Presbyterians Mark 150th Birthday in Unique Ways

Birthdays and anniversaries are celebrated in many ways, usually with parties, balloons, cake, ice cream and presents. However, members of the First Presbyterian Church in Barnesville have chosen a non-festive way to observe their church's 150th birthday. They have undertaken the job of cleaning up and restoring "Old Ireland" Cemetery where the very first Presbyterians in the township were buried in the early 1800s. It is located in Sec. 24 of Warren Township, northwest of Barnesville.

The cemetery is nearly 200 years old and has been landlocked for nearly the last 30 years. When a group from the Belmont County Genealogical Society visited it in 1979 to record information from the grave markers, the cemetery had significant damage ti it by fallen trees and overgrowth. Since access to the burial ground has been impossible for the past 30 years due to strip mining, much more deterioration has taken place.

With permission from Jeffco Mining Resources to travel through their leased land to get to the cemetery, members of the Presbyterian Church and Warren Township Trustees will embark on a clean-up restoration project in May. Names of familiar families buried in Old Ireland are Buchanan, Kennon, McCoy, Daugherty, Griffith and Griffen. It is estimated at least 90 graves are under the fallen trees and under myrtle covered sod.

Work on this 150th birthday project is set for May 8 and 9 and May 15, 16 and 17. All efforts will be contingent upon weather.

Concluding the anniversary year's observance will be Homecoming Weekend, June 20-21. On Saturday, June 20, the church congregation, returning former members and guests will enjoy a Birthday Picnic at the Rotary shelter in Memorial Park beginning at 4 p.m.

Sunday morning, June 21, the worship service will have several special features, followed by refreshments in the Elva Nuzum room.