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St. Joseph Cemetery Association
St. Joseph Cemetery, often refered to as New St. Joseph Cemetery, is located in the western hills of Cincinnati, Ohio. Nestled in a primarily residential area, the cemetery consists of 163 rolling acres and was once part of the Terry family farm.
The original St. Joseph Cemetery is located on 19.22 acres at what is now West Eighth Street and Enright Avenue. Purchased by Archbishop John B. Purcell in 1842, the land was divided, half for German Catholic burials and half for Irish Catholic burials.
|As the city of Cincinnati and the neighborhood of Price Hill grew, West Eighth Street was extended through the graveyard, making it necessary to relocate some burials. Most of the displaced graves and land belonged to the Irish portion of the cemetery. St. Joseph Cemetery Association retains jurisdiction and is responsible for care of the cemetery at the North West corner of West Eighth St. and Enright Ave.|
Purcell Purchases Land
|When all the lots were sold in the original St. Joseph, Archbishop Purcell bought 61.31 acres two miles west of the original site in 1853. Over the years, the cemetery has grown to 163 acres. Most of the people buried in the new grounds were of Irish and Italian descent. Since August 9, 1880, when incorporation took place, both properties fall under the auspices of The St. Joseph Cemetery Association. At that time, a single grave under four feet in length cost $4.00, over four feet $5.00. An adult internment in a plain grave was $2.00, in a box grave $3.00.|
|The second cholera epidemic to descend upon Cincinnati between 1849 and 1854 devastated the Catholic immigrant population. Some Protestants in those bygone days saw the disaster as "God's wrath on intemperate and irreverent Catholics." In reality,cholera spread due to overcrowded, unsanitary and substandard housing in the city's basin area and the West End.
People were dying at such an alarming rate that old St. Joseph Cemetery reached capacity, Archbishop Purcell's purchase of the new cemetery property was critical. Here, bodies of the cholera victims were laid to rest on top of one another. The situation within the city was so bad that often Delhi Township farmers taking produce to town were required to carry wagon loads of bodies to St. Joseph's on the way home. During this time, Cincinnati lost ten percent of it's population, most Catholic and all poor.
|For several generations, St. Joseph Cemetery was cared for by the Sullivan family. They lived in a large, red brick home on the grounds along Covedale Avenue. Another person long associated with the cemetery is Jim Casey who worked as a foreman until he was almost 80 years old. Casey left Ireland when he was 18 years old after his father told him their house was not big enough for two men.
Captain DeLaney, a long time employee at Spring Grove Cemetery, was hired at St. Joseph about the time the Civil War began. Answering the call for Union volunteers, DeLaney left his elaborate plans for the beautification of the cemetery in the hands of his capable wife. The captain, a member of Colonel Toland's regiment, was killed in battle in Wytheville, Virginia in 1863. Mrs. DeLaney became superintendent and worked diligently to carry out her husband's work. "Her devotion and zeal were remarkable", according to cemetery historians.
Ecclesiastical Resting Place
|The history of St. Joseph Cemetery is filled with colorful people and interesting stories. Within it's boundaries are found the remains of Bishop Edward D. Fenwick, a Dominican priest and the first bishop of Cincinnati; Archbishop William H. Elder, the third bishop of Cincinnati; and Archbishop Henry K. Moeller, the fourth bishop of Cincinnati.
Bishop Fenwick traveled extensively in the Midwest missionary territory of his day. Often he was gone for months at a time. He died of cholera in Wooster, Ohio in 1832 and was buried there immediately to prevent the spread of the dread disease.
|Six months later the bishop's remains were reburied in the first cathedral located on the spot of St. Xavier Church on Sycamore Street in downtown Cincinnati. In 1845-46, he was transferred to the site of the new cathedral, St. Peter In Chains at Eighth and Plum Streets, an in 1916 was relocated in the St. Joseph Cemetery mausoleum, having traveled as much in death as he did in life.
Archbishop Elder, when he was bishop of Natchez, Mississippi, attended Vatican 1. During the Civil War he was arrested by Union troops for refusing to pray for them from the pulpit. However, he also refused to pray for Confederate troops, believing the Church should be neutral. The courage and character of the gentle bishop showed itself in his stand. It was with the heart of a martyr that he went calmly into exile, and into a Louisiana prison until he was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln.
Archbishop Moeller was a "local boy made good". He was the first native son to lead the archdiocese. The Moeller years were noted for the number of churches and institutions that were built, including St. Rita School for the Deaf. He was particularly dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament. The Holy Name Society flourished in his tenure.
Priests and nuns of all times and orders are buried within the gates of the cemetery. Among them are Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, Little Sisters of the Poor, Brothers of the Poor of St. Francis, members of the Society of Jesus and diocesan priests. Well known and unknown are honored equally, including politicians, service men and women, sports figures and civic leaders. Among them is Xavier University president Paul L. O'Connor, S.J.
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