July 18, 2008

Sciotoville Cemetery?

Did Sciotoville ever have a cemetery? Yes! Why do we not have one now? That one I can't answer! Wheelersburg, Portsmouth and South Webster have a cemetery in their city or township! Franklin Furnace, Clay and Minford; all have a cemetery close to their communities to lay to rest their loved ones! The Sciotoville community does not! We use to have a cemetery. In fact it may have been as old as Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth... and possibly older!

The area now known as Sciotoville, Ohio was the first place in what is now known as Scioto County, to be settled. Major Isaac Bonser came from Cumberland County, Pa. in 1793 and marked off with an axe; a area at the mouth of the Little Scioto River. He then went back to gather the five families that hired him to find new land west of Pennsylvania. When he returned, their was two other families settled near the place he had previously marked with his axe! They were John Lindsay and Samuel Marshall. At that time there were no other settlements between Marietta and Maysville. This would be a great indicator that a cemetery must have been established in the Sciotoville area before there was one in Portsmouth!

Anyway... Here is a letter written on Nov. 3, 1905 to a Mr. Smith Bonser of Cheyenne, Wyoming from his cousin N.S. Goodrich. Mr. Bonser died before having a chance to read it.

Dear Cousin,

I have just returned from a visit to the old home in Ohio. I will endeavor to explain how I found things there. I found many changes since my last visit 23 years ago. I have one brother and three sisters in Portsmouth which is now a city of 30,000 people and is still growing. At Sciotoville I found but few I knew, saw many changes here the town has a population of 2,500 people, many good homes here.

The Chesapeak and Ohio R.R. are building a bridge over the Ohio River at this joint. It will cross the Ohio River just a few rods east of the Little Scioto River. The depot will stand on the plot, you will so well remember, where so many of your relatives were buried and so we supposed would be permitted to sleep here in peace until the last trumpet should sound, but no the vandal of hand of progress would not let these old Pioneers rest in the graves which they had selected as there final resting place. The great railroad Corporation must have this sacred plot for there own and why should these forgotton dead rest in a place needed for this great enterprise, so notice was given to all who had friends to move the remains and all others were moved by an unfeeling construction and with no more feeling than if they had been so many animals and were enforced to be moved to the Wheelersburg Cemetery and reintered and all monument reset.

I visited this cemetery where my father mother and two brothers have rested for many years. This is indeed a beautiful spot. I had hard work to find where any of the Bonser family were buried. Found the graves at last with a fence mark on a line at the head board. Found the graves of Major Isaac Bonser his wife, Jacob Bonser, W.J. Bonser, Benjamine-Burt and others. You will no doubt remember the large-marble that marked our grand-fathers grave. This has been brokn and not replaced. There is a stone to the memory of Jacob Bonser. The grave of Benjamine Burt as you will remember it in the Sciotoville Cemetery had at its head a masonic square and compass then this inscription. Sacred to the memory of Benjamine Burt 84 years old a Soldier of the Revolution a member of the Baptist Church peace to his ashes. The monument was in good condition but with all the rest had been dumped in an obscure part of the cemetery and not one replaced. What do you think of community that would allow such desecretion? Yet after all perhaps we should not blame them too harshly, as the stranger has taken the kinsmans place and no one interested was there looking after the reininterment of the sacred dead, and this is a busy selfish age and all these dead had long since become part of mother earth. It makes a feeling of unsupperssable sadness steal me.

I stood in the old cemetery and saw the great piers the R.R. Co. was building they strike the hill east of the cemetery about 40 ft. above the cemetery and are making a double track. Three steam shovels were at work. The R.R. will cross the Little Scioto at Dixon Mill and will go on through Harrisville it will be one of the great coal carrying roads. The coal coming from West Virginia.

I met only one person who had borne the Bonser name. Mrs Emma Duvendick daughter of Isaac Bonser who died at her home in Portsmouth come months since while on a visit. She was sick a very short life. I will say I made an arrangement with the Sexton of the Wheelersburg Cemetery to have all the markers replaced at the graves so far as this can be donehis option was that the only one that could be reset was that of Benjamine Burt. It does seem to bad to let the remains of Major Isaac Bonser sleep in an unknown grave and this is what it means unless the graves are soon marked as the weather will soon obliterate all the record there is as to where they are buried.

I enjoyed my visit in Portsmouth very much. I found about forty nieces and nephews and had a fine time visiting with them. My brother H.E. and his wife were with me as they said to take care of a 72 year old man. I found I could keep pace with the rest. At no time did we retire before 11pm. Portsmouth has built about up to Sciotoville the Millbrook Park view enclosed are at the mouth of what we --- --- (unreadable) New Boston is here and has five thousand people. The Steel Mills here employ two thousand men. I trust this will find you in the enjoyment of health.

Your cousin N.S. Goodrich

This letter is provided by Mr. Jeffrey Shy of Mesa Az. Mr. Shy is a direct lineal descendant of Major Isaac Bonser. He was his fourth great grandfather.

As you can see from the above letter... Sciotoville did at one time have its very own cemetery! Because of the railroad and industrial progress; it was removed. I have to agree with Mr. Goodrich in his saying a community that would allow such desecretion! I feel that they should have had enough fore-thought to establish another cemetery in Sciotoville. To have kept the pioneers of Sciotoville in Sciotoville! Not in unmarked graves or to be handled in such an uncompassionate manner!

I feel that as a Township... this is something we can bring back to Sciotoville! To develop a final resting place for Sciotovillians to spend eternity! To tend to and look after by the Sciotoville community. I know that by the grace of God... I would want to rest in no other place than Sciotoville until the trumpets blare!

June 29, 2008

Sciotoville Residents Deserve More Than Status Quo!

The Sciotoville community deserves effective, efficient, grass roots leadership and representation from within our community. Sciotoville residents need a leadership that will administer projects that result in economic and sound solutions that benefit the community of Sciotoville. A local government that will work together with the community to strive towards improvements and improving the chances of a quality life in our community.

The Sciotoville community deserves leaders that listen to the voices of the people and not of special interest groups or organizations. Sciotoville should receive and expect the very best possible streets, sewers, police and fire protection that their tax dollars can acquire! They should receive prompt attention to their civic and community needs; and a clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for - because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything!

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them! Now, is the time to accept that responsibility for changing them! Sciotoville residents have grown to accustom to accepting conditions as they are; I hear many Sciotoville residents talk about any certain problem and the very next words out of their mouth's is; "It's always been that way!" or "What can you do about it!" It doesn't have to be that way, and you can do something about it! In fact, it's not always been that way! Prior to Jan. 5th, 1921, Sciotoville was a township! And, we feel that it may be in the best interest of the Sciotoville community to explore the possibilty of becoming a township once again! In doing so, we hope to restore and resurrect the community pride and rich history of yesteryear!

From generation to generation, since 1921; Sciotoville culture and history has withered away and soon it will be off the vine! The greatest waste of all to the Sciotoville community is; the difference between what we are and what we could become!

Jeff Dempsey