This past Sunday was an absolutely perfect autumn day. The temperature was in the mid-70s and there was not a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect time to walk through a cemetery.
I lead a walk through Minster’s St. Augustine Cemetery Sunday afternoon, hosted by Minster’s Historical Society. I was not acquainted with St. Augustine Cemetery, but after several visits there and a little bit of research I was able to tell about a few Minster notables buried there and point out interesting artwork on some grave markers. I learned there is a lot of history in this beautiful cemetery.
St. Augustine Cemetery is a large cemetery. Situated on 27 acres, the first land for the cemetery was purchased in 1838. Find a Grave shows that there are over 4500 interred there.
My focus Sunday was in the old section and most of the inscriptions in this section are in German. A couple of the attendees could speak fluent German and it was fun to hear them talk.
Here are a few tombstone photos from the old section of St. Augustine Cemetery.
Steinemann Chapel was erected in 1855 by John Henry Steinemann (1808-1877), in thanksgiving for his wife Catherine Gertrude Meyer’s (1808-1872) recovery from a serious illness. It is constructed of brick from the Steinemann brickyard.
John Henry and wife Catherine Gertrude (Meyer) Steinemann are buried near the Steinemann Chapel, under the tree.
The section was reserved for sisters and brothers of the Society of the Precious Blood. A few orphans are also buried here.
Metal angel monument for Henry Beckman (1905-1909).
A devastating cholera epidemic struck Minster in 1849. Some of the victims were buried in individual unmarked graves but over 300 were buried in an unmarked mass grave consisting of several trenches. This monument was erected in 1937, dedicated to the memory of all the cholera victims. Inscription: In Pious Memory of All Our Cholera Victims, over 300, Especially in the Year 1849. The tombstones in the background are those of the Irish Catholic immigrant cholera victims.
Irish Catholic immigrants, hired by canal contractors to excavate the stretch of the Miami-Erie Canal from Piqua to Deep Cut, were buried in the northwest section of the cemetery between 1838-1842. The damp conditions in which they worked exposed them to many diseases, including typhus, cholera, and malaria. There used to be many more of their sandstone markers in this section but only a few remain today. Most are inscribed with the county in Ireland from where they came.
Another view of the old section of St. Augustine Cemetery.
We found two wooden tombstones! Wooden tombstones are very unusual and are seldom seen because they usually did not survive. Unfortunately we could not see an inscription on either and do not know how old they are, but they looked very old.
This monument is in honor of Franz Joseph Stallo (1793-1833), the German immigrant who founded Minster. A school teacher and printer/book binder, he came to America in 1831 and first lived in Cincinnati. He and a few others formed a stock company in 1832, purchased 1200 acres in what was then Mercer and Shelby Counties, and, with several other German families, founded the town of Minster. The town was first known as Stallowtown.
Thanks to the Minister Historical Society for inviting me to speak and a thank you to the nice group of people that attended the cemetery walk and talk this past Sunday. It was a fun afternoon.