Cemetery Walks brings history back to life in Bellville:
Face masks or vaccine card required to enter Mansfield City Building starting Sept. 13:
Mount Vernon Farmers Market ranks #1 in Ohio in national contest:
Debby Lynn Eutsay:
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Today - It’s not every day those buried in a cemetery can stroll through the rows of headstones and converse with their visitors. But that’s exactly what happened over the weekend during the Cemetery Walk in Bellville. Deceased residents of the village returned to life in the form of actors who shared their story.
Before we begin, we’d like to take a moment to thank our Sponsors at First Federal Community Bank. Today, First Federal Community Bank wants you to meet Travis Smith, Assistant Vice President in Commercial Banking, as he continues to help Mansfield area business owners and investors expand their business or start a new one.
Travis thrives on being a resource for the community to explore all of their business banking needs through a collaborative approach. Together you’ll talk about the resources available to meet your goals. First Federal Community Bank looks forward to collaborating with more local business, owners and investors soon. Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC.
It’s not every day those buried in a cemetery can stroll through the rows of headstones and converse with their visitors. But that’s exactly what happened on Saturday during the Cemetery Walk in Bellville. Deceased residents of the village returned to life in the form of actors who shared their story.
Event organizer Lynn Fox said every year it becomes more and more professional. The Bellville-Jefferson Historical Society has hosted the Cemetery Walk for four years. Fox founded the event after attending a cemetery walk in Johnsville. She even contacted the organizers there for advice. This year featured residents with birth years ranging from 1752 through 1886. Fox researched the residents and provided information to the actors, who developed their own monologue scripts. Rinda Sansom, Bellville resident and secretary of the Bellville Jefferson Township Historical Society, played Nell Gatton Wade. Wade's family arrived in Bellville in 1811. She was born in 1886 and worked as an art teacher and lance designer for Wade and Gatton Nursery.
And one couple, David Smith and Sue Ann Snyder Smith, came all the way from Chicago to play the husband and wife duo Benjamin and Abigail Mitchel Jackson. The Jacksons are Snyder Smith’s fourth-generation great grandparents.
Abigail Mitchel was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1755 to a family of British Empire Loyalists. She later married rebel soldier Benjamin Jackson. The two travelled west in a wagon caravan in the 1810s and settled in Bellville in 1815. Mitchel Jackson was portrayed by her fourth great-granddaughter Sue Ann Snyder Smith of Chicago.
The Jacksons hailed from New Jersey and migrated to the wilds of Ohio in 1812. Benjamin was a Revolutionary War veteran who fought on the side of the rebels. Abigail came from a family of Loyalists, but lost touch with them after marrying Benjamin at age 19. And despite the fact that most women in the early days of Bellville were homemakers - with the details of their lives largely undocumented - four Bellville women were featured. Including Abigail Mitchel Jackson.
Emeline A Charles was another. Charles was born in 1834 in Washington Township. She owned her own business, a millinery and ladies’ fashion shop. She never married. Charles travelled to Cleveland and New York regularly to keep up on the latest fashions and bring them back to Bellville. She was portrayed by Rhonda Bletner during Saturday's Cemetery Walk. Not far from where Charles is buried alongside her parents and sister, Frederick M. Fitting stood with his wife Ruth. The Fittings were portrayed by Bellville residents Norris and Jan Tangeman.
Frederick Fitting was born in Knox County but later became one of Bellville’s most prominent landowners and entrepreneurs. His parents, Jasper and Fanny, migrated to Knox County from Pennsylvania in 1802. They moved to Richland County in 1819.
After graduating from the eighth grade, Fitting loaded up a wagon with produce to haul to Wooster and Sandusky. On the return trip, he brought back big bags of groceries and dry goods from the big city. He later bought into a dry goods store and married Ruth Markey, the daughter of John and Mary. The couple had two daughters, one of whom died just shy of her 10th birthday.
Fitting went on to work as a miller, a real estate investor, a banker and eventually the vice president of Mansfield Savings Bank. He donated 12 acres of land for the Bellville Cemetery on the condition that he and his wife would get their first pick for the family plot. In fact, Fitting knew a rail line would be key to Bellville’s economic future. So he invested $25,000 of his own money in order to bring the B&O Railroad to town.
Finally, Josh Andra, manager of the Bellville Branch Library, played Theodore Dean. Dean shared the chilling, mysterious tale of his parents’ demise. By the late 1880s, John and Sarah Dean had retired from farming and were battling serious, painful illness. Sarah eventually lost the strength to get out of bed, while John required two canes to walk.
Theodore Dean lived with his wife and children in a house on Renie Road, but he frequently stopped in town to visit his parents. What he discovered on March 16, 1888 was nothing short of horrifying. For reasons that will never be fully known, John had bludgeoned his ailing wife with a hatchet and then committed suicide. To stay up to date on this story visit us at richlandsource.com
Next ... The City of Mansfield has issued a mask mandate or proof of vaccination to enter the municipal building starting today. The mandate comes given the increase in COVID-19 cases and concerns from Mansfield Municipal Courts. Along with this announcement, Richland Public Health provided a COVID-19 update on Friday. Since the first case on March 19, 2020, Richland County has 11,298 confirmed positive cases.
There have been 747 hospitalizations so far, and right now there are 50 COVID positive patients hospitalized. There have also been 240 confirmed pandemic deaths. Richland County has not had this many active cases since early December of 2020.
Next, From Knox Pages… The Mount Vernon, Ohio Farmers Market is encouraging supporters to participate in America’s 13th annual Farmers Market Celebration, which runs through the 19th. Shoppers are encouraged to come to the market and visit markets.farmland.org, where they can endorse the market, putting it in the running for national recognition and cash prizes. As of Monday, September 6th the local market is in first place in Ohio and 35th in the Midwest.
American Farmland Trust has run the Celebration for 13 consecutive years, elevating the increasingly essential role farmers markets play in providing communities with access to fresh, locally grown food and connecting farmers directly with their customers.
Finally, we’d like to take a moment to remember Debra Lynn Eutsay of Mansfield.
Debby was born in 1958 in Pennsylvania. A devout Christian, Debby loved the Lord with all her heart and took great time to intensely study her Bible. She loved singing in the choir at church and worshipping. Debby was a beloved daughter, mother, sister, aunt, dear friend, and a second mother figure to many of her nieces and nephews. She loved her family and cherished the time she spent with them. Debby was very artistic and was very talented with crafts including ceramics, painting, and scrapbooking. She was always ready to attend any craft show. Debby enjoyed spending time in nature and many fond memories were made fishing with her husband. They enjoyed fishing at the Clearfork Reservoir and night fishing in Upper Sandusky. Debby was also an avid video gamer.
Deby is survived by her children, her siblings, her close friends, her nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, "Nate".
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