Revolutionary War era cemetery getting a major facelift

One of Cincinnati's most historically significant pioneer sites is taking another step toward restoration.

Cincinnati Preservation Association with a group of volunteer are working to advance the documentation and preservation of Prebyterian-Fulton-Fulton Mechanick Cemetery. This cemetery contains the remains of some of Cincinnati's earliest settlers, including veterans of Revolutionary War.

The cemetery dates back to 1794 and it is the final resting place of a least six Revolutionary War veterans. One of the veterans buried there is believed to be Sgt. William Brown, the first man to receive a Badge of Military Merit from George Washington. That medal was the forerunner for the current, Medal of Honor.

On July 25, a group of professionals will use magnetic field imaging and ground-penetrating radar to locate graves and identify the cemetery boundaries. Dr. Kenneth Tankersley, Ph.D., of the University of Cincinnati, and archaeology field class will use two proton magnetometers to search for archaeological artifacts. Russell S. Quick, Ph.D., Geophysical Specialist with Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., of Lexington, KY, will operate the ground-penetrating radar, which produces clear three-dimensional images.  Landscape architect Gary Meisner, of Meisner + Associates / Land Vision, also will assist with the effort. A generous donation from a friend of CPA makes this work possible.

"Cincinnati Preservation Association is grateful for the opportunity to help restore this important cultural landscape," said Paul Muller, Executive Director of CPA.  "While protecting historic buildings is our central focus, protecting valuable historic landscapes has always been part of the mission."

The cemetery fell into disuse in the late 19th century. It was severely vandalized and for many years it was used as a dumping ground.

Beginning in the 1920s there have been successive cleanups of the cemetery. Volunteers have recently compiled full census records and plot ownership information. The Society of Colonial Ward, a national organization, has helped call attention to Revolutionary War veterans buried in the cemetery. The Sons of the American Revolution obtained new headstones for the veterans. The Presbytery of Cincinnati is responsible for all three cemeteries.

A former rail line adjacent to the site has now been converted to a bike trail, and an interpretive plaque about the cemetery has been installed nearby.

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