Grave matters: Barlow Twp. burial ground

BARLOW TWP.-Less than a dozen scattered headstones, most from the 19th century, make up a small cemetery on a big plot at the edge of Barlow Township.

On a map, the graveyard is referred to as Barlow Township Cemetery, but many refer to it as Martin Cemetery in reference to a few of the people buried there, including a Civil War soldier.

“His marker looks more like one of the markers the veterans services put out,” noted Barlow Township Trustee John Hannan of the small modest stone belonging to E.G. Martin.

The soldier’s stone does not list a date of birth or death, but lists the 140th Pennsylvania Infantry as Martin’s place of service. According to a census of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Enoch Martin was born in Virginia in 1832 and served in the infantry from February of 1864 through June of 1865.

Martin’s stone is still in good shape, but most others in the cemetery are showing their age.

An epitaph on a headstone for Mary Martin, buried in 1879, is no longer legible.

Near the woods is one broken-up stone with only a single word visible-Ransom.

Martin Cemetery has been cared for by the township for as long as Hannan can recall.

“When they become abandoned, they become the township’s responsibility,” he said.

The cemetery, at the intersection of Sarver, Benedict and Fisher roads, likely had more stones that have now vanished, said Leo Lynch, an employee of Barlow Township who helps mow the cemetery.

“There are a couple of places there that look like there used to be stones. You can sort of see the depression they left,” he said.

It is also likely that a church once stood in the large flat plot, said Hannan.

“Usually in little cemeteries like this, it was set up beside a church that has since burnt down or been torn down,” he said.

The cemetery is now inactive, and no one else will likely be buried there, said Hannan.

Enoch Martin’s son, John, was the second to last person to be buried in the cemetery. He passed away on Feb. 14, 1921.

After John Martin’s death it would be more than 60 years until the next and final person was to be buried in Martin Cemetery in 1983.

A headstone for Alva Sarver, the namesake of Sarver Road, seems glaringly new when compared to the other stones in the yard.

Sarver owned the large 80-acre farm at the end of Sarver Road, according to his nephew Raymond Wriston, 60, of Marietta.

“Alvie worked in silos mostly and he worked down at Eramet in construction work for a time being,” said Wriston.

He died in a bulldozing accident, he said.

Wriston said he did not recall the family needing to go through any special requirements to have Sarver buried there, but Hannan added that it was likely they would have needed a special permit since the township does not have the cemetery platted.