What is known today as Union Cemetery, just west of the Olentangy River in Columbus, Ohio, first became a burial site in 1806 when Northwest Territory pioneer and Revolutionary War veteran Balser Hess was buried there on the site of his family farm. Additional members of the Hess family and other families were buried at the site over the next 40 years.
In 1847, Union Cemetery was established on land purchased from the Hess family. During the next several years, the number of gravesites grew and family burial sites began to be replaced by organized cemeteries. The Union Cemetery Association was created in 1878 to manage the cemetery. The associationís trustees purchased other small parcels of land in the years that followed, including 75 acres on the west side of Olentangy River Road in 1946. This addition is located about one-half mile north of the old cemeteryís north border and accepted its first interment in 1954. The first of three mausoleum buildings was completed there in 1985.
More than 200 years after Balser Hess was interred on his homestead, Union Cemetery continues to offer diverse, personal and professional burial services. It has grown to encompass more than 125 acres and is now the final resting-place for approximately 70,000 people.