In 1826, when Cleveland's first cemetery closed, Cleveland village trustees paid Leonard Case Sr. one dollar for eight acres of land and dedicated it as the Erie Street Cemetery. Built on what became prime property, the cemetery touched off a century long struggle between residents and local government. In 1836, trustees allotted space in the cemetery for a gunpowder magazine and a poorhouse infirmary. Angry heirs of the original lot owners claimed infringement of covenant and sued Cleveland, but lost. During the early 1900s Mayor Tom Johnson's administration tried to take back cemetery land and failed. Later pressure from the Pioneers' Memorial Association and City Manager William Hopkins caused the planned Lorain Carnegie Bridge to avoid Erie Street Cemetery. Struggles to confiscate land ended, but the city neglected the cemetery. In 1939, The Early Settler's Association restored the cemetery and erected a stone wall around it. (continued on other side)
(continued from other side) There are a number of notable people buried in the Erie Street Cemetery. Revolutionary War soldiers Gamaliel Fenton and Asahel Tuttle and Native Americans Chief Joc-O-Sot (Sauk) and Chief Thunderwater (Oghema) were interred here. Cleveland mayors Joshua Mills (1838-1840 and 1842-1843) and John W. Allen (1841-1842)
were laid to rest here as were members of the first family in Cleveland Lorenzo and Rebecca Carter. Minerva White, who died in 1827, was the first to be buried in the cemetery. John Malvin, a freed slave, activist in the Underground Railroad, and canal boat operator was buried here. He and his wife Harriet were charter members of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland and prevented the church from becoming segregated. There is also an unmarked common grave for victims of the 1847 Griffith Disaster and a marked common grave for several victims of the 1916 (crib #5) waterworks tunnel explosion.