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Student Writings

The Tomb of Mary Walker

"Come on, hurry up," I called to my friends, Tracy and Christal. We were on our way to the school bus. Our class and the sophomores were going to the Spring Grove Cemetery.

Tracy, Christal and I ran up the bus steps and sat down. I sat be the window on one seat and Tracy sat beside me. Christal sat in the seat in front of us. We shuffled our backpacks in order to get comfortable. Our teacher, Mrs. Prather, made sure we had plenty of stuff to do while on this trip: she gave us three different assignments. I know we would be busy all day. Even though I knew she wanted us to keep focused so we would learn, I still thought it would be hard.

The school bus stopped and we all excitedly walked out. Our classes all had a chance to use the bathroom and then we lined up to follow a person who was going to give us a short tour. Her name was Monika Glatthaar. After the tour, we ate lunch. My friends and I talked about the tour and complained about how she went too fast. We sat on a long tombstone with enough room to sit on on all sides. We ate our lunch quickly and looked around where we were.

A little while later, I was making a rubbing of a tombstone for a woman named Mary Walker. Christal was making one for her father, Richard Walker. Christal didn't clean Richard's off and soon strange things were happening to her. We thought that was really strange, so we went back so we could look around.

I went up to his grave cautiously. Just as I was taking my last step, I tripped on a stick and on Mary's Tombstone. As I hit the ground, I felt the dirt cave in, and I fell in. The next thing I knew, I was in a dark room with walls, a floor, and a ceiling made of dirt. You could see the roots of plants on the dirt.

I heard a voice and I turned around. I saw a woman who looked to be about twenty-nine years old. She looked kind of dirty and her clothes were torn.

"Who are you,"I asked curiously.

"My name is Mary Walker," she answered.

"But you're dead," I stammered, "you can't be here talking!" "I wasn't dead when I came here," she said," My father, Richard Walker, had me buried because he thought I made a bad reputation on our family."

"What would make him think that," I asked.

"It's a long story," she explained, "but it looks like you're going to be here a while, so I'll tell it to you.">

"Okay," I said.

"About ten years ago, I fell in love with a guy named Tom. Him and I were inseparable. We went to the movies, bowling, everything. There was only one problem. Tom isn't what you would call a good citizen. He got into fights and the town didn't really like him, especially my father. Every time he saw us together he would grind his teeth and mumble things about Tom to himself. When he saw Tom alone, he would bring up really bad things about me, trying to get Tom to break up with me. One day, my father did something terrible. He told Tom that if he didn't break up with me he would kill him! Tom told me later and I was furious. I ran up to my dad and yelled about how he could not stop Tom and me from being together. Then I ran out of my house. Tom was waiting for me on his bike. We drove till we knew we were alone. Tom told me how we would leave and start a new life . He told me I wouldn't have to worry about my dad or anyone else who would try to interfere with our relationship. Later my father found me and dug a hole and put me here. He told everyone I was dead," she said sadly.

I was bewildered. I was just about to say something when I saw a really bright light. I heard my Christal. She said that I had passed out after I hit me head on Mary Walker's tomb.

Later that night, I looked up the history of the Walkers on the internet. It said that after an affair with the town tormentor, Mary Walker was killed by her father, Richard Walker. Richard then told everyone that she died of natural causes. Soon afterward, he committed suicide and was buried next to his daughter.

Dear Eighth Graders,

I would like to inform you about our outing to the cemetery.There are many things to expect on this trip. This cemetery is one of the larger cemeteries, being 733 acres, so you can expect to do a lot of work, and walking.

Look for interesting gravestones and epithets. There are gravestones that have sheep or lambs for little kids, which are very sad.

There are many old and interesting mausoleums. Look for the Dexter Mausoleum, which will probably be shown to you while on the tour. The Dexter Mausoleum is large, and very pretty.

Watch the weather forecast before coming to school to assure you that you are dressed properly. (Also, avoid getting lost. Try to get a map at the start of your day.) You might want to try to get your work finished early so that you will not be working on it all day. I also suggest that you being a camera. There will be many interesting sights to take pictures of.

Please behave, and be kind to the valuables that are among this graveyard.

So in conclusion to this letter, I would like to wish you luck when it's your time to take the trip. Have a fun, safe, and educational outing at the Spring Grove Cemetery.

A former Eighth Grader


Dear Eighth Graders,

This letter will explain everything you need to know about your trip to Spring Grove Cemetery. This trip can be very enjoyable as well as educational if you are prepared.

First of all expect to walk a lot. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and be sure to carry a back pack as you will need to put your work or other things in it. Also expect to write a lot. A clipboard and/or possibly a folder will be very helpful on this trip.

Remember to keep a sharp eye out for names such as Baker, Prather, Weldon or any other name that may look familiar. These names may be the names [first or last] of teachers, famous people that are still alive, classmates lasts names, or maybe even your ancestors. These names may lead to 660 extra credit points. 100 of these points may count as a test grade.

You will be learning many things in social studies, history and depending on what kind of research you do science. Make sure you pay close attention to the tour guide, if you do you are sure to get lots of information and extra credit points as well as information about famous people that are on your list.

Keep an eye out for Hookers grave it is hard to spot if you are paying attention. Mrs. Prather gives the first person that finds it ten extra points.

If you do all these things and remember to have fun your trip will be well worth it.


Dear Eighth Graders,

Next year, when you go to the Spring Grove Cemetery, you should expect to see many interesting graves. Graves from World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, Gulf War, and Korean. You will see graves as old as from the mid 1700s to the present, large graves, at least 5 feet off the ground to 30 feet mausoleums, small graves like headstones that are six inches wide and one long. When you are walking you will see some weird, interesting, and foreign epitaphs, an example of a foreign epitaph is the epitaph that is on a pyramid shaped headstone.

I know this day probably sounds stupid, and a waste of time, because I thought the same thing, but it's fun. Try to avoid getting lost, stay close to your group. Look forward to a day of fun, learning, and excitement. The weird thing about it is that you do not realize your learning, because you are having so much fun, and seeing new and interesting things.

To make the best of the day, pay close attention to your guide, look at all the different graves and mausoleums. So, have fun, listen, look, and stay close to your class and you will have a ton of fun.






I am writing this letter to say that the trip to the Spring Grove Cemetery is one we should have every year. The trip was very educational as well as fun. I learned a lot and I think the trip will teach people many things you would not think you could learn at a cemetery.

I learned that many people died during the wars especially the Civil War. There are three separate lots with over one thousand people buried there. It told me that many soldiers died at a young age because of diseases and other things.

The cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the United States. It has seven hundred and thirty three acres. Spring Grove is a great place to be buried. It has a lot of nature and enormous trees. It also has many spectacular bridges and lakes.

Some of the rich people might have big graves that say a lot but for us ordinary people we just get a little grave stone. I learned that the cost of an average funeral is five thousand dollars. Many people say that funerals are very expensive but weddings are more expensive but the fact that funerals are sad and weddings are happy the people do not mind the money for the wedding.

I learned many things about Cincinnati. Many famous people from Cincinnati were buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. Martin Baum established the city's first bank and Levi Coffin who was the President of the Underground Railroad. William Procter and James Gamble are another example of famous people in Cincinnati. They started one of the biggest businesses in Cincinnati. This business is called Procter and Gamble.

Some other things I learned at the cemetery was that many of the famous people buried at the cemetery were the reasons why Cincinnati is the way it is today. They brought many things from other countries and states and invented many things.

I think this trip should be done every year because it was very educational and very fun. This trip taught me many things that I thought I could not learn at a cemetery. I liked this trip and so will the rest of the classes that go to the cemetery. I thought that the trip was going to be another field trip that I did not learn anything but I was wrong and I was glad that I was wrong. This was the best trip all year. These are all the reasons why I think this field trip should be done every year .


Eighth Graders,

In case you are wondering about your field trip you will soon be taking, here is some information.You should expect a long day of work. Just because you are on a field trip that doesn't mean you do not have work. I had worksheets about famous dead people, facts about Spring Grove Cemetery, and I even had to look for our teacher's last names on the graves.

You should look for different statues and mausoleums. Some of them will just amaze you, by how tall they are and the artwork that was put into them. One statue I saw was of a giant column that had been cut in half and at the top there was a giant eagle. The statue was cut in half because that person did not finish their life all the way. They died at an early age. The eagle means that that person did something courageous in their life.

A mausoleum I saw that I liked was the Dexter mausoleum. It is so BIG! It looks big enough to be a house. You have to see it for yourself.

You should avoid getting lost because after this entire cemetery is 730 acres. It will take a long time to get to where you are suppose to be if you are lost!

If you want to make the best of your day then all you have to do is relax and have a good time.

We did a lot of preparing for this trip; for example each member of the class had to do research about the cemetery. This counted as a big grade. We also had to get all of our worksheets together so we would not forget anything.

Afterwards we finished the worksheets that we didn't finish at the cemetery. Just in case you are thinking that no school is involved in this trip, you are wrong because math was used for the dates on the tombstones. Science was used for the trees in the cemetery. Social Studies was used for the generals and other military men that were in the wars we are studding about. Also Language Arts was involved because of the scriptures on the monuments. Wait and See!



Dear Eighth Graders,

When you hear about going to Spring Grove Cemetery you may say, "What are we going to do for eight hours in a cemetery?" Well, your answer can easily be answered, you and your classmates will be learning many interesting facts in different subjects such as American History, Literature, and Science.

You will be taught about the many famous people buried at Spring Grove who have served in various war's such as The Fighting McCooks, this lesson falls under the subject as American History.

You will be learning the average life span of people, using Science skills.

For Literature you will be working with certain epithts, involving writing and maybe poetry skills.

Since this is going to be a long day of learning and fun, you may want to follow these few tips to make your day at Spring Grove seem even more exciting.

BE READY TO LEARN. This trip does involve a lot of working. Many of your answers to the worksheets will be given to you during the tour, so ask questions. If you forgot a certain name or date ask the person giving the tour your question, she will be happy to answer your question.

WEAR OLD CLOTHES. The cemetery's grounds are muddy. Also when you do a grave rubbing the charcoal gets very, very messy, so you may want to bring baby wipes or paper towels.

TRY TO LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. This experience is wonderful. Try to get as much work finished in the morning as you can because Mrs. Prather lets you go out for at least two hours to explore the cemetery's 733 acres. You don't want to spend this free time doing worksheets.

BRING A MAP. A map of the cemetery is very helpful. It will show you where some famous landmarks, graves, or lakes are.

HAVE COMPETITIONS AND GAMES. You may want to see who can find the Sphinx or the Pyramid first.

You should make this trip seem fun and educational. With these few tips you should be ready for a long day of excitement and learning at Spring Grove Cemetery.



Dear Eighth Grade,

Going to the Spring Grove Cemetery is very informative. You can learn about your ancestors from the headstones. It could say something like when he/she was born and died, something he/she did when they were alive and you can learn about your family.

The cemetery is huge. It is 733 acres that is filled with tons of graves; some of the tombstones have very detailed carvings. The place is so huge you can get lost easily, it is like a maze.

The Civil War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, World War 1 and World War 2 are just some of the wars people fought in and died, are buried in Spring Grove.

You can plan on getting lots of work. A packet of work to be exact with all kinds of names (44) and you have to find when they were alive, what they did for a occupation, and find names of people that died in the years 1801- 1809 all the way up to mid 1900s. You get to go off on a scavenger hunt looking for graves, birthdays, people, and etc.

To help you not get lost you should bring a map to locate where you are. Avoid stepping in duck droppings, there are duck droppings because in the Spring time it floods a little so ducks are in the water and when the water evaporates or sinks into the ground duck droppings are left behind.

We ate lunch on benches and went to look in a Mausoleum that has some of newest graves.




Dear Monika Glatthaar,

Thank you for taking time out of your day to give us a tour of the cemetery. I was surprised by some of the things that you told us like the cemetery was the second biggest in the United States. The thing that I did not know was the cemetery was going to be that big. Another thing that surprised me was how old the tombstones were. I did not know that they were going to be that old. I thought the coolest thing was the tombstones because I never seen ones like them before. The tombstone that I liked the most was the sphinx and the pyramid because I have never seen ones like them before.

The thing that amazed me was the Dexter monument. I did not know that it was going to be that big. The thing that surprised me about it was that it had an elevator in it.

I also learned that Andrew Erkenberker was the founder of the Cincinnati zoo and that Jacob Brunet helped write the first constitution of Ohio. I also learned that George McAlpin was the fonder of McAlpins stores.

Thank you,


Dear Eighth Graders,

I think your class should go to the Spring Grove Cemetery because you would find a lot of famous people there. Monika Glatthaar, your tour guide, will give you lots of information. For example, she might give you information about famous people like Joseph Hooker, and the fighting McCooks. She will also teach you what the symbols on the tombstone mean. You will like the trip but have to do a bunch of work and find some famous people. At first I thought "what would we do at a cemetery for eight hours?" but then it's pretty cool.

You get to see many interesting sites and eat things. You will also learn about famous people and find out cool things about Spring Grove. You will get to go inside a mausoleum and see grave stones on the wall. You also get to see stained glass windows you might see where the people are cremated.

I hope you have a very fun and educational trip.






Dear Ms. Glatthaar,

I want to thank you for taking us on the trip around the cemetery. We had on idea that the cemetery could be so neat. It was interesting to learn about the circle of Civil War burials. Also how big the Sentinel stands to guard over the people that have fought in the war. It was also great to see the canon with all the civil war names around it.

Also the plant life was wonderful. It was great to see all of the trees that have been here a long time. It also gave the cemetery a great look to liven it up with the bright colors of the leaves.

One of my classmates had something happened to her. That was a little odd. We had to do some tracing of tombstones and Christal did Richard Walker's and she had many of things happen to her. When she went to trace the tombstone there was nothing on the stone, then acorns stuck up. Then she kept getting hit by sticks and leaves that fell out of the trees.

As we were there I took some pictures, on one picture was a friend of mine and there was no light around, when I got the picture back there was a shadow with her.

It looked like a person. But Christal was there with me when I took the picture that had the white shadow. But there was odd things going on with her daylong.

I learned that there were a lot of people that had done great things buried there. It was cool to take a trip to someplace I had never had been before!



Dear Monika Glatthaar,

I'm very thankful that you gave our class the tour of Spring Grove. I couldn't believe how much I learned. I have to admit that when I first heard we were going to Spring Grove cemetery, I thought that it was going to be a boring trip, walking around all day looking at graves. I was wrong.

Going to Spring Grove cemetery was a great experience for me. When I looked at all the graves that I passed and when I read what they said, I felt like the people were apart of me. Some of the graves were so sad that it made me feel like crying. Examples like the one, "Our Little James". I couldn't believe what I felt inside. I felt glad that I came in touch with him.

As I walked around admiring all the different graves and monuments, I was also having a better understanding of death. I realized that death wasn't such a bad thing. I am not afraid of death as much as I was. I guess that I wasn't expecting to learn so much.

If my teacher had not gave us the worksheets, we wouldn't have had so much fun and wouldn't have learned as much as we did. The packets made us think and they made us keep an eye out for all the names on the graves that we came across.

Spring Grove cemetery is a great place to explore even if it is a little spooky and has ghosts! Like the unexplainable object in the picture of you that Mrs. Prather sent. I thought that was really spooky. What ever it was, I am sure glad we have a picture of it.

I couldn't believe the cemetery. It is so big and I wish we could have seen more. It's incredible that a trip that I thought was going to be boring, turned out to be one of the best trips I have ever taken. When I told people about my class going to Spring Grove, they didn't think that it was so amazing.

They didn't think you could learn anything, and they thought it was boring like I thought it was going to be. I told them how great it was. Now they want to go to see for themselves.

Thanks again for giving our class at Silver Grove (8th graders) the tour of Spring Grove cemetery.



Dear Monika Glatthaar,

I would like to thank you for giving the eighth and tenth graders a very educational tour of Spring Grove cemetery. I learned that many war heroes were buried there along with people who founded Cincinnati businesses. I was surprised of how large the cemetery was. Although we didn't walk the whole 733 acres, the short amount of distance we did walk was very exhausting. Once I got to the cemetery, I realized it was much larger than what Mrs. Prather had told me.

I saw that many people had different sizes and kinds of tombs. I saw that the fighting McCooks had very large and sturdy tombstones while other non wealthy people's tombs were smaller and didn't have as much sculpting on them. While some classmates and I were walking around, I stumbled over 2 graves that happened to have my last name on it, F. S****, 1849- 1904 and Mary S***, 1849-1931. I began to wonder if they were my ancestors. I asked my grandma if she knew anything about them, and she told me that they might or not be related to my grandpa. She told me my grandpa had family that lived in that area and they may be a cousin. I was amazed to see my name because I didn't expect to find it.

Although I didn't get to see the crematorium, my teacher explained to me what it looks like, how high they set the temperature, and how it actually works. She also said it was amazing and she would like to see it again.

The tombstone that touched me the most was of an eight-teen year old male. I cannot recall his name, but it made me think he lived much longer and experienced his life to the fullest.

Mrs. Glatthaar, I thank you once again for being our tour guide. I have learned that cemeteries are not just for the dead, they have great meaning and don't always end in tragedy. I hope when I die, I can be remembered as a great person. We had a wonderful time at the cemetery and I hope we can visit you again.



Dear Monika Glatthart,

My name is Logan. I am a student in the 8th grade at Silver Grove School. Just recently you took our class and the 11th graders on a tour through Spring Grove cemetery. It was a pleasure having you as our tour guide because I lear0ned many things.

One of the things that I learned was about the important people that helped the growth of Ohio and Cincinnati, like Jacob Burnet who was a judge and author of Ohio's first Constitution. Another person I learned about was Andrew Erkenbecker who founded the Cincinnati Zoo and Charles West who founded the Cincinnati Art museum.

There were also many things that I was surprised about, like how huge the cemetery was and how there is a spring in the cemetery that can be seen in the Spring season, that is why you had to move some of the graves to higher ground.

Now I would like to thank you for taking the time and not only showing us around the cemetery, but for teaching us too. I hope that next year's class have you because you made it an exciting day Thank you once again.




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