Hours of Operation:
8:00 am till
Cemetery Sexton: Dan Gochenouer
Cost of Burial Plot: $600.00. Graves in New Section D, $800.00
Cost of Opening and Closing
Burial Plot: $650.00
THE CLIFTON-UNION CEMETERY
Summarized from an article by Ms.
Julie Overton, October 1978
Soon after the Clifton (Cliffside) Presbyterian Church was
organized on the third Sunday in August 1811, a log structure was built to hold
church services in. This log building was located on the hill over the present
cemetery vault, about 50 feet north of General Whitman’s grave. By 1830 it
became necessary to build a larger church, and therefore a brick structure was
erected about two hundred feet west of the log church. During the late 1840’s
and early 1850’s various plans were made for an even larger building. In 1854
the present church was built on land donated by William D. Johnson and Bennett
Lewis. Although minor changes have been made to the building, it looks much
like it did when first erected.
The cemetery was started as a part of the church grounds, the
first burials probably having been about 1813 or 1814. Dills History of Greene
Co. states that one of the earliest burials was a person named Johnson. The
earliest stone still standing, 1n 1976, is #337, that of Robert E. Stewart, who
died Sept. 16, 1816. The cemetery is currently still in use. It has been used
officially as a public cemetery since 1897 when the church deeded the cemetery
to the trustees of Miami Township, Greene County and Green Township, Clark
It should be noted here that there have reportedly been at
least two other cemeteries within, or very close to the Village of Clifton,
according to an unpublished history written by Stafford McCullough in 1937. One
appears to be the burial grounds associated with the First Baptist Church,
located about a quarter mile west of the “Antioch Church”, at what was known as
Whitman’s Ford at the head of the canyon of the Little Miami River. This church
was destroyed by fire before the so-called “Antioch Church” was built in 1811.
The other cemetery to be located in the Clifton area was that cemetery used for
the former slaves of Benjamin Whitman, on the grounds of his farm.
Presuming that the “old section” of the Clifton Cemetery was
in use by the mid-1810’s, it appears that the first actual platting took place
on Oct. 27, 1831. Various sections have been added through the years, with the
most recent one having occurred in June, 1963.
Interesting items about the graves in the cemetery include
several stones. The most famous one undoubtedly being the grave marker of
Lodwick Austin who reportedly died while he was driving the stagecoach between
Xenia and Springfield and slipped into the gorge when one of the wheels fell of
the edge. According to local history, this was therefore the “first traffic
accident in Greene County, Ohio occurring on Sept. 1, 1836 when Lodwick was 26
years of age. Another, the Rev. Andrew Poage died in 1840, and his parishioners
buried him at the front of the old log church pulpit. His successor Rev. Moses
Russell, a graduate of Allegheny Seminary, served for 24 years and was married
four times. His first wife, Alethia, died in 1841. His second wife was Nancy
Jane who died in 1843, his third wife, Abigal, died in 1855 and his fourth
wife, Phoebe Jane outlived him not dying until 1899. Rev. Moses is buried along
side of all four of these women, as are two of his children.
Finally, a few of the stones indicate the place of birth. Some
places of origin are, according to the stones, Chester South Carolina, Bedford
County Pennsylvania, Delaware County New York, Rockbridge County Virginia,
Milnacraic Forfarshire Scotland, and Kempston England. Also buried in the
cemetery are soldiers from the War of 1812 who came from other states including
New York and Maryland.