Olentangy Valley News

Project puts faces on Powell Cemetery's names

Liberty Middle School students research veterans buried there; info will enhance city's memorial


The headstones at the Powell Cemetery, located just north of the Four Corners intersection, bear the names of several dozen U.S. military veterans.

Last month, the Powell-Liberty Historical Society enlisted the help of 25 middle school students to make sure those names are not forgotten.

Students from Olentangy Liberty Middle School researched the lives and service of 48 U.S. military veterans buried in the cemetery. The information they uncovered will be used as part of an addition to the Powell Veterans Memorial, located at Village Green Park, 47 Hall St.

Residents already can pay to have a brick paver imprinted with the name of a veteran installed at the memorial plaza.

Now, the names of veterans from the Civil War and other American conflicts who rest in the Powell Cemetery will be added to the memorial.

Each paver will be engraved with the name, birth and death dates, military enlistment and discharge dates, military branch and rank of one veteran.

"The Veterans Memorial is something that's fairly new, so it just seemed appropriate that each of those veterans from Powell be so honored," said Liberty-Powell Historical Society member Kent Bermingham.

Karen Zink, social studies teacher at Liberty Middle School, said she also saw the project as a unique learning opportunity for her students.

She picked one eighth-grade class and took the students to the Ohio Historical Society archives in Columbus to complete the research.

Students combed through books of old records, military rosters and newspaper articles to verify information about the veterans and discover notable military achievements.

"One student found out their veteran was killed in battle, so they researched that battle," Zink said. "Another found information about their veteran's family, so they looked for information about his family and children."

Most of those buried at the cemetery are veterans of the Civil War, but others served in the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. One gravestone even bears the name of a veteran of the American Revolution.

All were Powell residents. That made the history lesson more relatable, Zink said.

"We can go to the cemetery and actually see the grave," she said. "It helps them see it's a real person. That's something they don't always get from a textbook. It really brought the veterans to life and made a definite impression."

Bermingham has other plans to honor the veterans in the Powell Cemetery.

On Memorial Day, he hopes to place a candle by the graves of each veteran.

"I would like to start something where each year people can come by and walk at dusk, and it's kind of a quiet observance," he said.

The plan has yet to be approved by the city, he said.