Grave matters: Tick Ridge

By Evan Bevins

The Marietta Times

Looking for an ancestor buried in Tick Ridge Cemetery in Washington County could present a challenge since there are at least three graveyards here known by that name.

Church cemeteries in Fairfield and Salem townships, and a small burial ground at the Morgan County line in Waterford Township all have borne that name, which was apparently a popular moniker in the 19th century. Each township also had a school called Tick Ridge at some point, according to the website of the Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society,

Williams’ “History of Washington County” provides insight into the origin of the name in Waterford Township.

“Olive Green Creek flows from Morgan County, and empties into the Muskingum (River) two miles above Beverly,” the 1881 publication says. “From near the mouth of Olive Green Creek, a ridge extends in an easterly direction, familiarly called, by the early settlers, ‘Tick Ridge’ because of the unusual number of pestiferous wood ticks.”

Local historian Louise Zimmer said she didn’t know specifics about the other Tick Ridge sites but imagined their names came from a similar source.

“You know the old Occam’s Razor, the most obvious answer is usually the right one? Well I think in this case those are probably wooded, hilly areas with lots of brush and probably lots of ticks,” she said.

The Tick Ridge Cemetery in Waterford Township is also referred to as the Harr or Burrows Cemetery. A reading of the cemetery by local historian Arthur McKitrick in 1969 listed seven interments, although 11 names are registered on the website Most of those buried are members of the Burrows, Laughrey and Stiers families. The earliest interment was in 1845.

The largest of the Tick Ridge cemeteries is in Salem Township, on Tick Ridge Road, about two-and-a-half miles northeast of Lower Salem. The cemetery was adjacent to St. Paul Evangelical Church, which was founded in 1898, and the first burial was in 1899, according to Joe Stille, who has written a history of the township.

“Most of the … people that worshiped there were of German descent,” he said.

The church was torn down in the late 1950s or early 1960s, Stille said, but the cemetery is still in use. More than 100 people have been laid to rest there, the most recent in November.

The Fairfield Church of Christ closed its doors in the early ’70s. The church and cemetery sit on land owned by the Sevy family, and the cemetery is mowed by Fred Tackett, who lives beside it.

“It was just something to do, and I don’t mind mowing it,” said Tackett, 75. “I’ve always been interested in old cemeteries anyway. I like to just go around and look at them, see who’s there.”

The cemetery is known to some as the Sims Cemetery because seven members of that family are buried there. Tackett’s wife is a member of the family and has plots in the cemetery as well.

But Tackett notes the Simses didn’t arrive in the area until the 1940s and there were at least four burials prior to that, the earliest in 1901.

“I sit around and think about, ‘Man, what was it like here back in 1900?'” he said.

A fourth cemetery straddling the Washington-Monroe County line in Liberty Township, three miles south of Lebanon, is referenced in at least one source as the Washington County Local History and Genealogy Library as Tick Ridge. It’s also been called Walters, Upper Paw Paw, Little Paw Paw, Dennis and Old Germantown Cemetery.