Franklin Township Historical Society News Articles

By Sabrina Schnarrenberg              May 18, 2017                         The Clermont Sun

The Franklin Township Historical Society would like to thank the Franklin Township Trustees and the community members for passing the Cemetery Levy. Cemetery restoration has begun on the Smyrna Cemetery just outside of Felicity. Smyrna was a community founded by the Rankin Family and the Presbyterians in 1808; the most recent stone is of an infant who passed in 1816.

At one time there was a log church which is now gone, that we hope to one day rebuild. Left behind is a cemetery with 161 graves, many of the headstones in such disrepair cemetery restoration coordinator Jim Shafer likens it to a jigsaw puzzle. He and Mike Clephane have been hard at work for since May 6th to identify graves and markers. So far eight Civil War soldiers graves have been identified, many of the headstones are still missing. Four of the identified Veteran’s graves are from the US Colored Troops.

Previous restoration attempts have caused further damage to the stones; some bases are cemented together using markers from other headstones. Many grave markers were buried under a foot of dirt, those come out in near pristine condition much to the excitement of Jim and Mike. Other grave markers were used to prop up graves or as filler for sunken graves. One such collapsed grave contained broken headstones from at least four other graves and field rock.

Some graves are so far back in the woods and brush that Jim and Mike are going to have to call in assistance. Funds from the cemetery restoration project have been used to buy gravestone restoration kits and are paying Jim and Mike for their time. Both say they are volunteering as many hours as they get paid for and they both expressed excitement at the chance to renovate the cemetery. Once they complete Smyrna Cemetery they are moving on to Felicity Cemetery which needs repairs to fencing, however most graves are in excellent condition.

Paranormalists routinely visit the Smyrna Cemetery claiming that it is haunted by the glowing grave of “Sweet Lips.” The cemetery is cited as a haunted location by Rick Crawford in his book, “Uneasy Spirits”.

The Franklin Township Historical Society would like to put together a group of volunteers to help clean up the graves and document stones. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to have more information please contact Jim at 513 673-3253.


By Linda Poe                         June 25, 2015                         The Clermont Sun

Mount Olive Cemetery Clean Up

Members of the Franklin Township Historical Society have been very busy this past year.  Several members have been busy cleaning up the 1782 Mount Olive Cemetery.  They have cut down trees, removed weeds, installed a new fence and have begun the process of cleaning the monuments.   Volunteers are needed to keep the cemetery maintained and to finish the  monument cleaning.

Members are visiting the township to locate historic houses.  So, far they have completed 2 out of 11 sections of the township.  They begin with a drive through the area and note the addresses of houses that were built around 1900.   Clermont County Auditor’s web site is used to verify the age  and owner of the house.  Then a visit to the house is made, information is collected and photos are taken to compile a directory of historic houses in the township.

Franklin Township will soon celebrate its 200th birthday we will begin working on plans for the celebration.  

If you are interested in our community’s history or becoming a member, Feel free to come join us.

Franklin Township Historical Society’s next meeting is September  19, 2015 at 9 AM at the community building in Felicity, Ohio.