Adam Hartzell 1833 Death and Burial

Jefferson Township, Montgomery County, Ohio
By James Dwight Hartsell, 6/22/14, descendant of Adam's son David (1805-1865).
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SUMMARY: Given Adam Hartzell's death in 1833 at Gettersburg (Ellerton) Ohio, his strange burial place out of town, and the cholera epidemic of 1833, I can only conclude he died of cholera and was buried in a remote location. Out of fear, fatalities were often buried "in a separate place". I presume Adam's wife Christina and maybe their second youngest (I had "oldest" before) son (who I call Daniel), were also buried there, and probably others from town. The cause of cholera was unknown at the time.

They were not buried in a cemetery, but alongside Hemple Road north of Ellerton. They were buried on "school district ground" which would be Section 21, with Hemple Road at the south edge. Their graves were destroyed when Hemple Road was straightened, so that would be at Bear Creek, also implying that by that time the burial site was unmarked. The burial place would be on the north side of the road. This spot is about 0.4 mile west of S. Union Road.

The following is my analysis. Ellerton has been incorporated into the city of Moraine, but I will use Ellerton here. This town is east of Dayton, Ohio.


According to death records of Salem's Evangelical Lutheran Church (founded in 1815), 4573 South Union Road, Moraine (Ellerton), Ohio, there is the entry:

HARTZEL, Adam (old), 30 Aug 1833

I don't think anyone knew Adam's age, since his birth year of 1768 is approximate. If born in 1768, he was 65 when he died.


Our only clue on where Adam Hartzell is buried is in the "Hartzell Ancestral Line", page 3: "It is believed he (Adam) and his wife were buried at Ellerton, but the graves were destroyed when Hemple Road was straightened (on the school district ground)".
Part of Jefferson Township in 1875.

The latest date in the Hartzell Ancestral Line is 1953, so the document was completed at that time. It may have been typed from handwritten notes, and it looks like it was typed on a 1950's typewriter. It implies that Hemple Road was straightened before this document was completed, but after the 1927 bridge construction. The bridge was closed in 1994. I'm trying to find out when this straightening happened. Maybe it doesn't really matter. All we really want is where they are buried.

(1) They were not buried in Ellerton (Gettersburg in 1833).
(2) The school district ground was the entire Section 21 of Jefferson Township (see above).
(3) They were buried close to Hemple Road at the south edge of Section 21.
(4) They were buried where Hemple Road was straightened, which was at Bear Creek.
(5) It must have been an unmarked grave and the road crew must not have known there was a grave.

Above, Hemple Road along the south edge of Section 21 was straight in 1875. The map shows Section 21 as a school section. There was a school in the SE corner. Adam Hartzell lived in the SW corner of Section 27, all of which was originally owned by Michael Moyer and later by John Getter. The Lutheran church was in tiny Gettersburg (not the church shown). So, the burial place was a mile away.

Below, the old bridge "bypass", built in 1927, shows at the south edge of Section 21 at Bear Creek. (Click on Jefferson Township.)
Part of Jefferson Township in 1938.


Google image of the Hemple Road Bridge area.

Above is a recent Google image of the bridge area. The road on the left from the bridge probably originally was angled straighter to Hemple Road, to where the large stones are located at the left edge of the picture. The burial place was on the side of Hemple Road opposite the bridge, which side of Bear Creek is unknown. The old bridge was built in 1927. The straight bypass was built in ____. The bridge was closed in 1994 and is now a historic landmark.

Ironically, not knowing the cause of cholera, the burial site was north of town. Bear Creek flows south, right through Gettersburg/Ellerton. This was worse than in the cemetery in town.


Adam was not buried at Ellerton Cemetery as were his brother Abraham, his son John, his daughter in law Susannah, his infant grandson John, and others. Adam was a member of Salem's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Why not Ellerton Cemetery adjacent (photo below)?

Closeup of Ellerton Cemetery. The Lutheran church is the bottom one.

Adam Hartzell died Aug. 30, 1833. There was a world-wide cholera epidemic in 1833 that also hit Ohio. Some towns (like Huron, Ohio) buried their cholera fatalities in a separate place to reduce potential contamination. Some buried them in mass graves called cholera pits. Such mass graves were often unmarked. The Quaker church in Arba, Indiana used a cholera pit, but they placed a stone with everyone's name on it.

See Transactions of the American Clinical Association, supported by Indiana University School of Medicine at for information about the epidemic.


Above, the "square" on the right is section 27, one square mile. Where it shows Moyer Cemetery in the bottom left corner of section 27, Adam Hartzell lived across the road left of it. The Lutheran Church and Ellerton Cemetery is in Ellerton above the Google pointer. The left section, at the top, shows Hemple Road crossing Bear Creek (the loop where the old bridge is located). The burial place is about a mile by road from Ellerton.


Closep of the area where Adam Hartzell lived, slightly left of S. Union Road a little north of West Carrolton Road.


Above, the house at 5000 S. Union Road is about where Michael Moyer and later John Getter had their house. It was built in 1850 according to Adam's son John (m. Susannah Heck) lived nearby and saw this house. My ancester David Hartzell would have seen it if he visited his brother John in the 1850's. To the right is a very old looking brick building with a fireplace, which was used as a summer kitchen according to the current owner. You can do a Google Maps Street View to look around this area.


Above is the area where Adam Hartzell and his family lived, at the center of the picture. The right half is the SW corner of Section 27, Jefferson Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. There is Moyer Cemetery in the middle of the right half of the picture. The house to the left of the cemetery is where Michael Moyer and later John Getter had their house. In the 1820 Census, Adam lived between his son John and his daughter Elizabeth Rentfro. On the other side of them were John Moyer (brother of Michael Moyer) and Catherine Heck. In the 1830 Census, Adam was still in the same place, but Adam is one household from John Getter. Adam's son Leonard was also nearby. That would put Adam across S. Union Road from the Moyer/Getter residence. The area to the left of where the road curves right would have been Moyer/Getter land. This is where they all lived, in this slice of land on Moyer/Getter land. The people in this strip probably worked for or rented land from Michael Moyer, then John Getter. They would have gotten water from Bear Creek to the left. Right now there are only four houses in this strip. Maybe that's all there was when Adam Hartzell lived there. The creek is where my ancestor David Hartzell would have played as a child, plus fetching water.