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Middleburg Heights, OH 44130
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Removal of a Local Graveyard to Woodvale

Over the years, cemeteries have been moved, destroyed, and even lost. In the best of cases, the graves have been moved from their original locations to other cemeteries where they are not forgotten. The reasons vary, but often graves from smaller cemeteries were removed when the land changed hands, as land was repurposed for development, or perhaps a newer cemetery was opened. Woodvale had such an addition around the beginning of the 20th century, though the exact date has been lost. The cemetery that was moved was originally for the families of Solomon Lovejoy, Paul Gardener, and Jeremiah Fuller, early settlers of Middleburgh Township. The original location was not far from Woodvale, just a little south along the current Big Creek Parkway, on now private property.

Solomon Lovejoy was born In Vermont and married Syrena Bitlis, then moving to the state of New York where they raised their family, including a son Ammy. In 1819 they moved to southern Middleburgh Township followed in short order by Paul and Isabel Gardner and their many children, including Amos and his wife Sally. Ammy married Hannah Humaston in 1832, and a year later the Jeremiah D. Fuller family moved into the Township from Vermont. Soon after his arrival Jeremiah married Roxy Sprague. The first death among this growing neighborhood occurred on Dec 8, 1836 when Drusilla Humaston died at the age of 12 during childbirth. She had been married to Hanna Lovejoy's brother, 15-year-old Patrick Humaston Jr. The residents chose a small area of land on the former Eliza Fowles farm for burial.

The next loss was Ammy and Hanna's son Celon Lovejoy, who died in 1837 at the age of two. In 1838, Triphenia Lovejoy, the infant of Solomon Jr. and Lois passed away, as did Patrick Humaston, Jr. With four burials now, the land was purchased from the Fowles family on February 26, 1839 by Ammy Lovejoy, Amos Gardner and Jeremiah Fuller for $50. Amos' brother Russel Gardner was interred in the now established burial ground in 1840, followed by Solomon Lovejoy Sr. (owner of Lovejoy's Tavern on the Turnpike Road) in 1845, and Roxy Sprague Fuller in 1849. The mother of Amos Gardner, Isabel, died in 1851 on Christmas Day and Emily Lovejoy, niece of Ammy, died in 1858. The next decade saw the passing of Paul Gardner in 1861, Syrena Lovejoy in 1865, Hanna Humaston Lovejoy in 1867 and Jeremiah Fuller in 1870 at age 66.

In 1871, with the Gardner family now in Wisconsin and Jeremiah Fuller deceased, Ammy sold the burial ground to the Middleburgh Township trustees. The agreement stipulated that the graves not be removed without permission of all parties involved, and that owners of the lots could continue to use them. Ammy Lovejoy died in 1891.

There are no records known giving permission for the cemetery to be moved, and it is not entirely clear when the graves were relocated. It is likely the move occurred after Ammy Lovejoy died, and all 14 graves were exhumed and moved to Section A in Woodvale. Cemetery deed records indicate that several lots in Woodvale Cemetery were purchased by members of the Lovejoy, Fuller, Fowles, and Gardner families between 1887 and 1889, so it is entirely possible that the families did give permission to have their loved ones moved to Woodvale.

Sources: Krejci, William G. Buried Beneath Cleveland- Lost Cemeteries of Cuyahoga County. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2015 Woodvale Cemetery Deed Ledger

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