On Monday, June 19, the Fayette County Genealogical Society sponsored the program, “A Walk in the Old Washington Cemetery.”
It was a program developed and presented by Paul LaRue, a local historian. The Old Washington Cemetery is located behind the Dairy Queen in Washington Court House and has gravesites of our early pioneers and two early American soldiers, one from the Revolutionary War, Francis Devalon, and one from the War of 1812, Able Thompson.
There is a memorial marker for another Revolutionary veteran, Felix McInhaney, who was buried in the Orr-Grove Cemetery in Fayette County that no longer exists. His family arranged for the memorial marker. These three men have American fags by their grave markers, but you will see many other American flags at the graves in this cemetery. Those flags are there at the graves to honor our first settlers, our pioneers.
Another famous person in this cemetery is Judge Wade Loofborough, known for the land he purchased in Clermont County to start a socialist group known as a utopian society. It failed. Loofborough did become a respected judge in Fayette County. It is said that a black man, little Barry Stewart, dug a grave in this cemetery and was a paid a dollar for his work. His free papers are on file in the archives in this county.
Throughout the cemetery you will find names that are familiar to Washington Court House and Fayette County. Those names are reflected in the names of our roads and streets, such as Busch, Rawlings, Thompson, and Temple, named for our early settlers. Washington Court House was founded in 1810 by veterans of the Revolutionary War. These Revolutionary veterans also established this Washington Cemetery, now the Old Washington Cemetery in 1810 as well. When the railroad came through, the cemetery’s size was reduced to approximately a half-acre, the size that it remains today.
The public was invited to join the Society and its members for this special program and despite the threatening weather, there was a very good turnout for this excellent opportunity to learn more of our local history. The rain gave way, and all in attendance enjoyed the informative walk around the cemetery.
Paul LaRue is a retired social studies teacher from the Washington Court House City Schools, educational co-chair, America 250-Ohio, and is president of the Ohio School Board.
The next meeting of the Fayette County Genealogical Society will be Monday July 17 at 7 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room of the Fayette County Economic Development Building, 101 E. East St., Washington Court House. Retired Miami Trace social studies teacher and local historian, Robert “Bob” Grim, will be presenting the program entitled “The War of 1812.”
For information regarding this meeting, Society membership, membership in our Lineage Societies, or research, please contact president Sue Rodgers Gilmore at 614-864-9609 or [email protected], or Cathy Massie White at 740-333-7227 or [email protected], or Peggy Lester at 740-495-5720 or [email protected].