This Strother family cemetery is located on VA State WMA property in Fauquier County, between Freezeland Rd and the Appalachian Trail. This is the small piece of the Thompson WMA next to Sky Meadows State Park. The farm was the original Fairfax lease to Mary Strother (Mary Catherine Kay who m Enoch Strother). The family managed to retain the property somehow after Fairfax was forced to relinquish much of his property and the Marshalls acquired a good portion. The "Signal Pole" designation was acquired during the Civil War when a field right on top of the mountain on the farm was used to set signal fires, since it could be seen from both the east and west (Valley) sides. This name has been used since then, and helps to qualify this cemetery from a later Strother cemetery just down the hill on an adjacent farm.
The cemetery is extremely difficult to find without GPS because it is so difficult to get to and hard to see due to major undergrowth which is allowed to thrive due to the property being a habitat for wildlife. Although it has been cleaned out several times, nature takes it back very quickly. Here are the exact GPS coordinates as taken by a pre-2000 GPS unit:
38 degrees 58.966 minutes N
77 degrees 59.945 minutes W
If you try to go there be prepared for:
Bears (lots of bear poop!)
Heavy undergrowth, including many types of thorny plants
Hunters in Spring and Fall
No bathrooms for miles
The best access is to pick up the southern end of Freezeland Rd in Linden and travel the ridge (old CCC fire break road) until you reach the last parking area for that piece of the WMA. The lot is big enough for several cars and you can pick up the AT from there.
The cemetery is about 40' x 40' square, surrounded by broken-down dry-laid stone walls. You know you are close to it when you find periwinkle on the ground. Both periwinkle and daylilies were planted there by the family years ago.
There are no inscribed stones there, only fieldstones. It is extremely likely that Mary Strother, her son James, and his wife Elizabeth Purcell are buried in this cemetery. Since there are about a dozen graves, obviously more are buried there but their identities are unknown. There were stories that because of the Signal Pole, that minor skirmishes may have resulted in soldiers from both side being buried there.
Mary Strother died at age 104. This is documented by several different sources, but the conclusive evidence is an entry in the Bible of Alfred M Strother where he subtracted her birth year from the year she died.
GPS Coordinates: 38.9821, -77.99911
- Added: 3 Oct 2017
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2652323
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