Cemetery tells story of area#039;s past, present

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 2, 2004

CORYVILLE - "There is something about it. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the surroundings, so peaceful," local historian Martha Kounse said as she tried to describe the atmosphere at Sacred Heart Cemetery.

"It's a beautiful cemetery."

Just outside of Ironton on Coryville Road, Sacred Heart Cemetery is not only resting place of those who have departed, it is also a monument to the area's Irish history. The names on the tombstones read like a who's who of Ironton area history: Cloran, Cleary, Sheridan, and McDonough, descendants of Irish immigrants who settled in the area in the mid-1800s and early 1900s.

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Among those buried there is Monsignor James H. Cotter, the Irish priest who was pastor St. Lawrence O'Toole Catholic Church for 58 years. Cotter died in 1947 at the age of 90.

Kounse was

one of the members of the Lawrence County Genealogical Society who "read" the cemetery several years ago, collecting information on those buried there and other particulars of the burial sites.

"It is one of my favorites," Kounse said. "There are several unique things about it. There is just something about it."

These days, some of the tombstones tell a different story: some are broken, others turned on their faces, either the victim of vandals or the wrath of time.

The Dart is a weekly feature in The Ironton Tribune in which a reporter throws a dart at a map of Lawrence County and finds a story where it hits.