Indian Mound Cemetery

Indian Mound Cemetery

The Historical Highway marker in this cemetery says: "The Indian Mound, which is 7 feet high and about 15 feet in diameter, is one of the largest remaining mounds in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. This mound has never been excavated but similar mounds of area dug by Smithsonian institution suggest this mound might date between A.D. 500 and 1000, and have been constructed by Hopewellian peoples."

Since this marker was erected, further research indicates the mound has been opened at some point in the past.

The site is a promontory looking down into the South Branch of the Potomac and facing west. The Indian Mound Cemetery Company was incorporated by act of the General Assembly of Virginia about 1859, consisting of two plats conveyed by David GIBSON in a deed dated 31 May 1860. It was again incorporated in 1925, under the laws of West Virginia and enlarged to include land conveyed by H. C. and Katie Cooper.

Fort Pearsall, built in 1755, is believed to have been on the edge of the bluff and a Historic Marker today shows the approximate location. The exact location has been lost in time.

The cemetery, home to the Nation's first known Confederate monument, dedicated in September 1867, is also the final resting place of a number of unknown dead both Union and Confederate.

For information on burials in this cemetery, contact Mr. Glenn E. Shingleton, Secretary-Treasurer, Indian Mound Cemetery Association, Romney, WV 26757.

Other Cemeteries

About a block further West along US Rt. 50/Main Street, in Romney, lies what is known as the Colored Cemetery. It is now visible from the road, but the road leading into it is unpaved. A number of Romney's African-American citizens have been buried there and the cemetery dates back to at least the 1860s. To the best of my knowledge, it is run as a country cemetery, with no formal records kept, no routine maintenance, and no fees. If I locate someone with additional information, I will update this blurb.

Also in Romney, there was once a cemetery at the Presbyterian Church at the Corner of Marsham and Rosemary. This cemetery has not been there during my Grandmother's 60+-year tenure in town, and I believe it was built over, possibly as early as the 1840s. The Episcopal Church, on the Eastern edge of town, also had its own cemetery, but again, this has been abandoned at some time prior to 1920. Certain information is not available, because some events are simply NOT documented.

There are cemeteries in church yards around the County, notably in Springfield, Three Churches, Slanesville and Augusta. NONE of these are commercial cemeteries, and NONE keep the kind of detailed records one might expect these days. Generally, the plots are free to parishioners, and often the volunteer Church Secretary keeps no records of who is buried when.

And, of course, the family cemetery is still used. These small cemeteries are scattered around the county, in various states of repair, with occupants numbering from 3 to several dozen. Access to them is restricted because they are on private property, and separate records are nonexistent.

For burials prior to the War, I recommend Wilmer L. Kerns' "Historical Records of Old Frederick and Hampshire Counties Virginia". For burials after the War, I suggest the county newspapers. For burials DURING the War, I strongly recommend prayer.

Which brings me to: West Virginia, like her mother Virginia, has kept vital records since 1853. Some are legible. For the maximum legibility, records beginning about 1860 are best. It should be noted, however, that no county clerk recorded battle deaths and few recorded deaths from wounds. (Why? First, it was the responsibility of the military commanders to record these deaths; second, it was simply physically impossible for one man and one assistant to record --by hand-- as many as 500 deaths on a single day, which was not an uncommon body count, even if they had the names.)

The Political Graveyard

Indian Mound Cemetery is listed in The Political Graveyard. You might enjoy a visit some dark and stormy night.

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© 1996 Cheryl Singhal; All Rights Reserved