Grand River Public Cemetery

Painesville (Grand River)
(Nearly Extinct)

The Village of Grand River, originally called Richmond until relatively recently, had a public burial ground at a very early date. In our quest for information, we found no one living that had even heard of it. It was listed in Ohio Cemeteries, by Ohio Genealogical Society, so someone was aware of it, but with no information. However, there are three pieces of evidence.

The first is a letter from C.F. Luther to Mrs. Baker, written from Amherst, Mass. Aug. 27, 1932. It was an attempt to write a few items of historical interest from the writer’s memory of buildings and such “when Richmond was at its height, before the cholera of 1832 which put an end to its early promise.” On the second page was written the following:

A number of years ago, I attempted to locate the old burying ground, but the under brush had obliterated all trace. Fifty years ago many stones were still standing, and they should be there now if one could find the exact location. It was some 20 rods west of the road and right on the brink of the swamp. I suppose many victims of the cholera must have been buried there.
The second item of interest is written by Sol Olila in his book, Hometown Sketches of 1936:

A half mile west of the village on Lake Shore Blvd., on a little knoll overlooking the swamp, is the burial grounds of hundreds of victims of the cholera epidemic, which almost wiped out the village in it’s hey-day. Mr. G.H. Whitney, Richmond, recalls when the stones and markers were visible. He was born near the site in 1852. The graveyard is now covered with about four feet of dirt and numerous young trees. Few, if any, markers are now visible.
Thirdly, this burial ground is marked on the Geological Survey map of 1874 located at the Fairport Lighthouse museum. This very clearly marks it as “Old Burying Ground.” There is no path or road that leads to it. It is the largest portion of the west half of Lot 23, estimated at about 16 acres. It is to the west of State Route 44. If Temple Street continued to the west, it would go to the bottom of it. If Wilmot Street continued west, it would go to the center of it. And if Holland Street continued west, it would go to the top of the area marked on the map. It hangs over the Mentor line just a bit, but there are probably no burials over the border.

In tracing ownership on maps, we find that the Cleveland Trust Co. owned it in 1946. Prior to that there were two pieces. A Coal Company owned a small strip of it. The larger piece was owned by the Fairport Land Company at one time, and The L.H. Worn Land Co. in 1917. Morris N. Halle bought it in 1923. The 1874 Atlas shows the strip belonging to A. W. Averill, and the larger portion to Steeles, Wicks & Others. The 1857 map shows G. Everett owning the top part and S. Duncan owning the lower half. On the 1840 map lot 24 and most of lot 23 were marked “Richmond” which was the town name. In 1965 the Cleveland Museum of Natural History obtained the north and central parcels (2 and 3) and in 1974, the southern parcel (#1). These are volume 630 page 267 for parcels 2 and 3, and volume 787 pg 1238 for parcel 1. Under the auspices of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Natural Areas office, the property is part of the Mentor Marsh Preserve.