CEDAR GROVE - A monument to honor and recognize those buried at the Wood County Cemetery will be unveiled at a ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday.
The monument is being placed between the cemetery fence and drive that goes around the West Virginia University parking lot. That will be the site of the dedication ceremony. Parking for those attending the ceremony will be available in the general parking area.
The unveiling will be done by Alice Fought, a member of the Wood Count Historical and Preservation Society, and Sara Sprouse whose father is interred in the cemetery.
After years of wondering and searching, Sara Sprouse of Parkersburg was finally able to find her father’s gravesite at the Wood County Cemetery in Cedar Grove with the aid of a newspaper article and local historian Bob Enoch. (Photo by Pamela Brust)
"So many of the graves were unmarked. Placing a monument identifies the cemetery and provides a brief history of it, and most importantly, represents the hundreds upon hundreds who have been interred there, most without any formal recognition. The second part of the project will place a listing of the burials, as complete as possible, at the courthouse, public libraries and online, all of which is long overdue," said Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society.
Wood County commissioners and other local dignitaries have been invited to speak at the ceremony.
Many of those buried at the old county poor farm lie in unmarked graves. 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. The cemetery was initially established as a final resting place for those who died there. Enoch said many records for the cemetery were lost when the infirmary was destroyed by fire in 1950.
The historical society led an effort to document, as accurately as possible, those who were buried at the cemetery and make those records available to the public for research and posterity.
"I think it's important there is closure for those who have someone buried out there, to know they will now have a marker. Now they will have a way of going to the cemetery and seeing their loved one," Fought said.
About a year ago, representatives of the historical society volunteered to research existing death records and document those interred at the pauper's cemetery. That completed document was turned over to the Wood County Commission in May.
Copies of the record are being provided to the West Virginia Department of Culture and History, courthouse, Wood County Library and may be put online at a future date at www.woodcountywv.com.
Enoch along with Jeff Little with the society presented the documentation containing nearly 800 names of those buried at the Wood County Poor Farm Cemetery.
Those buried at the farm may have been unknown victims of disease or drowning. The state pays some of the expense for interment in the pauper's cemetery, the county pays a grave digger.
"Many of the crosses at the cemetery don't necessarily mark gravesites. They are more just ornamental, as memorials. Enoch said. "We are certain the poor farm was much larger than what is out there now."
Enoch said earlier most of those buried were indigent. "That certainly doesn't mean they should be forgotten," he said.