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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
cemetery hill overlooks a small lake and private tree farm, which can be
seen in the distance.
wooden monk stands guard near the entrance to the cemetery. We
noticed someone had previously left a few coins in his dish.
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.
the many fallen stones found embedded in the ground. The
blackened, weathered stones were too illegible to determine the identity
of these graves.
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.
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.
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.
group of stones is, sadly, just a small example of that loss.
broken and damaged gravestones.
The vandalized gravesite
of 12 year-old Joseph Cochran, son of Robert & Fanny, who died in
broken, but still-legible, marker for Robert O'Brien, who died September
Memory of Nancy S., wife of Patrick Malone." Nancy
died in 1851, her husband died 10 years earlier, in 1841.
Adam Galloway, 1824-1881.
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:
Alive, which features a great 1996 magazine article on "Little Ireland"