Veterans buried in abandoned Finneytown cemetery

Headstones at the Finneytown God's Half Acre Cemetery. (FOX19)
Headstones at the Finneytown God's Half Acre Cemetery. (FOX19)

FINNEYTOWN, OH (FOX19) - At first glance, the only thing that might catch your attention is the address.

A rusted iron gate serves only as a dividing line, unable to protect it from the passage of time.

"Hustle up," Donald Nicely shouts to his children as they help out in the yard.

It's our camera that caught the attention of Donald Nicely, who was behind a lawnmower in Finneytown on a street off Winton Ridge Lane.

"Yeah you've inspired us to go take a walk through it. I think we are going to go take a walk," Nicely turns to his daughter and son, "Amal are you open to that?"

The walk turned into an impromptu history lesson for the trio, a lesson buried beneath years of neglect.

PHOTOS: Abandoned Finneytown cemetery

"Be careful where you step. Don't step on the stones", nicely says to the kids as he inspects the grounds.

While there are signs that someone at some time cared about God's Half Acre Cemetery, it seems that time has gone.

"How many are back in there", Nicely asks. "You can't even see, they're that are overgrown?"

Buried in area of overgrown shrubs and grass are three revolutionary war soldiers, four veterans of the war of 1812, and even the founder of Finneytown, Ebenezer Finney, who was a veteran himself.

A little digging about the overgrown lot took us to the Cincinnati History Library.

According to an old Enquirer clipping, it turns out a girl scout troop in the 1960s noticed the same despair we found more than fifty years later.

"A lot of the Revolutionary War veterans came to Ohio after the war was over," Ross Shaw, an expert on the subject at the Cincinnati Public Library, says. "So to find one would be pretty common place."

Shaw says God's Half Acre is just one of maybe thousands of family plots all over the Tri-State, many of them in even worse condition.

"It's really something that you want to see preserved as much as possible," Shaw explains, "But then you also have to acknowledge that we can't save every single thing."

"It seems like you are connecting with your fear of the cemetery" Nicely says jokingly to his two children as they explore the overgrown brush around the grave stones.

Maybe another girl scout troop or veteran organization will take up the cause, or maybe not.

"Yeah, sometimes over time things get lost. Memories get lost." Nicely says.

Either way, time will still go by and like hundreds of other historical cemeteries, what is already lost may eventually be forgotten.

"It would be nice even if just for a season you could inspire a group of some kind to come in and clean this up," says Nicely.

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