My 5th great-grandfather Joshua Martin (1779-1849) is buried in Perry Township in Carroll County, Ohio. This week, I gathered a few of the profusion of cosmos my two-year-old granddaughter planted in my garden earlier this summer, grabbed my notes, and headed east for the Allen Memorial Cemetery.
As I pulled onto Ohio St. Rt. 161, my GPS told me to stay the course for 93 miles before exiting. Well! It was a beautiful day.
I presume Joshua’s father was Heinrich “Henry” Martin (1755/56-1845), who served in the Revolutionary War and resided near his son late in life, but I’ve found no record of where Heinrich was buried. He obtained his soldier’s pension while living on One Leg Creek, which today is called Conotton Creek. It runs along the Conotton Creek Trail, an 11-mile multi-use rail trail, and passes unnoticed under Conotton Road, where I stood to photograph it.
A daily trail user warned me there was no internet service in the area. My map app bogged down but remained doggedly faithful and got me to Joshua’s final resting place. The cemetery was fenced to keep the cows out. I unhooked the gate and climbed onto the knoll. The cattle were lowing as I walked among the graves.
Over a decade ago a genealogist had processed my ancestor’s tombstone by making visible the engraving and then photographing the temporary result. That photo and transcription can be seen on FindAGrave.com. I compared what could be seen in the photo with the construction of the headstone to identify it among the others in the small graveyard. The engraving is no longer visible, so I’m indebted to the people who collected and preserved my family history.
Joshua Martin’s name is on an 1801 tax list and on a land survey for the Territory North West of the River Ohio, which in that year encompassed what shortly would become Ohio, eastern Michigan, and a tiny part of Indiana. The names handwritten on the Ohio River Survey are the same as those on the tombstones in Allen Memorial Cemetery: Allen, Bair, Creal, Custer, Hendricks, McLaughlin, Thompson, Tomlinson, and others.
Madison, the pint-sized cosmos grower, is Joshua’s 7th great-granddaughter. If he could speak to her through time, he might ask whether she was named for James Madison, the U.S. secretary of state from 1801 to 1809 and then, from 1809 to 1817, the 4th U.S. president. Joshua named one of his sons James.
On my ill-chosen scenic route home, my car slid on a gravel road detour and bumped across a reservoir on a crumbling causeway, which made me wonder how my ancestors ever made it from Carroll County to Athens County and then Meigs County, Ohio, although it took them generations. As luck would have it, on Saturday, 19 October 2019, the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Local History & Genealogy Division will present “Exploring Zane’s Trace: A New Road in a New Country” from 10 a.m. to noon at the Main Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. I will learn.