Union Cemetery Vault
Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio
Clinton Township

Union Cemetery Vault
Union Cemetery vault 1929

The Union Cemetery receiving vault or "Dead House" was a structure used to temporarily store the deceased until a grave could be dug. The vault was most often used during cold weather when digging graves by hand was impossible because the ground was frozen.

Receiving vault structures built on level ground were most often sunken and the ground mounded over top, giving the appearance of a hill.

Union Cemetery Vault
Union Cemetery vault 1929

The Union Cemetery vault was designed by J. N. Beemer, Civil Engineer, and built by contractor John Dale in 1879 at a cost of $923.00, excluding the door. Union Cemetery Association raised money for the construction by offering subscriptions, a program in which individuals could pay in advance for future use of the vault for loved ones. A list of subscribers to the vault subscription program is as follows:

Alkire, Amelia
Bacon, John
Beem, E. D., Dr.
Beem, William
Bickett, Eliza, Mrs.
Brevoort, Henry
Carhart, Stephen
Carlisle, Gideon
Cook, H. C.
Grim, B. F.
Grim, John W.
Hess, D. & P.

Hess, Henry
Keller, Aaron
Kiner, Henry
Kiner, Jacob, Sr.
Lake, Mary, Mrs.
Legg, Lewis
Maize, Erwin
Maize, Samuel
McClintock, J. W.
McClintock, William
McCoy, A.
Pegg, E. W.
Rodlesberger, Peter
Rushmer, Benjamin
Sadsteter, Joseph
Shattuck, Flora
Slyh, Jacob
Slyh, John
Spencer, James
Spencer, Parrot
David Stults
Weber, George
Webster, Elizabeth

The trustees of Union Cemetery Association voted on 13 Apr 1891 to not allow decedents who died of scarlet fever, diptheria, small pox, or measles in the vault.

The Union Cemetery vault was used from 1879 to 1929 when it was removed and the ground leveled and platted for graves. Minutes of a meeting of the Union Cemetery trustees dated 08 Apr 1929 recorded the writing on the tablet of the vault [most likely the rectangular stone above the doorway]:

vault tablet inscription

Photos courtesy of Union Cemetery Association

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Written by Lauren Clark
copyright 2018