A Licking County Historic Landmark
Nestled within the densely forested grounds of the Dawes Arboretum is one of the oldest cemeteries in Licking County, Ohio. Its namesakes are early settlers John Beard and Benjamin Green.
Benjamin, a Revolutionary War veteran, acquired land on Hog Run in February 1802, where he and his wife, Catharine (née Beem), raised their family. John, who aided Virginia's Continental troops, and his wife, Margaret (née Kirk), settled in Licking Township by 1806 where, in January 1807, they purchased acreage adjoining Green's farm. The two families were united in 1826 when Benjamin's granddaughter Rachel Pitzer married John's son Thomas Beard.
In the northeast corner of John Beard's 196-acre farm, a 3/4-acre plot bordering Green's property was set aside as a family graveyard and was called the Beard Cemetery as late as 1970. Local lore says the earliest known burial - and allegedly the first pioneer death in Licking County - occurred in 1801 for an infant of Colonel John Stadden (Licking County's first elected sheriff) and his wife, Elizabeth (née Green). If true, the timeline indicates that the cemetery had existed before Beard acquired the land.
Contradicting the story of the Stadden infant's interment, a plaque commemorating the cemetery's historic significance identifies the 1810 death of Adam Huffman, another Revolutionary War veteran, as the cemetery's first burial.
John Beard died in February 1814. He bequeathed the farm to his sons Joseph and Thomas. Joseph sold his share to his brother in September 1836, and Thomas held it for the duration of his life.
During these years, many of Licking Township's earliest and most notable citizens were buried in the Beard-Green Cemetery, including John and Benjamin (who died in September 1833). These were frontiersmen who endured incredible hardships and privation in Ohio's unforgiving wilderness as they built a thriving community.
In 1854, John Brumback was the "highest and best bidder" and bought the Beard family farm. However, by 1910, the 196 acres were split with 93 acres along the cemetery's eastern border now in the hands of Elizabeth Powell.
In 1918, Beman Dawes (an oilman and former Ohio congressman) bought Brumback's "Woodland" property to the north of the cemetery. With his wife, Bertie, they renamed it "Daweswood." In 1929, they established the Dawes Arboretum and continued to acquire land including, eventually, the tract held by Powell.
Today, the Dawes Arboretum offers 2,000 acres of wooded green space with eight miles of hiking trails open to the public. The care and protection of the area has helped ensure the cemetery's rich historical legacy endures.