In May of 2007, I took a quick flight to Ohio to investigate several cemeteries in which I believed I’d find some Woodruff, Sager, and other assorted family graves. My first order of business was to locate Seceder Cemetery, a site my living family was unaware of, in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Once a bustling small city of its own, Reynoldsburg is now a strip-mall-infested suburb of Columbus.
After much circling, turning around, and near-resignation, I spotted what appeared to be headstones between the slats of a tall privacy fence along the back parking lot of one of the aforementioned strip malls.
Behind the privacy fence, the cemetery occupies a small hill surrounded by a chain-link fence, apartment buildings to the north and west, golf course to the south. The gate has a large padlock, but, since it was Memorial Day weekend, someone from the city had thought to leave it unlocked for potential visitors.
I found what I was looking for in the northwest corner, backed up to the fence.
My great-great-great-great grandfather Wiard Woodruff was born in 1764 in Litchfield, Connecticut. He moved with his father and probably other family members to the then-wilds of Milton, Vermont, likely as a young man. At some point, before leaving Litchfield or after moving to Milton, he married Ruth Brace. I have not yet identified all of their children, but I do know of three of their sons, George, Rice, and Brace, my great-great-great grandfather.
A biographical sketch of Brace Woodruff in the 1880 book History of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, Ohio, published by Williams Bros., indicates that Brace moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, in 1822. He would have been 18 at the time. While I had evidence that George and Rice had also moved to Ohio, I couldn’t find a trace of their parents, Wiard and Ruth. My research suggested I might find them at Seceder.
Although many headstones at Seceder have been toppled and broken, Wiard Woodruff’s still stands. It faces the west fence, its back to the rest of the cemetery, and it reads: “Wiard Woodruff, Died Dec. 14, 1828, Aged 67 yrs.”
On the ground beside it lies another stone, chipped and cracked. It reads: “Ruth, Wife of Wiard Woodruff, Died Aug. 22, 1827, Aged 63 yrs.”
Also in Seceder Cemetery are the graves of their son Rice Woodruff and his young wife Sarahann. Almira and Margaret Woodruff share a headstone and appear to be children of Rice and a second wife—following the death of Sarahann—named Elizabeth. Stones also mark the graves of what appears to be three children of Brace and his wife Elizabeth—George, Ruth E., and Margaret.
For a photo gallery and further notation, see my Seceder Cemetery page.
Many thanks to my mother for providing transportation and moral support on my quest.