Clinton County Historical Society Welcome

Notable Veteran Burials
at Sugar Grove Cemetery, Wilmington, OH

At a special board meeting of the Board of Trustees of Sugar Grove Cemetery on March 25,1862, the following resolution was presented and approved.

“Resolved that lot number 130 in section number one containing 2030 square feet valued at $203.00 be and hereby is set apart and donated for the interment of volunteer soldiers from Clinton County."

Brigadier General James W. Denver, Obelisk
Born in Virginia in 1817, Denver and his family moved to Wilmington in 1831. He received his law degree in 1844 from the Cincinnati Law School.  In 1846, when America was at war with Mexico, Denver enlisted and subsequently received a commission of Captain from President James K. Polk.  In 1849, with the discovery of gold in California, he led a wagon train of 34 people out to California along the Oregon Trail. Staying in California he began his political career. In 1851 he was elected to the California State Senate; in 1853 he was appointed California Secretary of State and elected to the U.S. Congress.  In 1857, Denver was assigned as Acting Governor of the Kansas Territory.   The Kansas Territory included the area that was to become the state of Colorado.  When it came time to name a city in Colorado, they named it after the Governor, Denver.

In 1861, James W. Denver was appointed Union Brigadier General of Volunteers by Abraham Lincoln.   He resigned in 1863, and later opened a law firm in Washington D.C.  Denver died on August 9, 1892 and was buried in Sugar Grove Cemetery.  Denver’s obelisk was the tallest in the cemetery when erected.

According to the November 30, 1899 newspaper: “For several days last week, Dan Stout, under the general direction of Mr. Harsha, the marble man, was engaged in removing from the Midland station and setting up in Sugar Grove Cemetery, the Rombach-Denver monument. A portable engine belonging to Asa Starbuck was used to make the transfer.  The shaft, the heaviest piece, is said to weigh seventeen tons. The monument will be the largest and finest in the cemetery, which is saying much, as there are many fine ones.”

Commodore William E. Fitzhugh, Obelisk
William E. Fitzhugh was born in Clinton County in 1832.  On November 20, 1848, at the age of 15, Fitzhugh entered the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, where he graduated with honors.  His military career spanned from 1848 until his death in 1889.  His career includes:
1854 – Promoted to and passed midshipmen
1855 – Promoted to Master
1855 – Commissioned lieutenant
1862 – Commissioned lieutenant-commander
1861-1862 – He was assigned to the sloop “St. Mary,” Pacific squadron
1862- 1863 – He was assigned to steam sloop “Iroquois” North Atlantic Squadron
1864 – He was assigned to West gulf blockading squadron
1864 – Engagement with Ft. Morgan
1864-1865 – Commanded steamer “Quiachita” Mississippi squadron
1865 – Received surrender of Rebel forces on Red River
1876 -  Commissioned captain
1887 – Commissioned commodore
1887 – Was on court of inquiry at Yokohama, Japan
1889 – President of a board for sea trial of new cruiser “Yorktown”
1889 – Commanding officer at New London, Connecticut
Commodore Fitzhugh died on August 10, 1899.  His obelisk was erected sometime after Denver’s and may be equal in height.

Azariah W. Doan, (Section 1, Lot 131)
Azariah W. Doan was born in Wilmington on December 17, 1824.  Of Quaker origins, Doan was admitted to practice law in June 1853.  Judge Doan, assisted Judge Harlan in raising Company B, 12th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was the first company offered to the State in reply to President Lincoln’s call for 75, 000 men.  The company was later re-organized and Lt. Colonel Doan led the new company, the 79th.  Doan became a Brigadier General for meritorious conduct on the battlefield at Averysborough, North Carolina.  In 1875 he was elected Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.  Doan was often referred to as “The Fighting Quaker.”  He held yearly reunions for members of the 79th. 

Unknown Soldier, (Section 2)
In 1867, a soldier returning home by train after the Civil War died near Wilmington without anyone knowing his name or address. He was buried at Sugar Grove and in 1890 the GAR provided a headstone marked “Unknown Soldier.”

Mary Taylor Adams (1838-1927), (Section 2, Lot 57)
Adams was the first nurse from Ohio to volunteer for service in the Civil War.  She enlisted on April 13, 1861 at the age of 23 and served until the war ended.

James, John and Peter Hart, Soldier's Point
Born to Levi and Matilda Hart, brothers James, John and Peter Hart are all buried at Soldier’s Point.  The brothers enlisted in the Colored Troops in May, July and August 1864 and were all mustered out in September 1865.  Also buried at Soldier’s Point is Robert Hart.  It is unsure whether he is a brother or a relative.