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Cemetery Walk Unearths History

Newton Township – Did you know that approximately three dozen of Newton Township’s founding fathers never left? They are still here, buried in the cemetery on North Canal Street which is just one of many final resting places currently under the watchful care of the Newton Township Cemetery Association.
Last Saturday, the Association welcomed area residents (the living ones) to the cemetery to learn about some of the prominent citizens of the Newton Falls/Newton Township area who helped shape the community and make it what it is today, over a hundred years, and then some, later.
Guided by local historian Wendell Lauth, event-goers followed a map designating various places where businessmen, politicians, and numerous veterans of assorted wars now rest. On the south end can be found the marker for the first Township Trustee, on the north end the first Village Mayor. And in between, several of those who served as militia in the Mexican War or as Union soldiers in the Civil War, and notables such as the first male child born in Newton Township. Pioneers and other founders are also in this cemetery including the area’s first postmaster and even the men credited with founding the cemetery itself. The cemetery opened nearly two-hundred years ago when Captain Reuben Bostwick became the first burial on July 16, 1813. His plot can be found just in front of where the chapel is now.
In addition to the tidbits provided by Lauth, visitors were able to step inside the chapel and learn about different items that would have been commonplace in those times such as replicas of Civil War-era money and weapons that might have been carried by those Union (or Confederate) soldiers on display. Civil War reenactors were on hand to lend an authentic feel to the grounds as did an antique horse-drawn hearse with glass walls quietly situated in front of the chapel.
The Newton Township Cemetery Association has been working around the year as weather permits to maintain, restore, and organize the seven cemeteries within the township’s responsibility. New members are always welcome and volunteers are needed to lend a hand with this continuing project whether it is just a few hours or on a more regularly-involved basis. Contact the Association for more information on how to become involved at (330) 872-0236.
If you missed this cemetery walk, Lauth will be providing another chance to learn about local history as he conducts a tour through the Niles Union Cemetery (at the corner of Route 46 and Niles Vienna Road) on Sunday, October 21st at 5pm. For more information on that upcoming event, call the Niles-McKinley library at (330) 652-1704 ext. 212. If you go, you’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, a warm jacket, and bring a flashlight!

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In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski's picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.