The Sugar Ridge Cemetery grave site of  Robert Nesbitt, co-founder of Convoy, was recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker on Saturday. Nesbitt named the village after his birthplace in County Donegal, Ireland. (Times Bulletin/Kirk Dougal)
The Sugar Ridge Cemetery grave site of Robert Nesbitt, co-founder of Convoy, was recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker on Saturday. Nesbitt named the village after his birthplace in County Donegal, Ireland. (Times Bulletin/Kirk Dougal)

By Kirk Dougal

Times Bulletin Editor

kdougal@timesbulletin.com

CONVOY - Members of the Van Wert County Historical Society, Iberdrola Renewables, special guests, and area residents all gathered in the previous Sugar Ridge Church on Pollock Rd. as Robert Nesbitt's gravesite was recognized by the Ohio Historical Society as an Ohio Historical Marker.

Nesbitt emigrated to the U.S. in the late 1830's after being born in Convoy of County Donegal, Ireland in 1810. He purchased 120 acres of ground in 1839 and in 1854, along with James Pettit, platted the village in western Van Wert County that would be called Convoy.

Joe Steffan, past president of the Van Wert County Historical Society, pointed out the journey towards the ceremony actually began a couple of years ago when Ray Bonar, of Convoy, Ireland, was in America visiting his son in Chicago and they drove down to see the village. They also saw Nesbitt's grave which had fallen into disrepair.

Several Convoy organizations began working to raise the money to repair the site and it was re-dedicated on July 4, 2010.

Then the push began to have the site recognized as an Ohio Historical Site, one of now seven in Van Wert County. Iberdrola Renewables stepped forward as a sponsor for the project and on Saturday, the Dedication Day for the marker took place.

On hand to speak to the crowd were Jon Amundson, President of the Van Wert County Historical Society; Cliff Hite, Ohio Senator; Tom Gibson, Tully Township Trustee; Brad Guest, Mayor of Convoy; and Neil Voje, Plant Manager for Iberdrola Renewables. Also on hand was Jackie Barton, Director of Education and Outreach for the Ohio Historical Society to present Voje a certificate for their sponsorship in the project. Also on the backside of the marker is signage that commemorates the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio.

Steffan concluded the ceremony by reading a letter from Bonar who was in Ireland and unable to attend the event.

(To watch the ceremony, please go to www.timesbulletin.com and click on this article or go to the multimedia portion of the website.)