Ghosts of Main Street: The Greenwood Resting Place

May 30, 2019

By Julie Traynor

On this the traditional date of Memorial Day, we give you a bit of the history of Greenwood Cemetery.

In our little town, we take our cemetery duties very seriously and remember all. We make the pilgrimage to the family plot, place flowers and pay respects. For other generations, the spring cemetery visit meant cutting grass, pulling weeds and taking care of things in general. Today, because of the institution of perpetual care, the grounds are maintained and the grass is cut.

Although not the only cemetery in Marion Township, there are three, Storey on 5th Avenue and Park Lakein the northwest corner of the township, Marion’s Greenwood is the largest. It occupies a total of ten acres. The original three acre cemetery was established in 1892 and seven acres more were purchased in 1942. There are two aged vault buildings, both now used for equipment storage. The newer building, facing 20 Mile Road was built in 1952.  A band platform, constructed in 1926 was for Memorial Day speechifying and band performances. The first burial was a Mrs. Kincaid in 1892. Her grave was marked only by a cement block.

Decoration Day , May 30, 1923. Marionites at the corner of Mill and Main Streets as they march toward Greenwood Cemetery to honor the fallen.

In 1901 Marion township allocated funds and the citizens of the village initiated a tree planting project. Initially than 175 trees were planted in Greenwood, including catalpa, Carolina poplars, mountain ash, and horse chestnuts. Although time and nature has taken its toll, a number of these trees remain. Thanks to many families, there are a huge variety of lilacs, snowball bushes, honeysuckle, spirea, and numerous sweet smelling mock orange bushes. Perennial peonies and iris mark numerous places. More than 100 years later, there are still many survivors from that original tree planting.  

Greenwood is the final resting place of our founders, Christopher and Mary Ann (Marion) Clark and of many others who came soon after and found, just as many have since, that our little valley on the banks of the Middle Branch is a fine place to call home.

This was an attractive place to those early settlers and a lively spot in the early years. Timber was king and the business of all things lumber was the chief enterprise at the start. Logs came to the local mills and left as lumber. Soon to follow were the people and businesses that help a town grow.
Hotels and boarding houses, dry goods and groceries, harnesses, hardware and farm implements, a roller mill for flour, publishers to spread the news, seamstresses, cobblers, medical men, barbers and undertakers, all found Marion a congenial place to do business and make a home.

Many folks came, and a good many lived out their lives here.  We remember, and pay homage to them whether or not we realize it. Within the Village, you will find Clark, Chadwick, Lowry, White, Blevins, Morton, and Case streets; all named for early and long time residents. Take a stroll through Greenwood Cemetery you will find these folks and further history of our town. The families of Stone, of early electricity and Stone’s Dam fame, Sherk the miller, the Game family whose brothers operated meat markets and the Halls, early pioneers, whose members were involved in many things from the Post Office to real estate. It is also the final resting place for doctors Johnson, Carrow, Willet, Youngman and Blossom, the dentist. Greenwood may be the place where your family rests, eternally Marionites, one and all.

Since Mrs. Kincaid’s interment in 1892, there have been over 800 burials at Greenwood. The Blue Mountain VFW post places more than 275 American flags on the graves of soldiers who have served, from the Civil War to the present each year.

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