Where in Hudson is this? for Aug. 13

By Liz Murphy | destination Hudson Published:

The sign 'Who is Buried Here?' graces the gate at the entrance to the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground on Chapel Street. Above the sign is an antique mailbox full of fascinating flyers about Hudson's first graveyard, prepared by the David Hudson chapter of Questers. I find it amazing to consider that there are at least 25 people born in the 18th century interred at this historic site. A few of the graves worth noting are those of Hudson's founder David Hudson, Owen and Ruth Brown, parents of abolitionist John Brown, soldiers and a drummer boy from the Revolutionary War, and soldiers from the War of 1812. The flyer lists 15 notable graves along with a map, so they are identifiable.

The flyer, also available at the Visitor Center, includes some interesting facts. Most stones face the setting sun, as was the custom of the day; the northwest corner of the cemetery is an area referred to as the Western Reserve College cemetery where some professors, masters and students are buried. Emily Dickinson's grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson, was buried here and later disinterred to Amherst, Massachusetts. The last interment in 1900 was of Elizabeth Thompson, wife of Dr. Moses Thompson, first doctor in what is now Portage and Summit counties. Ruth Brown's was the first recorded burial in 1808. According to Hudson's Heritage, when Ruth and her infant daughter both died within hours of the birth, Owen, completed demoralized, stumbled his way to David Hudson's. There was not yet a cemetery in the settlement, but Hudson remembered that Benjamin Whedon had talked of providing some land for a burial ground. When consulted, Whedon gladly offered a plot of land for his friend, who buried his wife and planted a pine tree to keep her company. It wasn't until 1814 that Whedon actually sold the land for use as a cemetery and other graves joined that of Ruth Brown.

Most of the tombstones are too weathered to be legible, and sadly many are falling over. In 1982 the Anna Lee Chapter of Questers undertook the restoration of 10 of the stones, and in the same year the Hudson Heritage Association worked on a project producing rubbings and photographs of the gravestones and their history.

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