CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — The gravestone of a man who lived in the 18th century has been found in Cuyahoga Falls.
Two men discovered the gravestone while walking along the Cuyahoga River last month. On Monday, firefighters from Cuyahoga Falls extracted the stone from the riverbank.
According to a release from the city, the name etched on the stone is Thadius Peck (1711-1781). The gravestone weighs over 200 pounds and measures 24”x15”x6." It will be housed at the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society for study.
“As a lifelong resident of the City of Cuyahoga Falls, I have always been intrigued with the founding of our city and how it came to be,” said Mayor Don Walters in a statement. “I am hopeful that this discovery can shed additional light on who once occupied the area that is now our city and when.”
The city says the stone was first spotted last month by Richard and John Ryan, who were on a walk in a clearing across the river from the Cuyahoga Falls boat launch on Front Street. The two were looking for a old fishing spot they used to visit. After noticing what was described as an “odd-shaped stone,” they realized that there was etching on the stone and then cleaned moss and brush off, revealing the gravestone. They then contacted the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society.
According to scholars, Cuyahoga Falls was founded in 1812. It is known that the Connecticut Western Reserve began settlement around 1796. This would place Thadius Peck in the area pre-Western Reserve.
“We know that the Peck surname is an early surname associated with the Western Reserve in the Cuyahoga Falls area with Sherman Peck as the city’s first Marshall and Julius S. Peck, who owned a large parcel of land downriver near the Gorge,” said Shawn Andrews, Board Member of the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society. “The Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society is excited to continue researching the provenance of Thadius Peck’s stone.”
Once the discovery was made, the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society contacted the University of Akron and enlisted the help of Maeve Marino, historical archaeologist for Stewards of Historical Preservation, and Dr. John A. Peck from the Department of Geosciences to study the stone.
The city of Cuyahoga Falls was called on to extract the stone safely. The city contacted the Army Corps of Engineers, who stated that that there were no permissions necessary to remove the stone. To help solve the mystery of how the gravestone came to be embedded on the riverbank of the Cuyahoga River, cemetery preservationist Krista Horrocks from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office is being consulted as the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society works to research the history of Thadius Peck, his gravestone, and how the stone got there.
You can see the gravestone by visiting the Cuyahoga Falls Historical Society Open House on Sunday, June 12, from 2-4 p.m.