LUDLOW TOWNSHIP - Nestled amongst the tall trees of the Wayne National Forest is a small monument in tribute to Ann Cawley, who was buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery, located just outside New Matamoras near the border with Monroe County, in 1900.
Having a monument to mark a tomb isn't unusual.
But the numbers on Cawley's are.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Father David Gaydosik stands beside the monument marking the resting place of Ann Cawley in St. Patrick’s Cemetery. Cawley lived to be 115 years old.
Cawley, who rests next to her husband, Matthew, was 115 years old, according to her marker.
She was born nine years after the United States declared independence from Britain. She was 14 when President George Washington died, and she saw the first 25 presidents of the United States take office.
Her lifespan covered parts of three different centuries.
About St. Patrick's
Founded in 1863.
Also known as Ludlow Catholic Cemetery and Blue Bird Cemetery.
Maintained by the Catholic church in Sardis.
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, for which the cemetery was named, closed in 1946.
Source: Father David Gaydosik, priest at St. Sylvester's Catholic Church; Washington County Public Library History and Genealog
"When you start dealing with some of those older cemeteries, it's amazing," said Father David Gaydosik, priest at St. Sylvester's Catholic Church in Woodsfield, which now oversees the cemetery. "Our connection to history, those ancient things are not so ancient after all."
Born in Ireland, Cawley immigrated to the United States sometime between 1860 and 1870, as she appeared on the 1870 census, explained Eric Richendollar with the Washington County Public Library's History and Genealogy office.
She was listed as 50 years of age on the 1870 census, but was 67 in the 1880 census. However, her death was registered in the Washington County Courthouse on Dec. 8, 1900 at age 115.
Her true age cannot be determined without a birth record from Ireland, but the death record seems to be the most concrete, Richendollar said.
"The death record does say she's 115, but it depends on who's reporting that information," he said.
Cawley is one of several dozen residents that rest under the trees of St. Patrick's Cemetery, which was founded in 1863.
Cindy Farley, who lives on Ohio 260 in Ludlow Township, has her grandmother and great-grandparents resting in St. Patrick's. She also has several aunts and uncles buried there, and spent time in the historic cemetery as a child.
"When I was a kid, I just went through and admired all the different types of old headstones they had, the way they were shaped and carved out," Farley said.
Originally named after St. Patrick's Catholic Church, the cemetery is now under the care of the Catholic churches of Monroe County. The church the cemetery was named after closed in 1946.
"After the parish itself closed, the cemetery got passed around," Gaydosik said. "It was with Harrietsville for a while, and then it got passed to New Matamoras and then to Sardis."
The cemetery appears on current maps as Blue Bird Cemetery, and has also been referred to as Ludlow Catholic Cemetery. The church, however, still identifies it as St. Patrick's.
The Catholic church in Sardis is in charge of paying for upkeep of the cemetery, and the churches of Monroe County continue to maintain it, even though there are very few funds available to the parish to care for it.
St. Patrick's is a closed cemetery, and burials are not supposed to take place in the grounds any longer. There are, however, a select few burials that have taken place without the knowledge of the church, Gaydosik said.
Many of the older stones in the cemetery are damaged and worn, and there are several unmarked graves.
Still, the cemetery bears its history well.
"To have that history, it's amazing," Farley said.