Kingston Township in northeastern Delaware County is historic enough to have a monument to a Civil War general, but modern enough to be putting in a roundabout.
Let’s talk history first. William Starke Rosecrans was born in Kingston Township on Sept. 6, 1819. He was an architect, civil engineer, and inventor in his civilian life, but is best known as being a Union general during the U.S. Civil War. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he led the Army of the Cumberland.
Rosecrans led Union forces initially to victories at Iuka and Corinth, a draw at Murfreesboro, and a defeat at Chickamauga on Sept. 19-20, 1863. After the loss, he was relieved by another Ohio general, Ulysses S. Grant. The Britannica website said that later in life Rosecrans served in the U.S. House of Representatives for California, the state where he died in 1898 at the age of 78.
A rock that commemorates Rosecrans is on the appropriately-named Rosecrans Road. There is a small area for visitors to pull off and visit the site. To complete the Rosecrans trifecta, visitors can visit nearby Sunbury, which is home to the General Rosecrans Elementary School as well as a sculpture of him on a horse in the village square.
Oddly enough, history also comes into play regarding a new Ohio Department of Transportation project in the township, the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of state Route 61 and state Route 656/Wilson Road.
“The shape of the roundabout will resemble a peanut, and minimizes the project impact on adjacent neighbors,” writes Kingston Township Board of Trustees Chairman William Shively in the township newsletter this past May. “The target bid date has been pushed back to January 2021, and construction will start in the fall of 2021 with an estimated 60-day intersection closure impact. The total estimated cost of the project is $2.1 million dollars with the township’s portion being $17,250. Questions regarding the project should be directed to ODOT District 6 in Delaware at 740-833-8000.”
However, before work can begin, archaeological work was done at the site, which is also near the Stark Cemetery, which was active from 1810 to the early 1900s. Stark Cemetery includes the graves of Civil War veterans, as well as the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Spanish-American War. The cemetery is shared with neighboring Porter Township, but Kingston’s portion is closed.
“As part of the design process, it was discovered that several graves were in the ODOT road right-of-way along SR 656,” states the township’s August newsletter. “Mind you that when burials took place along the road in the 1800s, SR 656 was a narrow, dirt carriage/wagon path.”
Columbus-based Ohio Valley Archaeology, Inc. was brought in to determine how many graves were present. Court approval was received in March for five disinterments. In April and May, more graves were discovered dating to 1890. In June, Cemetery Sexton Doug Crowl and the archaeologists reinterred 13 graves — five with headstones and keeping family members together, and “unknown” markers for the unidentified persons — in a vacant section of Stark Cemetery.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.