Cemetery is a significant part of township history
For a final resting place, it would be hard to find a better place than Wesley Chapel Cemetery, one of the most beautiful and meticulously kept cemeteries in Ohio.
Wesley Chapel Cemetery, 3225 Dublin Road, was established in 1818. The cemetery is owned, operated and maintained by Norwich Township, and it is one of the largest township-owned cemeteries in the state. It is for Norwich Township residents and their relatives.
The cemetery originally was Wesley Chapel United Methodist West's graveyard and the oldest section is directly behind the present church building.
Wesley Chapel United Methodist West was the first organized church in Norwich Township. It was designed by architect CA Stribling.
The first building on the present site was of frame construction, 30 by 40 feet, and was built in 1839.
In 1854, the first building was torn down and a brick church, with dimensions of 50 by 40 feet, was constructed at a cost of $2,300. This church was damaged so badly during a storm April 9, 1861, that it could not be used.
The current structure is 43 by 50 feet and it cost $6,500 because the labor was donated.
The building was completed and dedicated July 24, 1982. Its cornerstone states the building originally was built in 1839, rebuilt in 1854 and rebuilt again in 1891. The church building closed June 22, 1977, due to low attendance and the inability to fund $25,000 in needed repairs.
The church building is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is privately owned.
Wesley Chapel Cemetery also has a small mausoleum with beautiful stained-glass windows. It is near what used to be the center of the cemetery.
All 240 crypts in the mausoleum, built in 1922, were sold before it was built.
In one part of the cemetery, visitors can see the original cold storage. When the ground was frozen during winter months, bodies were stored in this area until the workers could dig a grave.
The cemetery's earliest headstone is from 1835.
Several of the founding members of Norwich Township are buried in the cemetery. Some of the headstones have poetry.
My great-grandparents James and Mattie (VanSchoyck) Brown; great-aunt and -uncle Wilson and Helen Shambaugh; and great-aunt and -uncle Walter and Cora Brown all are buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery.
Uncle Walter purchased four lots in 1948 for $25, or $6.25 per lot. The headstones cost $40.
In 1870, a law was passed allowing use of public funds to improve the road that led from a village to a township cemetery.
Cemetery Road was created with these funds. The road starts in Hilliard, continues to the Scioto River and turns south to the cemetery.
Christy J. Clark is executive director of Destination Hilliard.