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Memorable stories buried

Local man carries family lore into 21st century

July 28, 2012
By Evan Bevins - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

INDEPENDENCE TWP. - On May 26, 1912, Rebecca DeLong Yost died at age 37 from complications related to diabetes. Not long after, her mother, Margaret, remarked that she didn't want to live very long after her children started dying.

Less than two months later, as she was gathering apples, she was accidentally shot and killed by a man sighting and firing his rifle across a ridge.

The mother and daughter are laid to rest in the Hollstein-Yost Cemetery, off Washington County 9, not far from the community of Deucher. Their story is one of many handed down to Newport resident Dean Booth by his grandparents Harry Yost, Rebecca's son, and his wife, Blanche.

Article Photos

EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Newport resident Dean Booth indicates the gravestone of his great-great-great-grandfather, John Adams Yost, in the Hollstein-Yost Cemetery in Independence Township.

Booth, 54, recalls a day when he was 12 years old and chasing butterflies in the cemetery while his grandfather tried to tell him stories of the people buried there.

"He said, 'Pay attention. I want you to get this. I want you to remember this,'" recalled Booth.

Today, Booth tells those stories as well and has passed them on to his children.

Fact Box

Hollstein-Yost Cemetery

Alternate names: St. Johannes Church Cemetery at Archers Fork, German Lutheran Cemetery.

Location: Independence Township Road 623 off Washington County 9, southeast of Deucher.

Established: circa 1847-48.

Most recent burial: 2010.

Source: Times research.

"I made sure they know this. Someday they're going to have to tell people this story," he said.

The cemetery - also known as the St. Johannes Church Cemetery at Archers Fork and the German Lutheran Cemetery - was established around 1847 or 1848. Half an acre each was donated by the Hollstein and Yost families.

Unlike some cemeteries in other German communities in the area, burials here were grouped by family, rather than in chronological order, with the latest person to pass on being laid to rest next to the last one.

On the Yost side of an invisible line through the graveyard is the monument for John Adam Yost, Booth's great-great-great-grandfather, who came to the area from a town in Germany called Kleestadt.

"There were these constant wars going on and on, famine. And apparently he'd just had enough," Booth said.

Yost was one of the early leaders of St. John's Lutheran Church, along with others whose surnames can be found among the nearly 100 stones in the cemetery today, according to a book of information on local German communities, churches and cemeteries composed by former Marietta resident Millie Covey Fry. Ernie Thode, director of Washington County's Local History and Genealogy Library, said many of those families came from the same part of Germany as the Yosts.

The hewed-log church was reported as being in "a sad state of disrepair" in 1975, according to Fry's book. Independence Township employee Brian Graham said it was no longer standing when he went to work for the township in 1978.

Although the church deteriorated, the cemetery was cared for by Booth's grandfather. He became an Independence Township trustee in the 1960s and convinced the other board members to take on care of that and other cemeteries in the township, Booth said.

"Up until that time, he mowed all this with a scythe," Booth said.

Booth's parents still own property near the cemetery that was purchased by one of John Adam Yost's sons, John. Harry Yost was approached during the Great Depression about selling it to become part of the Wayne National Forest, but he declined, preferring to keep it in the family, Booth said.

"He was determined to stay true to his roots," he said. "I guess that's why I'm so dedicated to kind of maintain that, that family connection to the land and the heritage."

Booth's uncle and aunt, George and Dorothy Riggs, were his most recent relatives to be laid to rest there. They died within a week of each other in 2008.

The last burial in the cemetery was the mother of a family friend in 2010. And Booth said it's where he expects to be laid to rest one day as well.



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