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Hilltop Historical Society

The 125th Annual Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery Memorial will be held at 3pm on June 12, 2022

Wreaths Across America.

We laid Wreaths on the graves once again on December 19, 2020. It was a cold winter day but our great volunteers came as always. We cannot thank them enough for their efforts

Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America once again to Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery on Saturday December 14, 2019. Fifty volunteers came out in the rain to put out our record 252 wreaths. Many thanks to the John Hoover Chapter of the DAR for the many wreaths that they sponsored.




Monty Chase salutes the Navy Wreath he had just placed.

Here are pictures from the 124th Annual Camp Chase Service on June 9, 2019



The many descendants of Louisiana Ransburg Briggs


73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Band


Steve and Lisa Ball

ginger thruch.jpg

Ginger Thrush who read the story of PVT Armstead


Dave Dobos, President of the Hilltop Historical Society


LTC (R) Who told the story of Captain Waldo T Davis

Join us for the 124th Annual Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery Memorial Service on June 9th at 3PM



Welcome to the
Hilltop Historical Society!

The Hilltop Historical Society was founded in 1986 to promote the history of the Hilltop Area of Columbus, Ohio

Hilltop Historical Society Statement



In the wake of the tragic events at Charlottesville and the ensuing national discussion, the Hilltop Historical Society issues the following statement:


Our organization abhors racism, bigotry, and violence and condemns it in the strongest possible terms.  There is no place for hatred in any discussion, especially one surrounding the history of our great nation.  As we reflect on the achievements—and imperfections—of  those who came before us, it is important that we consider multiple points of view, including those different from our own, so that we may learn from our past to move toward a brighter future together.


The HHS has sponsored the annual Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery Memorial Ceremony for nearly a quarter of a century.  The event itself traces back to 1895, when Union Colonel William Henry Knauss organized the first memorial ceremony here at Camp Chase.  In the 1902 dedication of the arch in the center of the cemetery, Judge D.E. Johnson stated, “And above all things else, we must not forget that in that great contest we were and are still all Americans, and that the splendid courage gallantry, heroism, and valor displayed by the men who sleep here are the common heritage of our American people.”  Four years later, in his 1906 History of Camp Chase, Colonel Knauss wrote, “With no thought but that of pride and admiration for the great American people, regarding no North or no South, but a land rich in memories of its brave dead, this volume is offered.”  It is in this spirit that the HHS conducts this event.


The purpose of the current ceremony is to remember those who served here and those who are buried here.  Camp Chase, of course, served both as a Union soldier training facility and a Confederate POW camp during the Civil War.  At our event, we remember both a Confederate soldier buried here and a Union soldier who had a significant experience here via a brief biography of both.  For example, we recently recounted the experiences William McKinley had here as a young Union enlistee.  He, of course, later served our country as its President from 1897 to 1901.  We also provide those in attendance with performances of Civil War era music, including the National Anthem as it was sung then, played on period instruments.  Many individuals come dressed in period military uniforms and civilian apparel, adding to the day’s authenticity.  The local American Legion post provides a 21-gun salute to conclude the program.  This solemn occasion is meant simply to instruct the audience about those who passed through here, of which some 2,260 remain buried here today.  We make no political statements.


The Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery is administered by the National Cemetery Association, which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and has jurisdiction over the land, gravesites, and events that occur here.  The cemetery’s statue remembers the individual soldier, not the Confederacy or its leaders or any philosophy they espoused.  The HHS conforms to all of the NCA’s requirements and regulations regarding the conducting of our event.  For the record, by a 1958 act of the U.S. Congress, Confederate soldiers are recognized as United States military veterans. 


The HHS’s purpose is to preserve and promote the history of our west Columbus community.  We are proud that we hold this portion of our country’s past here in our community, that Camp Chase played an important role in the American Civil War, and that we can provide this event every year.  We are cognizant that there are many heartfelt and compelling points of view about our nation’s history and we also understand that each American citizen experiences our nation differently.  We also realize that it may difficult to view individuals’ thoughts and actions based on the norms of their day as opposed to our more perfect knowledge today.  We ask everyone who cares about our community and nation to consider carefully the many points of view that are expressed and to listen thoughtfully and with an open mind, especially to those with whom we may not agree.  We must realize that we are more alike than we are different and that we share common aspirations.  Ultimately, we must determine how all of us move forward together to continue to build a stronger community and nation.


The 122nd Annual Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery Memorial Service was held on June 12th 2017 at 3 PM


Dave Dobos, President of the Hilltop Historical Society opens the service.


COL (Chaplain) Edward Sensenbrenner


The historical replica wreath arrives.


Ginger Thursh of the Hilltop Historical Society brings flowers to lay on the so=tone under the arch


Steve and Lisa Ball provided period music to the crowd


The 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regimental Band provides period music using instruments that were made during the 1860's (except the drum)


Sid Drumhouser of the Sons of Union Veterans delivers the story of COL George Washington Neff who was the Commander of the 88th OVI, who were the Camp Chase Prison Guards.


Dick Hoffman of the Hilltop Historical Society delivers the story about CSA PVY Eli Knipe.


The Color Guard from Don Gentile Post American Legion provided the firing salute.


Joe Briggs, the great-great grandson of Lousiana Briggs (The Gray lady of Camp Chase) closed the service playing Taps.

Remembering one of our Founders: Lois Neff April 30th at 3 PM in the West High School Library


2nd Annual Hilltop Veterans Program was held on

Sunday November  13 at 3 PM at Don Gentile American Legion Post  532 at 1571 Demorest Rd, Columbus OH.


Pictured here are(From left) Dave Dobos, President of the Hilltop Historical Society and Earl (Wimpy) Potts the HHS honoree. Next is Joe Mellenbaugh, the American Legion honoree with Bernie Brogan the Post Commander of Don Gentile American Legion Post 532.

Wreaths Across American wreath laying at Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery was held at noon on December 17th
Thanks to all those who came out in the ice and rain to lay wreaths.





Columbus Hall of Fame inducts West High Graduate

West High School graduate (1948) Donn F.Eisele was inducted into the Columbus Hall of Fame on October 25, 2016 along with 3 other community members. Pictured here are the West High School Graduates and the West HS Jr ROTC Color Guard who were present for the ceremony. Highlighted in red are the names of the class mates of Donn Eisele and the names in blue are relatives of Fellow hall of Fame inductee Carl Brown Sr.


We had 16 WHS graduates and the WHS Jr ROTC Color Guard present for the ceremony.  4 of the graduates were also relatives of Carl Brown Sr. who was also inducted in the Hall of Fame.  Attending were left to right

Cayla Wright ’19, Matthew Wolford ’19, Ken Mahan ’48, Dick DeRoberts ’48, Dave Dobos ‘73,Monty Chase ’66, Pat Mahan ’48, Ginger Thrush ’79, Sandy Chase Doutt ’64, Stanton Prior ‘46. ora Yank ’83, Chad Brown ’71, Chanell Brown-Sanchez ‘93’ Linda Hessinger Hoffman ‘65, Sandra Beatty Gentry ’69, Jim Lawrence Davidson ’41, Kevin Wolford ’17, Rita Elliott Stethem ‘53, Gabe Pritchett ’19, Cristopher Santos ‘18

Highlighted in red are the names of the class mates of Donn Eisele and the names in blue are relatives of Fellow hall of Fame inductee Carl Brown Sr.




We have lost one of the founders of the Hilltop Historical Society. She was the historian of the Hilltop

Lois Ann Neff

Born: April 22, 1938
Died: March 16, 2016

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Hilltop Historical Society

The Hilltop Historical Society in partnership with the Civil Air Patrol laid wreaths at Camp Chase confederate Cemetery as part of the National wreaths Across America Program






50 year old 1ST Day Cover from April 1965

          Lincoln Funeral Train Presentation:
Thanks to John Ward for his excellent presentation on the Lincoln FUneral Train and other Lincoln history


Lincoln Funeral Train in Columbus on April 29, 1865



John's ancestor who blew Taps at the burial service in Springfield IL


The VA has installed a interpretive marker at Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery at the base of the flag pole.


                                     Special Event


The Ohio National Road Association unveiled a Camp Chase Interpretive sign in front of the Westgate Masonic Temple at 2925 West Broad Street on September 6th. This is the site of the main entrance to Camp Chase.



Columbus Dispatch video about Camp Chase and Wreath Laying. Learn how we respect and remember those who are buried there.


The Hilltop Historical Society's own Monty Chase and his wife Margaret as they appeared as Salmon Portland Chase and his daughter, Kate Chase Sprague at the opening of the Association of Lincoln Presenters Convention here in Columbus, April 11, 2013.


Links to Hilltop Groups

Brig. Gen. Roswell S. Ripley Camp 1535 Sons of Confederate Veterans Columbus, Ohio

Friends of Camp Chase Trail

Personal Memorires Web Site

Hilltop Business Association

Westgate Neighbors Association

Wilshire Heights Neighborhood Association

Greater Hilltop Area Commission

Homes on the Hill

Friends of the Hilltop

West High School Alumni Association

Friends of Westgate Park E-Mail address

Highland West Neighbors Association

Grove City Area Visitors Bureau


Hague Ave Upgrades

The City of Columbus has begun the process of updating Hague Ave between West Broad Street and Sullivant Ave. The old Interurban  railroad ties have been long buried under several layers of bricks and asphalt are being removed along with the paving bricks and other bricks that made up the roadway.




John Ward displays his historical artifacts related to President William McKinley. John had just made a presentation to the Hilltop Historical Society about the life of President William McKinley. He traced his life from being a Private with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Chase till his assassination.

            National Road Marker Replaced


At long last, the 6 Mile Marker on the National Road has returned to it’s original location (this is not a replica.) It is located just to the west of the on ramp to I-270 north on West Broad St. The Hilltop Historical Society was given the Mile Marker over 10 years ago and had it in safe storage at Modlich Monument Company until it went to the Country Engineer for restoration and to be put back in place. We thank both the Modlich Monument Company and Dean Ringle the Franklin Country Engineer for maintaining this part of the Hilltop History.


Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery May 2010




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