Church cemetery gets rededicated
Descendants return for event honoring founder
HUBBARD TOWNSHIP — Trustees will cover the costs for two large recognition signs to be placed by the Corner House Christian Church cemetery, and a special rededication ceremony was held Sunday to honor Jesse Hall who organized and donated the land for the cemetery.
The ceremony also honored all the work done by church members to restore the burial site.
More than 25 people gathered for the rededication, which originally was to be held on Memorial Day weekend but was moved to Labor Day weekend because of the coronavirus.
Descendants of Jesse Hall who live locally, as well as some from Akron, attended the event. Hall is buried in the oldest section of the cemetery having lived from 1763-1843 and was one of the founding families of the cemetery. There are 178 people buried there, including 16 veterans, and Hall himself, who served in the Revolutionary War. His wife, Christiana Roof Hall, is buried next to him and died at age 101 in 1861.
Don Hall of Akron said his family has relatives buried in the cemetery in the 1700s and 1800s and some served during the Revolutionary War.
Poland resident Elizabeth Hall said she brought as many Hall relatives as she could to the event.
“He is our great-great-great grandparent. He has three greats in front of his name. Our father (Donald) was so proud of his heritage. He would be so proud of all the work they did at the cemetery,” she said.
Avis Mathews-Grove, a church member for 61 years and organizer of the cemetery project, said the Hall family came to the area from New Jersey in 1803 and had a large farm at the intersection of state Route 7 and Chestnut Ridge Road. The Halls had 10 children and were active in the community.
“Jesse was a very reverent gentleman. They were a very nurturing and caring family and a very staunch Baptist people. They came here and lived in the wilderness,” she said.
Mathews-Grove said Civil War, War of 1812 and Revolutionary War veterans are buried in the cemetery, with the 192-year-old original church house and church located nearby.
“It is an honor to have descendants of Jesse and Christiana here today,” she said.
Even though it sits next to Corner House Christian Church, the cemetery is owned by Hubbard Township. Mathews-Grove said it is not unusual for a cemetery to become part of the local government.
She said donations and work totaling more than $5,000 was used to restore the cemetery, including planting grass seed and placing top soil.
“People volunteered and helped using their skills and knowledge to get this project done in six weeks. The majority of the stones you could not read with some very black and dark. We cleaned them with a solution used on markers at Arlington Cemetery. We are very blessed to have these stones standing. It was a beautiful undertaking,” Mathews-Grove said.
Helping to clean the markers so they were more readable were members of the Pymatuning Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Sharon, Pa., who attended the dedication
“We were here sometimes in the dark and when the headlights from the cars passed by we could see the markers,” Tracy Fazekos of the DAR chapter said.
The cemetery had restoration work, materials, equipment, skills and money donated by volunteers in 2019,
“We remember the Hall family, all of those buried here and all those who have worshipped at this church,” Mathews-Grove said.
John Jablonski of Brookfield said he and other volunteers straightened many old markers in the oldest section of the cemetery and cleaned them.
Hubbard Trustee Chairman Tom Jacobs said two large square-shaped signs are being made that have the outline of the state of Ohio on them and state “Corner House Cemetery, Restored By Volunteers.” The signs will be placed on the fence and entrance gates off state Route 7 and Chestnut Ridge Road.
He said the signs should be ready in a month or two.
“These stones were in very bad condition. They have been straightened and cleaned. I remember reading one that said ‘There is Hope Beyond the Grave,'” Jacobs said.
Pastor David Coxson of the church said before the work was done, the cemetery in some parts looked like a scene from “Night of the Living Dead.”
“The Hall family was the pioneer pace setters to establish this cemetery, which looks amazing. We commend all those who made this possible with their time and talents,” he said.