In 1817, Nathaniel Wilson III set aside land along the east side of his property in Hocking Township as a family burial ground. To protect the site, Wilson began construction of the sandstone walls in 1838, situating them in the shape of a dodecagon. Sadly, Nathaniel Wilson died on May 12, 1839, and did not live to see the walls completed. His youngest son, Gustin, finished the construction of the cemetery’s wall, which is considered to be one of the best examples of dry-stone masonry in Ohio.
Hoping to preserve the area from vandalism, Nathaniel Wilson III enlisted the help of Thomas Ewing to convey the cemetery to President James Monroe. On October 24, 1817, the land was deeded to President Monroe and his successors forever in trust for Nathaniel Wilson and heirs for their use as a family cemetery. No evidence has been found that President Monroe ever accepted the deed; however, for many years it had been the tradition of Fairfield County officials to notify each new president that he was the trustee of the cemetery, thereby giving Stonewall the local nickname of “The President’s Cemetery.”
Ownership of the cemetery was returned to Fairfield County in 1960, and in 1966 the Fairfield Heritage Association acquired the site, restored it and opened it for viewing in 1978. However, the cemetery was repeatedly vandalized and eventually came under the care of the Hocking Township Trustees until the Fairfield County Historical Parks Commission acquired it in 1998.
Directions and Map
Stonewall Cemetery is located at 2375 Stone Wall Cemetery Road, SW, in Lancaster, Ohio.
From the corner of Main and Broad Streets in Lancaster, Ohio, head west on Main Street/Lincoln Avenue for about 2 1/2 miles. Turn left onto Stonewall Cemetery Road and continue for another half mile. The cemetery entrance will be on your right.
- Early cemetery of one of Fairfield County’s first families to settle in the area.
- Unique 12-sided sandstone walls constructed without mortar surround the cemetery.
- Serene location perfect for quiet reflection.
- Parking lot that can accommodate 4-5 cars or one bus.
This park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.