A Times Record article found in the Feb. 21, 1934 issue states that the Old Artz Cemetery was almost forgotten.

“Only a few residents of Mercer Co. may have noticed the low wall of buff-colored sandstone perhaps 60 feet long and four feet high standing along the north side of the highway a few hundred yards east of the Sugar Grove tourist camp.

Recently Lyle Duming has cut away the brush which almost hid it. There may have been a few more who have found it encloses a tiny cemetery, measuring about 60 by 40 feet.Some of the more curious may have noticed that inside are a few tombstones, some of them some of them broken, some fallen down and a few still standing, although leaning on their bases.


Wall once old mill.

But only a few old residents will recall as they glance at that ruin that what was once the beautiful little private burying ground, known as the Artz family cemetery, that the blocks of sandstone used in the wall were once part of the old Artz mill, one of the oldest in Mercer Co. It stood farther east on the Dewards River so many years ago that only a few can point out the location.

In that jumble of torn ground, fallen stones and desolation, one and possible two veterans of the Civil War are buried.


Can Never Be Abandoned

This alone, will prevent it from ever ceasing to be a cemetery, for law forbids a cemetery containing the grave of a veteran from ever being abandoned. Every Memorial Day Albert McCreight of Aledo, American Legion graves recorder places a small flag beside the rusty BAR marker where it flutters for a few days, giving a touch of life to a spot entirely consecrated to death.

Without the aid of official records, a visitor would have difficulty in making out the name William H. Ashbaugh on the stone, for it is broken in two across the words. It is not difficult to read that he died in July 1868, at the age of 27 years, and a few months.


Poem On Veterans Marker


However, one of the most interesting things in the little cemetery is the verse across the base of the monument, similar to those often used 60 years ago.

Here lies the young wife weeps in sorrow

That no more she hears thy tread.

That the night which knows no sorrow.

Darkly veils thy laureled head.


In all there are possibly 14 or 15 graves in the plot, although some of the stones have broken in places and the mounds have disappeared. Stumps of some of the trees cut by Mr. Duming are more than a foot in diameter and a ground hog has dug himself a den nearly in in the center of the enclosure.


No Burials For 50 Years


Apparentely there have been no burials there for half a century, for one of the most recent dates appears on the stone marking the grave of Sarah Lambert, wife of John Artz, who died Feb.3, 1880 and whose fine monument is still well preserved.

One of the youngest children ever buried there in the little cemetery seems to have been Luly Ashbaugh, daughter of J.M. and M.C. Ashbaugh, who died Dec. 15, 1865 at the age of two months and one day, while another stone marks the resting place of John Ashbaugh, who died Oct. 15, 1853 at the age of 71 years.

The earliest graves is that of Caroline, wife of Samuel Artz, who died Jan. 22, 1852.


Family Well Known

At the time the cemetery was established, the Artz family owned more than 1,000 acres of land in that community, according to Dan W. Twelftree, himself an old resident of Sugar Grove neighborhood. For almost as long as he can remember, the cemetery has been practically abandoned, although efforts have been made and are still being made to have it cared for.

During his life, the late Andrew Welliver, at one time a well known resident of Aledo, took care of the graves from time to time and it is recalled that he placed flags on two graves on Memorial Day, which strengthens the belief that there are two veterans buried there.

While Issac Artz, one of the owners of the old mill, was alive, it was well kept, the evergreens, which have since disappeared, were always trimmed and the wall in repair. But today in many places the wall has fallen and the ornate iron gate has slipped from its hinges, so that it can no longer be opened. It is of little importance, however, for a few visit the cemetery anymore. It and its dead are almost forgotten.




Times Record

June 1, 2005

Used with permission

Submitted by Lois Retherford


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