The cemetery from which the neighborhood inherited its name was originally
started as a community cemetery in 1792. A land purchase by John Cleves
Symmes, a congressman from New Jersey, of a vast tract of land between the two
Miami rivers in 1787 soon helped establish settlements along the Ohio Valley.
There were few settlers in the early years, but the promise of owning their own
land at a reasonable price began to draw interested individuals to the area,
including several young veterans of the Revolutionary War. Legend is that
one of these young veterans, Samuel Pierson, accompanied his friend John
Brewster, who lost his wife and baby in childbirth, on the search for a proper
burial site. Upon reaching a “grassy spot…on the brow of a hill overlooking the
Mill Creek Valley” Pierson said, “Here is a pleasant ridge.”
In 1800, the Presbyterian church originally built at Duck Creek, moved to the location on the
hill near the cemetery, and in 1819 took the name Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian
The oldest known tombstone is that of Alexander Hammel who died on August 2, 1800.
Although used as a burial site for several years, there are no burial records
that exist before 1800. Some of the oldest graves are in a section historically
referred to as the Pioneer Cemetery which is located directly behind the back wall
of the church, in the shade of an American elm tree at least 275 years old. Burials
in this area include members of some of the earliest-known families in the
community. The Wood family erected a monument to James Wood, who is
believed to be the first permanent settler in Pleasant Ridge.
In 1831, the church congregation determined that no one could dig a grave
“without being shown by the sexton” thus placing the sexton in charge of all
burial locations. Up until that time anyone could bury a body on the grounds
wherever they wished, and without documentation. In 1846 the church was
given clear title to the cemetery land by the state of Ohio.
In 1939 the cemetery was surveyed by the Veteran’s Registration Bureau of the
American Legion and the WPA in order to list and classify all veterans’ graves.
The number of veterans interred in the cemetery are:
Revolutionary War 13
War of 1812 10
Indian War 1
Mexican War 3
Civil War 74
Spanish-American War 5
Korean War 1
The Daughters of the American Revolution have placed commemorative plaques
on the gravestones of the Revolutionary War soldiers. Among the Revolutionary
War soldiers buried in the cemetery, it is believed that one of these was a
bodyguard of George Washington’s during the war.
Mrs. Chris Reece