The First Burial at Greenlawn Cemetery and Its Name Origin

“Some one writes us wanting to know who gave Greenlawn cemetery its names, and who was the first person interred therein. The first question is an easy one, but we will have to give up the last one. The name of Greenlawn was suggested by the late Robert Bell, one of the original trustees of the cemetery. It was not called Greenlawn until about 1870, when it was enlarged and regularly laid out after the design of modern cemeteries. Previous to that it was the old Portsmouth graveyard. It would be hard to tell who was the first person buried therein. It might have been one of the mound builders for all we know. It was a good while ago.”1

“Last week we alluded to the fact that some one had written us dearing to know who was the first person buried in Greenlawn cemetery. Monday morning we received the following note from Mrs. Ann M Kendall, of 24 East Second street.”

Editor Times. Mrs. Elizabeth Cross was the first person buried in Greenlawn . She was buried October 26, 1829., and Mr. Elijah Glover was buried the next day. AMK”

“Mrs. Kendall is the widow of the late Thomas Kendall, and mother of Charles Kendall. The Elijah Glover referred to was her father, she being a sister of the late Honorable Elijah Glover, Jr. The circumstances of her father being the second person interred in what is now Greenlawn cemetery impressed the fact upon her mind the first interment. Prior to that the Portsmouth graveyard was on the high ground overlooking the Scioto river, part of which is now occupied by the Burgess Steel and Iron works and buildings, but the larger portion of what was the ancient burying ground has long since disappeared from the encroachments of the river. Madison street, north of Third, runs through the old graveyard. When the Third and Madison street sewer was excavated, numbers of coffins and skeletons were exhumed. Many of the bodies were taken up at the inauguration of the new cemetery and re-interred therein, so that when the excavation for the sewer was made, places were found underground of the exact shape of a coffin, though the wood had rotted away, and the remains having been removed, the newer earth which the grave had been filled did not mingle with the solid clay of the original grave, hence the shape of the coffin was plainly defined. ” 2

  1. As Us Easy One, Please. (1892, January 23). Portsmouth Times, p. 3.
  2. The Question Answered. (1892, January 30). Portsmouth Times, p. 4.