Waterford area cemetery dates back to 1700s

WATERFORD – Coming from humble beginnings in Rhode Island, he would grow up, determined to make something of himself, and become one of Waterford’s most prominent citizens in the 19th century.

He’s buried in a tiny Waterford cemetery, with a headstone that stands with a plaque at the bottom.

Little information is known about Jeremiah Greenman’s ancestors or even his earlier life. The veteran of the American Revolution made his name as a soldier because he was “unskilled and barely literate,” according to “Diary of an Uncommon Soldier in the American Revolution, 1775-1783.”

The earliest Greenman on record is William Greenman, who was born in 1652 “at Plimoth, Mass.” He married Esther and had five children, the third of which was Jeremiah Sr., born Feb. 11, 1719 or 1720. He later married Amy Wells. Jeremiah Jr. later joined that family on May 7, 1758, in Newport, R.I. He read only at a basic level and didn’t learn to write until he was in the military because of the small amount of schooling he had as he was growing up.

He also learned “to keep accounts, to command and, and above all, to believe in the future,” Greenman wrote in his journal of his military experience.

Jeremiah Greeman Jr. spent several years in the Army, including a few commands and he became a Prisoner of War. He married Mary Eddy on Oct. 12, 1784, in Rhode Island.

“There was a group of Revolutionary War people (that did the plaque),” said Rodney Huck, 55, of 1800 Hayesville Road, Waterford. He and his wife, Kim, own the 250 acres that includes the Greenman farm and the tiny 16-by-16-foot fenced cemetery, where Jeremiah Greenman Jr. and at least five other people are buried. The other identities are unknown because the stones are so small or so worn that they yield almost no information. On a second gravestone, the letters “LG” are barely visible.

“It’s getting ready to flake off,” Huck said, referring to the back side of Greenman’s grave.

The Greenmans left Providence, R.I., and arrived in Marietta in 1806.

Before the Greenmans’ arrival, the Ohio Company, a land speculation company made up of wealthy citizens of Virgina, had been surveying and platting towns and forts in The Northwest Territory since 1787 and then the state since 1803. The plats were offered to “warlike Christian men,” Greenman writes in his journal, for their service in the American Revolution.

Little is known about Jeremiah Greenman between 1806 and 1828, when he died. A notation in “Williams History of Washington County 1788-1881,” reports Jeremiah Greenman was a member of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 37, Free and Accepted Masons and participated in the St. John’s Day celebration On May 1, 1817. The members paraded to their church.

According to “Diary,” the presidential election of 1828 held the country’s attention for several weeks, including all the missteps and flubs for which candidates of the 21st century are famous. Andrew Jackson faced John Quincy Adams.

Despite the nationwide fervor of the election and all its associated festivities, Greenman wasn’t going to take part. However, he planned another effort to sway the vote. “Diary” also ironically points out that both the Democrats and the National Republicans viewed Ohio as a “pivotal state.”

These days, The Buckeye state is called a “bellwether” state in presidential elections.

When Waterford’s polling day came around in early October, Greenman went to town and began a speech in support of John Quincy Adams. He spoke “with the ardor of younger days – endeavoring to convince the ignorant and confirm the wavering.”

Jackson, however, took the White House with 56 percent of the vote.

Greenman died Nov. 15, 1828, after 30 hours of severe indisposion of bilious colic.

His final resting place overlooks his original farm and homestead property, including Hayward Creek. It continues to be maintained by the Waterford Township Board of Trustees.

“The township takes good care of it,” said Phill Crane, with the Lower Muskingum Historical Society. “It’s an example of the way cemeteries should be maintained.”