Ole Larson's Folks

In my previous post, all those weeks ago, I described some events of Wednesday, May 22. Well, not to bore you, but we are still looking at the same day. Berkshire cemetery, about five miles west of Sunbury, is the final resting place of a remarkable number of ancestors.BerkshireMost prominent, of course, is the grave of my famous 3rd great-grandpa, Lawrence Myers (1794 -1829). Thanks to a findagrave.com contributor, we have seen images of this stone before.Lawrence stoneCousin Gail Myers had the stone professionally refurbished some twenty years ago, and while its condition is not great, it is better than many others from those early dates. As we will see, many stones of this age, and even newer, are seriously compromised by time and weather. At the foot of the stone is a brass plaque placed by the local historical society in 1967. Polly Horn would have been in her twenties – I wonder if she was already involved with local history …Lawrence PlaqueLawrence’s wife, my third great-grandma Eliza Brown (Myers) (1795-1855), is buried in Oskaloosa, Iowa, with her son, my second great-grandpa Henry Bennett Myers. On my bucket list: a visit to Oskaloosa. But Henry’s first wife, Leonora S. Brown (Myers) (1827-1849), who died at age 22, before Henry left Sunbury, is buried at Berkshire.LeonoraAt second great-grandmother, Leonora is the closest ancestor buried here. But as I discovered only recently, there are more. For example, another pair of third great-grandparents, namely Leonora’s parents, “Colonel” Thomas Jefferson Brown (1802-1831) and his wife, Philena Jane Gregory (Brown) (1804-1831). Below, you can see Leonora’s stone in proximity to those of her infant sister and parents.Brown StonesThe ravages of time on the monuments becomes apparent with closer inspection.Brown stones closeClick on the image for a closer look. But wait, there’s more (and the older stones look worse). In addition to one second and three third great-grandparents, four of my fourth great-grandparents are buried here. There are “Major” Thomas Brown (1769-1816) and his wife, Elizabeth (1769-1823). 1816 Brown stonesThese two are my fourth great-grandparents twice over, as they are the parents of Lawrence’s wife, Eliza Brown, and also of Lenora Brown’s father, “Colonel” Brown (You may recall that my second great-grandparents were first cousins to each other). Another son of this couple, Elam Brown, was a famous pioneer in northern California, having settled in the San Francisco Bay area three years before the gold rush of 1849.

Sadly, these gravestones are well along on the road to ruin. Not only are the inscriptions eroding away,1816 Thomas Brown closebut the porous stone is being pried apart as moisture penetrates and freezes.Brown stone damageThe other pair of fourth great-grandparents are the parents of Philena Jane Gregory, James Gregory (1764-1842) and Philena Burritt (Gregory) (1766-1834). Although I did not find their headstones when I was there, photos are posted on findagrave.com.

Mind you, I have only covered my direct ancestors. Between Berkshire and Sunbury cemeteries, there are also a slew of nth great aunts and uncles, and far-removed cousins.

The Ohio side trip I mentioned earlier was to the village of Lodi, in Medina County, about an hour south of Cleveland on the way to Sunbury.Lodi signResting here are John Mohler (1802-1860), and his wife, Susanna or Susan (1804-1887).John Mohler stoneThey are third great-grandparents of my wife, née Thiel Beechel. I have been studying Thiel’s ancestry for a several months now, and visited several of her ancestors’ grave sites on this trip.

Next stop: Maryland, home of the Myers mystery ancestors of colonial times.

Stop 2: Ohio Beginnings
Maryland, the Myers' First Home