Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tombs with a View III: Coal Glen

Pleasant Township's Coal Glen Cemetery is eternally linked for me with my dad's unfailing --- often unjustified --- optimism about road conditions. We were headed here on back roads --- most Pleasant Township roads were and remain back roads --- on a Sunday afternoon following rain sometime in the 1960s.

Despite my mother's "Now Daniel, be careful," he was driving at a good clip toward the crest of a hill, up a narrow gravel road. We popped over the top --- and discovered too late that the gravel had ended at a driveway on the the crest and that the road surface had turned to mud on the downslope. This was before "gravel ends" signs dotted the landscape.

Slamming on the brakes would have resulted in a sideways slide, most likely into a ditch, so good though incautious drive that he was, Dad deaccelered and came to a stop on the next lesser rise, before the road dropped into the creek valley, and somehow managed to back out. I think my mother's only comment was, "I told you to be careful."

This isn't that road --- we were farther south --- but it is one of the current approach options to Coal Glen --- unless it's muddy --- up hill from the Cedar Creek valley. Coal Glen is located in the hills bordering Cedar Creek to the north, just across the valley from Stoneking Cemetery. If it's muddy, don't try this approach. Just drive farther east on the main road, turn north, turn west and finally turn south. But be careful --- gravel ends at the cemetery entrance.

Coal Glen is named generally after the glen, but specifically for Coal Glen Methodist Episcopal Church, organized in this neighborhood during August of 1874. The church was built in 1875, its front door facing south toward the valley. The cemetery reportedly was platted the same year, just north of the church. Most of those buried here are early Coal Glen members and their descendants.

When we arrived here that long-ago Sunday, the church church building still was standing although not in use. I remember the wood stove planted squarely in the middle of the building with benches arranged in a circle around it --- what apparently had been the winter configuration of the congregation.

Restoring Coal Glen Church had been a labor of love for Young Pearson, a Lucas County Historical Society organizer who descended from one of its families. He is buried here. Sadly, not long after our visit, the church was extensively vandalized and the decision was made to tear it down.

Unlike Stoneking, there are no fanciful ghost stores associated with Coal Glen. It's just a pleasant place to past time eternally --- with a view.


Mark McVey said...

One of my favorite memories of my Father comes from this wonderful place. He and my nephew were leaning on some stones taking a rest from documenting some of the markers... He asked me, "do you realize how many generations of the McVey family stand near here"? I looked at him and my nephew sitting and replied "I only see one"! We had several chuckles over the years about that!

Diann said...

I am a desendent of the McVey's. would like to visit the sometime. John Croft McVey is my 3 times Great Grandfather

Unknown said...

We visited Coal Glen Cemetery this past week. Drought dogs the landscape. Those hill and dell roads can give the heart a pitter patter. The view at the cemetery is fabulous. Getting some of those monuments there and set had to be a real chore. We were glad to find the relatives, a well-kept lawn, but sad the church was gone.

Unknown said...

I am also a descendant of the McVeys and would love to visit. Thanks for sharing this.

Unknown said...

My grandfather Smith Simmons is burried here,I would love to go visit someday.