Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Clarks, Corblys, Suttons, and Cold Plagues

Clough Cemetery in 2011, Gerard is the tall one
 There is a plant nursery near my office that I've passed many times called Greenfield Plant Farm. It sits at the corner of Clough (pronounced like "tough") and Hunley roads in Anderson Township close to the 1796 Miller-Leuser Log House. Their sign mentions that it's the site of the "James Clark Homestead". I never looked into that much, just a quick Google search but with such a common name, I didn't come up with much or think much more of it at the time.

I'd been aware of a nearby graveyard known as the Clough Baptist Cemetery (AKA Newton Cemetery and Wagon Train Cemetery) for a while thanks to geocaching. It's quite hidden away on quiet Bridges Road and nearly in someone's yard. The bulletin board at the front notes that several Revolutionary War Veterans are buried here and lists their names. That sort of thing always gets my attention.

Sutton's Log 1795 Log Home in 2011
(but not his SUV or DirectTV dish)
One resident is Jonathan Gerard who I had always assumed was the same John Garard (there are multiple spellings of this surname) who built the 1790 fortified station near the mouth of the Little Miami River now on Este Rd. It turns out he was a relative that came later.

Another is Stephen Sutton, one of the founders of Mt Washington in 1795. Sutton Road would be familiar to anyone in this area. Sutton's log house is still standing. But it's not like the aforementioned historic looking Miller-Leuser Log House. This is a private residence in the middle of a neighborhood with additions and siding added to it over the years making it a 3 bedroom home. Fortunately, in recent years an attempt has been made to make it look more...historic.

Then there is James Clark. It is believed he was a drummer boy at the 1781 Battle of Yorktown at age 16. I hadn't given this much thought until I tried to dig up more info on this guy. No pun intended. I ended up stumbling across a document buried in the website of...the Greenfield Plant Farm.
I'm sure you guessed it by now.
1802 Clark Stone House in 2009 - source
It's the same James Clark mentioned at the nursery and his 1802 stone house is still alive and well on the property. The article goes on to say it is likely the oldest standing stone house in the state of Ohio. It's sitting "right there" not far from the main road. Even a history nerd like me never saw it. Hidden in plain sight... like many geocaches. You can read the whole article here along with several photos of the house over the years. I unearthed a couple of other interesting tidbits.  Members of the Leuser Family (whose ancestors built the Miller-Leueser Log House) purchased this stone house in 1854 from the Clarks. It operated as a greenhouse and plant farm then just as it does today. Also, Hunley Rd was called Leuser Rd until at least 1926. I'd like to see proof of the drummer boy claim. I haven't been able to come up with any solid evidence though.

The Baptist church that once stood adjacent to these folks final resting place was founded by Rev. John Corbly Jr, another name local residents will be familiar with due to Corbly Road. In fact, as Hunley (formerly Leuser) crosses Clough it becomes Corbly. As Corbly Road runs West it bends south and becomes Sutton Road toward the Ohio River. Rev. Corbly died in 1814 at age 46 of what was called cold plague, a new strain of influenza ravaging the US during the War of 1812 and characterized by severe shivering. They say you rapidly froze to death, hence the name. He and other members of the Corbly family are also interred here. The church was unused by 1905. The walls and roof collapsed in the 1930s. Most of the remaining stones were used to build a Methodist church on Kellogg Road in the 1950s.

As for the cemetery itself. Most of the stones are illegible, falling over or buried now. Anderson Township does it's best to keep it looking nice. I tried to get some updated photos for this post but Cincinnati weather in March was not cooperating.