One of the oldest cemeteries in Dayton is marking the 175th anniversary of its first burial.
Woodland Cemetery is the final resting place for many notable Ohioans from the Wright Brothers to Erma Bombeck, Charles Kettering, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. But it's a lesser known individual the cemetery is commemorating next week/this week.
Allen Cullum of Butler County was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery on July 11, 1843, making him the cemetery's first burial. Cemetery Marketing and Development Manager Angie Hoschouer says an Eagle Scout restored Cullum's monument last year.
"It's absolutely gorgeous," says Hoschouer. "It's a small obelisk that has the Odd Fellows' symbol of the three links - the F, L, and T for Friendship, Love, and Truth - but also, in that time period one of the major cemetery symbols that were put on headstones was the weeping willow for death and for mourning, so that is a very beautiful monument."
Not much is known about Cullum other than he owned properties in Cincinnati and was married to Harriet Dodds of Dayton's prominent Dodds family. Hoschouer says it's important to remember Cullum, even if he wasn't well known.
"While we have lots and lots of notables," Hoschouer says "we are the cemetery for the masses. We have normal, everyday, ordinary folks who all have a fantastic story."
A wreath laying is scheduled for Wednesday, July 11 at 1 p.m. It will include a ceremonial presentation, a service reading, a funeral ode, and an honor guard from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The fraternal organization purchased the cemetery's first four lots and one was used for Cullum because he was a member.
Dated August 8, 1843 this bill of sale indicates Cullum has a Walnut coffin covered with cloth and lined with lace. There were Ornaments and a Hearse at the cost of $50.00, and attendants for a total of $53.00. Courtesy of Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum
Woodland is not Dayton's first or even second cemetery. However, the occupants of both of those were relocated to Woodland in the mid-1800s to make room for downtown development.
Like Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery, Woodland features a park-like setting. However, Spring Grove was incorporated in 1844, making Woodland, which was founded in 1841, the older of the two.