Steubenville Twp
Jefferson County, Ohio

Grant School, old pioneer cemetery location
Steubenville Township

Steubenville Weekly Gazette
Jan. 1895

   It will be of interest to old timers to know that while workmen were engaged in repairing the foundation for the Huntsman property on the corner of Slack and Fourth St. today they unearthed a sand grave-stone on which was the following:
William Davidson   born Feb. 19th, 1776, died Oct. 7th, 1839.  The property is owned by T.B.Wright and the stone will be presented to the Wells Historical Association.

(2 acres in size. County deeds show this cemetery to begin interments about 1818, with several local churches, including the Methodist and Presbyterian purchasing lots for family members, apparent from Jefferson County Courthouse records. The deed shows this cemetery to be 2 acres in size, beginning where the first (old) Grant School was built in about 1874. Prior to 1854, when Steubenville Union Cemetery began interments, we find many cemetery deeds referencing burials purchased for lots at this cemetery. When the old (first) Grant School was being built, human remains and tombstones were found in the ground. This would suggest that some re-interments (which show up, but very few) occurred at the Steubenville Union Cemetery. This land was originally owned by Bezeleel Wells, Steubenville’s founding father. In the deed it references B. Wells donating the 2 acres for a city cemetery. When the second Grant School was built, after the turn of the 20th century, more human remains were found in the sand, such as; skeleton remains, red hair, Native American Artifacts, crosses, and a few old ornate tombstones, but buried under the old school, not once but twice. This was recorded in the Weekly Herald Newspaper at that time. Now the school lot sits empty. Both Grant School buildings now gone! You can only imagine how many were not re-interred or were placed in a mass grave at Steubenville Union Cemetery.)

 The following was taken from the Steubenville Herald Star Newspaper dated 18th of July 1925.

Excavators At Grant School Dig Into Old Cemetery; Find Ancient Cross; Grave Markers-Wooden Cross Bearing Strange Lettering Unearthed in Former Public Burying Ground- Markers Over Century Old. Brought To Surface with Bones and Hair Strands.  A wooden cross, wrapped in cheesecloth, nailed securely down, and bearing strange paraffin, lettering, has been found by workmen in the excavating for the new Grant School at Fourth and South streets by Harry M Bates & Sons. Although broken in two, the cross is practically intact.  Its presence at all in the ground is a mystery.

The section of the old earth, which is being carried to make room for a newer generation, has given up more than one secret.  For at one time the entire corner was an old public burial ground, donated to the city by Bezaleel Wells.  When the corner became crowded, several of the religious organizations secured tracts adjoining each other…nearly to the Carnegie Library. 

In 1870, when the old Grant School, at one time the local high school was built, orders were given excavators to turn the earth at least six feet so as to remove all the old skeletons.  Whether or not those orders were carried out is dubious, as the present finds have been made under the immediate surface of the ground, a depth of not more than seven feet.  It is thought that still more bodies will be found when the school building itself is torn down to make room for the new one. 

Although in various instances during the past years, fragments of bone have been exposed to view during excavations…this is the first time that practically intact pieces of monuments have been found.  All show able workmanship and give a clear idea of the art of the early nineteenth century. 

One particular piece of stone found seems to have been at one time a marker for the center of a tombstone.  It is of Corinthian architecture, bearing the leaf and dart design which is found of the new Capitol theatre. 

Another part of a marker was found bearing the inscription “Steubenville” in tiny lettering.  Below it was the date, “1814.”  Other monuments read, “Mary Campbell,” ages twenty years, died July 16, 1814.” Another “James Campbell” departed this life April 23, 1815, aged two months, seven days.”

Several strands of red hair were found this morning.  Undimmed by the long years of interment… A skull has also been found.  The question of gender is a matter for discussion.  One peculiar note has been struck in the finding of the bones and other fragments of a by-gone day.  The bodies are being found under seven feet of earth instead of the usual five feet.  Whether or not there was any basic reason for lowering the coffin an extra two feet is not known.”

{The following was taken from, Centennial Souvenir of Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio, issued by the Herald Publishing Co., dated 1897. This book has been re-printed and is available for purchase from our chapter.} Present School Buildings – The rapid growth of the city soon compelled the enlargement of school accommodations, and in 1867 the old burying ground, at the corner of South and Fourth streets, was purchased and after moving the dead the present building, known as Grant School, was erected thereon…The building is of brick and was completed April 1st, 1870. It contains ten schoolrooms and six class rooms, and will accommodate over six hundred pupils. The High School is located in this building