Writing of Stephen Winget seems very much like introducing an old friend. For the last seven years he has been a part of my life every May.
When the new elementary school was opened in 2011, the Plain City Historical Society recognized an opportunity to introduce our elementary students to their new neighbors in the Darby Township Cemetery across the street. We developed a tour which we have conducted for third graders every May as part of their local history studies. We visit several graves and discuss the individual’s lives as well as pioneer life, symbols found in cemeteries and the three words to remember in any cemetery: love, honor and respect.
Every tour begins at the graves of Stephen Winget and his wife Hannah, because Stephen’s burial is the first one known to have taken place in the cemetery.
Stephen Winget was born in June 1774 in Morris Township, New Jersey. Hannah Cary was born in 1775 in Pennsylvania. Stephen later moved to Pennsylvania, met Hannah, and they were married about 1794. They lived in Greene and Washington counties, where their first three children were born. They were Ezra (1795), William (1797) and Phoebe (1799).
Around 1800 the family moved to Marietta, where their son Calvin was born in 1801. In 1802 they came to Madison County, where their last two children were born, David C. in 1803 and Stephen in 1805.
Stephen Winget died on March 7, 1807, whether from illness or injury is unknown. The oldest part of the cemetery was land given for that purpose by Titus Dort in 1812. We do not know whether the Wingets lived in the immediate vicinity or whether Stephen was first buried elsewhere and later interred here. (If any Winget descendants can answer some of these questions, the Plain City Historical Society would be very grateful.)
After Stephen’s death the family moved to what is now Union County. Hannah, unusually for that time and place, never remarried, and when she died, in October of 1860, she was buried beside Stephen in what was then known as the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. There are still Winget descendants living around Marysville and Plain City.
The tombstones now marking the Wingets’ graves are relatively modern. There are several examples in the cemetery of a single monument erected to “Mother and Father,” and this type of stone may have been the original memorial for the couple in 1860. Whatever type of monument it was, over the years it must have deteriorated to the point that it was replaced by the current stones, probably in the 1960s or 1970s.
Stephen Winget’s story is typical of many that one finds in doing historical and genealogical research. The statistical information is for the most part not difficult to locate but trying to flesh out the “born-married-children-died” basics can be a real challenge. As I mentioned before, if any Winget descendants have any further information on the family, the Plain City Historical Society would love to have it. May is fast approaching, and it would be wonderful to have some new material to share with the third graders.
Rosemary Anderson is the vice president of the Plain City Historical Society.
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