Alexander Presbyterian Church & Alexander-Union Cemetery

Athens County, Ohio
Alexander Township
Located south of Athens, Ohio between Athens and Albany
Latitude: 39.2622955
Longitude: -82.1632015

Photos and notes contributed by Kate Maynard, 2013

The old Alexander Presbyterian Church, organized October 10, 1832, is among the oldest churches in the area. Once known as Cumberland Presbyterian, the adjoining cemetery was referred to as the old Cumberland Cemetery even through the 1980's. Today this resting place is called the Alexander-Union Cemetery.

The church and cemetery are quite easy to find, as they are situated on the east side of Route 50 with a full view of the property. There are several entrances to the cemetery from Hebbardsville Road, which borders the property to the west.

It took several visits for me to actually locate the Gillilan family gravesites as the cemetery is much larger than one might think, given the size of the church. Since the congregation has been organized there since 1832, you can imagine that many generations of some families are buried there. Many of these settlers are of old Scots-Irish stock who migrated to the area from Pennsylvania.

(Click on a thumb for larger image.)

Lewis and Lizzie Gillilan   

Lewis McClellan Gillilan (1863-1935) and wife Lizzie Carl McVay (1863-1947)

Lewis, a prominent educator, was a son of Lewis and Mary Alice (Clare) Gillilan and a grandson of James Gillilan Jr. and Margaret Boggs. His biography and obituary appear elsewhere in the Gilliland Trails library.

Lewis Gillilan children   

On the reverse of this stone is engraved the names of their children.

Paul Gillilan   

Paul McVay Gillilan (1890-1952) Son of Lewis and Lizzie Gillilan.

Mary Evans Gillilan   

Mary Evans (1891-1949) was the wife of Paul McVay Gillilan. There are many Evans in the area due to a sizeable immigration of Welsh settlers in the 19th C.

Ruth Claire Gillilan   

Ruth Clare Gillilan (1892-1974) and her husband, Charles Thornton Eakin

Ruth was a daughter of Lewis and Lizzie Gillilan. Charles was from Allentown, Pa. and died in Boulder, Colorado. His funeral service was held at Alexander Presbyterian.

Ruth and Charles Eakin's children   

On the reverse of their stone is engraved the names of their children.

Miriam Eakin   

Miriam Eakin Udang (1918-1976)

Daughter of Charles and Ruth (Gillilan) Eakin. "Teacher of Children, Teacher of Teachers."

Bertha Gillilan   

Bertha Elizabeth Gillilan (1899-1987) and husband Edwin Harvey Mitchell (1888-1953)

Bertha was a daughter of Lewis and Lizzie Gillilan.

Wallace Webster McVay   

Wallace Webster McVay (1841-1917) and wife Anna Pamela McCune (1839-1919)

Among their children was Lizzie, wife of Lewis McClellan Gillilan. The McVay family (also spelled McVey) came to Ohio from Washington County, Pennsylvania. The McCune family, also of the same place, had settled in Athens County by 1799.

Wallace McVay children   

On the reverse of the stone, the names of their children.

Bertha McVay   

Bertha Wallace McVay (1869-1940), daughter of Wallace and Anna (McCune) McVay.

Herbert and Grace McVay   

Herbert Russell McVay (1865-1931), son of Wallace and Anna McVay, and wife Grace Fullerton (1890-1958)

Gillilan-McVay Family Plot   

A view from the Gillilan/McVay family plots towards Hebbardsville Road.

Gillilan-McVay Family Plot   

A view from the Gillilan/McVay family plots towards the church.

Alexander Presbyterian Church

Alexander Presbyterian Church

Two views of old Alexander Presbyterian Church, still home to an active congregation.

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