by GARY BUDZAK
Those who drive on Horseshoe Road in Delaware County may have wondered why there is a Marlborough Cemetery in what is Troy Township.
As many who live in the county know, there is a Marlboro Township north of Troy Township that borders Morrow County. Originally it was called Marlborough Township. Wikipedia said this is because many of the early settlers hailed from Marlborough, a town in southeastern New York. Marlborough itself was named after English soldier-statesman the Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722).
The Delaware County website notes Troy Township “was organized from Marlborough and Delaware townships on Dec. 24, 1816, with 16 landowners.”
Marlborough Cemetery is at the intersection of Horseshoe and Leonardsburg roads, also known as county roads 220 and 221. Local historian Judy Burdette writes in the November Troy Township newsletter that many of the early roads in Troy Township followed Native American hunting paths, including the upper portion of Horseshoe Road. Leonardsburg was a later manmade road by settlers.
The Marlborough Baptist Church was built in 1815 as a log cabin where the Olentangy and Whetstone rivers converged. It was rebuilt as a brick church in 1871. After being destroyed by a tornado, it was rebuilt as a frame structure in 1916.
After World War II, a federal dam project at the current Delaware State Park displaced a couple hundred families in Troy Township. Some homes in the flood plain were moved, Burdette writes.
“The Marlborough Church was also moved to its present location, along with its churchyard cemetery,” Burdette writes. “The new cemetery included two smaller family cemeteries; the larger of the two was the Dix family cemetery. The Army Corps of Engineers took extreme care in the cemetery removal. They carefully mirrored the location of burials when they were individually moved with reverence, sometimes with their family involved … Many eventually returned to their beloved Troy Township and are today at rest in Marlborough and Pleasant Hill cemeteries.”
The move took place in 1948.
“The church’s name was shortened to Marlboro by its parishioners of the time, while the cemetery retained the original Marlborough spelling,” Burdette writes.
“This cemetery was probably a church cemetery at the beginning,” wrote genealogist Dick Browning in 2004. “It is situated in the churchyard of the Marlboro Church. The name spelling varies with the person who is spelling it. Many love to shorten the name.
“Marlborough Cemetery is now owned and operated by Troy Township under a board of trustees,” Browning continued. “It is very well maintained.”
Trustee Mark Malcom oversees the cemeteries. Troy Township has three of them: Marlborough, Pleasant Hill at 1601 Kelly McMaster Road, and Troy Chapel, next to the township hall along U.S. Route 23 North. The Cemetery Fund was $56,000 in the 2020 budget. The trustees report they were able to use a state grant for tree trimming and removal at Marlborough and Pleasant Hill, as well as stump grinding.
“The township replaced the 50-plus year old tractor with a more efficient and safe loader, tiller tractor which will be kept at Marlboro Cemetery,” the township’s newsletter reads.
Cemetery Sexton Dale Woods said earlier in the year that they “have been experiencing excessive littering in and around our cemeteries and would ask for your help in monitoring this issue. As per cemetery rules: Artificial flowers, winter wreathes or grave blankets are permitted on the headstone or flower bed from Nov. 1 to March 1.” However, “shepherd hooks are no longer permitted.”
In the November newsletter, Woods said, “We have serviced 11 family members, of which three were cremations, and sold four plots since the beginning of 2020. Thanks to everyone for their pleasant remarks and efforts towards the appearance of our cemeteries. We appreciate it very much.”
The Delaware County Historical Society’s Cryder Research Library has historical maps, books, and family histories to aid your research.