Akron Hosts Rededication Ceremony For Veterans Plaque In Middlebury Cemetery
Akron, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2023 — Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan will honor a group of veterans long-forgotten for their service in the American Revolution, in a ceremony Monday, November 13, at 9:30am, at the Middlebury Cemetery, 1245 Newton Street on Akron’s east side.
The ceremony will also celebrate the return of a metal plaque to the cemetery that was first installed in 1923, but which has been missing for over 25 years.
“Veterans Day requires us to pause and remember those who served their country in uniform and took up arms to defend our freedom and liberty,” said Mayor Horrigan. “These soldiers are especially worthy of our attention on this Veterans Day weekend.”
Middlebury Cemetery is Akron’s original “burying ground,” and predates the founding of the city. It was established in 1808 when Titus Chapman, a Revolutionary War soldier, donated the property. He died that same year and may have been the first person to be buried there.
Akron City Council accepted responsibility for upkeep of the cemetery in 1923. On Flag Day in June of that same year, the Cuyahoga Portage Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) dedicated a marker naming the six Revolutionary War soldiers whose graves are here. The plaque was removed by persons unknown more than 20 years ago and had not been seen until 2023 when a woman from northwest Ohio contacted the Akron DAR chapter to report that they had found the plaque. Stephanie Whims, treasurer of the Cuyahoga Portage Chapter, brought the plaque to Akron where it was re-installed by City work crews in October of this year.
Hundreds of Revolutionary War veterans migrated to the Western Reserve of Ohio before the settlement of Akron. The six soldiers buried here are Titus Chapman, Lambert Clement, Isaac Dudley, William Neal, Thomas Sumner, and Hosea Wilcox Jr. Missing from the list, however, is a seventh veteran of the 1776 war, Abigail (Mills) Wilcox, wife of Hosea, who was a nurse for the Continental Army, but not included on the 1923 plaque.
In 2008, the City of Akron dedicated an Ohio Historic Marker at the cemetery.
Middlebury Cemetery was in use until 1853 when a group of citizens incorporated the East Akron Cemetery on East Market Street across from the former Goodyear headquarters. It contains classic sandstone and marble gravestones fashioned during the early nineteenth century, but many of which have been obliterated with the passage of 215 years.
The November 13 ceremony will begin at 9:30am and will include remarks from Mayor Horrigan, Leianne Neff Heppner, President & CEO of the Summit County Historical Society and Stephanie Whims, treasurer of the Cuyahoga Portage Chapter DAR.
Akron’s East High CLC will be represented by its Junior ROTC cadets and its color guard, commanded by Master Sergeant John MacLean (USMC Retired), Senior Marine Instructor.
Parking is available on Newton Street, and adjacent side streets, Martha Avenue and Barder Avenue.