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100 Years Ago

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Carey, McClure

In addition to Samuel McClure, the Cephas Carey family moved here. The Careys settled west of Hardin and played a significant role in the county’s early history. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1775, the Careys originally emigrated from England in 1634. Cephas (pictured at right) brought his family, including his father Ezra, who was 75 years old at the time, to Shelby County in 1810. Ezra is one of 13 Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Shelby County, Ohio.

Cephas was the first elected Justice of the Peace in the Northwestern Territory. He was a captain in the state militia by the time he moved to the county with his first wife, Jane Williamson. In his long life of 93 years, he would have 3 wives and 16 children (8 sons and 8 daughters).

He and Jane, whom he married in 1803, had eight children; Lydia, John W., William A., Nancy W., Drucilla, David, Thomas M. and Jeremiah. After Jane was killed at the age of 30 by Indians in June, 1814, he then married Rhoda [Hathaway] Garrard in 1815.

Rhoda’s first husband, David, had also been killed by Indians. He was shot during the Dilbone Indian Massacre of 1813. With Rhoda, Cephas had eight more children; Benjamin W., Stephen C., Sally A., Simon B., Mary T., Harvey G., Jason S., and Milton T. Rhoda died at the age of 63 in December, 1850. Cephas then married a widow by the name of Elizabeth Mendenhall.  Cephas and his neighbors built a stockade on the Carey land for the protection of the whole county, and during the War of 1812, it was occupied by a squad of soldiers for more than a year.

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Although perhaps a bit elaborate, this illustration shows the typical style of blockhouse built on the frontier.

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Cephas Carey



This stockade was the first semblance of a community and represented a safe haven where families could meet without fear. By 1815, public buildings were built around the stockade on the Carey land. The owners of the land east of Carey’s place would file a plat for a town, called Hardin, in October, 1816. It would later serve as the first county seat.

Several of the Cephas children lived in or near the Shelby County, Ohio, area. One of Cephas’ sons, John W. Carey, became a noted builder and businessman, founding Sidney’s first bank, opening the National Hotel, and constructing Carey’s Hall. Another son, William, was a respected judge and an early Sidney school teacher.

Cephas passed away on March 13, 1868. Members of the Carey family, including Cephas, Jane and Rhoda are buried in the Carey Cemetery which is now surrounded by privately-owned farmland, near Hardin. This cemetery, which closed just before the turn of the century, was used between 1814 to 1896 and is perhaps the oldest in Shelby County. In addition to members of the Carey family, it contains Revolutionary and Civil War veterans.

Neglected for nearly a century, a major cleanup effort was undertaken in the early 1980s by Lewis Diehl, with the assistance of his wife, son and a family friend, who spent their entire summer working in the cemetery. They removed excess trees and dense underbrush, raised fallen tombstones and pieced together broken monuments. Lew also compiled a new record of burials.

After this effort, the cemetery once again fell into great disrepair. The Shelby County Historical Society is in the process of cleaning it up, (under Tom Homan’s supervision) seeking to restore and preserve the cemetery’s many burial stones. Given its local historical significance, it is likely that the Society will choose to commemorate this location at some time in the future. To reach the cemetery, take State Route 47 west out of Sidney to Hardin. Turn right on Hardin-Wapak Road and follow north for approximately 1/4 mile. The cemetery is on the right side, located approximately 200 yards off the road. The brick home, immediately north of the cemetery, on the left side of the road, was constructed by the Careys. At some point, the trustees may make arrangements to ‘open’ the cemetery to public access, but for now, the land surrounding the cemetery is privately owned. Until such time, the Society asks that any ‘visitors’ respect the property owner’s privacy and simply view from the road.

Other 1810 Orange Township settlers included Thomas Young, Abram Glossmire, John Matthews, Luke Norris, John Gilbert and Harman Dildine.

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Carey Cemetery.  Photo by Tom Homan. 


''Pioneer' segment written in October, 1997 by Sherrie Casad-Lodge


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