There are over 300 cemeteries listed on the HistoricHampshire.org Cemetery Index. Some graves are spooky, others whimsical and still others, weathered beyond recognition.
See how the hand of time has touched some of the more unique resting places in the county.
1. What are likely Romney’s oldest cemeteries no longer exist. One is currently under the Bank of Romney and its parking lot on East Main Street. An article in the Aug. 31, 1994 issue of the Review reads, “Construction at The Bank of Romney site took an interesting turn on August 16 when a worker uncovered what appeared to be a human bone.”
The 2nd resting place is the old Presbyterian Cemetery, located under what is now the Romney Fire Hall on South High Street. About a dozen headstones were moved to Indian Mound, but most of the remains were not.
2. Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney is the resting place of 2 West Virginia governors, as well as a number of unknown Confederate soldiers killed during the Civil War. It contains what is believed to be the 1st memorial raised to the Confederate dead after the war, dedicated Sept. 26, 1867.
3. A somber reminder of how common infant death was in the early 1900s exists in the form of a grave at St. Luke Presbyterian Church’s cemetery, where a stone marks the eternal resting place of Eston and Venie See’s 3 children, Loal, Doris and Agnes, who all died at either 1 year old or younger.
4. Indian Mound Cemetery’s bell tower is officially named the “Parsons Memorial Bell Tower,” and was built in 1925. The bell was to be rung during memorial services of the descendants of the Parsons family.
5. Near Capon Bridge, you can find the “Lingers Pet Gravesite,” which is the resting place of Kema Lingers, a White American Eskimo dog, who lived from 1972 until 1988.
6. While the Indian Mound Colored Cemetery is more well-known, there was another African-American cemetery in Romney, located somewhere near the intersection of Antigo Place and Sioux Lane. Supposedly, the bodies were removed before 1927.
7. In a pine thicket between Spring Gap Mountain and Little Cacapon River, there is a lonely grave of a 22-year-old woman who died in 1883: Sarah Moreland. Her grave is the only one in the thicket, and her headstone reads, “She come to raise our hearts to heaven.”
8. The background of the Romney cemeteries is depicted eerily in an excerpt from Chapter 37 of “History of Hampshire County West Virginia from its Earliest Settlement to the present (by Hu Maxwell and H.L. Swisher in 1897):
“…the first burying place for the dead of Romney was situated on the public square on which the court house was afterwards built…It is probable that the first dead of the town were laid to their rest in that old cemetery. How many sleep there, no one now knows.
“But the land was occupied by houses and gardens; and the plow finally obliterated each
Where, in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.’
“It is related that, after the ground ceased to be used as a burying place, and was appropriated as a garden, a person in walking through the high grass and rank weeds would sometimes stumble into the deeply sunken graves.”
The excerpt also goes on to describe the Indian Mound Cemetery as the burial place of natives before white people settled into the area:
“The old abandoned and neglected cemetery at the foot of the hill is a melancholy picture. The hand of time has been laid heavily upon it, and its beauty has departed, save that beauty which a pensive fancy can see in ruin and desolation, especially when, so intimately associated with the dead…
“’Dead the singer; dead the song.’”