Old Presbyterian Cemetery, Romney, WV.
Once Located on southwest corner of Gravel Lane and S. High St., Romney
The following article in two parts is perhaps one of the gems of our County's narrative history. It is a personal account of a visit to the old Presbyterian Cemetery in Romney (the town's second oldest cemetery) that gives us an wonderful insight into the lives of old Hampshire County residents. Unfortunately, the cemetery is no longer in existance; it was destroyed to make room for a factory. The site on the west side of South High Street is now the lawn and parking lot of the Romney Fire Hall. The church occupied the lower portion of the lot at the corner; the cemetery was located above on the hill that was cut away to make a flat lot sometime around 1940. About a dozen headstones were moved to the Indian Mound Cemetery, but the remains of most were probably not. The remains of some individuals may have been moved as there are some graves in Indian Mound Cememtery for people mentioned here.
The opening note by Mr. Harper states the articles first appeared in the January 13th and 20th, 1860 issues of the Intelligencer. They appear to have been reprinted in the January 5 and 12, 1927 issues of the Hampshire Review. The History of Hampshire County, Chapter 37 by Maxwell & Swisher has a somewhat similar description of the cememtery.
Please note there are several footnotes marked with [*] which may be found at the end of the article.
Major Wm. Harper [*H]-- Dear Sir: In glancing over some ante-bellum copies of "The Intelligencer," we have been greatly interested by an article upon the "Old Church-Yard and its Occupants" in our midst. Believing that those whose relations to and knowledge of the persons mentioned is so much closer and greater than ours, will find no little pleasure in following the warmhearted writer through that "city of the dead," we would beg the republication of those articles. All the tenderer will be the interest with which your readers will dwell upon its lessons, when they remember that he who penned them now wakes among those of whom he so touchingly dreamed here. The articles were published in the papers for January 13th and 20th, 1860.
Very truly yours,
March 30th, 1871
Mr. Editor: In a recent number of your journal my attention was arrested by a notice of a sale of Lots in the new Cemetery at this place, and upon inquiry I was informed that the old Presbyterian burying ground was filled with occupants, and that the old Church was soon to be leveled with the ground and a new and costly one to be erected in another part of the Village. –
You, my dear sir, cannot imagine with what feelings, I received the information, for your childhood days were not spent 'neath the ministry from that pulpit, nor your boyish dreams of heaven, of death and of the dead ever aroused by long hours snatched from play and spent 'neath the shadow of those dear old oaks, which have so long stood the silent sentinels of this, to me, dear old city of the dead. Permit one who is almost a hermit as concerns the busy scenes of life to call up old memories.
Let us go to the old Church -- plain old brick edifice it is. There were plain workmen and plainer architects in the days it was planned and built. In the year 1816, we find from the Court Records, that, plain old Scotch gentleman, Clerk of our Courts, not much given to the practical details of the religion of the heart, yet whose intellect was thoroughly instructed in, and whose reason at all times yielded obedience to the truth of the great principles of the old Scotch Irish Presbyterian Church, granted the land.-- The deed was not made by Col. Andrew Woodrow in person, but by his executor James Dailey. The grant is to James Black, William Inskeep, Adam Hare, and John Lawson, Trustees, of two lots, for the use of the Presbyterian Congregation, for the two-fold purpose of erecting a Church thereon, and for a "burial ground for the dead."
The old church was built and of course there was a little difference, and for a number of years it stood an unfinished tenement. At last it was finished, and who does not remember the great wide aisle taking up one half of the room just in the middle, and then the wide old unpainted pine side pews; and the great tall box for a pulpit -- the little round window at the back of the pulpit -- the great large gallery fronting, -- the great beam reaching across the middle of the room, holding together, strengthening the upper part of the walls -- that beam which little children looked at, and wondered at, and thought there was some great mystery about it? And oh! the sacramental occasions -- when the people poured in from the country all around -- on horseback, father with child before and behind, mother with the babe on the pillow -- young lads and lassies riding along cheerfully and often perhaps forming alliances for life, and from which many of us are the descendants; the village streets so silent, and filled with the people dressed in their best, and wending their way slowly and sedately and solemnly to the church. You might know it was the Sabbath.
We enter the building; in the aisle, is placed one long table, covered with snow white linen reaching from near the door to within a few feet of the front of the pulpit, at the head of the table are placed the Sacramental plates and decanter, containing the bread and wine, the divine emblems.
The congregation enter; here comes the Pastor, the same who now ministers, then he was young, now age tells on him, yet still retaining the quick active step of his youth, he merely bows as he passes the group at the door and walks straight to the pulpit-- following him into the Church are the ses***, who remembers them? Naylor, Ely, Blair, Miller & Burkett.
The congregation are seated -- where are the many dear faces we gazed on then? Go look to yon graveyard, and drop your tear -- how many old *** have we lying out there in the ground now covered with the cold white snow! -- Let us turn from the window. The services have commenced -- how "old hundred" ** to those beautifully solemn lines;-- "Before Jehovah's awful throne," resounded in the old building; how the voice of the old elder, Naylor, trembled and swelled, how the whole congregation joined and followed him throughout the entire hymn; that prayer made for that congregation as they stand in the presence of Jehovah,-- the sermon,-- those solemn words to be thought over by so many, heart-treasures to be revealed perhaps to the world in years to come, -- the gathering around the sacramental board-- the solemn exhortation,-- the words "'Twas on that dark and doleful night," sung so that if once heard never forgotten -- the silent and quiet movings about of the old Elders. That greatest of all penitential Psalms: "Show pity, Lord; oh! Lord, forgive!"
Oh! how those words now thrill through my heart and soul -- how many prayers have gone up to the Throne of the Almighty with those words -- prayers that were answered by peace to the soul. Old Church! I love thee -- I love thy walls--thou art indeed a sacred place to me--to us--to this people! Here nearly all of us worshipped as children with our parents -- now gone -- here at the Sunday School we learned those lessons of divine truth which we hope may ne'er be obliterated from our hearts: here we listened to the words of wisdom from the pulpit, --here we gathered when friends died, and with tearful eyes listened to the solemn words, so enforced by the presence of the dead -- here were many of us baptized, and many have stood and taken the solemn vows at the baptism of their children: here, how many have sought for and received that pardon of their sins so long and tearfully sought?
Four great outpourings of God's Spirit have blessed this Church in 1824, in 1833, in 1850, and the past Summer; all occurring under the ministrations of the present pastor. Are there not hundreds of hearts, now living, who treasure the memories of those revivals as their very heart-blood? And oh! how many, now in heaven, strike perhaps their harps in more joyful strains in honor of the Lamb, as they recall the great mercies shown to them at those meetings, and that there they commenced that preparation which, after years of earthly suffering, gave them a crown of glory. [*C]
Here, are there not memories for us all? Let us treasure them, for remember, if the old Church is demolished we must preserve our graveyard -- its graves, and not permit it to go to ruin, and become as another graveyard in this place, one where fifty years ago our people buried their dead, and now no stone to mark its place -- no trace of a single grave -- men pass by it and little think that a garden covers the bones of their ancestors.
But let us go out of the Church into the "God's acre." We turn to the left and behold we stand beside the resting place of William Naylor, the Elder and the good man, the lawyer, eloquent, courteous, honest, fearing God and doing right: living just, yet at times fearing that he had mistaken his pursuit, and that he should have preached the Gospel to his fellows. Do you not remember how he led in the singing? He, who raised so many children and whose delight was in the bosom of his family, sleeps not beside either his wives nor any of his children save his daughter, called from her family, her children, her friends at a too early day. Here we are by the grave of one, who lived the life of a Christian, whose amiability thro' life made her the model wife, and whose children now arise to call her blessed. We note here the graves of the "three sisters" -- they rest side by side.
And here, from this tombstone we learn that it is in memory of Eliza, the wife of the Rev. O. Parkison, of the M. E. Church, whose trust was in the merits of a Crucified Redeemer.
We pass on and stand beside the grave of another Elder, John McDowell, here he sleeps by the side of the wife of his youth, the daughter of Woodrow, and his son -- we remember his intimate connection with the business of our community, and how as age came on the strong body and the great will gave way. Let us pass on – [*M]
We read that William Sherrard died in San Augustine, Florida, and his remains are interred here: he was a business man, yet how few remember him -- how quickly the living forget the dead! And here also rests a wife and mother, who but a little more than a year ago, passed away so triumphantly -- Susan consort of J. B. Sherrard. --
We stand beside an enclosure, within its palings lie the remains of the two wives of David Gibson, -- the wife of his youth, she the beautiful one who was called away so young, -- the wife of his maturer years, she whose deeds live after her -- her charity was as sweet incense, daily offered. There are little mounds in that enclosure: infants called away, angels they are.
Let us pause here: no stone marks who is the tenant of this tomb -- here lie the remains of Dr. Robert Newman, who spent a long life ministering to the sick -- whose very presence, in the sickroom, remarked and old man to us, gave assurance to the patient of a recovery: strong of intellect, yet child-like, confiding and trusting. His life had been a stirring one -- of six brothers in the army, he, the youngest, alone escaped the terrible massacre of St. Clair's defeat -- more than all, was intimately acquainted with and perhaps knew more of the great Burr and Wilkinson conspiracy, than any save the conspirators themselves, and, for this knowledge, his death was at one time determined on. Here rests his eldest daughter, -- she, who, when far away from home, prayed so earnestly that she might once more worship in the old Church with her friends, and than rest by the side of her beloved father. We step aside, and pass by this grave with the simple remark, the sister of an English baronet lies here -- when fortune smiled and frowned her trust throughout was in Christ.
Shall we pause here -- yes, for this fresh made mound contains the remains of one who was so good, so true, so gentle, yet so strong -- John Baker White, Jr., thy death-bed showed how a Christian can die, and thy last words and last warnings were not lost. No one who stood by that bedside can forget that dying scene. Louisa Aloinda, the wife of John B. White, Sr. -- so beautiful, so gentle and graceful in her manners, so amiable, who passes away in the late Spring, with words so full of trust in God.
We pause 'neath the shad of this old oak, and read from the marble slab supported by the crumbling brick wall, that Mrs. Mary Blair is buried here -- it could also be said of her "blessed are" they who live and "die in the Lord." We mark too Thomas Blair's mound, her husband -- Blair, the Elder and the one whose life was so full of charity and good deeds -- by whose side sleeps his mother, one of whom it might be said, like Enoch, her walk on earth was with God. "Hic jacet" Wm. Mulledy -- remembered by many.
Mark you yon marble shaft -- it is in memory of Wm J. Armstrong, who lived beloved by his fellows. The three who were friends, Armstrong, J. B. Kercheval, A. W. McDowell, -- generous, noble, popular -- all lie in this yard, all passed away within a few months of each other. Do you remember them? We pause in sorrow -- who does not remember Mrs. Wm. Armstrong and her daughter-in-law? Both lie here -- their deeds were good, their faith was strong. David Armstrong and his wife driven from Ireland by oppressive laws, they found a home in this new world, and her a grave.
Let us go to this other old oak tree, and resting against it let our eyes wander to the unmarked grave of Adam Heiskell -- he was one of Morgan's men -- he passed thro' the trials of the great wilderness to Quebec -- he, one of the old famous "Dutch mess;" all his comrades rest in the graveyards at Winchester, here he awaits the commands of his "Great Captain." Shall the resting place of the "old soldier" be disturbed? Here rests Chris. Heiskell, a business man and his wife. Aye, poor Mammy Betsey's grave, (Mrs. Eliz Fitzgerald) -- you can but remember the mild and gentle old lady, -- whose eye was softened by no light sorrow, -- whom young and old so loved, -- whom the infant was always taken to see.
Grand niece of Lord Fairfax
There in that brick enclosure, rest John Jack and his wife, and his sons James and Carlton and his daughter Juliet. Mr. John Jack -- prim, straight, dignified -- with his long queue -- you could but feel respect for him. His son, Carlton, known to every one -- who, years before his death, ever doubted but that God had given him a new heart? Out there, lie the remains of Mary, the grand niece of Lord Fairfax -- young, beautiful, accomplished, consumption gave the hectic flush to her cheek and hurried her to the tomb.
And over there, a simple stone marks the "home" of Margaret Black, the little daughter of one of our first ministers, under whose administration the Church was built.
There, yes, away in the upper portion on the hillside, is the pauper's grave. I remember his burial well -- a cold windy, day, we boys stopped our game to see the burying, seated on the fence we witnessed it. No one was there save those who assisted -- no hymn was sung, no prayer made -- the winds whistled thro' the trees, the tall grass bowed mournfully, men drew their coats more closely to their bodies, and the cold hard clods fell so hard upon the coffin. Poor man, the light of reason had years before ceased to shine -- but now, his soul knew the realities of the other world -- the demented pauper had then more knowledge than the spectators.
Yes, up there is the burying place of the Endler's -- a good, honest, hardworking race -- the "old first settlers" have all departed -- our mind recalls John and William Endler, and the old lady "Mammy Endler," what boy ever raised in this village, what county-man who ever attended Court in years past, does not remember the old house on the corner, Mammy's cakes and beer and her broken words full of life and hope, cheerily *** as her cakes. Where ***
Somewhere here -- Ragland, the lawyer of promise, whose bright dreams of ambition were cut short, ere they were realized, by the deathly breath of the fever.
Over there lies Craig Woodrow -- the afflicted one -- whose classical tests and ready information and brilliant intellect and loving, gently heart so many remember. Yes, there rests also the old Clerk, Col. Woodrow, the man of strong will, and Andrew, his son, and other members of that once influential and large family.
And out there is the grave of James Dailey -- the father of a numerous family, sons and daughters, -- Dailey, the Elder, the financier of his day and generation, the banker, a man of great foresight of fine business qualifications, enterprising and energetic. And there -- follow the direction my finger points, -- and you will find the grave of one once full of life, of mirth, of humor, who died because he was "too good a fellow" and could not resist the temptation of the sparkling bowl.
You see those graves -- several of them enclosed, -- our there near to the fence on the West: those are strangers' graves -- Blackman, whom Consumption hurried away so young. Geo. Porterfield, his last hours were soothed by the hands of kind friends.
How fast the snow falls! How thick the white flakes are! Soon the dead will be provided with another winding sheet. We must leave them here -- leave old memories -- leave the graves of those we love, for once we had two little brothers and a sister, their resting place is here. We are about opening the gate, when turning to our right we see a grave stone and the letters are almost filled with the snow flakes, -- we brush them off and read Eliza Wilson Foote -- our Pastor's little child, whom the angels called away. We hurry to our warm fireside to dream of the past and cherishing as the spot dearest to our memory the old Presbyterian Church-yard
Part II The Old Church-Yard concluded
"We hurry to our warm fire-side, to dream of the past, and cherishing as the spot dearest to our memory the old Presbyterian Church-yard." -- Last week's com.
As I sat by the fire and mused, I fell asleep and dreamed that I was lying upon the grass in the old Church-yard, 'neath the broad limbs and leaves of the old oak by Mammy Betsey's grave -- that it was the month of June, -- the hills and the mountains and the fields and the old "God's acre" were all clothed in their garb of green, the grass seemed more than beautiful, for the dew drops glistened in the morning sun as millions of sparkling gems -- the robins whistled to their mates in joyous notes from the trees, and hopped upon the ground in search of food with merry twittering, proudly showing their red breasts, and the larks arose from the dewy grass and rising to the heavens uttered as 'twere joyous notes of praise to their maker, -- the little sparrows sported fearlessly on the ground before me, and the little wren played in the adjacent fence, ever uttering his low chirup -- and the sun just over the Eastern hills shone forth in all his glory, shedding his brightness around upon the earth and adding a glory to the quiet of nature -- even the cowbell's tinkling added to the music of the scene.
I laid and listened and mused and enjoyed: and as I mused methought that mid the quietness of the scene, I could hear voices issuing from the graves around, such sweet low voices, voiced of persons who were at rest -- rest from toil -- rest from cares -- rest from suffering.
And it seemed as if I could again see our old friend, Nathaniel Kuykendall -- he who had known all the trials of the business of this life, had known friends, and had known the bitterness of desertion, -- tall, straight, dignified, sorrow could not break his dignity of character, yet it touched his countenance and softened his hear, and as he lay upon his last bed of sickness his trust, his hope, his all was in Christ, and when a few days before his death the death of a beloved daughter was announced, he could say that they would soon meet -- meet where? -- Where, but in Heaven! Yes he rests, and by his side sleep, as often they did on his knee, his two little grand children -- are they not angels now?
Peters and Naylor
And Peter Peters -- that once handsome man, full of humor, the life of his circle, how many tears were shed over his fate! And how methought I saw old Mr. Joseph Combs, so cleanly clad, so prim, yet so polite and dignified -- he is standing at prayer, holding communion with his God, in the old Church – and I recalled how when Mr. Naylor was absent his voice was the one that led the notes of praise: thou art lying up there on the hillside by the side of thy wife, good and strict old Presbyterian; and poor Nelly and her babe, their wanderings all over, her troubles all gone, rest now quietly with thee awaiting the sound of the last trumpet.
I see again Eli Davis, the old jailor, kind, generous, and lenient too, with a heart that could feel for, his fellows, -- a large family now arise to bless him and his wife who sleeps by his side: a son and grand-children have their home with him.
Yes, there is Steinbeck, the robust old German, honest and simple in heart, confiding and trusting in his fellows, -- a few old persons remember the bountiful table he sat at the old middle tavern; long years ago, when our old men were but boys, he sought his home out there where the blackberry bushes now grow.
And over there Mrs. McGuire -- the mother of the second wife of Wm. Naylor, -- a lady of the old school, an Episcopalian by profession, and Catholic in her feelings, the willow tree waves mournfully over her grave and her son, Samuel McGuire, for a short time Clerk of our county Court, the husband of a daughter of Woodrow, who rests with him.
And who is here? Mrs. Sallie, the wife of Felix Davis, and the sister of Mrs. Thomas Blair: oh! how strong was her faith, suffering purified her spirit.
"Suffering is the work now sent,
Nothing can I do but lie
Suffering as the hours go by;
All my powers to this are bent,
Suffering is my gain; I bow
To my heavenly Father's will,
And receive it hushed and still;
Suffering is my worship now."
And by her side rests her daughter -- the merry, joyous, light-hearted girl, whom at school I knew so well, -- a stranger won her love and took her from us, but in a year a saddened man he brought her back and laid her by her mother.
Mary M., wife of Wm. S. Naylor, she lies here -- the amiable young wife, "and babe by the side of its mother." By the side of the Elder Wm. Naylor, lies his cousin, Miss Charity Johnson, who lived and died in his family: her deeds were worthy her name, Charity, -- never a peace-breaker, always a peace-maker, -- many a dying bed was cheered by her presence, and many a sick room brightened by her kind attentions, -- her life was that of a good woman, her death that of the humble disciple of Jesus.
And Dr. Snyder, the physician, and Dr. Dyer, who was removed from his first grave, rest here -- old citizens, yet years have almost obliterated their memory.
Mrs. Kitty, wife of James Vance, mild and gentle and lovely in her disposition, very pious, she lies there by the side of her first husband, Mr. Jacob Heiskell, -- and resting with them is Samuel Heiskell, and his son Adam, they died professing glorious homes, and there also lies Elizabeth, wife of F. W. Heiskell, daughter of Christopher Heiskell.
And even here at my feet, rests poor Granny Fitsgerald -- the old lady, not larger than a little girl, who, when the news of the death of her two sons, soldiers in the war of 1812, was announced to her, laid down upon her bed and there for twenty years she remained, until death came, and her bed was made here.
And there rests poor Mrs. Cherry, near the graves of those who were friends to her thro' many years -- poor woman, her great troubles are all over, and her last wish, that she might rest here in this old yard, gratified.
And on the other side of the Church, we buried last Summer Jas. McDonald -- a young man whom so many loved: -- the last time we exchanged friendly and light-hearted words, little he thought that we would never meet again.
From those two graves, hush! what voices do I hear speaking: how solemn the words: -- "Have ye forgotten how ye trembled at the pestilence, how ye quaked at the thoughts of God's judgment -- when you heard of our deaths , oh! men and women of Romney? The pestilence is stayed, but God's judgment is still near! Turn ye, turn, oh! thoughtless people."
As those words thrilled thro' my ears, I saw George Y. Houser's grave -- many friends stood with tearful eyes at his funeral, and a large family now mourn their loss.
A marble slab covers the grave of Mrs. Susan, wife of Otho W. Heiskell, of Wheeling -- she whom dread consumption marked as its victim -- beautiful and amiable, -- she rests alone, her father and mother (Maj. Gibson and wife,) lie in the grave-yard at Charlestown.
And here rests Mrs. Rachael, wife of our former old respected citizen, Capt. George Leps, -- the mother of a large family, -- with great bodily sufferings she passed thro' the Valley of the Shadow of Death, cheered by Jesus -- with her, rest her two daughters, Susan and Bettie. –
Mr. Josiah Samuel, a stranger he came to our village, but soon death claimed him as his own -- two little grandchildren lie with him.[*S]
John Barker, ere thou entered into manhood, the fell destroyer claim thee.
And seeping by his sister, Mrs. White, lies Chichester Tapscott -- a young lawyer, of delicate organization and handsome appearance -- the husband of a daughter of Naylor, -- long years ago he passed away with the song of triumph -- "Oh! grave, where is they victory? Oh! death, where is thy sting?"
And with the Blairs', lie LLoyd Rawlings, Blair's partner, and the stranger, Wood, a relative of Mrs. Blair, who sought our village for his health and found, in a few weeks -- a grave.
Margaret Moreland rests with her infants -- children she left behind to praise her -- rests, aye rests after years of earthly suffering.
"We cannot come to you, but you can come to us" are words uttered from so many graves. And I see again, old Mr. John Friddle, an industrious man, the father of a large family, whom many yet remember, and old Mr. Busby who passed away years before this generation can remember.
Lo! a voice from that grave away in the South-western part of the yard, in the corner -- poor Betty Evans -- liquor maddened her, and poor woman an outcast she lived, and ceased her wanderings here. Mrs. Kitty Cookus, we all remember her, God gave her a new life and Christ blessed her last hours, and bitter tears were shed over her grave.
I see one who was here at one time so beloved, and whom his brothers in a benevolent institution buried -- David Griffith, by his side rests his wife, she who was taken so soon form him.
And here lies Catharine, daughter of John Endler, and wife of John W. Marshall, -- sweet in her manners, amiable in her disposition, she passed away from her friends to a better world. Mrs. Kitty Kirk, who raised a large family, rests with her son and her little grandchildren here.
There are voices coming up form many other graves, but we cannot recognize them: their tenants have passed away -- immortal souls they are, we living know them not; and yet their sweet voices fall upon our ear in conjunction with those from other graves.
A stranger stood before me, and asked "Why muse you here? These graves contain but dead bones and this is the last of man," -- A voice from Mammy Betsey's grave replied: "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God," but we know how we "are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." I looked and behold the stranger was gone, and it seemed as if the voices from the graves were more sweet, and I could hear the echo and re-echo of the words "blood of the Lamb."
And I cried with a loud voice to some of the tenants of the tomb: "Newman, how now thy desire after scientific knowledge -- how thy cravings to add to the knowledge of the world? Naylor, how now they dreams of family power? Ragland, how thy great dreams of ambition? Craig Woodrow, how now thy classical tastes?" And voices of thunder cried out -- "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity -- prepare for death -- heaven is the only goal fit for immortal souls to fix their hopes upon," and it seemed as if every grave echoed and re-echoed those words -- little infants, mothers, father, old gray headed men, the youths, all spoke forth from their resting places, and like St. John of Patmos, it seemed as if the angel cried with a loud voice: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last."
I awoke with a start -- my shovel had fallen, my fire was out -- I arose and looked out -- it was not June, the snow was lying thick upon the ground, and the cold moon glistened upon its surface. I took one look at the old Church, and the yard, how silent rested the dead -- soon perhaps I may be with them to rest, and this may be my last writing.
[*C] Another note supplied by Miss Pugh has the following correction: "In the paragraph concerning the "old Church," mention is made of the four revivals, and the second one is said to have occurred in 1833, this is an error, that great outpouring of God's Spirit occurred in 1832. Reference should also have been made to those ministers who assisted upon those occasions. In 1824, the Rev. Mr. Welton was assisted by our present pastor; in 1832, the Revrs. Jones, Brown and Riddle assisted: in 1850, the Rev. Edward Martin ministered through those stirring scenes with our pastor, also assisted by the venerable William N. Scott: the past fall, the Revrs. Charles White, Wm. M. Woodworth, Wm. V. Wilson, J. R. Graham, J. H. Symes, John Johnston, and John W. R. Pugh, preached and aided in the prayer-meetings and in private conversations, at that glorious work."
[*H] This editor has a note supplied by Miss Mary Pugh that states: "On another page of the Review was the following: R. N. Harper, author of the two articles on "The Old Presbyterian Graveyard," the second of which appears this week, was Robet Newman Harper, eldest brother of Mrs. Myra Harper Sheetz, formerly of Romney, now living in Baltimore. Mr. Harper was a graduate of Hampton Sydney College and practiced law at Moorefield until his death in July 1861, which occurred when he was but twenty-eight years of age."
[*M] A letter to Miss Mary Pugh from Robert E. Fultz states, "Another name might be added to the cemetery list. The wife of John McDowell, the daughter of Woodrow, referred to on page 5 of the article, was Matilde Woodrow McDowell, daughter of Andrew Wodrow (note change in spelling) & my great, great grandmother. 'Other members of that once influential family' of the clerk, Andrew Wodrow (not Woodrow) probably included his second wife, Mary Ann Wilson, daughter of George Wilson, (brother of James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation. 'Historic Romney' gives the origin of the land of the Mytinger House as granted by Lord Fairfax to George Wilson, May 16, 1763, but does not give the source of that information..."
John McDowell is listed in the W.P.A. list of veteran burials as being buried in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery in Romney.
[*S] Josiah Samuel is listed in the W.P.A. list of veteran burials as a War of 1812 veteran buried in the Old Presbyterian Cemetery
Old Presbyterian Cemetery from Civil War drawing by Botts.
Courthouse on upper left; Potomac Academy upper right;
Church on corner behind tree is already gone
Destruction of the Old Presbyterian Cemetery
This cemetery was located on the present site of the Romney Volunteer Fire Department. The first Presbyterian Church in Romney was also located on this lot. In Historic Hampshire by Seldon Brannon it is stated, “In 1816, Lots 59 and 60, at the southeast corner of High Street and Gravel Lane were deeded to the congregation by Andrew Woodrow. Building was begun on the property in 1817, but for many years it stood unfinished. In the year 1819, Dr. William Foote made a missionary visit to Hampshire County, and in 1824 a formal call was issued to him by the congregation. On December 12, 1824, the church was dedicated by Dr. Foote.” The new Presbyterian Church located at the corner of Rosemary Lane and Marsham Street was built in 1860.
In 1941, some of the stones and graves were moved to the Indian Mound Cemetery, and they can still be viewed there to this day. As to the rest of the graves, I discovered the following from a conversation I had with Paul Clower. In 1948, Paul’s father, Kermit, Sr., who owned an excavating business, was asked to clear the lot for Pancake Chevrolet. The Hampshire County Coroner was called in during the excavation to view the condition of the graves. The ones that were in good condition were moved to Indian Mound and the ones that were determined not be salvageable were dug up and hauled away. Paul’s father remarked there was nothing but darkened earth where the coffins had completely rotten away or a piece of cloth. That dirt was dumped in a large pit at the NW corner of Sioux Lane and Grafton Street. Later a house was built on that lot.
May your souls find rest although your bones have not.
Some stones from the old Presbyterian Cemetery were moved to
Indian Mound Cemetery, but the bodies may not have been reinterred.
They are at the far back of the cemetery near the woods.