So back in January when I was working on our exposé on the Hatchetman Murders, I discovered to my chagrin that I had never taken pictures of the tombstone of Henry Hellman, old Andy’s son. Recently, we went back there and did that, and I thought, well, hey, might as well put something together that reviews the cemetery itself in official Headstoner style. So I’m back on it.
As I described in my final Hatchetman post, “Harrod Cemetery is of a decent size, was established in 1898, though it has graves dating from before then, and is still in use. Some graves go back into the trees, but I don’t recommend poking around because the cemetery is fiercely bordered by poison ivy. It is well-maintained . . . Common last names include the eponymous ‘Harrod,’ as well as ‘Abel’ and ‘Oder.’ There is only one road through the cemetery, with two exits (or entrances, or one exit and one entrance), and the side closest to the twp. road is where the more modern burials are/continue to take place.”
It is one of the early Headstoner cemeteries, to be sure, and a lot of our research on the Andrew Hellman case influenced us in the founding of this website and our Headstoning cause of, well, you know, Headstoning (vb. To go from cemetery to cemetery to look at headstones). We go there a lot, frequently to kill time, or just as often to eat pickanick style. So I got to thinking that Herrod deserves a more thorough writeup of its own merits apart from the presence of the urban legendary Andrew “Hatchetman” Hellman.
But before we move away from the Hellmans entirely, I would like to dedicate a moment to dear Henry, dear Henry. Henry Hellman is one of my favorite dead guys. My surprise that I had previously never taken a picture of his tombstone before was partially fueled by the fact that it’s one of the neatest. His name (there’s a closeup in the gallery at the end) is all cool and wavy.
Just to recap the story briefly, Henry managed to escape the fate of his brother and sister (if, indeed, they were poisoned; Andrew repeatedly denied that he had murdered his children, but Henry himself asserted that poison was involved in his siblings’ deaths). The day his father killed his mother, Mrs. Hellman had sent him to her brother’s house (one of the Abels in the area), and this was how he avoided that fate as well. Check out my other posts on the Hellmans if you want more of the story. There’s a really fascinating anecdote about the young Henry (age 12, as I recall) being brought to the jail to see his father. Just because I don’t want to do the whole thing a third time, I’ll sum up with Henry living a good, full life, having married and had a daughter. On to the rest of the cemetery!
To get to the cemetery, one must take W. Sandusky (State Rt. 47) heading out of Bellefontain; there will be an odd sort of right on Garfield Ave. Then you will want to make a full right on N. Troy St., which will become Twp. Rd. 56. This, your faithful Headstoners, have aptly nicknamed “Hatchetman Road,” and a great deal of the urban legend of Andy H. centers around the idea that his ghost wanders up and down this road, and if your engine stalls (and particularly if you are a female, because he hates women) he will come after you. Apparently there have been sightings. We haven’t seen anything on this road but some excellent vistas. Eventually, you turn left on CR-57, and immediately right again to get back on 56. The cemetery is on the left side of the road.
Although the cemetery is generally kept up quite well, wind storms in the last two years have left it in worse condition than usual. Still, it is a very comfortably sized cemetery, with a lot of trees, and is a great place to have a picnic if you are so minded. There are houses close by as well, so be aware that the dog next door is going to set up some barking if you go too far that way, but it’s nothing to worry about. Also, we’ve never had any trouble doing nighttime drive-throughs in search of glowing headstones, but you should notice the giant sign out front that says it is closed from dusk until dawn.
Burials still take place here, although I haven’t noticed any for a couple of years. It actually gave us the opportunity to see something surprisingly uncommon–the beginning process of installing a headstone! I call this surprisingly uncommon because out of all the cemeteries we’ve trolled and hung out in over the years, this is the only time I’ve ever seen this.
The plywood is there to cover up the three-foot-deep trench because there had been a lot of rain. Of course we’ve seen lots of empty cement bases for headstones set up, having just recently claimed their headstones (which, I’m sorry, but I think it looks tacky not to cover up the base), or waiting for one to show up. But we’ve never seen the pre-cement trench, and I for one was surprised at how deep it was.
Anyway, Harrod remains one of my favorite cemeteries of all time. Now enjoy this gallery.