Honoring the memory of a young soldier

AURELIUS Twp. -Several trees have stubbornly overtaken some of the graves resting inside the Atkinson Cemetery, just south of Macksburg on Ohio 821.

In one such tree rests the toppled obelisk monument of Mark Scott, a resident of Maine who joined the Revolutionary War at age 14.

Restoring Scott’s final resting place to its original glory will be a task, but a manageable one, said Jean Yost, president of the Marietta chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution.

“It will be fairly easy to get this tree cut back and get the monument remounted on its base,” said Yost.

His stone is surrounded by four fence posts, one of which is entangled inside the obstinate tree. The fence is long gone, but that too could be an easy fix, said Yost.

Though Scott’s veteran’s marker attributes his service to the Civil War, he would have been dead long before the war started.

Scott joined the Revolution in 1777 and served one month as a private under Captain Jabez West. He reenlisted in 1779 and served another two months, according to “Massachusetts Sailors and Soldiers.”

Preserving the grave sites of veterans is one of the goals of the Sons of the American Revolution, noted Yost.

“These need to be taken care of before they are lost forever,” he said.

Atkinson Cemetery is the final resting place of several veterans. Civil War veteran Ezra Travis’ headstone has been covered in a black plaque. But after some brushing, Yost was able to reveal his service – the 30th Ohio Infantry.

“This cemetery is well taken care of, but it is definitely in need of some TLC,” he said.

Scott, who was buried in 1834 at the age of 69, is a contemporary of many of those buried around him.

His obelisk also bears the name of his wife, Mahetabell, who was buried in 1840, and his daughter Elizabeth, who was buried in 1833.

According to a listing of Aurelius Township graves, more than 80 people have been buried in the cemetery.

However, far less than 80 graves remain. Many graves have been completely lost, possibly sunken into the ground, said Yost.

Many more are broke, knocked over and illegible.

The condition of the cemetery is not necessarily strange considering the age of the cemetery.

“It’s very old,” said Joan Ayers, who lives next door to the cemetery. “I’ve lived here 25 years and there hasn’t been a burial in all that time.”

According to grave readings, less than 20 of the more than 80 people buried in the cemetery were buried in the 20th century.

Most of those were buried in the 1930s, with a couple burials in the 1950s and the most recent burial in 1977.

Another interesting characteristic of the cemetery is that instead of the gravestones facing the front gate along Ohio 821, all of the gravestones face diagonally toward the front right corner of the fence that surrounds it.

Though Ayers has noted the oddity, she is not sure why the stones face that way.

The placement could be because the stones originally faced a much older road that ran slightly perpendicular to where Ohio 821 runs today, said Yost.