durkee Cemetery, given by Solomon Durkee, Jr. A place more peaceful could not be found. Nesting under the hemlock, murmuring over a lullaby, accompanied by the music of the rippling creek which sings about it. It makes a beautiful picture as one stands on the point of the bluff and watches the shadowed water move slowly on its way through the green of the trees and foliage on either side.
The first to find a resting place in the quiet spot was Solomon Durkee. Underneath his name is inscribed, "A Soldier of "76." He died Dec. 27, 1933, 72 years of age. Another Revolutionary soldier buried there is Thomas Barrett, who died April 1, 1844, at 83. Two soldiers of the War of 1812 are buried here. One was called affectionately, "old Daddy Speer," and the other was Solomon Durkee, Jr. Two soldiers named George Salisbury and Solomon Durkee III served in the Civil War. Seven women whose fathers fought in the Revolutionary War have their last resting place in this plot. Their names are: Ruth Hayward Durkee, Abigail Durkee Farnham, Abigail Farnham Durkee, Lucy Durkee Salisbury, Fannie Hunt Hatch, Sylvia Durkee and Betsey Durkee.
125 BURIED IN DURKEE CEMETERY
About 125 people are buried there and names still legible on the tombstones include: Abbott, Allen, Barrett, Bennett, Bly, Bristol, Colby, Curtiss, Durkee, Ely, Hamilton, Hatch, Hickok, Hunt, Kellogg, Kent, Lillie, Perry, Peters, Rogers, Salisbury, Searles, Spaulding, Ward, Washburn, and White. There are not many inscriptions on the stones but one reads: "Dearest Horace thou has left us; here our loss we deeply feel, But 'tis God that hast bereft us; He can all our sorrows heal." On another stone we find: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." Below on the same stone, "Be ye also ready." On still another stone we find these simple words, fraught however, with much meaning to believing souls, "Gone Home." The Center Road at this place was finished in about 1818. The bridge crossing the creek was a very early high level crossing from the height on which John C. Soet's house now stands. This house was built by Sherman Wright, the grandfather of the late Mrs. Daphne Smith, whom we all know and remember with much esteem and affection. (Solomon Durkee was the father of Sherman.) The other end of the bridge rested on what is known as the old Sherman Ely place. As soon as the road was finished, a school was started in a sort of log shack on the site where the cemetery now is.
TAUGHT AT SCHOOL
The only one qualified to teach was a Mrs. Samuel Ely. She was handicapped so far as such work was concerned by being the mother of a baby boy. His name was Edgerton and there may be some new living who remember him, as he lived to an advanced age. Mrs. Ely was finally prevailed upon to teach but in order to do so she had to take her little son to school. How this was managed so far as the care of the child was concerned can be left to your imagination but very likely the girl pupils vied with each other as to which one could give him the most loving care. This was the first school in this vicinity and shows the high ideals for education that these pioneers from Vermont brought with them.
(Copied by Mrs.
George E. (Clara Stanford) Hale, 6023 Center Rd., Conneaut, OH
NOTE: At this time I have been unable to find anyone that has any information on a deed to the Durkee Cemetery. I did note one slim clue in the first paragraph of this article, as follows: "A plot of ground called Durkee Cemetery given by Solomon Durkee, Jr." (Given to whom?) As we do not pay taxes on that plot of ground, I feel that it was given at that time to Conneaut Township or Monroe Township.
Many concerned citizens, many out of state, with family ties here have expressed the same thought --- "The condition of this Cemetery borders on the Sacreligious."
Anyone is welcome to visit the Cemetery. Use our driveway and park in our backyard, then walk a short distance north to the Cemetery.
~ Sincerely, Clara Hale
SHARON WICK'S NOTE: Ms. Hale may not be there now and there may be a new owner to her property. Upon request, I will find out who is there now.
Note: By J. Magons: Ashtabula County Recorder's Office shows in Book 222, Page 593 for Oct. 2, 1916, transaction from Charles C. Durkee, a widower, to Laura D. Hale, describes part of original lots #19 & 29 in Twp. 13 in first range of twps. of Connecticut Western Reserve - the same land conveyed by Uriel Holmes to Solomon Durkee, Jr., dated 7 July 1821 (Vol. D, p. 189); by Lemuel Jones to Lemuel & Betsey Jones of Salem Twp., Ash. Co. on 4 Sept. 1826 (Vol. F, p. 247); by Elisha Farnham to Elisha & Harriet Farnham on Sept. 1857 (Vol. 52, p. 320); and by Laura E. Clark to Charles C. Durkee Jan. 30, 1901. (Vol. 159, p. 233); and containing about 152-1/2 acres.
"Excepting and reserving therefore the use of about one half of an acre of land now used and occupied for the Burial Ground, and this reservation shall continue for such period of time as the same may be and is used for that purpose, together with the right of ingress and egress therefore."
Esther A. Hickox, Dau. of Dr. B. and Catharine Hickox, died June 21, 1843, aged 15 yrs. 6 mo's. "Dearest Esther, Thou hast left us; here they loss we deeply feel; but 'tis God that hath bereft us; He can all our sorrows heal."
Cemetery readings by Mim Miller and Judy Magons several years ago. Computer work by Mary Hawkins. Some checking done by Elsie Berg and Mary Hawkins.
This Web Page Created by Sharon Wick 2002