In a ramble, in the woods, last Sunday, we chanced to go through the Kelly Cemetery. For nearly 20 years it has been quite abandoned, and shown on every hand, the vestige of neglect. Still it is a sacred spot, and Time alone visits it with marks of desolation. The morning was serene and sweet, and the quiet was only broken by the birds hopping among the trees and vines with many a cheerful chirp and song. As we entered the enclosure, we observed the form of a man lying on the broad pedestal of an uncompleted shaft. He lay there motionless, his head resting on his arm, and seemed the very embodiment of the silence and stagnation of the place; as rigid apparently as the stone base on which he reclined, until, approaching from behind we passed directly in front of him, when he languidly turned his head, arose, walked back through the trees of the cemetery and disappeared among the hills.
We stepped up to a little shaft near by and read the inscription to the memory of Dr. John Pringle. The little lot, deep with arbor ____ was enclosed with an iron fence. What astonished us was the well known Doctor died at the age of 52, when men are regarded as in their prime. All the impressions of youthful days was that he was an old man, and memory now pictures him as a gray bearded man riding a spry nag through the hills of this county, ministering the sick.
Beside his lot, (if we may accord the possessive to the dead) is that of Perry Scott, who now lives in Portland, Oregon. Here his four children are buried. These two lots occupy a little brow of the rolling cemetery, and overlook a plowed field. Near by is the J. T. Davis lot, encircled by a chain fence, where a white shaft marks the grave of his first wife, Mary. A white slab on the edge of the knoll marks the resting place of S. T. Richardson, who, with Henry Wilson conducted a saddlery shop from 1854 to the close of the war. He died in 18____ at the age of 47.
The Kelly shaft is the prominent object of the Cemetery. It is a tall column surmounted with an eagle. It was erected in 1855 when Mr. W. D. Kelly was 41 years old. Mr. K’s name and birth are chronicled upon it, with a blank space below for the final remarks. That was 35 years ago. He is yet in the toils of business, apparently good for years yet.
Here is the tall column of the James W. Means monument, twined to the top with ivy. There is a strong iron fence about the tomb. Mr. Means was a brother of Thomas W. Means. He built the house where Geo. Willard now lives. He was born in 1808 and died in 1855, being 47 years old.
Near by is J. Allen Richey’s grave, the first Secretary of the Ohio Iron & Coal Co. He died in 1855 at the age of ___ years. How remarkable it is, that these old citizens died so young. Here is the tomb of Edward Ward which tells us he died at ___, and yet he was a business man of Ironton for many years. And here is the last resting place of Hugh Crawford, who was Sheriff of the county, when the county seat was moved from Burlington to Ironton – he was only 39 years old. This old slab tells of the death of Washington Irwin, a well known citizen when Ironton was founded, dying at the age of 42.
Who would have thought that Joshua Hambleton who served this county as Sheriff and Treasurer was only 58 years old when he died. While his age appeared to set on him serenely, his years seemed to be more than 58.
We have not space to refer to the many well known graves in that solemn precinct, and can only allude to the little period from the war to 1870 when Woodland was opened – to the names of Richard A. Kirker, Edward A. Thomas, Frank Shepard, Amos McKee Edwin and Kimber, B. Davis and other soldier boys who died in their country’s service and found the quiet rest of Kelly’s cemetery.
Graves are added to this cemetery every year, and up the hillside fresh mounds appear. It is really a lovely spot even in its neglect.
Click here for W.D. Kelly Cemetery on Find a Grave
Click here for the Kelly Nail and Iron Company page