Parma Union Cemetery

The History of The Parma Union Cemetery


If Tears Could Build a Stairway And Memories A Lane I'd Walk Right Up To Heaven And Bring You Home Again.The following history information was taken from the book "Pioneer History of Hilton, Parma and Ogden" written by Shirley Cox Husted.

Many other prominent Parma Center residents have come and gone, and most of them lie in Parma Union Cemetery. Just a "stones throw" from the community itself. Before they needed schools and churches, the pioneers needed cemeteries, and it was logical that the first cemetery should be located on the Atchinson settlement, where it still stands today. Among the other cemeteries were Hoosic cemetery, the old cemetery on Moul Road, the Wright cemetery on the southeast corner of Dunbar Road and the Parma-Hamlin Townline, the Knapp cemetery on Parma-Clarkson Townline between the Peck and Ireland Roads, The Parma Corners cemetery, the Smith cemetery corner of North Avenue and Dunbar Road, the Castle cemetery on Peck Road and the one in Hilton, next to the present Mrs. William Wheeler home on East Avenue. No dates could be located on their origins, since they were mainly private cemeteries. Since 1853, Parma Union Cemetery has been the townships public cemetery. Previous to the date, familie usually buried their dead on their farms.

The mist of time has shrouded from recorded history the names of the founders of the burying ground, written records reporting only that June 15, 1853, "Certain residents of the Town of Parma, Having no convenient place for the burial of their dead, formed the Parma Union Cemetery Association." Soon afterward, they voted to purchase 2 acres from the southeast corner of the Loton Hitchcock farm on Parma Center Road. The land sold for the staggering sum of $300. (Now the sale of lots alone brings over $1,000 annually.)

Johnson Service was the first president of the association. He served four years. The first secretary was Chauncey Azor Knox, grandfather of G.E. Odell of Parma Center, and great-grandfather of Arthur Odell of Hazen Street, Hilton.

The first burial in the new-born cemetery was that of Edward Newton, son of William B. Newton, who became the cemetery association's second president, serving in that capacity for 43 years. He was the father of Mrs. C. A. Odell of Parma Center.

In 1900, William H. Denniston, proprietor of the corner store, became president of the association. Hansford Bass of Hilton succeeded him and server until 1918, when Edson Taber took office. Mr. Taber served until 1931, when George Lee assumed office. He kept his post faithfully for many years, with Orange Green as his secretary.

The first board of trustees was composed of Aaron Blackman, Issac Chase, Peter VanZile, Albert VanVoorhis, Christopher Lester, Austin Phelps and Judge J. E. Patterson.

As the early residents of "The Hub" passed on, so did the business life of the once-thriving community, when, in 1876, a railroad was laid through Hilton, drawing business away from Parma Center. Often one man has changed the course of history, and so it was with Parma Center. One man, Charles Efner, was responsible for bringing the railroad to Hilton. It had been mapped out to go right through Parma Center between the E. Twentymon and Elwood Kanous properties. Moving it north to intersect Hilton instead, soon took major business there and spelled the doom of Parma Center, while it brought the boom of Hilton!