West Virginia USA
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
This very old & isolated Pocahontas County cemetery is located on what is now the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' Handley Wildlife Management Area. The current Wildlife Manager's wife is working with senior-citizen descendents and neighbors, Pocahontas County Genealogy Society, and the Pocahontas County Historical Society to get this cemetery and surrounding early settler farmsites documented. Settler families reported interred here include Hammons, Roberts, and Mullins. The last remembered interrment was about 1937 of Lottie Margaret Roberts Hammons, widow of Paris Hammons. The Hammons family is well-known for its Mountain Music heritage.
Perhaps also known as The Meadows Cemetery, it is located beside what once was the "Old Williams River Road". This old thoroughfare is now a wildlife clearing, and travel is by foot only - no vehicles, bikes, horses, etc. are allowed. To get to the cemetery, park in the Handley WMA lake parking lot, follow the trail across the lake dam, down over the bank & footbridge. (Do not take the short left branch which leads to small fishing ponds w. picnic tables.) The trail is brush-hogged at least once per year, but can get very boggy. Wear good hiking shoes. Black bears & coyotes are in this area. Be especially cautious if you see a female bear and/or her cubs. A leisurely walk to the cemetery takes about 30-40 minutes one way. The cemetery is on the left - beside what appears to be an old apple orchard. The only markings are surveyor's ribbons that are periodically replaced - hanging from tree branches.
The current Wildlife Manager, Tom Dale, GPS-ed the cemetery and had it entered into WVDNR and USFS files to prevent it from being logged in future years. Until better directions are entered here, call the Handley WMA, 304.799.6317, ext. 1. As the Wildlife Manager is usually working away from the office, the answering machine is left on 24/7. Follow the answering machine message directions exactly, and he will return your call as soon as possible. (This machine is different - Do NOT wait for a beep after you press 1 - If you do, your message will NOT be recorded.)
Approximately 1/2 of the cemetery has saplings & undergrowth. Unfortunately, the last private owner of the property, Wallace Warner, chose to remove the headstones and plow up 1/2 of the cemetery for a "potato patch." Those stones are evidently still stacked up at the edge of the cemetery. Few of the standing stones have good, readable inscriptions. Usually, if engraved at all, they were native rock & hand chiseled. Some just have initials, others initials & dates, & a handful have names & dates. The number of interments is still being determined through memories of older citizens & number of stones - standing & stacked. One thinks there may be 40+ gravesites. Hopefully, later, through research, a better accounting may be made.
Sue Dale, the wife of the current Wildlife Manager, is planning to photograph & document as much information as possible from the stones. Also, in addition to the groups named above, she has spoken w. an archaeologist who has done settler fort research in Pocahontas County about ways to determine where the stoneless graves are located - without disturbing the actual burial chambers.
More/edited information will be added here as it becomes available.