The Stratford Ecological Center continues to move forward in the restoration efforts of its 200-year-old cemetery following the findings of a geophysical survey.
Ohio Valley Archaeology Inc. conducted the survey using a magnometer and ground-penetrating radar in August to unearth the secrets of the 8,250-square-foot cemetery.
OVA’s nearly 90-page report indicated that there were 109 marked and possible unmarked graves, the cemetery’s boundary and three possible pre-contact American Indian pit-type features.
OVA’s findings nearly matched a map of the cemetery created in 1939 by the Works Progress Administration, a U.S. agency from the Great Depression era, and that indicated there were possibly 127 burial plots, though unclear if they were actual graves.
“We don’t know the end yet,” Dickinson said. “Stratford is committed to finding as close as possible what the end chapter is.”
The center is expected to host Jarrod Burks, OVA’s director of geophysical surveys, in January to give a presentation about the report, which will be available on the center’s website. The center will determine some of the costs to resurrect the cemetery in January.
Volunteers of the center, 3083 Liberty Road, have led most of the research efforts of the community cemetery, which has recorded burials from 1816 to 1888. John Tetz and Liz Barker began researching the cemetery in the fall of 2013 with the support of the center’s founder, Louise Warner, and its executive director/farmer, Jeff Dickinson. Prior to the survey, the volunteers had determined there were 59 burials at the cemetery based on five historical documents.
County commissioners awarded the center in May a $6,067 community enhancement grant for the cemetery’s ground-penetrating radar service and granite markers.
Prominent burials include Forrest Meeker, a colonel during the War of 1812; James Kooken, a captain during the Revolutionary and 1812 wars; and Peter Kroninger, a soldier from the Civil War. Meeker, who once owned the property where the cemetery was located, now has a bronze War of 1812 flag marker at his grave, issued from the federal government.
Dickson said the public is welcome to visit the cemetery. Visitors should check-in at the center’s education center to get directions to the site.
For information about donating to the effort or volunteering, go to www.stratfordecologicalcenter.org.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.