Stone Church Cemetery

Shawnee, Ohio

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The Stone Church Cemetery is located off Stone Church Hollow Road, about 2 miles northwest of Shawnee, Ohio (Salt Lick Township, Perry County).

The Stone Church Cemetery is located at the top of a hill, beside the ruins of the old church. It is no longer active, but it is very well taken care of by the township. There are many interesting gravestones to look at, and it's a peaceful place to visit since there aren't many houses near it.

I wasn't able to find much information about the cemetery or church online, but I did find it mentioned on one site: Genealogy and Historical Information for Perry County, Ohio. Tim Fisher's site contains a lot of information about historical places in Perry County...he even has an old photo of the church:

old photo

In January 2006 I received an e-mail from Laurence O'Callan with some additional information about Stone Church Cemetery:

From research, I know the church was called St. Peter's and was designed by an architect, Timothy Fagan, who may be a relative of mine.

In October 2008, I received an e-mail from Brenda Van Dyke with LOTS of historical information about this cemetery:

I wanted to offer the following information about The Old Stone Church in Salt Lick Township, Perry County, Ohio. My g-g-g-g-grandparents, John Stace and Margaret Hoy, donated an acre of land for the church and cemetery; John and Catherine McDonald donated another acre. The following information was published in the "Hoy Family Newsletter," privately published by Jim Hoy of Virginia in the mid-to-late 1980s. This particular article appeared in newsletter #5, published in November, 1987.

One other story before I begin I've had several older folks with Perry County roots tell me that you can't take for fact the actual location of the tombstones. It is reported that the cemetery was in disrepair for some time. When it was decided to clean it up, a gentleman went in with a bush hog to mow and moved all the tombstones out of the way and then forgot where they came from. How true that is, I do not know.



On a hillside on the right of the present day Old Stone Church Hollow Road, and a little more than a mile north of Monday Creek in Salt Lick Township, Perry County, Ohio may be found the ruins of a mission church erected by hardy Catholic pioneers. This church was constructed of stone and in the beginning was referred to as the "Monday Creek" mission, since it was located so near to that creek.

On March 19, 1844, John L. McDonald and his wife Catherine, sold one acre of land to Rt. Rev. John Baptist Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati. The tract was described as follows: "The following land situated in the County of Perry and the State of Ohio, Viz: One acre of the north half of the south west quarter of section seven in township fourteen of range fifteen in District of land subject to sale at Zanesville, Ohio. Bounded as follows, on the south by the Logan Road, and to the west by Monday Creek, on the north by the land of John S. Hoy and to extend east from the creek sufficient to contain once acre."

On the same day another deed was signed between John S. Hoy and Margaret Hoy, his wife, granting one acre and five rods to the Rt. Rev. John Baptist Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati. Both tracts constituted the property for the Monday Creek Church and cemetery.

Although the area was quite hilly and difficult for farming, the early Catholic pioneers carved from the wilderness around them what was necessary for a beautiful stone church. Among those who made up the congregation were John Hoy, Alexander McLean, George Riffle, and the Bowes, the Clarks, the Moores, and the Parsons. Catholics from New Straitsville, Shawnee and the surrounding area attended Mass in the new stone church well up into the 1870's.

Timothy Fagan was the builder of the church. He rests in the little cemetery which was located behind the church. No tombstone marks the spot of his burial today. There is, however, a tombstone to the memory of three children of Stephen and Alice Fagen.

The hills around Shawnee became the scene for the opening of many coal mines in the 1870's. The little town prospered. Catholics became more numerous in Shawnee than in the hills of the Monday Creek mission. Accordingly, a church was erected in the growing village in 1880. The last marriage ceremony was that of Bernard Sorohan and Catherine Riffle in 1880. James L. McLean has the privilege of the last baptism in the "old stone church."

Abandoned in 1880, the "old stone church" gave way gradually to the ravages of time. The roof collapsed in June of 1911. The "Shawnee Advocate" of 13 July 1911 reported the tragedy. In the 1960's many of the stones were taken into Shawnee to make a shrine of the Blessed Virgin in the church yard there. The cornerstone of St. Peter's was prominently embodied in the shrine.

Today not much remains of the "old stone church" in Salt Lick Township, Perry County, Ohio.

Many thanks to John Thorne and Brenda Masterson for helping me find this cemetery!

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