Carson Ross Justice, M.D. (1851 – 1928)

The 25-foot tall monument in the Riverside Cemetery is dedicated to the memory of Dr. C. R. Justice, his wife, Bertha M. Long (1865-1951), and to her parents, John (1817-1905) and Emma Jane (1824-1905). Who was this physician with the tallest obelisk in the cemetery? He was the son of James Justice, known as a farmer, a tanner, and man of large substance who lived in New Middletown, Ohio. James Justice was the first elected Mahoning County Commissioner, taking office in the new Courthouse in Canfield on March 1846. (See page 4 of this issue) James Justice was married first to Ann Carson, a native of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. They had 8 children and when Ann died James married again. His second wife was Julia Kirtland, the daughter of Frederick and Martha Kirtland of Parkman, Ohio. Julia had been married earlier to William Fitch of Poland and had a daughter named Julia Ellen Fitch.
Carson was born on December 15, 1851 in New Middletown and was the only child to this second marriage. On April 2, 1865 his father died and a few months later so did his mother. With both parents gone Carson came to Poland to live with his half-sister, Julia Ellen, now married to Charles Newton Kirtland. (A coincidence that Carson’s mother’s maiden name and his half-sister’s married name would be the same.) During the summer months the 13 year old Carson worked on the Kirtland Farm on North Lima Road and when he turned 17 he attended Poland Seminary in the winter months. In 1873 he entered medical school in Cleveland and graduated in 1879. Dr. Justice then returned to Poland and entered into partnership with Dr. Eli Mygatt.
In 1883 Dr. Justice became a trustee of the Riverside Cemetery and continued to be active in the affairs of the cemetery until his death more than 45 years later. During those years he was both president of the Board and Superintendent; overseeing the cemetery’s daily operations. In 1886, at the age of 35, Dr. Justice married Bertha Long and in 1896 purchased the Robert L. Walker House on the corner of Riverside and Main. In 1901 when Charles Kirtland (his sister’s husband) died Dr. Justice was elected vice president of Farmer’s Deposit and Savings Bank in Poland. On August 17, 1928, at the age of 76, Dr. Justice died very suddenly of heart failure. Funeral services were held at his residence on Center Street (Riverside Dr.) with the Rev. Fenwick Fraser of the Poland Presbyterian Church officiating.
Bertha, his wife, was elected to replace the good doctor on the Cemetery Board. She served as Trustee until 1948, resigning at the age of 83 and thus ending 65 years of dedication to the Riverside Cemetery by both Carson and Bertha. Mrs. Justice bequeathed to the Cemetery $10,000 and the house at 325 Main Street. The front portion of this house was then being used by Harry Macklin for his barber shop. The house was later sold in November 1954 to E. M. Withers for $5,500. The $10,000 was placed in a Trust Fund and held until 1972, when it was used to help finance the construction of the present Memorial Chapel.