Headstones in place at Wood County cemetery

PARKERSBURG – With the aid of a grant, the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society has placed 41 headstones on gravesites of those interred in the newer section of the Wood County Poor Farm Cemetery.

“The older section still has the white crosses, but we put in 41 stones in the more recent burial area,” said Bob Enoch with the historical society.

The concrete stones were done by Etched in Stone, a Wood County business.

“The markers are a fairly inexpensive means of recognizing those buried there,” Enoch said.

The section of the cemetery that is highest on the hill is the oldest portion of the poor farm cemetery, the newer part is separated by the fence.

In 1864 the Overseers of the Poor purchased about 300 acres of the former Kincheloe property to establish a farm to care for the indigent of the county. Many of the burial records for the cemetery were lost when the infirmary at the poor farm was destroyed by fire in 1950.

The county-owned cemetery is in the parking lot area of West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

Enoch told the county commissioners this week the stones have been placed, with two remaining.

“These are graves that have been put in during the last 10 years or so. You would think it would be a simple matter to get the information, but it did take some research on our part. It was not necessarily as easy as you might think, we were dealing with funeral homes, grave diggers, and a lot of the dates had to be verified, so it did involve some research. We tried to use information from the white crosses that had been on the graves, but sometimes that was not complete,” Enoch said.

The headstone project was completed with the aid of a $1,000 grant from the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation.

Back in July, proposals for a number of changes were submitted to county commissioners by Enoch including the placement of the ground level headstones at the cemetery which will make maintenance easier and improve burial recording-keeping.

County maintenance crews are responsible for maintenance/upkeep of the cemetery.

The white crosses were installed on some of the gravesites in the 1970s.

In the fall of 2012, a monument was erected to honor those buried at the cemetery. The historical society raised the funds for the monument.

County officials said for indigents buried at the county cemetery, the county pays about $250 for burial and the plot and the state pays about $1,250 to reimburse for interment.