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Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Area cemetery dispute ends

By Janie Southard
Butler Township trustees recently purchased the Burntwood Cemetery, ending an ownership dispute that has spanned many months.
At their Monday night meeting trustees announced they have purchased the 104-feet-by-140-feet cemetery, established in the 1860s, from local farmer Dale Schmitmeyer for $700.
Due to cloudy deed transfers and land descriptions over the past 150 years, three groups believed they owned the cemetery, according to Mercer County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society member Merl Brookhart, Butler Township, and the heirs of Elmer Barker and Schmitmeyer.
Although no one accused Schmitmeyer of wrong doing, all have said his surveyor picked up incorrect information from court house records. The society has claimed all along those old records are incorrect.
No one has ever farmed the cemetery property and it has always existed as a cemetery. What the society has championed for 19 months is that the cemetery always be kept and protected.
Now that the trustees have purchased the property, society members are satisfied.
"Yes, we're happy. This is what we've wanted all along," said Carolyn Brandon, society member. "The trustees have assured us that posts will be set at the corners and in the center line to keep the cemetery safe from (farming) equipment turns and swings," she told the newspaper after Monday night's township meeting.
"We want the cemetery to remain undisturbed," she added.
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