Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery, Romney, WV.
Lat:39° 20.518N; Lon:078° 46.032W.
Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery is located on the north side of US Rt. 50 just west of the town limits of Romney, West Virginia and the entrance to Indian Mound Cemetery. It sits on the edge of U.S. Rt. 50 below Indian Mound Cemetery in the bend of the old, abandoned Northwest Turnpike curve.
Listed below are the names on existing stones and markers. We would appreciate some
assistance in obtaining all names for this important African American cemetery.
The back has some field stones with no markings.
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Some History of the Colored Benevolent Association Cemetery
What is now called the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery was not always named that or located where we know it today. Apparently, the original deed to the property was never recorded; however, one can find mention of that land transfer in Deed Book 56, page 166, May, 1872. This deed concerns land transferred from John Heiskell, Special Commissioner, of the First Part, and James Wirgman and Octavius Wirgman, of the Second part. The property was a 326 acre tract of Gibson, then deceased, in the area of lands of Indian Mound Cemetery and the farm presently called "Sycamore Dale." The cemetery is mentioned as such: "...excepted about one acre, lying in the bend of the N. W. Turnpike Road on Town Hill just below the Indian Mound Cemetery which one acre has been sold to the Colored Benevolent Association for a cemetery."
Some information on the Colored Benevolent Association can be found in notes from a speech given on the Association's 53rd Anniversary, July 30, 1920: "The Benevolent Society of Romney, West Virginia was organized by Daniel Banks on Jan. 1, 1867 in the Courthouse with a membership of 50 people; only three people and the present president now survive." Alfred Whiting was the first President; sometimes membership was up to 80.
Further research reveals notes of the meeting concerning the moving(?) of the cemetery to allow for the straightening of Rt 50: July 10, 1934, it was agreed to give the original land to the State Road Commission (SRC). (It seems that the following was what the SRC would pay to the Association for the original land and the move) Lots = $10, single grave $3; $75 for damages done; a fence to be provided by SRC; the old road to be given to the C.B.S.
The straightening of Rt. 50 is further described in Deed Book 97, page 364-365 where the State buys .1 acre of land, more or less, for the new road alignment; the State also purchases three lots in the cemetery for the purposed of relocating the graves disturbed by the highway relocation. The project identifier is "P. W. S. 202-B Hampshire County." The deed is dated October 23, 1934.
A search of courthouse records has not yet turned up any document verifying the establishment of the Association. It appears that just following the Civil War no one cared to file papers for a colored organization. Furthermore, a query to the Division of Highways has not turned up any documents verifying the agreement connected with the land transfer in 1934 other than the deed mentioned above. It appears that the cemetery lost .1 acre of land and gained only the old road bed. However, we have not yet found the records of the original layout. It is not clear what graves had to be moved or which were the three lots use for reinterment.
At the present time we are endeavoring to have the Methodist Church reconstitute the Board of Trustees for the Cemetery, so that work can be done on better preservation of the site. The outdated trustee certification is listed in the Courthouse in the Trustee Book. See below for the 1935 list.
Stones and Markers in Mt. Pisgah Cemetery
Note: Be advised that this is a draft list and may contain errors; we are soliciting assistance in completing this important project.
Nancy J. Alexander, wife of Albert, b. July 4, 1855; d. April 27, 1904
Harriett Ann ??, May(?) 15, 1886(?) aged ? [Harriett Mathews?, Female, 1886, May 15; age: 38; C: Daniel Mathews*]
name unreadable [Edward Fisher?*], b. 1879; d. 1962 [temp marker]
Names from obituaries in the Hampshire Review
Cornelius A. Austin, about 61, conducted Little Gem Restaurant [Review Jan. 4, 1933]
Lizzie Brady, about 77, [Review Mar. 16, 1932]
John Bush, about 79, born in St. Louis, [Review Aug. 15, 1928]
Nora Goodwin, age 51, [Review 3/16/1927]
Zephyr Green, d. 1932[Review Mar. 16, 1932]
Burr Mathews about 62 [Review Nov. 16, 1932]
John Qualls, about 42 years old, son of Joe and Maria Qualls, died at State Hospital for the Colored at Larkin. [Review May 6, 1936]
Maria Qualls, about 63, relatives listed. [Review Sept. 21, 1927]
George Redmon, about 80 [Review July 10, 1929]
Isaac A. Washington, age 81 [Review July 31, 1940]
Alfred Whiting, age 98 years, Jan. 1, 1824 - March 6, 1922. Source: Obituary in the Hampshire Review of March 8, 1922 Mr. Whitings death certificate lists that he is buried "in Romney."
Names from Hampshire County Death Records
The following names are taken from Hampshire County Death Records (1866-1922)*, compiled by Vicki Bidinger Horton; printed by The Hampshire Review, Romney, West Virginia, 1993 and are listed therein as "bur. in Romney." We can not be sure which cemetery they were buried in because we know of at least one other African-American cemetery in Romney, Armstrong Cemetery which was probably used from around the Civil War to sometime before 1927. We assume some of the names below are buried in Mt.Pisgah Cemetery.
Bank, Daniel N. 1899, Feb 24; age 67, married
Names from Undertaker Journals
The following names are taken from Undertaker/Funeral Home records.
Emily E. Bartlett, June 1949
Names from Other Sources
The following names were supplied by Jane Ailes from death certificates.
Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery Trustees appointed 1935
This is an ongoing project. Please contact us if you have information on this cemetery - people buried here or the deeding of the cemetery and the establishment of the Colored Benevolent Association. Contact us through the contact page on this site or call Charles Hall (304)496-7218. We need your help.
Misc. notes p. 333 Mt Pisgah May 25, 1975; 1977 p. 367