Alternate Names: None
Current Status: Lost
History: Perhaps the most mysterious of all Summit County’s burial grounds is the mass grave reportedly unearthed by Jason Hammond in Bath Township. According to an article by Bonnie Simonds Nixon in 1997, Hammond discovered a mass grave on his property for which no explanation has ever been found. Nixon describes the grave this way: “It was a shallow grave containing eleven rows of eleven men. The 121 bodies were neatly stacked with their heads toward the west and their feet pointed east. On each man’s chest was a shell with three holes drilled through it. Each hole had a fancy gilt button attached with deerskin. The deerskin was in perfect condition.
“The grave also contained two English swords and a decomposed brass kettle. Near the grave were ruins of ancient forts built on the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The rings in the trees growing on top of the grave indicated the burial site was approximately 200 years old.”
Aside from the shock such a discovery must have caused, its existence is puzzling for many reasons. There is no record of settlements or forts in this area in the 1600’s. Since the English were not known to have been here, one must assume that the buttons and other English artifacts found had been obtained in trade with eastern tribes. At least one tribe inhabiting this area, the Huron of the Iroquois Nation, was known to use mass graves and to supply a kettle for use in the afterlife. However, the existence of a fort does not fit with what is known of the habits of the tribe.
To further complicate matters, the exact location of this mass grave is also in question. Nixon goes on to say on this matter: “Henry Leavitt Ellsworth mentioned the mysterious grave in the journal he kept during his travels to Ohio in 1811. Elsworth said the grave was immediately west of the Cuyahoga River in Township number three, Range twelve [Bath], in Hammondsburgh, a few rods from Mr. Hammond’s cabin. That would have put the grave somewhere in “downtown” Bath.” [The name “Hammondsburgh” had gradually superseded the original name of Wheatfield given to this area when it was surveyed in 1805.]
Now, more than two hundred years later, it is unlikely that the mystery of the mass grave will ever be unraveled. We are no closer to knowing who built the fort Hammond found traces of, who the 121 men were, how they died, or why they were buried together as they were…much less where the actual grave might be located in today’s Bath Township.
Chapter Publications: This information can be found in the Summit County OGS publication, "Lest We Forget, 2007.
The Summit County Chapter, OGS, is always looking for new information on our county's lost or forgotten cemeteries. If you have questions or information on this cemetery please contact the Cemetery Chairperson.