Daily the tides of life go ebbing and flowing beside them,
Many the throbbing hearts, theirs are at rest forever,
Many the aching brains, theirs are no longer busy,labors,
Many the weary feet, theirs have completed their journey.
In the year 1808, the first grave was made in the beautiful Ripley Burying-ground, under the shade of the spreading beeches.
Four years earlier, William Parsons, one of the very earliest pioneers of Jackson County, dissatisfied with the rapidly increasing population of the settlements along the Ohio River, and the growing scarcity of game, abandoned his primitive residence at the mouth of Mill Creek, a residence partly pole cabin, partly sycamore tree, and pushed back into the tangled wilderness, locating at the junction of Mill Creek and Sycamore, some twelve miles from the river.
He reared his humble home on the rich, alluvial bottom on the bank of the main creek, just above the mouth of Sycamore, cleared a small tract sufficient to raise corn for his bread and flax for his clothing.
He kept several dogs and the chase furnished meat for his table and skins for bedding and clothing as well as occupation and recreation.
Chasing the bear and stalking the deer filled in the measure left vacant by the treaty of Greenville, for Parsons had been one of the Scouts enlisted by the Virginian Government, during the troublesome days of the border wars. "Spies" was the name given them and their business was to watch the movements of marauding bands or Indians and defend the settlements from their attacks.
His wife was a Fink, from Fink's Run on the Buckhannon River, probably both were from Horse Shoe Bend of Cheat River originally.
In 1808, his wife died and was buried on a little flat in a grove of thrifty young beech trees, beyond the wide plateau and up a little among the foothills. There is no monument and probably the site of the grave is unknown, but it served to consecrate the spot as a burial ground and as the swift years rolled away, another and yet another grave was added with increasing frequency as the colony became more populous.
The site of the cemetery is about one fourth of a mile up Sycamore on the right hand side and a little back from the creek.
A brook comes down by it, from the hills, crossing the Ravenswood and Ripley Pike, under an ancient bridge, and this brook is known as Greens Run, from the execution of a man named Green.
The Ripley Graveyard lies on the lower slope of the hill and comprises a little flat extending across the point, a gentle slope below, reaching down to the brow of a smart declivity and a steeper hillside above, which borders on the highway. The northern side of the flat and lower slope constitute the old graveyard to which was added later, a half acre or more on the southern and eastern sides; and yet, more recently, a strip three rods wide on the south. In this last addition was buried George J. Walker, in eighteen and other graves and been made there since that date, but this annex is too steep to be suitable for burying purposes and to make matters worse, slopes to the west so the foot of the grave is higher than the head. This same objection applies to the eastern side of the graveyard proper, except a part of the northeast corner, where the flat runs around nearer level.
It is fenced around partly with plank and partly with iron palings and the Walker Annex is separated by a board fence.
The northern side is shaded by magnificent spreading beeches, a part of the forest primeval, whose trunks are scarred with rudely carved names and dates, probably reaching back seventy-five, eighty and ninety years, but all the older ones and "grown off" and become illegible.
I know of no prettier buiral place in the county, or indeed anywhere, although there are many having a finer location, but lack alas, the trees and shade.
On nearly an acre and a quarter of land, I counted more than forty-five large trees. There were beech, elm, ash, sycamore, oaks and one pine.
The sycamores and ashes are eight to twelve inches in diameter and grow mostly in the southern or new part of the cemetery.
I have frequently visited this hallowed spot and delight to ramble among its shady solitudes.
One evening in November, 1894, Mr Peden of Beatty's Run, and myself, spent an hour in wandering through its silent walks.
In August, 1904, I visited it again, finding the Sexton, an old Frenchman named Fleau (Fla-o) at work, putting a new base rock to a small headstone.
He was very communicative, but talked with such a burr, I found it difficult to understand him. His speech was quite broken, but had no suggestion of the nasal twang, supposed to belong to the French people.
He said he was born in France, came to New York in 1852, stayed there one year and then came to Jackson County.
I came again on the seventeenth of September and spent some time among the graves copying many of the inscriptions and making note of the tombstones and monuments.
I tried to get the dates of all the older graves as well as those of the pioneers and old people who had been buried in more recent years.
Most of the earlier graves are marked with simple flagstones, sometimes with letters and dates rudely chiseled on them or with elaborately carved headstones of dressed sandstone, many of which looked quite well and, to my mind, more becoming than costly marble and granite monuments. Some have no mark whatever and the eye can scarcely trace their shadowy outlines under the trees.
Again, there is another class of simple marble slabs, weather stained and grey, which have lost the cold, glaring whiteness of new marble, and lastly, the more imposing monuments, which have become fashionable since the opening of the railroad to Ripley in 1891.
As before stated, the first grave was that of Mrs. William Parsons.
The second is marked by a low flagstone marked "P.S. 1821". Near it, a similar stone isrked "M.S. 1822" and yet another "C.S. March 12, 1829".
These are all short graves and are occupied by children or possibly grand children of Jacob Starcher.
The next settler in this silent sleeping place, was a young Methodist Preacher, who was drowned in 1830 in trying to ford the creek, where the Harpold Bridge now stands, two miles above town. His body was found, caught in some drift lower down the creek and his faithful horse, standing by the ford, waiting for his master's return.
The unfortunate young man's name was Harry Ripley and he had his marriage license in his pocket at the time of his death. The neighborhood was so impressed with this sad occurrence that when next year, the county seat was laid out, it was given the name of Ripley in honor of the young minister.
Jacob Starcher, who bought the Parsons' farm about 1812, may justly be called the "father of Ripley". He was long, one of the leading citizens of the vicinity, but he has been slumbering under the leafy beech trees almost as many years as his age when laid by loving hands in their shadows.
Here, he plowed and he sowed, he reaped and he mowed and he hunted the deer, bear and other wild game, when those who are hoary with the frosts of many winters were yet unborn. I sat in the pleasant shade on the porch of the Hotel Hassler, facing the Court House and tried to call up the picture of the old man, following his wooden turnplow or old shovel, back and forth across the public square, the thronging streets and the busy blocks beyond; clad in homespun flax or buckshin, hunting shirt, breeches and moccasins, while his horses harness was made of cornshucks, rawhide and bark.
He died on the seventh of January 1838 at the age of seventy years, his wife Annie Starcher, nine years his junior, lived to the same age, dying nine years later and was laid by his side.
Annie Starcher, born January 3, 1777, died July 8, 1847, aged seventy years and six months.
Of their children, who are buried here, Abraham Starcher was born May 21, 1800 and died October 15, 1871, aged seventy-one years and four months.
His wife, Margaret Evans Starcher, born March 27, 1798 and died August 20, 1852, aged fifty-four years and four months.
Abraham Starcher's wife was Margaret Evans, a daughter of Squire Evans, who lived on Mill Creek below Ripley, where town of Evans is now located.
Mark Starcher, who was a soldier in the Union Army, and over whose grave waves a bleached and faded Union flag planted there on Decoration day, was born in 1822 and died March 27, 1867.
His wife, Mary (Williamson) Starcher, who is buried at his side, died in November 1890, aged 70 years and five months. He was Abraham's son.
Daniel Starcher, son of Abraham, died July 27, 1846, aged twenty one years five months. He was never married.
William Starcher was a son of Jacob and brother of Abraham. He died January 19, 1872, aged sixty-two years seven months. He married an Evans. His son, Robert Startcher, was the father of the Starcher Brothers who were in the store on the corner, in Ripley.
There is a James Starcher, who died March 1862, aged thirty-eight years ten months. His wife, Mary, died in 1870, aged seventy, if I made no mistake in copying the inscriptions.
Jacob Starcher, Jr, died July 27, 1857, aged sixty-two years two months. The tall marble slab belonging to this grave was down and broken in twain. He was brobably a brother of Abraham.
John C. Starcher, born October 9, 1796, died Sept. 8, 1851.
R.E. Starcher, born September 2, 1827.
Fanny Starcher, born January 3, 1777, died July 8, 1847.
Jacob Starcher Sr's wife was a half sister to Hannah (Staats) Ables and a daughter of Abraham Staats. Her mother is said, by some, to have been a Flesher.
There is, in the Starcher row in the northwest corner of the graveyard, two graves of sons of J.A. and J.E. Maginty. William, who died at nineteen and B.R., who died at twenty-three. One or both died in 1852 and they may have been relatives of the Starchers.
Sarah, wife of William Starcher, died January 6, 1883, aged eighty years ten months.
Ann, daughter of William and Sarah Starcher, died in 1856, aged sixteen years.
Priscilla, daughter of William and Sarah Starcher, died in 1857, aged twenty-eight years, eleven months.
Another pioneer, who lies resting beneath one of the beech trees of the Ripley graveyard, is William Bonnet, who settled on Mill Creek, one and a half miles above town before 1816. How long before, I have not been able to ascertain. He came from Hacker's Creek. William Bonnet was born September 14, 1774 and died July 10, 1858 aged eighty-three years seven months. He was famous for his physical strenght. He married a sister of John Harpold, who settled by him on Mill Creek several years later. His wife, Barbara (Harpold) Bonnet was born February 3, 1784, and died August 20, 1867, aged eighty-three years and six months. Like Jacob Starcher's wife, she lived to nearly the same age of her husband, when he died.
Barbara Bonnet was a very tall woman. They had several children, one of whom was named Matilda and she married a Craig. She did not live long, dying in 1859, in her twenty-third year. Matilda, her father and mother, lie side by side on the left of the path in the central part of the graveyard.
Martha Turner, widow of Thomas Turner, died March 22, 1886, in her ninetieth year.
Benjamin Wright, son of Benjamin Wright, Sr. the pioneer miller of Jackson County, the first clerk of the County Court of Jackson County, died October 1875 at the age of seventy-two years eight months, and was buried in the central part of the graveyard.
His son, E.B.Wright, commonly known as "Bib" Wright and Elizabeth A. Wright, who died May 21, 1871, aged thirty-two years four months. E.B died at the age of eixty-eight years, about 1899.
Upon the death of Jacob Starcher in 1838, that part of the Parsons farm, which he still possessed, including the house and orchard at the mouth of Scyamore, was sold to Thomas Graham of Mineral Wells, Wood County. Graham was an Irishman by birth and a soldier of the War of 1812. He returned, I think, to Wood County and died at the advanced age of ninety-six years and six months.
Some of his children are buried at Ripley. Elen E. Graham, died February 5, 1849, aged seventeen years. Clermont Graham, and infant son, died July 12, 1846 at one year and one month of age.
Viola Vail, daughter of Isaiah and Louisa (Graham) Vail, his grand child, died in 1850 when a year old, and Sarah Vail, her sister died in 1875, at the age of twenty years. These also rest in the central part of the burying ground.
Stephen Straley, who moved on to the Ables Farm on Sycamore, from Hacker's creek, was born February 4, 1806 and died July 8, 1885, aged seventy-nine years five months. Mary Straley, his "gude wife" who sleeps by his side, was born May 22, 1815, and died March 2, 1879. Their sons, William, deceased July 30, 1865 at twenty-five years of age and George L. Straley, died April 1866 at the age of twenty years are also buried with them. These are in the nothern quarter.
Moses Doolittle was born in Morgantown in May, 1802 and died at Ripley, July 2, 1877, aged seventy-five years one month.
Susan Seaman Doolittle, his wife was born May 3, 1801, in Monongalia County. She was the daughter of David and Elizabeth (Bord) Seaman and they lived a while on Reedy and at a later date on Mill Creek, at what is known as the old Wiblin Place. The family record says she was born May 3, 1799 and died January 12, 1878.
Keziah Cunningham is another old pioneer, whose ashes rest peacefully under the beech shade of the Ripley burying ground. She was the mother of Joel and James Cunningham, and departed this life February 26, 1853 at the age of eighty-six years.
At the grave is a sandstone slab with flower design carved on it. Her maden name was Keziah Barnet. There is, by the side of Grandmother Cunningham, a nameless grave. I do not know whether it be one of her family or not. Possibly it is her husband, James Cunningham, who lived and raised his family in Pendleton County.
Leola Bell, daughter of B.R. (Roth) and M.J. Cunningham, died in 1869.
John D. Keeney, a Methodist Preacher and one of the first settlers of the middle fork of Reedy, where he made the first improvement on the Deems place, and his wife, Rachel, daughter of William Burdett are buried here. John D. Keeney, died June 10, 1855 in his sixty-sixth year and Rachel Keeney died September 11, 1861 in her sixty eighth year.
Another monument informs the reader that Charlotte, wife of M. D. Armstrong, died May 10, 1879 at the age of fifty-six years and six months.
William L. Bird, Attorney At Law, died on May 19, 1850 at the age of twenty-five. The above inscription looks rather odd, somewhat like a business card or advertisement.
Another curious inscription is that on the headstone of another lawyer, Lys Flesher, a son of Andrew Flesher, which inform the world that Ulysses W. Flesher was born January 28, 1831. Graduated at the Ohio University in 1851. Admitted to the bar in 1853. Died August 4, 1869.
John B. Moyle was born August 2, 1806 and died April 6, 1896 aged eighty-nine years eight months. "He was a pioneer and died at Anderson's Hotel. He was a 'Squire Murrill' and was connected with land matters in Jackson County".
An old gray weatherbeaten headstone bears the inscription: "Here lies the body of Harriet Wetzel, wife of John Wetzel, born December 12, 1817 and died the seventh of March 1845".
This woman was one of the Lowther family of Harrison County. Col. Robert Lowther came from Harrison County to Ripley. He was the father of Harriet Wetzell and Minerva Smith. Robert Lowther died April 22, 1856, aged sixty years ten months. Born March 24, 1795, his wife Mary Lowther died in July 1851 at the age of fifty-nine years seven months. By them rests E.D. Lowther, born 1830 and died 1897 and on his grave was the flag of the Union. Harriet Lowther Wetzell, was the first wife of John H. Wetzell, who, it is claimed, was a grandson of one of Lewis Wetzell's brothers. Hon. Robert Wetzell of Ravenswood is their son. Robert Lowther was Postmaster at Ripley for several years. Major Henry Harpold's wife, Judge Joseph Smith's wife, Mrs. Wetzell, Andrew and "Dunk" (E.D.) Lowther were his children. He was a member of the Ripley bar in 1831 and helped in laying off the town.
Toward the northeastern corner of the graveyard, some of the Ables family are buried, but I do not have any of the dates.
Martin Ables was the first settler at the Straley Farm on Sycamore. His sons, Jacob and Martin, came with him when he moved from Greene County, Pennsylvania. His son, Alec Ables married Hannah, daughter of Abram and Sarah (Tilghman) Staats and lived a while at the mouth of Sycamore and afterwards at the Greer farm on Sycamore where William Carney now resides, and his daughter, Margaret married William Staats and lived on Sycamore.
William G. Ayers came from Pocahontas County to Ripley. He died March 23, 1848, aged forty-seven years nine months. Phebe J. Ayers, his wife, died January 18, 1850 aged twenty-five years eleven months. (This was probably his second wife.) John Ayres, son of W.G. died in 1857, aged twenty-four. Twin daughters of W.G. and J. Ayers died 1848, infants. "Grig" Ayers, father of Will was probably son of W.G. Ayers. J.L. Armstrong, who was born in Lewis county in 1829 and married an Ayers. He came to Ripley in 1849. James Armstrong, died November 28, 1879 in his seventy-sixth year.
John Harper came with the Ayers family and is said to be related in some way. He is said to have been an old bachelor and rich. "Bill" and "Jim" Harper were his brothers. The Harpers are said to have owned the White Sulpher Springs at one time. John Harper died September 30, 1852 aged fifty years. James P. Harper died January 15, 1865 aged sixty-one years.
Another informant, Mary Rader, said that old John Harper made the first improvement on the Abe Rader farm, near Centennial. That Abe Rader went with his father to Harpers for a yoke of cattle about 1825. The bottoms were then all in heavy timber. Rader bought the farm of Bill Harper, who got it from John, his father.
John C. Richardson was a Baptist Preacher and built up the Baptist Church in Ripley. He lived in Spottsylvania County during the war, came to Ripley about 1873 and lived most of the time in town. Before his death he moved into a house in the cove, near where Isaac Spears lives. He died March 1889, at the age of sixty-two and is buried at Ripley. By him, lie his sons, James Richardson, who died in 1875 at the age of twenty-one and William Richardson who died in 1877 at the age of twenty-six.
Minerva J. wife of J.C. Wolfe, born May 15, 1823, died June 12, 1852. John M. son of J.C. and M.J. Wofe died 1861. Martha J. daughter of J.C. and M.J. Wolfe, died in 1847, an infant.
Eliza, wife of J.G. Kapp was born in 1842 and died 1877. She was a daughter of Geo. Landfried.
John Rice died September 19, 1852, aged twenty-one.
Philip Landfried died in 1904 and was buried in the old graveyard, He was born in Germany seventy-five years ago and came to this section within his nineteenth year. H was born August 9, 1829.
Robert R. Riley, a son of Matson Riley, was born in Wood County, Virginia, March 21, 1812 and came to Jackson County in 1832. He engaged in teaching school. His brothers John and Amos were also teachers. Later, he married Elizabeth, daugher of Peter Cleek, who lived on Mill Creek, just above Ripley. They are buried in the Ripley Graveyard. Rebecca, daugher of R.R. and E. Riley, died November 14, 1839 at the age of eight months. Nancy A. daughter of R.R. and E. Riley, died August 15, 1852, age nine months. Caroline J. daughter of R.R. and E. Riley died September 29, 1849, aged one year and ten months. Also, an infant son died June 30, 1852 at fifteen days old. The Rileys are buried on the flat under the beech tree in the center of the graveyard.
Tabitha, daughter of Jacob Staats, and wife of Joseph H. Bowland, died September 12, 1845 at the age of twenty-one years, eleven months. Had she lived until the seventeenth, five days longer, she would have been twenty-two years old. Her birthday was September 17, 1823. The tombstone is a sandstone rock and is badly split and shelled off.
In the northwest corner, under some beech trees are two moss-grown, weather beatern marble slabs, about three and a half feet high, eighteen inches wide and two and a half inches thick. One of which is removed from the grave and leaning against a tree, it bears the figure of a weeping willow and below it the inscription "John G. Starcher, born October 9, 1796 died Sept. 8, 1851." The other is at the head of a grave, the top of it is a sunken space on which, in relief is the figure of a rose. The inscription is "Mary Ann, daughter of J. And G. Starcher, born May 22, 1820, died August 22, 1837. Her age was seventeen years and three months." Taken away in the bloom of youth, there are passing few of her playmates living, and a child born when she was laid to rest under the old beech tree would now be old. In the same row are the graves of the Starcher children, P.S. Starcher 1821 and M.S. Starcher, 1822. Squire Robert E. Starcher, died March 11, 1904 aged seventy-four years. He was a son of William Starcher and grandson of Jacob.
F. Leon Clerc was born at Motiers, Switzerland, October 26, 1845 and died February 6, 1886. He married Mary, daughter of George Smith. Nehemiah Smith, December 14, 1805 and died April 28, 1859. Rachel, wife of N. Smith, December 21, 1805 and died February 15, 1865.
On a sandstone slab, four feet high, sixteen inches wife and three inches thick, which is in a perfect state of preservation, is this legend, nicely carved: "Catharine, wife of John D. Riley, died April 1832 aged twenty years."
Another slab of sandstone, somewhat smaller is inscribed "On Memory of Elizabeth R. King, Was born December the 6th, 1823 and died November the 30, 1835. Query, who was she"?
There are many costly and showy monuments in the graveyard. Among the finest, is the Armstrong monument in the upper central part of the rounds and that of F. Leon Clerc, who was born in Switzerland, in the southeast quarter.
There were several flags planted on graves in different parts of the graveyard, showing the loyalty of those who sleep beneath.
There are two Armstrong families represented in the cemetery. The rounder of the one was James Armstrong, born in 1804, died Novembert 28, 1879, in his seventy-sixth year. His wife was Catharine Weas Armstrong, born 1812 and died 1900. Judge V.S. Armstrong is their son.
Jacob L. Armstrong was a son of John J.P. Armstrong, a prominent business man of Jackson County. He was born in Lewis County, July 24, 1827, came to Jackson County with his parents in 1841 and died a this home in Ravenswood, November 6, 1901. His wife, Eliza J. Ayres Armstrong was born January 29, 1834 and died September 13, 1880. William H. Armstrong died June 29, 1846 in his twenty-fifth year. (Presumably a son of John J.P. Armstrong) Calvin Armstrong died December 21, 1872 in his seventy-second year.
Col. F.R. Hassier of the Thirteenth New York Artillery, died December 9, 1892, aged fifty-one.
George J. Walker died September 1, 1899, aged sixty-nine.
Joseph Smith was born October 2, 1816, died Nov. 24, 1888. Minerva Smith, was born September 26, 1823 and died August 11, 1901.
James Greer died March 15, 1877, aged sixty years.
Robert McGuire was a native of Ireland, so his tombstone proclaims and died December 16, 1878 aged forty-nine years.
Benjamin Rollins died September 2, 1893 in his eighty-sixth year. Phebe Cunningham Rollins, his wife, was a sister of Joel and James Cunningham. She was born October 16, 1810 and died August 23, 1882. Rollins kept hotel many years at the Anderson stand.
Adam Landfried, born December 15, 1785 died December 10, 1871. Charlotte, wife of Adam Landfried, born January 18, 1791 and died February 6, 1867. They were probably parents of Philip.
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The Harpold Graveyard
Above thy grave the robin sings.
And swarms of bright happy things
Flit all about on happy wings>br> The violets on the hillside toss
The Gravestone is overgrown with moss.
The heart of Jackson County lies in the Mill Creek Valley, extending for a space of four milies along the creek, beginning at the mouth of Sycamore and reaching to the forks of the Creek.
There are wide and fertile bottoms in which could be laid off a fair sized farm and scarcely trench upon the slopes of the hillsides.
The creek enlarged in volume by the union of Trace and Tug Forks, sweeps grandly on in a series of bends and turns, hugging first the foot of one hill, and again, the other, crossing the valley almost at right angles and leaving great bodies of bottom lands first on one hand and then on the other.
How fine it has looked when still standing thick with an unbroken forest. The majestic oaks and poplars rearing their stately columns skyward and mingling their boughs in thick canopy a hundred feet above the leaf strewn ground. While beech and rock maple, elm, and shellbarks with trunks scarcely less imposing, grow thick everywhere and sycamores of every dimension from the symmetrical sapling, no more than a few spans in girth to the immense giants in whose hollow base, men may find shelter, spread their gnarled white arms and toss their myriad balls by the water side.
Deer, bears, buffaloes, wolves, panther and all the smaller animals of the forest were once here in abundance, and wild fruits and nuts to be had for the gathering.
Into this sylvan paradise came the hardy pioneer, and fast on his trail followed that grim enemy of all life, the pale horse and his rider. Making it necessary to set apart a spot as the last resting place of those who wee stricken down.
Perhaps a fourth of a mile forr the first ford above Ripley, the long southern ridge, as if weary of the perpetual swirl and rush of the water swerves, sharply to the left and throws an arm of cliff and rock and woods, halfway across the valley in a seeming attempt to close the outlet and dam back the flowing waters, were such the case, however, it proved a monumental failure, as the valley itself curved into the opposite hill and the stream ran frothing, fretting and gnawing along the base of the cliff at the upper side of this point, crossing to the far side of the valley, only to return from its grand sweep by the ford, now spanned by a neat bridge.
The arm thus thrust into the valley, is longest up and down the creek and is connected with the hills by a narrow neck of land, which sinks into a gap of perhaps one-half the altitude of the end of the point and through this low gap, crosses the public road on an easy grade.
A wild and picturesque spot is the eastern and nothern sides of this little hill as I saw it through the mellow haze of the September sunlight. In places, the face of the hill is a sheer cliff, fringed with bushes and trailing with vines and again, a steep, shelving, rocky slope planted thickly by the generous hand of nature with forest trees, it copses festooned with grapevines, wild woodbine and ivy.
The western end of the elevation is fairly level on top and is a beautiful grove that slopes down towards the road on the southwest stands the Mount Calvary, M.P. Church, which, had it a new coat of paint, would be a beautiful and appropriate sanctuary.
The eastern end of the little plateau has been consecrated as a resting place for the departed and beneath its turf, sleeping the last sleep, that knows no waking, repose the remains of some of the earliest pioneers of Mill Creek Valley.
The surface of the ground rolls very slightly every way from the center and, if it had the shade and attention of the Ripley burying ground, would be an ideal cemetery.
The trees have been cut away and the lot has been grown over in places with weeds and briars, through which the headstones appear to be struggling to assert themselves and carry their mesage of remembrance to the passing visitor, when visiting this place in September, I found it enclosed with a neat iron fence.
John Harpold died March 28, 1871, aged eighty-two years six months. So reads the inscription on one of the tombstones, a stone volume giving the bare outlines of the life of one of Mill Creeks first pioneers. This much will be remembered while the stone last. "John Harpold was, and again, he was not, and the time of the beginning and the duration of this days." This much and no more, the headstone tells us, unless there be some verse of eulogy which I did not copy. Then, we know from the presence of the stone that here is the spot where his bdy was laid away when life had fled. Another stone standing at the head of another mound and bearing the legend: "Rachel, wife of John Harpold, died January 18, 1868 aged seventy-seven years one month," tells us that he was a married man and that he walked three years alone and then lay down by the side of his companion in sight of the spot, where together, they fought the battle of life.
A simple calculation and we may know that John Harpold was born on the first day of September 1788. An obituary notice makes it November 2, 1788. Rachel Harpold was born January 12, 1791. Only this and nothing more.
One might study these marbles for ages and they would not give up any more of the history of these hardy pioneers. Ancestry, place of birth, date of marriage, time of settlement in this beautiful valley in an unbroken wilderness, the joys and hopes and fears,the opening up of the farm, the raising of the family who grew up under the parent roof tree and like full fledged nestlings, scattered to find homes of their own. These and myriad other things, which go to make up that mystery of mysteries, we call life, they offer not the slightest suggestion. The farm, itself, with its wide acres of bottom land and hills and coves wrested from the dominion of the forst and brought into use as pasturage for flock and herd, is a noble and fitting monument of the pioneer days, of the mind that planned and hands that wrought. But this, speaking eloquently, as it does of the how and the why and more faintly of the where, is mute and dumb as regards the who.
Even the family traditions are fast fading and in a few more generations, when the headstones have passed away, the names of John and Rachel Harpold will have passed into oblivion as have those of their ancestors of a few generations back. Such is the mutability of time and the press of the busy life of toda. Few have time or disposition to give more than a passing thought for a by-gone people.
John Harpold, it is said, came to this part of Mason County in 1808 or 1809, when there were but six families on Mill Creek. If this be correct, Benjamin Wright at Cottageville was one, William Parsons at Ripley another and Daniel Sayre on the Flats of Mill Creek, probably a third and Abraham Staats of the same vicinity, a fourth.
The names of John Harpold's parents, where they lived and whether they moved to Mill Creek, I have been unable to ascertain. We know of four of their children, John, who married Rachel Sayre on Mill Creek; Solomon, who married Malinda Shinn, an Aunt of George Shinn; Adam, who lived in Ohio; and Barbara, who married William Bonnet.
When Harpold located at the ford, which is called two miles above Ripley, I can not tell, but it was not later than 1830, probably several year earlier.
He bought his land, or one hundred fifty acres of it, from his brother-in-law, who owned all the valley, from the Parsons Farm to Carney's. Bonnet sold farms to Peter Cleek, Flesher, Acree and Harpold. A part, if not all, of Bonnet farm belonged to the Thomas Adams survey. Rachel Harpold was a daughter of David Sayre, who moved to Warth's Bottom from Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1801. A part of the house still standing, above the bridge at the Harpold Ford was built by John Harpold.
Levi Casto is another resident of this old neglected burying ground. He was a son of Willam Casto. Levi was born on the Buckhannon River, April 2, 1808 and died January 27, 1880 at the age of seventy-one years nine months. He married first, Sarah Wright nee Woodruff, widow of Daniel Wright, second Hannah Carney. He lived in the bend back of the graveyard and owned one of the finest farms in Jackson County. He raised a large family, seven sons and one daughter. If his wives are buried here, which is likely, either their graves are not marked, or I, in some unaccountable way, missed getting the inscriptions. Hannah Casto, his wife, died January 22, 1891, aged seventy-seven years, five months.
Thomas Bord was a son of Patrick Bord and came with them to Reedy in 1815, when he was about four years old. He was born about 1811, and died August 18, 1869, at the age of fifty-seven years, nine months. He married Sarah Harpold, daughter of John and Rachel Sayre Harpold, who was born November 23, 1811, and died March 22, 1883, aged seventy-two years three months. They lived on the Keenan Farm on the Trace Fork of Mill Creek, and had three sons and one daughter. Thomas Bord was something of a genius, a skillful gunsmith, and there is a story extant that he made a flying machine, with which he started from the top of one of the neighboring hill and soared majestically over Ripley, but unfortunately his machine broke. Bord could not speak plain, and from a habit of concluding his remarks with the phrase, "That's a fact." was generally known as "Fact" Tom or "Fact Sure" Tom, which served to distinguish him from his brother Joe Bord's son, Tom.
About 1850 or later, Nancy Vandyne, a widow from Botetourt County, moved to Tug Fork. One of her sons, John Vandyne, was Sheriff of Jackson County in 1861 or during the war. Several of the family sleep in the Harpold graveyard. A badly shelled sandrock with a very neatly engraved eight pointed star bears the inscription: "Sidney C. Vandyne, daughter of John and Jemima Vandyne, born 1840 and died in 1845", a child of course. The dates are given, but I did not copy them. James W., son of J.S. and J. Vandyne, died 1856. Jemima Vandyne, born 18__, died July 9, 1850. She was the wife of John Vandyne, date of birth probably unknown, J.S. Vandyne, died December 28, 1855, in his fortieth year. Nancy A,. daughter of J.S. and E. Vandyne, died in 1872, aged nineteen years, nine months. This E. Vandyne was presumably a second wife of J.S. Vandyne. C. and S. Vandyne's children, Martha, died in 1864; George W.S. died 1866. There were Vandynes in Jackson County in 1840.
There is a George Evans, died 1878, at the age of fourteen and Florence Evans died 1878 aged fourteen.
A nicely ornamented sandstone slab in a good state of preservation, informs the visitors that David Wright was born October 11, 1826 and died December 1849 aged twenty-three years and two months.
Jacob Hyre, died August 6, 1854 aged theiry-five years seven months. Erilla D., wife of Jacob Hyre died May 10, 1853 age nineteen years three months. She was born about 1833 or 1834. He was born January 3, 1818.
"In memory of Thomas Carney, Born October 15, 1768 and Departed this Life October 19, 1846, aged seventy-eight years and four days."
A humble flagstone, lost in weeds and briers and leaning forward at an angle, whose degree I will not venture to guess, bears the inscription of which the above is a facsimile. And here, in this little neglected country graveyard, overlooking the picturesque cliff and swift rolling swirl of the rushing waters in easy view of the wide sweep of bottom lands, once his own, the last lines of one of the most eventful lives with which the history of Jackson County ever had to do, were written in by the pen of time and the volume closed. A poor lad walking to the first old field school recorded on the Buckhannon River. Once a scout in company with Jesse Hughes and other hardy frontiersmen, standing as a solid bulwark, a mighty dike of flesh and blood of determination and purpose of indomitable courage and inflexible patriotism, holding back the floods of savage barbarism from the infant settlements west of the mountains. Then, a hardy pioneer, trying to make a living for his young wife and babes, by farming and hunting, yet compelled ever and anon to abandon his cabin and clearing and seek in the nearest block house, shelter from the midnight assault of the wily, prowling foe. An immigrant to the new regions of the west and one of the earliest settlers of the Mill Creek Valley, he participated in all the hardships and vicissitudes, the struggles and triumphs that belong with the log cabin of the pioneer. He then became owner of broad acres, of the best lands in Jackson County, wealthy for the day and time and filling public positions of trust and honor. Pushing again into the back woods where deer, bears and wolves are plentifully common, and anon a pensioner on the bounty of his children on who he had bestowed his lands and means. An old man, the erect form bowed, the eagle eye dimmed and locks frosted with the snows of many more than the three score and ten winters, tottering down to a low mound on this hill top. In all, and every one of these roles, he has fulfilled his mission. In each of these chapters he has accomplished his part. Long and weary roads were threaded, step by step, unto the end.
By the side of Thomas Carney's grave is another mound, equally lowly and equally weed grown and neglected and at its head another flagstone marker equally humble and just as quaintly marked and leaning at such an angle I had to get down on the ground to see its face and read the inscription, which told me that was the resting place of M. Carney, who died December 4, 1863, aged ninety years eleven months and four days. Truly, a ripe old age. Her birth date would be the first day of the year 1773.
Thomas Carney was of Irish Stock and was probably born on the South Branch or at the Horse Shoe Bend of Cheat River. Polly Parsons, his bride, was a daughter of Charles Parsons and a sister of Captain Billy, who first settled Ripley. Tradition says she was married while yet very young.
Near the same spot is the grave of Enoch Carney, born February 16, 1811, died August 10, 1883, aged seventy-two years five months and beside him, his wife, Martha J. Carney, died April 3, 1900 aged seventy-six years.
Other graves are those of Benjamin Rhodes, died January 11, 1900 aged seventy-four and his wife Hannah died September 20, 1895 aged seventy years two months, being born July 4, 1825. By them lies a daughter, Mazilla, born 1853 died 1864.
A marker in the form of a monument, marks the grave of Amanda B. McCoy born 1820 and died 1892, on the reverse side is Joseph B. McCoy, born 1815.
Joseph B. McCoy lives on the Adam Parsons farm at the foot of Salt Lick Hill.
Joseph Seyler, born October 22, 1822 died February 9, 1893, aged seventy years three months and Daniel Seyler, born November 16, 1816 died July 20, 1896 aged seventy-nine years eight months. Joseph and Daniel Seyler lie together, obviously brothers.
Alexander Dewitt died June 1874 aged forty-six years eight months.
In the northeast corner, under the shadow of a large oak tree growing just outside are the graves of Jesse Carney, died July 31, 1879 aged eighty-two years five months. Sarah, wife of Jesse Carney died September 16, 1869, aged seventy-two. Betsey, wife of C. Carney, died November 28, 1867, aged sixty-one years ten months.
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The Mount Olive Graveyard
All was ended now, the hope and the fear and the sorrow,
All the aching of heart, the restless unsatisfied longing,
All the dull, deep pain and the constant anguish of patience.
It was the sixteenth of September 1904, the mellow sunlight lay tenderly and caressingly on the grassy mounds of the Mount Olive burial ground where sleeps the dust of many of the patriarchs of Mill Creek's Pioneer days. The laced filagree of shine and shade, where it fall through the tops of the massive oak trees which grow thickly along the outer boundary shimmered and glanced as the massive boughs swayed in the wind. Giants, they were indeed, in girth, but not in stature, having, like black and red oaks will when growing in the penetrating sunshine in the open, limbed well to the ground and throw their gnarled and many forked branches out laterally to a great distance. I stopped here and fed my horse and rambled for a half hour anyway among the graves.
Some workmen were building a school house just across the road and it was near the noon hour and the men had stopped to prepare their mid-day meal on a stove they had set up under a rude shed under some oak trees. One of them left this important occupation to wander with me through the graveyard, pointing out the different headstones and monuments and the detailing scraps of history from the lives of those who were buried by them. He also showed me bullet holes through the walls of the old grey church, which stood on one corner of the lot, made forty years ago during the War of the Rebellion.
Mount Olive graveyard is twenty-five by thirty-five fence panels and is on a flat on top of a low ridge, sloping very slightly to the east. It lies on the eastern side of the Ripley and Spencer Pike, five miles out from Ripley at the intersection of the Elk Fork Road. It has a board fence on two or three sides at least and there is a fine grove along the roadside and on the school lot opposite. At the junction of the two roads, stands the Mount Olive Southern Methodist Church, built in 1858. A German, named George Wolhaver was one of the builders. Over the door are four holes made by the musket balls of passing soldiers during the war and the building is grey and weather stained. Near it stands a white oak tree, a part of the forest primeval, which was smitten and shattered by lightning a few summers since. There are some costly monuments in the cemetery and a few old fashioned marble or sandstone slabs which, to my mind, are the most appropriate. Many of the graves have no names only a simple flagstone standing the head and foot or perchance not even that. The grounds are well kept for a country burial place, and though all the noise of passing traffic and the shouts of gleeful children turned out of school pass over it, it disturbs not the slumbers of those resting so peacefully here.
In one corner, so near the outer boundaries, as to be in the shade of the oak trees, lying in nameless graves, is a whole family sleeping side by side. "In death, they were not divided."
Leonard King settled on the old King farm, lying on the ridge between Station Camp and Sycamore. A pretty place, indeed flat, glat, but Oh! so poor and all grown up with sassafras and persimmon bushes and over run with dewberry and white briars and all gone to rack and ruin.
Leonard King may have been related to the Wolfes, as his father came with them from Hacker's Creek to Mill Creek in August 1821. He was the son of Francis King, who settled at the mouth of Cow Run. Leonard married Elizabeth Hughes. Her father's name was said to be Bill Hughes and he was probably kin to Jesse.
One headstone near the church reads: "James G. Wolfe, died December 26, 1889 aged sixty-three years ten months and sixteen days and was born February 10, 1826 on Mill Creek, near where his body moulders into dust. He married Lizzie Straley and settled on Station Camp where he lived and died. His widow still lives at the same place with one of her children. She was a daughter of George Straley and born on Hacker's Creek in Lewis County, on the same farm the Fort was on, in December 1825. She said that the ruins of the fort were still to be seen when her father moved away.
James Wolfe, Sr., the father, came to Mill Creek in August 1821 from Hacker's Creek and first settled at the Rader place, below the mouth of Joe's Run, according to one account. Another says at the Charley Shinn place on Station Camp. He soon removed to the first farm below the mouth of Elk, now occupied by Mr. Thomas. There is an old graveyard up on the point of this farm where he and a few others are buried. I am told that there are no tombstones and a part of the graves were plowed over some years ago by the occupant of the farm, but upon consideration he was overcome by a superstitious fear of ghosts and desisted. This James Wolfe was a brother of Jonathan Wolfe, who lived under the rock at Spencer in 1812. His wife was Frances Beath.
Among the other graves at Mount Olive are two children of Jacob and Louise May.
John H. Young, born Sept. 20, 1808 died Sept. 16, 1879, aged seventy years eleven months. Catharine, wife of John H. Young died February 8, 1874, aged sixty-one years. They came to the Koontz farm at the mouth of Elk long enough ago to be old citizens if not pioneers. Monument bears the inscription: William Young, born June 2, 1834, died February 16, 1908. Elizabeth Young, born December 11, 1836.
Sarah Belle, daughter of John and Sarah Matson, died May 19, 1875, aged thirty-one years three months. Mary, wife of N.O. Matson, died June 24, 1895 aged sixty-six years five months. The wife, son and daughter of William Matson.
Rachel Matson Hargrave, wife of John Hargrave, born on Short Creek, Harrison County, July 12, 1842 died near Ripley August 7, 1898 aged fifty-six years and twenty six days. There are the representatives of the Matson family buried here. They lived on the hill east of Ripley.
Ashbel Sheppard, born 1804 died 1885, had two faded Union Flags on his grave, September 1904. His wife, Margaret Sheppard was born at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1811, died 1883. He was born in Orange County, Virginia (or Vermont).
There is one government headstone, inscribed, "John Wimer, Co. I, 15th Pa. Can." Mr. Wymer lived on the Ripley Ridge, perhaps a mile and a half from Mt. Olive and died later.
Cynthia, daughter of W.S. & N. Carpenter, died 1877.
Mary E. wife of M.S. Waybright, born 1842, died 1896.
A daugther of Osborn Rowley, born February 14, 1834.
George W. Rader, his wife and daughter are enclosed in a wall of masonry, near the church. He was a son of Michael Rader, No. 2. Lived on the Charley Shinn Farm and was the first person to sell goods at the Reedy, being Clerk for N. Smith at that place. He was born July 9, 1814 and died September 18, 1868, aged fifty-four years two months. His wife was Nancy Miller, a daughter of Kitts Miller and an Aunt of Judge Warren Miller. The inscriptions are on marble tablets set in the wall at the heads of the graves. The daughter was Mary Sarah A. C. Rader, died October 7, 1859, aged three years six months. Samuel B. Rader, born about 1849 or 50 died 1888 aged thirty eight years seven months. Sarah A., wife of S.B. Rader, died in 1879, aged twenty foru years two months.
Amanda Staats, daughter of Jonathan Hyre, was born 1839 and died 1872. Augustus Hyre was born 1841 died 1861. Elizabeth Hyre born March 31, 1822 died February 1901 nearly seventy nine years old. The latter was wife of Jonathan Hyre. Inscriptions are on the monument of Jonathan Hyre. It is by the side of a long grave and perhaps at end of two small ones, dates not cut on monument.
Jonathan Hyre was a son of Jacob Hyre, who came to Mill Creek in 1815, settling first on the Keenan place, but in two or three years moved farther up the creek. Jonathan Hyre was born March 17, 1812 and died July 10, 1860. Jacob Hyre, Jonathan's father, was born in January 1784. His parents came from Germany. He lived on Hacker's Creek and married a Beath. John A. Hyre, who married Miriam, daughter of James Rader, was a first cousin of Jacob Hyre.
There is a short grave, the head and footstones not more than four and a half feet apart, with inscriptions: Catharine, daughter of L.R. King, died June 15, 1871, aged thirty five years five months.
Michael Rader, II, was the second son of Michael Rader, who settled on Elk Fork about 1816. He located on the Rader farm in the bend of the creek below Joe's Run. He married Catharine Roush of Mason County. He was born February 12, 1788, died March 18, 1867 aged seventy nine years one month. Catharine, wife of Michael Rader was born June 27, 1792 and died July 6, 1886, aged ninety four years. William Rader, born January 27, 1827 and died April 14, 1891, aged sixy four years two months. Mary S. wife of William Rader, born May 11, 1828.
Asher E. Hogsett died April 17, 1891 aged sixty nine years one month. Ellinor, wife of A.E. Hogsett, born September 24, 1818 died May 18, 1880, aged sixty one seven months.
Charles M. Connoway, born January 27, 1819, died February 26, 1895, aged seventy six years, one month. Sarah H. Connoway born October 12, 1834 - no date of death.
In the north east corner, under two spreading black oak trees growing outside the fence, are two humble mounds with rough flag markers on which are rudely carved the letters W.S. and C.P.
O. Rowley was born February 14, 1834. Mary E., wife of O. Rowley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 30, 1836, died September 9, 1882.
Rachel Matson, wife of John Hargrove born 1848 died 1898.
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The Rader Graveyard
The trees are white with dust, that o'er their sleep
Wave their broad curtains in the south winds breath,
On the sixteenth of September 1904, I made an excursion down Mill Creek and across Salt Hill, for the purpose of collecting material for a projected history of the early days of Jackson County, below the mouth of Joe's Run (which, by the way, was named after one Joe Parsons, a squatter, and father of William Parsons, an eccentric individual who, for obvious reasons bore the some what inelegant name of "Devil Bill".) I met with Mr. Parish, who took a great pleasure in giving me what he had heard of the old history and traditions, mostly the latter, of that neighborhood. Among other things, he told of a pair of old hand mill buhrs to be seen at Tom Raders, and I rode nearly a half mile out of my way to see these. The one I saw was twenty-two inches in diameter and four inches thick and while not a part of a hand mill, nor yet the price of a farm, as the pleasant fiction ran in the tradition, it was a relic of interest having belonged to a horse mill, the first in this section and with it, corn meal had been manufactured, which entered into the composition of Johnny cake and corn dodgers, that were eaten with bear meat and venison, eighty-five or ninety years ago. Now it was reduced to the base use of a door step.
Mrs. Tom Rader was quite a pleasant woman and told me all she knew of the days gone by, and when she found I was aiming for the Rader graveyard at Elk Fork, told of a route across the hill, which not only saved me some two miles travel, but was interesting to trace through the woods and pasture fields, it having been the thoroughfare from one neighborhood to the other in the old pack saddle days, upwards of eighty-file years ago. It led to the top of the hill out the divide a short distance and down a long point down the hillside into a small run and thence to the Creek.
The graveyard was on a little point between two small hollows and sloped sharply to the south. The older graves were at the lower side, the cemetery, which was a private one, having been extended up the hill. It was four by nine rods, fenced with sawed locust posts, three barbed wires and plank at top. It stood out in a field of fifty or one hundred acres which was well sodded with blue grass.
There were many noble trees dotting the hillside around the graveyard, which was small enough to be well shaded by the trees on the outside. At the lower side, the myrtle carpets the ground a foot thick, and in places, thick patches of blood drops have taken complete possession of the ground.
These were the growth of sixty or seventy-five years and had first been planted by loving hands on the grave of some dear one. Now, they still flourish though the graves are, mayhap, no longer traceable; and the mourners and their lost ones are, let us hope, long since reunited, never to be parted again.
Hidden under the blood-drops, which, I must say are a nuisance wherever they are found, save only for the interest which attaches to it as one of the rude flowers with which our grandmothers sought to adorn the yards around thir lowly cabin homes. I found, hiding, a timid little land tortoise or turtle, which has, perhaps made its home here among the graves for several years.
Although the ground is pretty steep for a graveyard, the graves are straight with the hill, and each one in the row is a little higher than its neighbor, as you climb the slope.
The place is probably nearly all occupied, though many of the graves have no markers and probably many are not discernable.
Here are the graves of the Rader family, the original proprietors of vast tracts of land in this vicinity, of their connection and bond-servants, for the Rader family were slave owners in the "good old days"; and of the Smith family, who succeeded to the farm.
There are several imposing monuments, many old fashioned marble headstones, many headstones of flagstone, marked with names and initials, and perhaps as many more without name or date.
Following, I give the names of all whose names are preserved. Among the unknown graves is that of Michael Rader, a Pennsylvania German, who was born in the Shenandoah Valley, March 8, 1751, married to Catherine Long, December 25, 1769. Moved from Greenbrier to Mason County, and to Elk Fork about 1808 or 1809. Catherine Long Rader, date of birth and death unknown.
Macklin Walker was a native of Kanawha County, date of birth unknown. He married Maria, daughter of Joseph Rader, about 1832. He died, where Luke Parsons now lives, in 1844. The house stood nearly where Parsons' barn now stands.
The northeast corner contains the newer graves.
Of the Smith family, there are George W. Smith, who was born August 14, 1814, and died February 19, 1860, at the age of forty-five years and six months. Ann Smith, who was born Ocotber 6, 1810, and died October 20, 1883, being sixty-seven years of age. One of their children, George H. Smith, died the fall of 1860 at the age if fourteen. Nancy Smith, born October 4, 1793, died March 1, 1852. The legend on another monument (this Nancy Smith may have been George W. Smith's mother.) George Smith was born in New York, his father Jonas Smith, born on Long Island, 1787, died in Illinois in 1843. Moved to Point Pleasant in 1820. Nehemiah Smith, once Sheriff of Jackson County and James Smith and one other were his brothers and he had three sisters. He married Anna Staats, a daughter of Jacob Staats in 1839. Her mother was an Evans and her grandfather was Abraham Staats.
Another expensive and showy monument is that at William Clifford, born in 1842 and died in 1879. He was son-in-law of Hart Rader,
Another "outsider" is Sarah, daughter of H.B. and S.E. Bord. Dates not copied. However, she was really a Rader, her mother being Sally (Sarah Elizabeth) daughter of Hart Rader, who was born in 1842 and died in 1875. She married Henry B. Bord, a son of Thomas Bord, called "North Carolina Tom" and brother of Ben Bord. Sally Bord is buried here also. Her name inscribed on the other side of his monument. Then, there is a row of graves inscribed:
Lida F., died October 21, 1876, aged fifteen.
Dora Dove, died 1870, aged twelve.
Ferdinand F., died 1876, aged twelve.
Lena A. died 1861, aged one.
Edmund G. died 1860 aged six.
Mary I. died 1855, aged four.
William C. died 1876, aged nine.
These are the children of Hart Rader and Ruann Wright Rader, his wife. There had been small marble headstones to each grave, but they have, since the building of the railroad, been replaced by one large monument.
John A. Hyre was born December 20, 1812 and died on the 29th of January 1852, aged thirty-nine years one month. His wife, Miriam, daughter of James and Hannah Allen Rader was born August 1, 1816 and died June 4, 1850, aged thirty-three years ten months. Johnny Hyre of Frozen Camp is their son. John A. Hyre was a first cousin of Jacob Hyre.
Doctor John Rader was born November 26, 1810 and died April 15, 1887 aged seventy-six years four months. He married Polly Ruddle and lived o Frozen Camp. Julia D. Rader, daughter of J. and M. Rader died July 12, 1853 aged one year.
William Allen Rader was the oldest child of James Rader, son of Michael. He wa born April 8, 1806 died Junee 23, 1860 aged fifty-four years two months. Everett Rader, a child of W.A. and L.M. Rader died in 1860.
James Rader was a son of Michael Rader. He was born January 28, 1782 and died June 12, 1839 aged fifty-seven years four months. Hannah Allen Rader (Hannah G, on tombstone) wife of James Rader was born January 19, 1781 and died April 27, 1861, eighty years and three months.
There is a William Allen (supposed age sixty years) buried here, but date of death not given. The headstone is of sandstone. He was the father of James Rader's wife.
Infant of M.C. and R. Rader, 1833.
Sandusky V. son of M.C. and R. Rader died September 28, 1838. These are the children of Michael Campbell Rader, second son of James Rader,
Robert Rader, born November 18, 1812 died February 14, 1842. James M. Rader born December 3, 1824, departed this life, April 28, 1842 aged seventeen years four months. These are sons of James and Hannah Rader and died unmarried.
There is a grave near the lower side of the cemetery, overgrown with myrtle and the headstone, which is roughly hewn our of sandstone and rudely carved April 29, 1838 L.R.
The headstone is at the foot of the grave and on the footstone which is square and at the west end of the grave are hung two old. worn and rusty horse shoes. Is it for a charm?
On a visit to this cemetery, November 9, 1911, I found the thick carpet of myrtle had disappeared and the jungle of "blood drops" extended. Most of the graveyard was overgrown with weeds and bushes, but the environment was not altogether unfitting, and really looked more appropriate tan too much neatness and care.
In the southwest corner, under the shade of the stately trees growing just across the fence, I discovered a flagstone marker at the head of a just traceable grave on which was rudely engraved the name Adam. Here, canopied by the newly fallen oak leaves, reposed the ashes of the negro, who chased the elk from which the creek took its name. Next in the row was a fallen stone when cleaned of earth and lichens seemd to read L.B. (perhaps) J. 1848, died October 30, 1848. But it was hard to distinguish the carving of man from those of nature on the rock. There were many other graves with only flagstone markers and doubtless, many more without. Even these, probably most of these lowly mounds, were the negroes last home. One, at the upper side of this section was marked with the single letter H.
In the north east corner of the cemetery, at the upper end of the Rader row were two new graves, piled high with fresh dirt, as yet unmarked, ungrassed. These were Edward Hart Rader, born April 14, 1819 died October 31, 1909, aged ninety years six months, and Ruanna Wright Rader, born April 10, 1827 died July 3, 1911, eighty-four years two months.
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The Baptist Grove Graveyard
Oh! Mother Earth, upon thy breast
Thy weary ones enfolding.
And through their long, unbroken rest
Their peaceful ashes holding.
Strew gentle flowers and golden grain
And hang the mounful willow.
Another old and densely populated burying ground is that at Frozen Camp, at the Baptist Grove Church. It is a short distance above the mouth of Big Run and about nine miles out from Ripley, on the Ripley and Spencer Pike.
It lies on a little point and a part of the surface is pretty steep. It overlooks Gravel Run on the East and the village of Frozen Camp on the South. On the west is a steep hollow and north, a neat Church, surrounded by a fine grove.
The graveyard itself, has no shade, but a few scrubby bushes, scattered here and there. It is fenced with wire on locust posts and has a pretty and ornamental iron gate and is mowed off once a year.
It was formerly known as the Parsons Graveyard, having been opened on the lands of Elias Parsons, Sr.. away back in the pioneer days.
Down below, on a sort of second bottom and near Gravel Run, Charles Parsons I, first broke the wilderness of upper Mill Creek and planted his cabin home. He was then an old man and soon after divided his land betwen his sons, Elias and Charles II.
Elias owned the home place and dug the well near where John Duke's barn now stands. Charles II built on Big Run, a little beyond where McVey now lives. some of the old apple trees are still standing.
Charles Parsons I came here about 1817. He probably died before 1830. He is buried in the cemetery. By his side lies his son, Captain Billy Parsons, one of the first settlers of Jackson County, and the first to locate at the mouth of Sycamore. He died about 1824 or 1825. He was a Captain in the War of 1812. His company rendezvoused at Point Pleasant and marched through to Norfolk. It is said that the Historian Lewis has the roster of this company. His first wife was a Fink. Two of her brothers were killed by his side in a fight with the Indians, at Buckhannon, so runs the account. His last wife was Nancy Walker of Harrison County.
Elias Parsons is buried by his father. He died in his fifty second year. He was born about 1798 and died December 29, 1949. His wife, Dolla Mayhew Parsons died June 1, 1846, aged forty five years.
Charles Parsons II was born June 25, 1804 and died December 7, 1875, aged seventy years five months. Rebecca Parsons was his wife and I have no dates on her.
George W. Parsons, son of Captain Billy Parsons is buried here.
The oldest inscription I found was S.A.P. 183_ (balance illegible). Probably a Parsons, then there were several childrens graves with initials and dates cut on flagstone.
B.P. March 8, 1841.
B.P. June 1844
E.P. January 29, 1849, and B.L. January 22, 1858, which might stand for either Latimer or Logan, as both names occur in the graveyard. B.P. is probably Binny (Belinda) and E.P., Elizabeth, daughters of Elias and Dolla Parsons. They also had a daughter, Sarah, who might be "S.A.P."
Elias Parsons, born April 15, 1829.
Martha, his wife, died Septermber 21, 1892, aged sixty two years.
Wilson W. Parsons, August 2, 1879, aged fifty one years eight months.
Mary E., wife of G.W. Parsons, September 14, 1864, aged thirty eighty years three months. Robert B. Parsons, died 1886.
Other inscriptions are:
James Latimer, Octover 7, 1854, aged thirty three.
Jane Logan, wife of John Logan, May 1853. She was a Latimer before marriage. John Logan, died October 9, 1848. Jane Logan's father George Lattimer, came from Washington County, Pennsylvania to Left Sandy in 1838, to Sycamore in 1840 and afterward to Buffalo Fork of Mill Creek. This was about the middle of April, 1844. While living on Buffalo. they pounded corn in a mortar and baked the meal into Johnny cakes, which "eaten with milk for supper" were "better than any pie". While living on Sycamore, Latimer hauled wagon loads of dried pumpkins, green apples and other "fruit" to Charleston, trading it for salt and other supplies. Salt cost then, about fifteen cents a bushel at the works.
Williamson W. Wiblin, died August 5, 1858, aged sixty-nine years five months. He lived at the toll gate, above Walnut Grove. There is a pine tree eighteen inches over by his grave.
James Wiblin, born 1831, died 1903.
Virginia S., wife of James Wiblin, died February 14, 1870, aged thirty one years. She was a Stalnaker, a sister of Marshal Stalnaker.
Mahala, wife of J. Allen, died October 1861, fifty-five years of age. She was a sister of George and Dempsey Flesher and lived where Hamp Parish now does.
George Knopp died February 18, 1855, at the age of sixty years five months and eight days, having been born July 23, 1794. He was a native of the valley of Virginia, of German descent. Married Catharine Richwine, lived a while in Meigs County, Ohio, moved thence to Mason County and to Mill Creek, according to what appears to be the most authentic report about 1826 or 1827. He raised a large family. (His son, Henry, thinks he was several years older.)
Knopp's wife is buried in Indiana. A flagstone is marked G.K. the dates are not distinct, but I make them out to be 1817 or 1855.
Malissa J. Knopp, died in 1847. She was a child of W. and C. Knopp.
James Brown, born 1801, died 1878, aged seventy-seven years. He married Dorcas Carney, daughter of Thomas Carney, died June 12, 1897 aged eighty years and nine months. Lived at various places on Middle Fork of Reedy and finally settled down on Mill Creek, about a mile below the mouth of Buffalo.
Henry Brown, a son of James and Dorcas Brown was alleged to have been shot and killed by John Cain on the Ripley Hill, between Keenan Farm and Short Bend School House, about 1/4 mile E.of Short Bend, died October 28, 1881, aged forty years, two months. Cain was tried at Ripley and sentenced to penitentiary, but on retrial, acquitted.
There are many other graves which are unmarked and nearly all of the suitable ground is occupied.
There are two sandstone monuments, one of the nicest of all in the graveyard bears the inscription, John B. Payne, born December 16, 1837 died November 22, 1899. The other represents the stub of a tree, some 3 1/2 feet high and about fifteen inches over at the top with rough bark and numerous knots. It stands officially over the grave of David L. Warner, born April 4, 1874 died June 22, 1903. He was a son-in-law of Payne and another son-in-law made the monument.
There is by the grave of G. W. Knopp, son of George Knopp, who was buried in 1874, a pine tree, eighteen inches over at the ground, said to have grown since his burial, one apple tree and several cedars also shade the grounds.
Marshall Mitchell, born 1822 died 1878.
Cordelia Duckworth Mitchell, born March 1833.
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Ben Bord Graveyard
The Ben Bord, or more correctly, M. Rader Graveyard, lies on a gentle slope on the point above Joe's Run, and up a steep bank from the Ripley and Spencer Pike. It is four rods square and inclosed by a tumble down old board fence. The ground is sodded with blue myrtle and there is a double beech tree near the middle and a spruce pine in the south west corner.
Three sides of the inclosure are lined with brush and on the west is an old grown up pasture field. A dead beech stub stands on the south side next to the road and a dry mulberry lifts its naked branches from the thickets on the east.
A few cedar bushes, stunted and scraggly stand among the mounds.
The inscriptions on the grave markers are:
M.C. Rader, born November 29, 1807, died April 14, 1880. Aged seventy-two years four months.
Rebecca, wife of M.C. Rader, born August 26, 1813, died May 11, 1882, aged sixty-eight years eight months.
Michael Campbell Rader was the second son of James Rader and was born NOvember 29, 1807, somewhere in Mason County. The Raders moved to Elk Fork when he was a year or two old.
In 1832, he married Rebecca Hyre, daughter of Jacob Hyre, Sr., and in 1833 or 4 moved over the hill onto Mill Creek, where he owned 1000 acres of land, including the Bord and Hamp Parish Farms.
He built a little cabin at the turn of the road where the sand lies so thick. He put up a water mill by the steep rocky hillside opposite. The mill was washed out and rebuilt several times.
There are tow of M.C. Rader's children buried in the Rader Graveyard.
Nancy Ann, daughter of M.C. and R. Rader, was born March 21, 1841 and died January 9, 1848, aged seven years two months old.
Mary M. Hinzman died in 1875, aged fourteen years.
A large marble slab, about four feet high, twenty-two inches wide and two inches thick on which is engraved a spread eagle with sweeping wings bears this legend:
"Jacob Hyre, born January 1, 1784, died December 18, 1858, aged seventy four years, eleven months."
Another similar headstone, only more appropriately marked with a weeping willow tree reads:
"Mary, wife of Jacob Hyre, died April 11, 1859, aged eighty years and five months."
Jacob Hyre came from Hacker's Creek, Lewis County, to Mill Creek in 1815, settling in a little cabin on the Keenan Farm. After two or three years, he built farther up on yon side of mill Creek from the Jonathan Hyre house. His wife was a Beath before marriage.
A long row of small uniform marble markers with shaped tops and sat in stone bases tell of :
Jefferson Carder, died 1851.
Minerva Carder, died 1852.
Elvira Carder, died 1858.
Joseph Carder, died 1858.
Daniel D. Carder, died 1862.
William Carder, died 1863.
Infant Carder, died 1866.
William B. Carder, died 1846.
Infant Daughter Carder, died 1871.
These children were all of the family of J.S. and H. Carder and under two years old.
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And the sunshine and the shadow
Fell in flecks and gleams upon it;
Fell in little shining patches,
Through the waving rustling branches.
On a widish point that runs out from a narrow backbone, departing the left branch of Joe's Run from Mill Creek, a little above the residence of Cal. Parish, there lies Hereford or Parish Graveyard.
It was a warm bright afternoon in the fall when I visited the spot. The valley and hillside lay bathed in the white glow of the evening sunlight. The air was clear and pure with just a suggestion of coming frosts. Some leaves on the tress were already brown and enough had fallen to rustle under my feet as I climbed the steep point from the roadside, chambering among rocks and roots through the scrub woods.
The cemetery is about four by ten and a half rods, being a littel the widest at the eastern end. It is fenced with six strands barbed wire and is in bad repair for the most part, showing neglect and decay.
The western end, or old part of the graveyard is carved in a beech and oak wood.
On the south and west sides and for three or four rods up the north side are pretty beech which shade the graves the greater part of the day.
The surface of the ground is nearly level and in the western part is a fine spreading beech with many graves under its branches.
The western end is nearly full and is over grown with ivy and myrtle. The eastern or new part is taken from a neighboring field and is more sparsely "populated."
Much of it is grown up in "blue devil" just showing a white blossom here and there, interspersed with clumps of the waving plumes of golden rod and a belated iron weed shows purple by the southern fence.
Most of the graves are those of the Parish family, who came to the valley about 1866.
Among the inscriptions are:
Salley, wife of M.L. Smith, died August 8, 1889, aged twenty-four years five months.
Viola, wife of H.S. Merril, died July 1885, aged forty-six years.
Mary, wife of J.M. Reynolds, born August 5, 1819, died February 14, 1905. She was a sister of Clark Aultz.
There are several Hinzman Children buried here. The oldest date I gleaned was:
David B. son of A. and M. Rader, died January 12, 1855, in fourth year.
A. Rader was born April 14, 1816 and died July 18, 1897. He is buried in the west end.
J.F. Parish was born in 1819 and died in 1895.
Laura J. Golden, his daughter, was born in 1850, died 1902.
Minerva Parish, wife of Jonathan, was born in 1833.
William R. Parish died February 18, 1885, aged eighty-one years ten months. Elizabeth, his wife, is probably dead, but, althought the name is engraved on the monument, the dates have never been filled in.
Joanna Hawkins, was born December 18, 1870 and died May 1, 1905.
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On the top of one of the loftiest summits of the high ridge, separating the waters of Elk Fork from Frozen Camp, stands a church house which shows dazzlingly white from the hill tops for miles and miles in every direction.
This building, which is apparently not more than three or four years in existence, may have supplanted an humbler, old fashioned log house, the broken up walls of which are aligned in the grove to serve as seats for outdoor preachings.
There is a magnificent view in all directions from this spot. Blue hills peering over low gaps of successive ranges of ridges until sight fails in the smoky haze of distance.
The building has a square tower with tapering spire, surmounted by an arrow, and faces to the east where a road suns smoothly down a long slope on an easy grade to the public highway.
On the north side is a strip of lawn, some forty feet wide, a part of the graveyard which surrounds the church on two sides, which is cleaned up nicely with a few small saplings left for shade.
In this space there is a grave with a blue marble monument, marked M.V.B. Monroe, born February 2, 1836, died April 20, 1904.
West of the building on a westen slope is nearly a half acre more of the cemetery which has been hacked off a few years ago and is now all grown over with bushes and weeds.
When I visited the spot early in October, 1910, the leaves were beginning to take on the reddish and russety yellow hues of an autumn drought, while, often spots in the brush were waving with the ghosts of yellow golden rod, dotted here and there with the pale blue of the wild aster.
Hidden away, among the riot of nature, I found four or five lowly graves, two of which had unpretentious tombstones. The others being marked only with pieces of flagrock at head and foot.
One of the monuments bore the inscription:
Martha A., daugther of W.A. and N.E. Seaman, died February 17, 1896, aged nine years.
The other was inscribed:
Minnie F., daughter of J.C. and C.A. Medis, born July 27, 1878, died April 14, 1903, aged twenty-four years, eight months. "She faltered by the wayside, and the angels took her home."
Beyond the graveyard, quite a steep path leads down a long point to the road below, which, after winding around the southern base of the knob on which the church stands, is intersected by the road leading down a steep hill to Frozen Camp Creek a half mile below.
The southern slope of the hill is a thick grove of white oak, jack oak, and hickory, next to the church house, trailing away into the straggling scrub wood with which the south and west sides of the hill are clothed.
The congregation worshipping here is of the Christian, or "Campbellite" denomination, and the building is, or was, formerly known as the Lindamood Church, from one of the nearby farmers.
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Pleasant Hill Graveyard
It was my good fortune to visit a cemetery near the Pleasant Hill Church on the Ravenswood and Ripley Pike about the month of October 1810.
This burying ground, which is comparitively new, crowns the summit of one of the loftiest peaks of the divinding ridge which separates Mill Creek and Sandy Waters.
There is an area of about one fourth of an acre which is nearly level and lies much higher than the road which runs along the ridge top. This flat is fenced in with a shackling fence of three planks and a barbed wire.
A part of the area is occupied by a grove of whispering pines, through which the slightest stir of the air sighs in mournful cadence while the winter's winds, which sweep the spot so fairly, must rage and toss.
There are thirty-six of the pine trees running from the size of a large rafter to that of a small backlog, or say, from six to fifteen inches in diameter and some twenty-five or thirty feet high. Most of them are tall and straight and grow so closely together as to be limbless except in the tops which are locked and interlaced.
There are several graves among these trees, which occupy the middle of the lot.
The western side of the lot, (there is about half an acre fenced in) is quite steep for burial purposes.
The inscriptions noted are:
Verlia, daughter of J.W. and M.E. Morgan, born May 11, 1886 and died July 28, 1898.
There was a small granite monument marked "Puckett" with an inscription "Cecile, daughter of J.L. and E. Puckett, died April 25, 1907, aged eleven months."
Another grave was marked: "Mary S. Lytton, died April 1, 1901 aged thirty-two years two months."
Another inscription was:
Bailey A. Yost, born November 5, 1877 died August 26, 1908
L.I. Tribbet, born January 22, 1850, died July 27, 1904, aged fifty four years six months.
Most of the humble mounds had no tombstones, being only marked with board or flagstone and the greater number were children's graves, many of which were strewn with toys and playthings, pieces of colored glass or china or mussel shells.
One nameless grave told its story of patriotism in the tattered American flag which waved over it. Whoever slept beneath had served that flag and his country in their days of peril. Honor to the Union Soldier.
Though none of the graves could have been more than twelve or fifteen years old, there have already come many to lie them down among the whispering pine trees, which can be seen for miles and miles in all directions.
The graveyard as is common in the country, was in a neglected condition, much of its surface being overgrown with weeds and brush, pale flaunting ghosts of golden rod or flaming sumach.
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The Street Graveyard
The dead cannot grieve
Not a sob, not a sigh, greets mine ear,
Which compassion, its self could relieve
Ah! sweetly, they slumber, not love, hope nor fear,
Peace, Peace, is the watch word,
he only one here.
The Streets Graveyard, as it is usually called, is beautifully located on the top of a knoll, which rises from one of the wide flats. So common to the ridge dividing the waters of Little Creek and Buffalo, two of the tributaries of Upper Mill Creek.
The farm on which it is situated was first opened by a man of the name of John Rader, who came there in 1852. He bought a tract of fifteen hundred acres and lived there several years. He divided the most of his land among his boys. Later, he sold the residue to George Street. Since Street's death, the farm has passed into the hands of strangers.
John Rader's Father was a first cousin of Michael Rader Sr.
Old Billy Rader and Adam were brothers of John.
George Rader of the Shenandoah Valley, married Sarah Craig, of the same place and moved to Greenbrier County and later to the mouth of Stroud's Creek.
Their children were, Robert, who lived in Braxton county; George, went to Missouri; William, who was killed on the Big Kanawha. He married the Widow Huddleston, Wash Huddleston's mother.
Adam Rader lived with John H. at Camden on Gauley.
John H. Rader married a McClung. His son, Joe Rader, was the first grave in the graveyard, though there had been three of the Rader grand children buried under a hickory tree which stands in the field, prior to that.
The killing of Joe Rader was a cowardly affair and scarcely justifiable by the utmost stretching of the rules of war.
Like all similar circumstances, there are several different account of the way it was done. The Confederate sympathizers say Rader was a model of innocence. The other side say he was connected with a gang of guerrillas and took care of the horses they confiscated, until they had gathered as many as they wanted to take south, and that he harbored and fed the guerrillas and Confederate soldiers.
There is no doubt, the last count of the indictment is correct.
It was on these charges that he was killed, but one cannot help thinking it would have been more honorable and just as well for the Union cause and withal far less cowardly had he been arrested and sent to Camp Chase.
Joe Rader, at the forks of Buffalo had gone some time in 1863, October or November, to his father's to get a wagon, when some men dressed in Confederate uniforms and calling themselves Jenkinses soldiers, came to the house and called for something to eat. Rader told them where to hide to be safe and had the girls fix up a basket full of "grub" which he took down to the spring over the bank from the house. Meanwhile, the soldiers had posted a part of their number behind an old fence in a thicket on the opposite bank. When Rader put down his basket and turned to climb the bank, just as he was alongside a large rock, still to be seen, the hidden Yankees fired and he fell. The neighbors got him to the house and he died in a day or two.
Harvey Rader says one of his sisters talked "sassy" to the soldiers and defied them to shoot her.
Two of the graves under the tree are Joe Rader's children, and the other, his brother's child.
Before Rader came to this farm, there was a squatter, an eccentric individual by the name of Bill Davis, lived in a shanty near the spring where Joe Rader was killed. The mound where the chimney of his hut stood being still visible. He afterward moved down the creek in a shanty at the lower end of the Morrison farm.
He had a daughter, who died and was buried somewhere in the vicinity. Her name was Sidner Davis, and she had two children. The Davises are said to be part Indian.
Sidner died suddenly, falling off her chair dead, without previous sickness or warning. The story is told that she took to coming back. Her father is said to have seen her several times. She was dressed the same as when she died. One day, while passing through a wheat field along a narrow path, he met her again; she stepped to one side for him to pass, but, determined to know the cause of her returning to earth, he mustered courage enough to ask her what she wanted. She told him she was not able to raise her children, and she wanted them put out in good places. He promised it would be done, whereupon she held out her hand to him and he attempted to shake hands, but two of her fingers striking his wrist left yellow marks on it. The girl then vanished and was never seen again. Next day the children were put out. A man named Waybright raising one of them.
A sister of Joe Rader was the next to be buried in the new graveyard. Others buried here are:
Philip Rohr, who came from Barbour County, settling at the mouth of Poplar Fork of Little Creek in 1860. One of his daughters is buried here.
Isaac Hornbeck, a Union soldier from Wood County, born July 5, 1815, died January 28, 1894, aged seventy nine year six months. He lived in Wood County before the war. His daugthers, Isabel and Virginia died in 1875 and 1882 respectively, aged twenty four years and twenty years.
Israel Davis was the only survivor of a set of triplets. He was born on Rooting Creek in 1800. He had a brother by the name of John Davis, who died in his ninety ninth year. Another brother, William, lived to be ninety and could do a good days work at eighty years.
Israel Davis died in 1877, his wife was Edie Bise, his first cousin. One account says they are Welsh, the other calls them of Scotch origin.
Silas T. Davis was the son of Clement and Betsy Michaels Davis, natives of Delaware. Silas married Ellinor, daughter of Isaac and Rosa Miller Broomedge of Monongalia. He was born in 1816 and died in 1884, living on the extreme head of Buffalo at the time of his death.
George Latimer was the son of George and Jane Nivens Latimer, who was born in Green County, Pennsylvania. He came with his parents to Jackson County in 1838 and to Buffalo in 1844. He married Margaret Seaman and lived on Right Reedy at the Travis Parsons place, afterward moving to Buffalo, he died in 1904. Margaret Latimer died January 10, 1871, aged thirty four years.
Joseph Dunn was a minister in the M.P. Church.
George Street was born January 2, 1816, died January 18, 1875. Catharine Street, his wife, was born July 23, 1817 and died February 23, 1897, aged seventy nine years eight months, (age taken from the headstone). There are several of the Street Family buried here. Among these, John Street, died September 18, 1885, aged forty two years.
James Street, born January 13, 1854, died April 30, 1878.
Mrs. Ollie Street Eagle.
J.B. Smith lived on the Rohr place at the mouth of Poplar Fork at the time of his death, which occurred on the 22nd of April, 1896. He was born March 6, 1837, being fifty-nine years one month of age.
His father was Jacob C. Smith, born in Tyler County, March 26, 1813, and died October 14, 1870.
His mother, Sarah, daughter of Aaron and Susannah Drake Smith of Ritchie County. Jacob Brown Smith's grandparents on the side of his father, J.C.Smith, were Ralph Smith and Catharine George. J.B.Smith married October 31, 1856, Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Macklin and Maria Rader Walker. She was born, probably on Mill Creek, August 3, 1838, and died March 7, 1896. They sleep side by side in the second row on the western side of the graveyard. Maggie Shreve, their youngest daughter born 1873 and died in 1903 is buried near them.
Samuel Hall, born December 7, 1811, died June 18, 1886, aged seventy-four years and six months. His wife, R.S. Hall, born March 3, 1810 and died August 27, 1887, is buried by him. Several of their children and grand children are also buried here.
William Syoc, who died March 9, 1904 aged fifty-nine years eleven months and his wife, Dorcas Hall Syoc, born October 18, 1840 died October 8, 1890.
Margaret Shoemaker Ludwick died January 9, 1877 aged fifty-seven.
William Bise, died May 25, 1875 aged sixy-four years.
Philip Rohr was born March 16, 1808 died May 11, 1874.
Hester A.E. Rohr, born September 28, 1854, died December 13, 1873.
Elizabeth, wife of A.H.Rader, died in 1876, aged thirty-nine.
There are many marble headstones and monuments in the graveyard, whose array of white ranks can be seen from the hill tops for miles around.
Save that it is in the fields quite a distance from the public road and without shade, this burial ground would be one of the best in the country.
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Other Mill Creek Graveyards
I mention here, a few graveyards on the waters of Mill Creek which I have not, as yet, explored. Possibly I may some day be able to examine them more closely than merely riding past.
A burial ground I would like to have visisted is perched on a high point overlooking the Sycamore Valley, just above the mouth of the run where John F. Parsons lived in Pioneer days.
This John Parsons was a son of Captain Billy Parsons and was born in 1797 in a sycamore tree, near the site of the Douglass house, at the mouth of Mill Creek. He is claimed by some, to be the first white child born in Jackson County. He may be buried on this hill. Perhaps his half brother, Travis Parsons, is also buried here. Travis Parsons was a man of some local prominence, two decades before the Civil War.
The graveyard appears to be a small one and doubtless it is but a family burying place.
In the old days, the custom of burying the dead on the home farm was more common than it is now. It would be beautiful and desirable to have our dead close to the every day walks of our lives and only if the farms did not change hands so often, and the graves become neglected and sometimes abused when they pass into the hands of strangers.
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The Keenan Graveyard
This graveyard is situated on the farm of that name about a mile above Chase's Mill. It is a private institution, used by that family, who settled there after the Rebellion.
My informant, Mr. Keenan, said there were some negroes buried there also, but did not say, perhaps did not know, who they were.
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The Shinn Graveyard
When I visited Grass Lick, I passed at Fairplains, the burial place of George Shinn, with its costly monument resplendent in glitter of polished marble.
I have but little concerning the histroy of the Shinns, but think they were from Harrison County. George Shinn was prominent in local politics.
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The Evans Graveyard
I must not omit the mention of this spot, which is prettily nestled by the side of the road, a half mile below that valley.
The church building stands on one corner of the plot, but in my opinion, in offence to good taste, the church yard and cemetery are surrounded on two sides by high board walls of a fairgound and race track, with the track buildings looming over the graves.
Being, myself, no believer in this carnival and horse racing, I shudder to think of the noise and carousal, I believe common to many such places, being placed so as to desecrate the graves of the pioneers and those laid to rest here.
Here moulder into dust the remains of the pioneer families, Staats and Evans and their descendants, who were the first settlers of the flats of Mill Creek.
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Tom Carney Burying Ground
There is an old graveyard on the hill north of the Windon House known as the Young Tom Carney burying ground. In this humble spot, said to have been long since plowed up, and now a part of a pasture field, lost unfortunately, to the knowledge of man, lies peacefully sleeping, the dust of Elijah Rollins and his faithful companion.
Probably all the earlier of the pioneers of the Mill Creek and Tug Fork Valleys, which it overlooked, are also buried here.
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