Bigelow Cemetery600 Rosedale Rd
Irwin, Ohio 43229
614-265-6565 | http://naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/bigelowcemetery
One-half acre of Ohio as it was, Bigelow Cemetery is a rich window into the state’s tall grass prairies of the past.
One-half acre of Ohio as it was, Bigelow Cemetery is a rich window into the state’s history and the tall grass prairies of the past. Unlike the surrounding fields, Bigelow Cemetery was never plowed by non-Native settlers and contains an undisturbed remnant of the Darby Plains prairie. The plains once stretched from Marysville in the north to Washington Court House in the south. Today, because of human activity little remains of the once vast Darby Plains.
The earliest tombstones date the cemetery to 1814. The first non-Native settlers arrived in the area from Vermont and Pennsylvania in the spring one year earlier. Benjamin Hough was given a military land grant in 1815 for 172 acres of prairie including the cemetery. He eventually sold the land to the Bigelow family. The family’s four children and matriarch possess five of the seventy-eight legible stones and inscriptions mixed within the grasses of the cemetery. Where the flowers tell a story about Ohio’s ecological history, the gravestones speak to the difficulty of life on the American frontier. Bigelow Cemetery’s final burial took place in 1892.The site remained unused until 1978 when it was designated a state nature preserve by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Notes for Travelers
There is no designated paved parking for this site. There is space for visitors to pull off the road directly in front of the cemetery. Space is limited, so busses and large vans may need to find alternative parking arrangements.