Seltonright Church Cemetery
The Seltonright Cemetery may have been the first cemetery for white settlers in Auburn and Sugar Creek Townships. Several grave markers remain, including those of David Seltonright, elder of the German Reformed Church, dated March 20, 1823, and his brother-in-law, Lewis Laubaugh, also of the German Reformed faith, who, likewise, died in 1823.
In 1963 the German Reformed Church of Shanesville deeded the Seltonright Cemetery to the Trustees of Auburn Township.
The Log Schoolhouse, 1821-1828
Settlers began arriving in Shanesville as early as 1806, and the area quickly became a "rallying point for pioneers from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania." Among the early settlers, who formed the nucleus of the German Reformed Church, were Henry Sliffe, Jacob Dietz, Ernest Dietz, David Seltonright, Lewis Laubaugh, and others.
Church services were initially held in the old schoolhouse, located on lot 100. This property had been set aside, in 1814, by Abraham Shane, when he laid out the Village of Shanesville, for a "German School and Meeting House."
Rev. William Reiter was the first German Reformed pastor, preaching for the first time on September 23, 1821; and for the last time on August 8, 1825. Rev. David Shearer became the next pastor, and Rev. Abraham Snyder was the first Lutheran pastor.
In the summer of 1828 the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations constructed a log church (1828-1851) in the northernmost section of Shanesville, at the west end of the old cemetery. On September 3, 1828, the cornerstone of the new church was laid, with Lutheran ministers Rev. Wagenhals and Rev. Snyder and Reformed minister, Rev. Shearer, officiating. A cemetery was platted to the east of the building, and additional adjoining land was deeded to the German Reformed Society, by Jacob Dietz, when he died in 1836, for church and burial purposes. In 1849 the Lutheran congregation laid the cornerstone of their new brick church, disolving the Lutheran-Reformed partnership. Both congregations had concluded the old log church was too small for two congregations, and both sought newer and more modern churches. In 1851, the Reformed Church built a brick church (1851-1914) on the property left to them by Jacob Dietz.
History of the First United Church of Christ Sugarcreek, Ohio states:
"Many of the churches in this part of Ohio began as a union of the Reformed and Lutheran people. Often the union of the two congregations worshipping in the same building was so close that the members of each congregation had the right to vote for the pastors and church officers of both congregations. The children were also commonly instructed in a union catechetical class, and were confirmed occasionally by either pastor as Reformed or Lutheran according to their choice. At one time efforts were made to unite the Reformed and Lutheran Synods of Ohio. A committee on union was appointed, but the movement came to naught for it was gradually buried under the rising tide of denominational consciousness."
Those buried in the old Shanesville Cemetery include Jacob Deatz (1774-1836), Lutheran minister, Rev. Abraham Snyder (1780-1834), and Reformed minister, Rev. William Reiter (d. May 9, 1826).
The cemetery was eventually deeded to the Sugarcreek Township Trustees.
East Lawn Cemetery
East Lawn Cemetery was platted in July 1892, in Sugarcreek Township. It is located in the south central section of the former Village of Shanesville, which was, in 1968, incorperated into the Village of Sugarcreek. In 1912, a 100-crypt mausoleum was built of cement and brick, with the interior finished in marble.
The cemetery is also maintained by the Sugarcreek Township Trustees.
Bunker Hill Cemetery
Bunker Hill Cemetery is located in Franklin, Sugarcreek and Dover Townships, Tuscarawas County. It is one half mile west of the Winfield Lutheran Church, at the junction of Tuscarawas County Road 73 and state route 516.
Hardscrabble is a small cemetery located in Sugarcreek Township; off of Sugarcreek Township Road 73 to the David Troyer farm (1981).
[According to Tuscarawas County Cemetery Inscription Records, the graves in the next two cemeteries were moved to the Union Hill Cemetery]
Hattery Family Cemetery
The Hattery Family Cemetery was located on the Clete Kuhn farm (1981), about two miles east of Sugarcreek on State Route 19.
The Kaub-Hostetler Cemetery was located on R.G. Stevanus property (1981), about 1 and a half miles southeast of Sugarcreek on Tuscarawas County Road 47.
Lehmer Family Cemetery
The Lehmer Family Cemetery is located off State Route 93 south of State Routes 39 and 93; then west off 93 south to the Belden Brick farm (1981).
Walter Family Cemetery
The Walter Family Cemetery is located on the Eli L. Yoder (1981) farm, about six miles north of the intersection of State Routes 39 and 93 on State Route 93.
From History of Tuscarawas County, 1884:
"At Shanesville are three religious societies, each sixty or more years old. The German Reformed congregation organized at Shanesville in 1821, by Rev. W. Reiter who remained in charge until 1825. For two years the society remained without a stated pastor; then in 1827, Rev. D. Schaerer became the pastor. Up to this time meetings had been held in the schoolhouse, during the summer of 1828, the German Reformed and Lutheran Churches jointly erected a house of worship."
Information derived from History of The First United Church of Christ, Sugarcreek, Ohio; History of Tuscarawas County Ohio 1884; Cemetery Inscription records of Tuscarawas County Ohio. My thanks to Kathlena Funk-Anderson!
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