Updated 10 Apr 2015
My first baby steps were taken in the Smith Cemetery, our family graveyard on White Oak Mountain, W.Va. Maybe that was the genesis of my interest in genealogy in general and graveyards in particular. Most of the cemeteries here have a direct connection to my family. If you have additional information or photos, please e-mail me.
Where do you bury?
‘‘Where do you bury?’ That question often came up, especially among country folks, and weren’t we as Mississippians all, in those days, country folks? The question is not a simple one; it contains many levels of meaning. Among them: Where are you from? Who are you kin to? Do you still call that place home? Do you return there for your family funerals? Or have you lived in this place long enough to call it, firmly and finally, your home…” (“An Abundance of Angels,” an introduction by Elizabeth Spencer, “Eudora Welty: Country Churchyards,” a collection of photographs by Miss Welty, University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Miss., 2000, Page 14.)
Let Her Fly
...There's a place on the hill
That's peaceful and still
Where she'll sleep beside daddy again
The ol' family tree is shedding its leaves
But we'll all met in heaven again...
(Let Her Fly, Dolly Parton)
The church cemetery
At the all day Sunday singing and dinner on the ground
Many were the souls that were revived
While the brothers and the sisters who've gone on to Gloryland
Slept in peace in the maple grove nearby…
(Little Mountain Church House. Carl Eugene Jackson & Jim Rushing.)
“Another factor giving a feeling of antiquity to many of these churches, particularly those of the Missionary Baptists, is their graveyards. Crammed with headstones that may go back to the turn of the century or earlier, the graveyard is seldom far from the church building, and thus is viewed as an integral part of the sacred scene. Even when the original building is being replaced by a modern structure, the congregation usually is reluctant to place its new building at some distance from the old cemetery. The gravestones help to maintain a sense of continuity in the church community and also symbolize a belief that life is not solely temporal. Grave markers sometimes abut the church structure itself, and may even surround it, at least on three sides…”
(“Giving Glory to God in Appalachia: Worship Practices of Six Baptist Subdenominations” by Howard Dorgan, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1987, Page 7.)
Searching for a cemetery
There are free online sites that allow you to access or share cemetery information including Find a Grave and the USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project. Find a Grave has a forum section with information on tombstone (No bleach! No vinegar!) preservation and all the finer points of going gravin'. USGenWeb also has an Archive Project where you can submit family photos and biographies. A new site: BillionGraves. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a grave finder -- Find veterans' graves with a government marker in private cemeteries and veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries. Death certificates sometimes list the cemetery. West Virginia death certificates before 1970 (names often misspelled -- Richmond/Richman, use wild card: Rich*)
How we died in 1900, how we die today
The New England Journal of Medicine looks through 200 years of back issues to understand how we die differently: chart.
GALLIA COUNTY, OHIO
Mina Chapel Cemetery
Great grandparents Gustava and Kate Biars and Krause family members are buried here. Find a Grave link. More information about the Biars family of Ohio and West Virginia on the Biars page.
SCIOTO COUNTY, OHIO
Milldale Cemetery, also known as School Land Hollow Cemetery, New Boston.
My great uncle John Phillip A. Biars and two daughters, Marion Jane and Opal Biars, are buried here. Find a Grave link
Sunset Memorial Gardens, also known as Floral Hills Memory Gardens, Franklin Furnace
Pine Creek Cemetery, also known as Clapboard Cemetery, Green Township
John Henry "Jack" Biars, John Biars Jr. and Robert Lee M. Biars are buried here. Find a Grave link
FAYETTE COUNTY, W.VA.
Chandler Arthur Cemetery
Akers – G.W. Akers. Arthur – Chandler, Abram, Tempy, Joseph S., Mary Ellen, Minta A., Joseph R., Charles M., Rachel. A., Stephen, James William, Herbert, Clarence, Mason Arthur. Pack – Rev. Rufus Pack. Rawlinson – Rachel, Joseph and Elizabeth Davis Rawlinson. Rhodes -- Nancy Elizabeth Rhodes Arthur. Shawkey – Mrs. K.N. Shawkey.
More information on the family of Bessie Smith Arthur on the Arthur page.
LOGAN COUNTY, W.Va.
MERCER COUNTY, W.VA.
George B. Martin Sr. and his parents Adam and Rebecca are buried in the Martin Cemetery, Mercer County, W.Va. (Find a Grave) His wife Mary A. Keatley Martin and several of their descendants are buried in the Athens Cemetery: Martin tombstone. Individual Martin tombstones (courtesy of Dale M.):
- Adam Martin (1931-1991), son of E. Perry and Letha Martin.
- Albert Watson Martin (1885-1928), son of George Martin Sr. and wife Mary. He shares a tombstone with wife Rowena E. Dobbins Martin (1892-1991). Mrs. Martin’s birth name is from The Mercer County (W.Va.) History, two volumes: 1984 and 1987.
- Edgar Perry R. Martin (1891-1972), son of George Martin Sr. and wife Mary. He shares a tombstone with wife Letha M. Martin (1905-1988). Mrs. Martin's birth name was Letha Mae Hazelwood, according to The Mercer County History. In addition to the main tombstone, Mr. Martin has a military marker at the foot of his grave.
- Lotus M. Martin (1888-1948), a son of George Martin Sr. and wife Mary. He was a World War I veteran.
- Luther Washington Martin (1880-1961). He was a son of William H. French Martin and wife Mary Elizabeth Oxley and husband of Dora Isabelle Scott, according to The Mercer County History. William was a son of David Martin, brother to “our” Adam Martin.
- Waldo Martin (1908-1930), son of Albert Watson Martin and wife Rowena.
Gadd-Farley Cemetery (William H. Gadd Family Cemetery), corner of Eagle Crest & Ellison School roads, at Dunns. Also known as: "Billy Gadd Cemetery. Corner of Ellison School Road and Dunn's Road (Gadd School also located on the same ridge road). At this junction of roads, John Henry Ellison has built a beautiful new brick home on well-groomed property across from the well-kept Gadd Cemetery." A New River Heritage, Volume IV, with select stories by the Late Barty Wyatt, by William Sanders, McClain Printing Co., Parsons, W.Va., 1994. Page 88.
Martin Family Cemetery, Athens
Great great grandparents Adam and Rebecca Martin and their sons William Harvey Martin and George B. Martin are buried here. Location information from William's memorial page: the cemetery is "on a point of a hill overlooking Laurel Creek. It is on a road that passes through the Athens Cemetery. It is the same place his parents (Adam and Rebecca Scott Martin) are buried." Find a Grave link. More information about Martin family on Gadd-Martin page 2.
RALEIGH COUNTY, W.VA.
E.B. Vest Cemetery
Canaday Cemetery, Glen White
Meador Cemetery, Pluto
The cemetery name is sometimes seen as the Taylor Meadows Cemetery or Jim Meadows Cemetery. Several of my family members including my aunt Eda Smith Ellison are buried here. Link to Find a Grave. More about Eda's family on Smith Page 1.
New Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Abraham, W.Va.
Smith grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. I would be willing to bet that I'm related to everyone in this graveyard. Link to Find a Grave
Simmons Cemetery, Mount View, W.Va.
Smith Cemetery, White Oak Mountain
Smith Cemetery 2010. My parents, brothers, Vest grandparents and a great aunt on the Gadd side are buried here. Link to Find a Grave. The Smith Cemetery is accessed through gated private property located on White Oak Mountain Road off Route 3, Hinton Road, in Raleigh County, W.Va., near the Summers County line. The cemetery itself is on land formerly owned by Earl and Golda Smith. Interments are Earl George Smith and wife Golda Mae Vest, their sons Billy Lee Smith (08 Mar 1936/10 Jun 1949) and Bobby Earl Smith (biography and pictures of Billy and Bobby Smith in the Raleigh County section of the West Virginia GenWeb Archives online), Mrs. Smith’s parents Leonard Haliburton Vest and Emma Stella Gadd, and Mrs. Vest’s sister Annie Gadd Turner. Sarah Ann Frances Gadd married James William Hatcher and George W. Turner. Smith family tombstones. See the pages on this site for more information about the Smith, Gadd and Vest families.
St. Colman Catholic Church Cemetery, Richmond District. "The Little Catholic Church on Irish Mountain."
This is in my father’s home district. I couldn’t find this church cemetery listed on Find a Grave or the USGenWeb Tombstone Project. It may be under a different name. Directions to the cemetery are online at West Virginia (WV) Cyclopedia. More information is contained in the 1984 application for the National Register of Historic Places. Named for St. Colman Mac Duagh (560-632 A.D.), Irish bishop and monk. Link to page with photos. Old newspaper articles that discuss Irish Mountain founding families and graves in this cemetery:
- The Iron Horse Irish by Andrew Leonard, Charleston Gazette (W.Va.) Magazine section, 18 Aug 1957, Page 79. Part 1 and 2. Mr. Leonard lists the Dillons, O'Learys, Nees, Quinlans, McCarthys, Hurleys and Sullivans. See also: railroad Gwinns/railroad Irish on the West Virginia Talk page.
- Long-Delayed Trip to Irish Mountain, four-part series: Article 1, 21 May 1963 on Page 4; Article 2, 22 May on Page 4; Article 3, 23 May on Page 4; and Article 4, 24 May on Page 7, Shirley Donnelly, Beckley Post-Herald, W.Va. Rev. Donnelly lists the following people interred in the cemetery:
Conner – Charles N. (Article 2) James P., Enos Joseph and Mary (Article 3). Dillon – William and wife Mary, Simon J., Jerry D. and James W. (Article 2) Mary E. Dillon (wife of Thornton S. Gwinn), John and wife Mary, John A. and wife Myrtle E. (Article 4) Gwinn – C.E. and wife Ellen (Article 2); Thornton S. Gwinn Jr. and Margaret. (Article 3); John and wife Mary, John A., and Myrtle E., (Article 4). Fitzpatrick – Timothy (Article 2); William, son of T.F. Fitzpatrick (Article 3). Hurley – Michael E., Thomas M., and James Blaze Hurley (Article 4). McCarthy – Thomas and wife Catherine, children Mary A. and Owen F. (Article 2); Catherine T. McCarthy, wife of Michael E. Hurley (Article 4). O’Conner – James (Article 2); Rebecca E. (wife of Simon), Bessie and Bertha. (Article 3). O’Leary – James (Article 2).Quinlan – John and Susan (Article 2). Redden – Agnes M., Paul, and an infant son of Clinton and Sarah Redden (Article 4). Rorke – Georgia, Elizabeth and George. (Article 3). Sullivan – Catherine A. Sullivan, wife of Timothy Fitzpatrick (Article 2); Maurice, Ellen I., Ellen M., John B., Margaret, Margaret E. (wife of Morris), James J., and Patrick A. (Article 3). Ward – Maggie, wife of John G. Ward (Article 4).
- Irish Mountain Founded By Hardy Sons of “Old Sod” by Opal Ripley, Post-Herald/Raleigh Register, Beckley, W.Va., 16 June 1963, Page 7. Part 1, 2, 3 and 4. Ms. Ripley writes that the area was settled by the McCarthy, Sullivan, O’Leary, O’Conner, Fitzpatrick, Murphy and Nee families. The article includes photos of the tombstones of Maurice Sullivan and Catherine, wife of Thomas McCarthy. (Part 4)
- Church Built By First Settlers In Richmond District Still Stands by Pauline Haga, Beckley Post-Herald, W.Va., 10 Aug 1974, Page 9. Article, photo of church. Ms. Haga wrote that the Dillon, O’Leary, O’Conner, Hurley, Redden and Ward families have people buried there. Specifically, she lists: Dillon, Mary and Jerry. McCarthy, Thomas. Quinlan, John. Sullivan – Margaret, Maurice, and James L.
Articles about Irish Mountain have appeared in Goldenseal, a magazine produced by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Information about ordering copies is online at the Goldenseal Index site.
“Tales from the Irish Tract” by Basil Hurley, Spring 1998, Vol. 24, No. 1, Page 38. “My Childhood on Irish Mountain” by Marie Twohig Sadlowski, Page 44. Photos include pictures of Marie, her parents Bartholemew “Bat” Twohig and mother Fannie Hurley Twohig, brother Leo and sister Kathleen, her aunts Theresa and Pauline, grandparents Annie Donahue Twohig and Richard Twohig; D.P. “Dan” Donahoe; Will Hurley; John Coughlin; Margaret Hurley; Martin Lynch; Bernard Twohig; Irene Donahue; William Hurley; Ellen Hurley Lynch; the family of Daniel and Bridget Griffin, long view in front of their house; Magdalene Donahue; interior of Sacred Heart Catholic Church; Daniel Griffin Jr.; Mike Twohig; Mary Griffin; Timothy Robert “Bob” Hurley; Robert Goheen; Jerry Hurley; Dennis Twohig tombstone; Richard Twohig; the old Twohig place in 1998; Mike Coughlin, 100, with daughter Hazel Franklin and granddaughter Kay Wilfong in 1996.
“Recalling an Irish Mountain Farm Family: The O'Leary-Gwinn Connection” by Leona G. Brown, Spring 1991, Vol. 17, No. 1, Page 55-56. (I don’t have a copy of the magazine – just a photocopy of the article.) Photo of Ellen O’Leary Gwinn, wife of Charles Gwinn, and a photo of their son Robert. See railroad Gwinns/railroad Irish on the West Virginia Talk page.
“Irish Mountain: The Story of a West: Virginia Immigrant Community” by Lois C. McLean, Vol. 17, No. 1, Page 47. (I don’t have a copy of the magazine – just a photocopy of the article.) Photos include Irish School class, around 1910-15; photos of St. Colman Catholic Church; Father David Walsh; Maurice Sullivan’s “fine log house”; Owen McCarthy, son of Thomas Joseph McCarthy; Michael Hurley; Joe McCarthy, son of Michael; Mary Katherine Gwinn, who married Joe; Mr. and Mrs. John O’Connor; Leo and Lela Conner; and Joe Hurley Jr.
Williams Cemetery, White Oak. Formerly known as Ewart Cemetery.
I'm not sure if I have family members here. But it's close to my homeplace and I thought this would be of interest. US GenWeb has an inventory online. A description from a local history:
“One of the oldest landmarks in White Oak area is the Williams cemetery. Many of the settlers that lived in the area during the 1800’s are buried there. One of the oldest style headstones was that of James S. Richmon (no d on last name, 1823-1911) On the slender headstone were the names of the wife, Lucinda (1824-1901) and the children. Other old headstones were that of Calvin C. Hoye (1834-1893) and wife, Mary (1898-1896), Phillips, Williams, Watts, Lillys, Ewart, Massie, Sears, Harvey, Bailey, Dotson and many more are buried there. This cemetery was part of parcels of land set aside in original deeds as burying ground for descendents of the former land holders of the area.” A History of Shady Spring District, Compiled and Published by the Shady Spring District Woman’s Club, 1979, Central Printing Co., Beckley, W.Va. Page 421.
SUMMERS COUNTY, W.VA.
Anderson Vest Cemetery
Great grandparents Columbus and Malinda Jane Vest, cousin Hazel Jeanette Bennett, aunts Sylvia and Josephine Vest and uncle Dewey Via are buried here. Anderson Vest, son of Charles and Elizabeth Vest, was my great great uncle. Link to Find a Grave More about the Columbus and Malinda Jane Vest family on the Vest/Cochran Page 3. Charles Jackson Vest was a son of Anderson Vest and wife Rhoda Cochran Vest. Mahala "Hallie" Gadd Harvey is buried in the Charles Vest Cemetery. For more about Mahala, go to Gadd page 2.
Quesenberry Cemetery, Jumping Branch
This site has tombstone photos and pictures of the Bluestone Primitive Baptist Church, Jumping Branch Post Office, area farms, and a Lilly historical marker. Photos provided by: Wanda Simpkins. Link to Quesenberry Cemetery. Find a Grave lists this cemetery but there is zero content.
The cemetery is located on the mountain above the Meadow Creek Baptist Church at Meadow Creek, W.Va.
Three children of Noah Levi Gadd Sr. are buried here: Carlos Ray, Freddie and Leola Sherl: Find a Grave link. More information about Freddie Gadd's family on Gadd page 2.