The Founding Of Flint Cemetery
For the many centuries before written history, Native Americans hunted and lived their lives on the land we know today as Flint Cemetery. In the early 1700’s, the first European traders entered the area and found people they named the Shawnee and Mingo hunting, fishing and farming this region, with principal towns near the confluence of the Olentangy and Scioto rivers.
The written history of this plot of land begins in 1800. President John Adams conferred 4,000 acres of land, including all of Flint Cemetery and Worthington, to the Reverend John Dunlap. In 1803, Dunlap sold the land to the Scioto Company, New England settlers who came west to make their homes in Ohio.
The following year, the Scioto Company divided the land among its shareholders. The Flint property’s first owner was Glass Cochran, who owned 100 acres as well as several town lots in the new Village of Worthington. Glass and his wife Mehetibel lived for several years in a house on the southwest corner of the Village Green.
In 1810, Cochran sold the Flint property to John Conine, who in 1821 sold it to Ozem Gardner. Gardner founded Flint Cemetery as a family burial ground. Ozem was an abolitionist who worked with others in the area to hide and, sometimes, transport runaway slaves north toward Lake Erie and the freedom found in Canada. Escaping slaves were given refuge behind Gardner’s house in a small one-room structure built into the bank of a creek. The remains of this structure are still visible today in the east bank of the creek that runs adjacent to Flint Cemetery. Escaped slaves in Ozem Gardner’s care were not only given shelter and food, many are reported to have been transported to a safe house in Westerville hidden in produce from his farm. He is believed to have helped more than 200 escaping slaves in their journey to Canada. Ozem Gardner died in 1880 and is buried in Flint Cemetery.
The Flint Cemetery Association
Ozem Gardner sold the land to Rufus Carpenter, John Potter, Jesse Thompson, L.H. Gardner, R.C. Phinny, Trustees of Flint Cemetery Association on May 26, 1874. The Flint Cemetery Association operated the cemetery until March 13, 1947 when the Flint Cemetery members met at the home of Elmer Boyd, (Vice-Chairman) and they voted to turn the cemetery records and funds over to the Sharon Township Trustees. Flint Cemetery was taken over by the Sharon Township Trustees on May 6, 1947. Mr. Ralph Keys presented the deed plot and records and turned them over to the Sharon Township Clerk. The records given to the Township detailed most of the burials from 1909 to 1947 and that all burials from 1947 to date were recorded. Sharon Township purchased two additional tracts of land, one in 1956 and one in 1960. The cemetery is just over 11 acres in size.
Flint Becomes a Union Cemetery
In 1969, Flint Cemetery became partnered with Walnut Grove Union. A Union Cemetery is owned and operated by multiple municipalities, in this case, the City of Worthington and Sharon Township. The Walnut Grove and Flint Union Cemeteries Board of Trustees consists of one representative from Worthington City Council, one representative from the Sharon Township Trustee Board, and one member-at-large, who must reside in either Worthington or Sharon Township.
Between 1947 and the year 2000, Flint Cemetery was active, but underused, while Walnut Grove Cemetery became the cemetery of choice for most Worthington residents. In 2001 the Trustees, staff, and friends of the historic Flint Cemetery began its expansion. The first phase of the expansion was completed in 2007 and the Cemetery is now providing Worthington and Sharon Township the same superior service as its sister facility, Walnut Grove Cemetery.
The Children’s Garden, Cremation/Scattering Garden, Meditation Garden and the Veterans Garden have been planned and installed to enhance the beauty of Flint and provide unique burial areas and options for the community. Please time to visit each garden – there are places to sit and contemplate or have lunch and enjoy the beauty of this peaceful place.