West Bank Burying Ground


An article found in the Painesville Telegraph, January 17, 1861 mentions this Painesville graveyard, now long gone.

Mr. Editor: It may be new to many that early in the present century there was a small burying ground on the West bank of Grand River, at no great distance below where S. Marshall now resides, near where one John Smith had pitched his tent. When digging graves human bones were always found. In the year 1806 a portion of the bank caved off, which exposed to view two human skeletons, which were taken from the earth and one of them being put together it was found by measurement to be seven feet in length. The lower jaw was sufficiently large to cover the jaw of the most full faced person. The skull of the other was used by Smith’s family for a soap dish, and one thigh bone for a hammer to crack black walnuts. At that time was plainly discernable a circular ditch commencing just above the burying ground and terminating a few rods below, inclosing, perhaps , one half acre of ground. From the above facts it is evident that this country, at some period long gone by, was inhabited, but by whom, is the question.

Although it reads like a tabloid article, there is probably some truth to it. The S. Marshall property was on the northeast corner of the intersection of Walnut and Bank Streets. It was probably the big white mansion still on that corner facing Bank Street.

According to History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio, John Smith arrived in mid November of 1800, coming up the Grand River. His home was built on the hill leading to the “Arch bridge” east of Seth Marshall. This would put the burial ground on the north side of East Walnut Street, between Bank Street and the Grand River.