Congress Green Cemetery41 Cliff Rd
North Bend, Ohio 45052
844-288-7709 | http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Congress_Green_Cemetery
Congress Green Cemetery
Congress Green Cemetery is a glimpse into one of the powerful families that settled the Northwest Territory in the late eighteenth century who built the communities that would grow to become Cincinnati.
Following the American Revolutionary War, the young nation’s currency was very weak. Speculators jumped at the chance to purchase large sections of cheap land in the new Northwest Territory. One of these men was John Cleves Symmes, a veteran of the Revolution who served as a New Jersey representative in the Continental Congress. In 1788, he used his Congressional connections and Certificates of Indebtedness to acquire a significant portion of the Miami Purchase land. Symmes immediately encouraged emigration to these lands; in January of 1789 he founded North Bend. This area was destined to become an economic powerhouse and a center of trade due to its strategic location. Unfortunately, the Symmes purchase had a few problems. Due to miscalculation, only 600,000 acres were available- a far cry from his originally estimated acreage of two million acres. In addition, the poorly surveyed land led to legal battles and resurveying. The land’s drainage was also incredibly problematic as this area around the Ohio River was susceptible to flooding. North Bend’s settlement was haphazard due to Symmes’ administrative weakness, but the town was eventually by people from western Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia.
In 1814, much of John Cleves Symmes’s property was seized to settle debts from lawsuits. Symmes died in poverty and was buried in this family plot. Many others from the Harrison and Symmes families would be buried in the graveyard, including Timothy Symmes and William Rittenhouse who also served in the Revolution. North Bend used Congress Green Cemetery until 1884.
A small trail between the information kiosk panels and the Harrison tomb preserves some of the remnant forest that Symmes would have encountered in the early nineteenth century. The cemetery and trail are well-known for patches of Running Buffalo Clover, an endangered species whose round white flower heads bloom between mid-May and June.
Notes for Travelers
Aa few handicap parking spaces are available next to William Henry Harrison’s tomb. Others may park slightly down the road next to the information kiosk panels. Large buses may not be able to park in these spaces, but there is a gravel lot at the intersection of Cliff Rd and Brower Rd. There is a small museum, the Harrison-Symmes Memorial Foundation Museum, a short distance from the memorial that is accessible to the public, but appointments must be made at least two weeks in advance. For more information, visit their website ( http://hsmfmuseum.org).