Alum Creek-Friends Churchyard

Marengo, Ohio



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Alum Creek-Friends Churchyard is located on the north side of OH-229 outside Marengo, Ohio (Peru Township, Morrow County). The coordinates are 40° 24' 23.32" N, 82° 51' 35.9" W.

Alum Creek-Friends Churchyard is still an active cemetery. The newer section is located to the north. Most of the gravestones are in excellent shape, the cemetery is very well taken care of.

There is an Underground Railroad Historical Marker at the front of the cemetery. Early members of the church played an important role in the Underground Railroad, I have typed up the text from the marker in case you can't read it in the photos:

HISTORY OF ALUM CREEK FRIENDS SETTLEMENT


The first settler was Cyrus Benedict, his wife, three children, and Adam Vanduser in 1809. He built a cabin near South Woodbury in 1811. Meetings were held in a house from 1813-1815. The first church was built of logs in 1816. Land purchased in 1817 for a meetinghouse and graveyard is the present site of the church. The first building of today's church was in 1857. The most enduring houses in the area were constructed of brick by Reuben Benedict and David Osborne in 1828 and Aaron Benedict in the 1830's. The Reuben Benedict house served the community as a "Temperance Hotel" during the stagecoach era. The 1825 the Worthington-New Haven Road was completed and these buildings, among others, were used to shelter slaves.


ALUM CREEK FRIENDS AND THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD


The Alum Creek Friends were legendary among UGRR circles for their skill and success in spiriting folds to Canada. Friends involved were David Osborn, Griffith Levering, William Taber, Miicajah Dillingham, and three generations of Benedicts: Reuben, Aaron, William, and a second Aaron, Gardener, Daniel, and Aaron L., who had a $1,000 bounty placed on his head by Southerners. Cousins Mordecai and Livius Benedict drove wagonloads of fugitives up to Joseph Morris in Marion County when they were but six years old. In 1835, a slaveholder and two accomplices came to the Alum Creek Settlement to reclaim his slave property, a mother and her three sons. When the mother refused to leave, William Benedict sent word to the church for help just as the Friends gathered for the Quarterly Meeting. Soon, 25 to 30 people confronted the slaveholder, including Justice-of-the-Peace Barton Whipple who read the penalties for kidnapping - a fine up to $1,000 and 10 years in the penitentiary. At this, the two hirelings fled to the woods. One of them remarked he couldn't understand how all those people appeared so suddenly, as if "the Quakers rose right up out of the ground!" he exclaimed.



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