On the following pages, you will find some of the burials in the Union City Cemetery.
Even though these pages contain 3,314 entries, this is by far not a complete listing.
To better understand the process and customs of death in the early days, Billy Baker found this most interesting article telling of the customs surrounding the deaths of our pioneer ancestors.
Source: Union City Times-Gazette, Monday, January 12 1942
In the pioneer days of this community when a person died the body was laid on what was called a "cooling board" until a coffin could be made. Some friend or neighbor would take a stick and measure the body, then take the measurements to someone in the neighborhood who made coffins.
The coffin was made out of plain lumber, usually poplar, oak or walnut. Sometime it was lined with white muslin, but generally without lining. Sometimes the shavings which were left from the making were placed at the head of the coffin and covered with a white cloth, making a pillow on which to rest the head.
The corpse was not embalmed, but friends would keep cloths wet with cold water of camphor over the face. Of course the body could not be kept long; usually over night. Neighbors would come to stay with the family and attend to the body.
If the family were fortunate enough to have a mirror hanging on the wall of their little cabin it was covered up so that no one could see the corpse in the "looking glass," for that would have meant bad luck.
If a child died it was nearly always buried in white, if an adult, friends generally made a shroud of black material. Sometimes the individual was buried in his "good clothes" that he had worn while living, but more than likely just plain homespun.
When it was time for the funeral the lid was nailed on the coffin and it was placed on a big wagon, usually covered with a white sheet, oftimes the family and some friends riding in the same wagon.
A procession of friends in wagons followed, for the whole neighborhood would go to a funeral.
Friends always volunteered to dig the grave on the family burying ground, sometimes on the farm where the person had lived. Graves were often dug down to a certain depth in a retangular shape much larger than the coffin, then finished another depth of the coffin its size and shape, leaving a little bank of dirt on all sides. Heavy boards, the ends resting on this solid earth, were laid across from side to side, thus forming a crude vault. They never had the extra box in those days.
When the funeral arrived they would take the lines from the harness and lower the coffin into the grave.
Sometimes the funeral service was not held for several months after the death of the person, as they could not procure a preacher until the circuit rider of that district made his round, and since he went on horseback and had to cover several districts this was not often.
Then to mark the final resting place of their loved one they would go to a nearby field and get a boulder to be used as a marker. Sometimes memory alone marked the spot. We call them "cold pioneers." Perhaps this is because we knew only those who lived more than the alloted time of man. But as one walks through these old burying grounds, reading the inscriptions on the stones which record dates, he is astonished to see that so many of them died before the age of forty.
They did the best they could, and did nobly. Who could have done better?
This article was accompanied by the below poem:
It seemeth such a little way to me,
I can not make it seem a day to dread,
I never stand above a bier and see,
And so to me there is no sting to death,