Foster Chapel Cemetery
(Jessica Keen Memorial)

West Jefferson, Ohio

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Foster Chapel Cemetery is located on the east side of Plain City - Georgesville Road (OH-142) outside West Jefferson, Ohio (Jefferson Township, Madison County). The coordinates are 39° 59' 43.08" N, 83° 15' 47.75" W.

Foster Chapel Cemetery is also known as Alder Chapel or the Methodist Episcopal Cemetery. There is a historical marker at the front of the cemetery since this is the final resting place of Jonathan Alder, the first white settler in Madison County. I have included the text from the historical marker below since it's a little difficult to read in the photo (the photo is located in the dropdown list above):

Jonathan Alder
First White Settler in Madison County
(1773 - 1849)

Seven-year-old Jonathan Alder was captured by a Native American war party in Virginia in 1781 and taken to a Mingo village north of the Mad River in Ohio where he was adopted by an Indian family. He remained with the Indians until after the 1795 Treaty of Greenville ended the Indian Wars in the Ohio Country. As white settlers entered the region, Alder frequently served as an interpreter. In 1805, he journeyed to Virginia and was reunited with his original family. He returned to Ohio with his new wife, Mary Blont, and built a cabin on Big Darby Creek. His cabin is now at the Madison County Historical Society Museum in London. Alder is buried in Foster Chapel Cemetery.

Foster Chapel Cemetery is a beautiful cemetery with lots of old, interesting gravestones. It is extremely well taken care of. But despite it's wonderful appearance, the cemetery has a dark past...

Jessica Keen Memorial

Jessica Lyn Keen, a fifteen year old girl from Columbus, was murdered at Foster Chapel Cemetery on March 17, 1991. Jessica Keen was a model student - an honor student and a cheerleader. However, she quit cheerleading and her grades dropped after meeting Shawn Thompson, an eighteen-year-old man from Central Ohio. Her parents didn't know what to do, and they placed her in a home for troubled teens on March 4, 1991.

On March 15, 1991 Jessica had an argument with Shawn over the phone. She left the home on her way to City Center Mall in downtown Columbus. It was the last time anyone saw her alive.

After being missing for two days, Jessica Keen's body was found at the back of Foster Chapel Cemetery. She had been raped and badly beaten to death. She was still wearing her ring and watch, but a pendant with the word "taken" was nowhere to be found. Of course her boyfriend was the prime suspect, but DNA tests proved he was not responsible. Jessica Keen's murder remains unsolved to this day. If you have any information about her case, you can contact the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation at (740) 845-2000.

For more information about Foster Chapel Cemetery and the murder of Jessica Keen, see the following links:

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