Berry Family monument unearthed during excavation in 2013 at site of Elks Playground, East Wheeling.
By Linda Fluharty, October 2013.
On October 23, 2013, Victoria Slider Simitses wrote:"I have been working on my family tree for a few years now. I have a public tree and questions posted on Ancestry.com. Through that site, a gentelman named Glenn contacted me this week in regards to something exciting he has found. He is an excavator working at the site of the old East Wheeling Cemetery, part of which was turned in to a playground. While digging up said playground, he came across a very large (over 6 ft tall) grave marker with the names of my ancestors on it. It is for "Fielder Berry", "Elizbeth Moore Berry" and one of their sons, "George Henry Berry."
"Fielder Berry was originally from Charles County, Maryland. He is a veteran of the War of 1812, having served with the Maryland Militia.
"I am contacting you in the hopes you can point me in the right direction of what should be done with this marker. I live in Atlanta and have not spent any time in Wheeling, although my family was there from the time of this Fielder Berry until my grandmother, Frances Mae Berry left with her husband.
"Were these grave markers from East Wheeling Cemetery supposed to be moved to a different cemetery? Do you think one of them would want this one, or do you think any Revolutionary War organizations would be interested in figuring out what to do with this marker?"
Ms. Simitses also sent photos of the monument, shown above, apparently taken by Glenn, the man who contacted her initially.
Although Fielder Berry was a veteran of the War of 1812, this writer contacted Gary Timmons, who is active in the S. A. R.
Jeanne Finstein, Treasurer of the Wheeling Area Genealogical Society, became apprised of the matter, and she worked with the City of Wheeling, the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation (WNHAC), and Friends of Wheeling to find a solution. She sent this update on November 1:
"This is an update on the Fielder Berry marker story. As of late yesterday, the WV State Historic Preservation Office has granted permission for moving the Fielder Berry marker to Mt. Wood Cemetery, where it will be temporarily placed until a permanent location at the cemetery is decided (probably next spring)......"
Meanwhile, Ian Hicks, a reporter for The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register, wrote on October 30 to say that he, too, had been contacted by Victoria Slider Simitses. He was referred to NEWS ARTICLES on this site, as well as to the photos of the Berry Family Monument, sent by Ms. Simitses.
On November 3, Ian Hicks' excellent story was published in The Intelligencer & Wheeling News-Register: Bones, Grave Found
The transfer of the Berry monument was transferred to Mt. Wood Cemetery on Tuesday, November 5. Ian Hicks wrote this article: Old Gravestone Moved Out of East Wheeling.
This writer has been told by older Wheeling residents that not all remains were moved from the Old East Wheeling Cemetery when the playground was built. During heavy rains, human remains supposedly floated from beneath the surface of the playground.
Not moving graves and monument prior to excavation is not unique to this cemetery. Commonly, a notice was published in the newspaper, asking family members and/or interested parties to come forward to address re-interment. A lack of response, at least in some cases, resulted in the remains being left at the construction site.
THE FAMILY OF FIELDER BERRY
The family of Fielder Berry, originally from Charles County, Maryland, is first found in the 1830 Federal Census of Ohio County.
Fielder Berry, born 14 January 1786, died on 23 February 1859 in Wheeling. This death notice appeared in the Wheeling Intelligencer 26 February 1859: FIELDER BERRY, 25 Feb 1859, 74y, funeral from his residence, Main St., Centre Wheeling. His will is found in West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971, and was obtained from the www.familysearch.org website: WILL OF FIELDER BERRY
Fielder's wife, Elizabeth Moore Berry, died in 1833.
According to descendant, Victoria Slider Simitses, known children of Fielder and Elizabeth were Benjamin, Elizabeth, Mariah, Martha, Matilda, William, George Henry, John A., and Sarah J.
One son, George Henry Berry, died in 1853: Wheeling Intelligencer, 2 Feb 1853 - BERRY, GEORGE (Capt.) died in Wheeling, 40th year, Jan 31, 1853.
John A. Berry married Elizabeth Morrison in Wheeling on 4 September 1853.