(1840) – Old Bill’s Grave (Pulaski, Ohio)

A local landmark for approximately 140 years is Old Bill’s grave south of Pulaski. Old Bill’s grave is located on the west side of U.S. 127, north of County Road F.

Old Bill was a horse born circa 1840 that reportedly was once used to carry the U.S. Mail between Bryan and Hillsdale, Mich. Circa 1856 Old Bill was purchased by Jacob Youse who owned a grocery in Bryan and a farm northeast of the intersection of U.S. 127 and County Road F.

A newspaper account states that “when Old Bill finally passed from sun to shadow, he was buried in a corner of the farm with as much sympathy as befitted one who had passed his years in faithful service of the family,” on a high bluff overlooking scenic Beaver Creek.

Youse family tradition holds that Jacob was friends with Emory Willett, who started a tombstone business in Bryan in 1878. Willett reportedly told Youse that if he could find a large chunk of granite, he would carve an inscription on it for Old Bill. In the lower left hand corner of the grave marker “E. Willett” appears. Below Willett’s name is inscribed the Latin word “fecit,” followed by what appears to be “78 10-7.” Fecit means “he made it,” indicating either that Emory Willett carved Old Bill’s tombstone on October 7, 1878, or that Old Bill passed away on that date.

Based on available information, the tombstone is the original marker. In the spring of 1958 the Williams County Historical Society retooled the marker’s lettering to make it easier to read and mounted the stone on a concrete base to display it more prominently. This circa 1958 of WCHS representative Keith Porter and Old Bill’s grave is from the Williams County Public Library’s Photographic Archives–Courtesy of the Williams County, Ohio, Local History Exchange

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