|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
East Lawn Cemetery is an early burying ground for the settlement of Mantua Center, Ohio. Both the settlement and the burying ground date from the early 1800s, when pioneers removed from New England to the Western Reserve of Connecticut, specifically what is now Portage County, Ohio. Named Mantua Center because it was at the geographical center of the rectangular area surveyed as Mantua Township, it was the area with first white settlement in the county, when Abram S. Honey built a log cabin in the fall of 1798. The community of Mantua Center built a village green with common buildings, much of which still stands and would be recognizable to 19th century residents.
The cemetery is at the southern edge of the village green, behind two church buildings. The town hall with is distinctive dome is within sight, and the village green is now a shady park with picnic tables and veterans memorials. It is a picturesque snapshot of early Western Reserve history, with a distinct New England flavor. The west border of the cemetery, on Mantua Center Road, is an old stone wall built by Horace Sizer in 1835. An Ohio Historical Marker on the green provides more historical context.
There are about 300 stone markers in the cemetery, which have been transcribed and photographed on several websites including FindaGrave. A full sweep of the cemetery was done July 6, 2014 and any missing photographs or memorials were added to FindaGrave.
The surnames that represent the early settlers are familiar as roads, businesses, and towns in Portage County, and include such families as Bissell, Cann, Canfield, Carlton, Converse, Harmon, Jones, King, Ladd, McElwain, Merryfield, Messenger, Moore, Nooney, Reed, Root, Sanford, Sheldon, Sizer, Stitt, and Wilcox. Perhaps the most recognizable burial is that of Zenas Kent, Sr., Revolutionary War solider, who was the grandfather of the namesake of the city of Kent, Ohio, and the great-grandfather of the namesake of Kent State University.
Visiting: The village green of Mantua Center, including East Lawn Cemetery, is at the crossroads of Mantua Center Road (north-south) and Route 82 (east-west). Diagonal Road coming from Kent also ends near the cemetery, just south of the crossroads. The town hall building is an historical society, and there are benches on the green to have a picnic. Parking is plentiful, off-road, and free in the church and park lots. The cemetery is surrounded by a fence, but there is an latched-but-unlocked iron gate. The cemetery closes at sundown. Food and gas are available in Mantua Village, a few miles to the south and east.
Confusions: Please note that this is not an active cemetery, and there are no new burials. Late 20th or 21st century burials are likely to be mistakenly added to this cemetery. There are several similar historical and modern place names nearby, such as Mantua Corners, Mantua Township, and Mantua Station. Modern death certificates might list "Mantua" or "Mantua Corners" as the burial location for Westview Cemetery (about a half mile west of East View) or Hillside Cemetery, southeast in the village of Mantua, both active cemeteries. There is also a nearby Pioneer Cemetery that includes other early settlers' families with the same surnames as in this cemetery, but is a different location.
More information about the history of Mantua and the occupants of East Lawn Cemetery is available in the book, History of Portage County, Ohio, published by Warner, Beers & Co, Chicago, 1885, and available full text online.