An excerpt from Bertie Dawes' notebook, "Little Old Cemetery on our place," which detailed the location of known burials in 1940 (likely evidenced by surviving upright headstones).
Licking County's First Citizens
Beard-Green Cemetery is a private family graveyard with its first burial dating to 1801. Surveys of tombstones suggest approximately 200 people are buried within the grounds. However, identifying all of them is a challenge.
In the early 19th century, Ohio did not have a statewide mandate to track deaths. Small frontier cemeteries, like Beard-Green, had no sexton to document burials. There are no formal records contemporary to the 1800s that verify who's buried within the grounds or where. We are entirely reliant on the headstones that survive today - over 220 years after the first burial. But many graves are now unmarked or have stones whose inscriptions have weathered beyond legibility. The earliest surviving knowledge of who was laid to rest in Beard-Green comes from two burial censuses conducted in the 20th century by people who walked the grounds and recorded names they could read on headstones.
In 1940, Bertie Dawes detailed her work to maintain the cemetery in a notebook she titled, Little Old Cemetery on our place. Her meticulous records pinpointed the location of each intact headstone and, where legible, included a transcription of the deceased's name and date of death. Bertie identified 104 graves, but noted that there were 79 other burials missing legible headstones and whose identities were already lost to time. The 79 unidentified markers or graves were not positioned on her maps.
Three decades later, in 1970, members of the Johnstown Genealogy Society (in Licking County's Monroe Township) walked the "Beard Cemetery" and recorded basic biodata from the surviving memorials. They were thorough in their "all-out effort to obtain the complete data on every tombstone," and even noted that, "Broken stones have been reassembled, buried stones have been dug up and data recorded, as have old stones placed in piles along the enclosure fences." Their census recorded 120 burials - 16 more than Dawes found (five of which were burials that happened after her 1940 review).
The Johnstown survey identified eleven graves previously overlooked by Dawes. One of these belonged to Mary, wife of Anthony Geiger (1774-1832). Perhaps Mary (Kirk) Geiger's headstone was buried and successfully excavated by the Genealogy Society. Unfortunately, 50 years after their 1970 survey, her marker is now missing. Any physical evidence of Mary's existence in the cemetery is gone. She is an example of the dangers facing the cemetery's historical preservation.
Consult the Headstone Censuses