The main Perry Township cemetery is behind the Perry Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at the southwest corner of the intersection of Center Street and Middle Ridge Road.
A list of cemetery stone inscriptions the cemetery was done in about 1929. The earliest inscription found for the Center Road cemetery is for Ezra Beebe, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and given credit by some as being the first settler of Perry, who died in January, 1813 at the age of 76. He is given credit also as being the first adult male death in Perry. Mr. Beebe's grave is located in what is known as the Single Row of graves near the tool shed. It is believed, however that those burials located in this "Single Row" were originally buried in a cemetery located on Call Road. After that cemetery was abandoned, those who were buried on Call Road were moved to the Center Road Cemetery along with their cemetery stones. A discrepancy arises due to the fact that the History of Geauga and Lake Counties says Ezra Beebe was buried on the Lionidas Axtell Farm. This, is probably the cemetery which was located just west of Narrows Road on South Ridge Road. His new grave site is still marked with a monument believed to be the original one.
The first deed recorded for the purchase of graves in Perry Cemetery was issued to Alonzo B. Turney on November 20, 1860. Mr. Turney paid $12.00 for the purchase of eight graves. Daniel Shepard was the Township Clerk, who also acted as the cemetery sexton.
A vault, constructed in 1880, is located in the middle of the cemetery. This vault was originally used to hold bodies in the winter until a grave could be opened, sometimes being quite a project as graves were naturally dug by hand. Thanks to modern technology, the vault is no longer needed for this purpose, but it is now used to store miscellaneous items, such as lawn mowers, benches, stakes, etc. The vault honors the following Civil War Veterans: B. Bartholomew, H. Brown, Erastus Gray, T. Hickok, J. Howrey, J. Johnson, Ebenezer Joy, M. O. Mallory, L. Malone, W. Malone, A. H. Nash, and G. Tatro; and Revolutionary War Veterans, Lemuel Ellis and Caleb Sweet. In 1994, Norman Monument Company was contracted to provide a marker with the veterans names on the side of the vault. The special material of this marker will allow it to appear to age quickly to fit in with the "old-age" of the building.
Today Memorial Day celebrations still include a parade and speeches at the Perry Cemetery. This has been the custom since the Civil War Veterans and Spanish American Veterans began the holiday march.
Well known burials in Perry include James Rutherford, buried on October 3, 1986. Mr. Rutherford was allegedly the driver for Elliot Ness when he was in the Cleveland area. The cremains of Mona K. Cline, an Indian princess, were buried on October 9, 1986. The inscription on her stone includes several Indian names. More recently, Ann Cook Whitman, buried on October 30, 1991, was President Eisenhower's secretary.
The cemetery has a peaceful park-like atmosphere in a residential neighborhood on the Center Road side and nursery to the west. The two entrances from Center Road and two of the Middle Ridge entrances have high wrought iron arches over them that say, "Perry Cemetery." These two sides are set off by a decorative wrought iron fence. The older sections are shaded by huge oaks, maples, and evergreens. Concrete benches, litter containers and water spigots are available throughout the cemetery.
Future growth of the cemetery has been assured with about 40 acres of land to the south and west which is leased for nursery use until needed.
The 1940 WPA map included information that the cemetery was established in 1848. The property was deeded in 1804 to the Disciple Church (now the Christian Church on the corner) by Daniel Parmly and Benjamin Sinclair. 10.5 acres (in 1940).
The Disciple Section is not claimed as being the church's nor do they have any records of the burials there. It appears to be the oldest section of the cemetery and the deed to the Township was in Volume Y. There is a deed of record in Vol. D, pg 475, which would be about 1850. Evidence that it was not exclusively Disciple is Capt. Michael Blue's stone which clearly states, "A member of the M.E. Church." The stones in this section are in rows and mostly face west. The old ones are mostly marble, but there are some brownstone and some newer granite ones. To determine where this section separates from Section 5, it is the first row with marble stones in it. This section was read in its entirety before it was pointed out that it is divided into quadrants. To make finding stones easier, the sections have been designated as DS (for Disciple section) followed by a number which matches the map.
Sections 1 through 4 deeds to the Township Trustees are recorded in Vol. R pg 89. These sections, relatively square, appear as 16 grave mounds, 8 graves on each side, an area with depressed pathways around them. It comes out in very neat rows and makes family plots quite obvious. Most lots have a monument in the center. In these sections, if there was no surname on a headstone, it was assumed to be the same as the one on the central monument. There is a combination of stone types, but the area appears as an old cemetery with much marble.
The vault is in section 4 and is adorned by two huge carved flaming urns on the roof overhang. A recent memorial brick walkway has names of donors or those they memorialized or honored. Around the walk fly large flags of each of the military service branches. To the south of the vault are two black painted old iron hitching posts in the form of cut saplings.
Sections 5, 6, 7, and 8 are mostly granite stones.
The Singles Row (Section S) is a single row of stones stretching from the tool shed to Middle Ridge Road. The part by the tool shed has very old stones, many of them brownstone, from other cemeteries. The ones closer to Middle Ridge Road are granite, more recent, but still single graves.
Section 9 and 10 are the newest of the main square part of the cemetery and appear to have been purchased in 1923. The stones are mostly granite.
Section 11, deeded in May of 1960 is a long row along the fence stretching south.
Sections 12, through 14 are double rows stretching similar to 11, on the other side of a drive. They were read in their entire length, but for easier stone locating, look for a break in the reading labled "road here."
Sections 15 - 23 are double rows of granite stones. The rows have been extended and are called "New 15," etc. These sections had barely been used in 2001, and only the northern most original part was included in this reading.
Section 24 appears to be a few stones out of line in Section 23, but is, in fact, a row of baby and cremation graves, so it is quite narrow.
In the entire cemetery rows were read from west to east, and the stones from north to south.
Addendum June 2017: There is now a columbarium. The township has also uploaded a searchable burial index at http://perrytownship-lake.com/cemetery/ with most of the data transcibed from the cemetery records.