This secluded cemetery and surrounding woods are all that remain of  Little Ireland (or, "Metz"), located in Hudson, Ohio.  O'Brien Cemetery was officially established in the 1880's, but was used for many burials prior to that time.  It contains the graves of mostly Irish settlers, many of whom were residents of Little Ireland.

 

 

Little Ireland was one of the area's first communities, with its own sawmill, post office, school house, and general store.  It also served as a stop for fugitive slaves along the Underground Railroad.

The railroad tracks that lie a few yards from the cemetery (pictured below) were once part of the Cleveland, Akron and Columbus Railroad. The town's name was changed to Metz by railroad conductors, who wanted to use a shorter name when announcing the stops.
 

For at least 70 years, the Irish community used the McCauley farm to bury their dead.  According to the cemetery's memorial marker,  it was officially established in 1881, when Edward and Harriet McCauley sold it to the O'Brien Cemetery Association for $1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In total, approximately 175 persons are buried in O'Brien Cemetery, many with the following surnames:  Sadler, O'Brien, Calkin McCauley, Galloway, Ritchie,  Hibbard, Deacon, and Steel.

Unfortunately, due to massive vandalism and neglect, many of the gravestones have been lost or destroyed.  Among the missing tombstones is that of Mary Deacon, who died in 1806 and is believed to be the first person buried here.

 

This muddy, dirt road leads into the cemetery and old Little Ireland.  It frequently washes out after severe weather, so visitors are cautioned to use care when traveling here by car. 

 

 

 

 

The cemetery hill overlooks a small lake and private tree farm, which can be seen in the distance.

 

 

 

This wooden monk stands guard near the entrance to the cemetery.  We noticed someone had previously left a few coins in his dish. 

 

 

One of the strangest things we found at this cemetery was a porch swing, tied to the tree near the right of this photo.  Since it faces the lake, one can guess that it was hung to provide visitors with a peaceful place to rest and reflect.

 

 

One of the many fallen stones found embedded in the ground.  The blackened, weathered stones were too illegible to determine the identity of these graves.

 

 

This stone marks the grave of Adam Steel, a Revolutionary War veteran and Irish immigrant.  Steel had 2 wives and 10 children before he died on September 25, 1811 at the age of 67.


 

 

 

The gravestone closest to the picture belongs to Hiram Reed, who died in 1891 at the age of 50.  The white marker on the right belongs to Mary A. McCauley, wife of Peter McCauley.  She died in the 1830's (exact date unknown) at the age of 24.

 

 

 

George Whaley.  Born in 1784, he died in 1829 at the age of 45.

 

 

The gravestones of Henry O'Brien (left) and his wife, Sarah Anne Walker.  Henry, a prominent settler, died in 1852 at the age of 72.  Sarah died August 11, 1859 at the age of  79.

 

 

The original burial records were either lost or destroyed.  The most complete records available come from cemetery transcriptions made in 1953 and 1971.  Many of those graves have since been lost or destroyed due to vandalism. 

This group of stones is, sadly, just a small example of that loss.

 

 

 

 

 

More broken and damaged gravestones.

 

 

 

 

The vandalized gravesite of  12 year-old Joseph Cochran, son of Robert & Fanny, who died in 1846.

 

 

 

 

 

The broken, but still-legible, marker for Robert O'Brien, who died September 8, 1831.

 

 

 

 

"In Memory of Nancy S.,  wife of Patrick Malone."   Nancy died in 1851, her husband died 10 years earlier, in 1841.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Galloway, 1824-1881.

 

 

 

 

 

Catherine Hibbard, 1789-1860.
 

 

 

More damaged stones were found in the ground behind this tree along the back edge of the cemetery hill.

Due to the heavy vandalism, Hudson has set aside a special budget just to monitor the cemetery.  Police patrol the area quite frequently (especially at night), and will promptly arrest trespassers.  Therefore, visitors are encouraged to contact the Hudson Police Department before venturing to the cemetery. 

Many thanks to Bill Ignizio for recommending this cemetery and providing some interesting historical info, and to the folks out at Wheelers Side Door for their assistance.

For more information about O'Brien cemetery, check out these links:

Mayo Alive, which features a great 1996 magazine article on "Little Ireland"

O'Brien Cemetery genealogy page, which contains a recent listing of cemetery transcriptions.