Byrd Cemetery, Highland County, Ohio

Location: Highland County, Ohio
Latitude: 39.074235
Longitude: -83.3904686

Byrd Cemetery is the final resting place for some members of the family of Coleman and Sarah K. Fry Gillilan, including ancestors and descendants. You will find additional information about Coleman, born in Jackson Co., Ohio and his wife Sarah elsewhere in the Gillilan Trails library and forum. More information about Sarah's very interesting family is forthcoming. -- Kate

Photos and notes provided by John Benintendi, living descendant of Coleman and Sarah K. (Fry) Gillilan.

John writes: The village of Sinking Spring -- founded by Sarah (Fry) Gillilan's grandfather, Jacob Hiestand -- is very small, consisting of a few four-way stop crossings. The major crossing is the intersection of State Route 41 (which runs roughly southwest and northeast) and State Route 124, which is a northwest to southeast road. There is a convenience store at this intersection and that is basically the town. It consists of some homes along the side streets and State Route 41.

One block north of this intersection is Grand St. Once you turn west onto Grand St. you come to a four-way stop. On the northwest corner of that stop is the Sinking Spring Rural School, which was built in 1922. Just to the west behind the school is the parking lot for the cemetery. You go up a little incline to the parking area, which is near a small park with a swing set and a basketball court. You will walk about 100 yards to the cemetery.

The cemetery is on the northwest side of town. It is approximately 50 yards north to south by 75-80 yards east to west. The entrance to the park is though a gate that is on the east side.

The cemetery is surrounded by a nice white fence and has a stately monument to Charles Willing Byrd, second governor of Ohio, in the front. The setting is very quiet and there is quite a view. There is easy access to the cemetery since this is a very small town.

In the center of the cemetery, next to the north fence, is a tall headstone with the name John Amen. The name of John Amen faces south. Immediately to its north, next to the fence, is the headstone for Sarah K. Amen and Coleman Gillilan. The names on the headstone face west. There are other headstones of the Fry family just to the south of the John Amen headstone.

(Click on a thumb for larger image.)

John Amen Closeup

John Amen

The marker for John and Melinda (Craighead) Amen, parents of Coleman's wife Sarah. The Amens, of Swiss origins, originally spelled the surname as Ammen. John, born April 9, 1799 at Botetourt County, Virginia, was an ardent abolitionist and involved with the underground railroad. He died on 27 December, 1887.

Melinda Craighead Amen

A closeup of the weathered inscription for Melinda Craighead Amen. Melinda's father was a Kentuckian with aristocratic notions who disapproved of his daughter's marriage to John Amen, who at the time was working as a clerk in his brother-in-law's store at Georgetown, in neighboring Brown County. Melinda passed away in 1866.

Coleman and Sarah

Sarah K. (Fry) Gillilan, 1839-1903
Coleman Gillilan, 1837-1908

The stone for Coleman and Sarah Gillilan, which is located next to the stone for John and Melinda Amen.

Coleman Family

The stones for Coleman and Sarah and that of her parents, side by side.

Daniel Amen

Catharine Amen

The stones for Sarah's grandfather, Daniel Amen, and Catharine (Heistand) Amen, her grandmother.

Joseph Kerr Fry

The marker for Joseph Kerr Fry, the first husband of Coleman's wife Sarah. Joseph, a son of Kentucky-born Joseph Fry and his second wife Jane (Kerr), died at the too-young age of 26.

Byrd Cemetery 1    Byrd Cemetery 2    Byrd Cemetery 3

Landscape shots of Byrd Cemetery and its surrounding countryside. The Amen and Gillilan stones can be seen in the background.

John's additional genealogical notes:

The daughter of Sarah K. Fry (born Amen) and her first husband, Joseph Kerr Fry, was Margaret. After Coleman and Sarah K. Fry married, they had 4 children - Grace, Bertha, Robert and Harry. Grace married Daniel B. Jones in May 1894 and Margaret Grace Jones was born on January 28, 1895. Grace Gillilan Jones died on February 6, 1895. Margaret Grace went to live with her Aunt Margaret Wilson who raised her. Margaret Grace went on to marry James Knox Hansee, Sr. and had children including Sally Jane Hansee, who is my mother.

Three of Coleman and Sarah's children - Bertha, Robert and Harry - did not marry and are buried together at Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth, Scioto Co., Ohio. That cemetery report can also be found in the Gillilan Trails library.