Robert Randall Cunningham Family Cemetery
Big Indian Run (near Oakdale), Harrison Co, WV
Read and donated by Gary and Vanessa Jane Shaw
November 15, 2009
 


          This cemetery is not officially named at this time, but it is located on property which was once owned by Robert Randall Cunningham and/or Benjamin Franklin Griffin.  The cemetery is on Big Indian Run, near the community of Oakdale, in Harrison County, WV. The nearest municipality is Shinnston, WV. Beginning at the mouth of the Oakdale Bridge, proceed up Indian Run until you come to the second right, which is what the locals call Harris Fork Road. Follow this road until you come to the first residence on the right with a split rail fence and a huge red farm gate. On each side of this gate are two bright red pig statues. This is private property. To gain access to the cemetery, you must obtain permission from the land owners and then cross the fence. After crossing the fence, bear to the left and proceed up the hill towards the ridge. This area is almost impassable; brush and forest overgrowth is dense. We accessed it by using garden hoes to move briars and brush and zig-zagging around dense thickets. As you climb this hill, always bear to the left, proceeding towards the ridge.  It will be easy to miss this cemetery as it sets in the middle of the forest and blends with the foliage and trees. There are two stones that stand out enough to make sighting possible, but you must look closely for them or the site will be overlooked.

      Since the last stone set in this cemetery has death date of 1911, it is assumed that that was probably the last burial, but this can not be proven at this time. How the bodies and huge stones were transported to this cemetery is a mystery. An old logging road is visible near it, but very steep and over grown. Perhaps it was the original access road to the cemetery at one time. 

   Once you reach the cemetery, you can see the outline of the fence that used to surround it. Rotting fence posts, full of nails, are still standing. These posts were cut from what the old timers called wormy chestnut. No rails are left on this fence, but close inspection showed some rotting where they fell from the post they were attached to. Trees have fallen throughout the cemetery.

    On November 15, 2009, three gravestones were found. The largest and most recent was the stone for Robert Randall Cunningham and his wife, Malissa Jane (Moore) Cunningham. This stone is a large polished granite stone which has fallen from the base and is laying face-up. It is lying in a sunken area which is probably the actual grave sites of the Cunninghams.  Next to this stone is an old pillar stone with faded etchings. It is leaning, and when touched, almost fell. We propped it up as best we could with a log. The top of this stone is missing. At one time it had five parts to it. We looked for the missing piece but were unable to find it. There are intricate carvings and etchings on this stone that are unreadable, but the information on the person buried there was still obtainable. The stone belongs to Robert and Malissa Cunningham’s daughter, Mandora Virginia Cunningham. About twelve feet from this stone is a small, unreadable square stone that at one time had letters on it. It is now faded and standing in what appears to be its original site; it is clearly a marker for a totally different grave than the previous two. About twenty feet from this small, unreadable stone are two graves, side by side, that are sunken. The size and shape clearly mark them as graves although there are no stones.


 
 


 
 

GRAVESTONES    RECOVERED:

                                    NAME                 BIRTH        DEATH                  COMMENTS/INSCRIPTION

Robert R. Cunningham 1827 1911 This is a large, polished granite stone shared by husband and wife. It has fallen backwards off the base, and is laying in the two sunken grave sites it belongs to.  The name CUNNINHAM is on the bottom of the fallen piece.
Malissa J. Cunningham 1831 1898 This stone originally had five tiers; top is missing from the stone, and CUNNINGHAM is written on the bottom. Much intricate carving and an epitaph which is unreadable.  Stone is leaning and will move to the touch.   Small footstone, MVC, at end of grave.
Mandora V. Cunningham 1/21/1859 3/24/1893 d/o Robert & Malissa; CUNNINGHAM at the bottom of this stone which originally had five tiers. The top is missing from this stone and wasn’t found; there are a lot of intricate carvings and an epitaph that is unreadable on this stone. The stone is leaning and will move to the touch. 
Unknown unk unk Small, square 12 X 24 headstone located abt 12 ft from Mandora Cunningham's grave.  Foot stone located about 3 feet from headstone; writing unreadable.
Lloyd M. Cunningham 7/25/1923 Unmarked grave; burial information from death certificate.  Age at death: age 70 years 6 months 13 days; s/o Robert & Malissa Cunningham.
Orpha L. Shaw Cunningham  11/10/1911 Unmarked grave; burial information from death certificate; d/o David Shaw; w/o Lloyd Cunningham.

 


 


 
 


 

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