CEDAR GROVE - A monument to honor those buried at the Wood County Cemetery was unveiled at a ceremony Monday.
Sponsored by the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, the monument sits on a grassy area between the cemetery fence and drive that goes around the West Virginia University parking lot.
Rita Sharpes, of Vienna, in her 90s, attended the ceremony. She has an ancestor buried at the cemetery.
Photo by Pamela Brust
The Wood County Historical and Preservation Society raised funds for placement of a monument to honor those interred at the former county poor farm cemetery in Cedar Grove. The monument was unveiled Monday at a ceremony.
"I knew his grave was out here. It wasn't that he didn't have anyone to take care of him, but the man that was running the farm out here invited him to come out here to live. This monument will always be a memory of my ancestors and for the families who have loved ones buried out here," Sharpes said.
With the help of a newspaper article and Bob Enoch, president of the historical society, Sprouse was recently able to find the gravesite of her father.
"I think the monument is fantastic. It will be an honor to come out. Bob (Enoch) helped me find my dad," Sprouse said, noting the marker will give a home place for those who know they have family members buried at the old poor farm cemetery but don't know where they lie. Many of the graves are marked only by a simple white cross, without names, and there are many more interred with no marker at all.
If You'd Like To Help
The Wood County Historical and Preservation Society is selling a pen-and-ink drawing and bricks made from stone from the original courthouse steps as a fundraiser for the ongoing cemetery project and monument. Contact Bob Enoch, society president at 304-483-9863 for more information.
Alice Fought, who is a member of the historical society also has an ancestor buried in the cemetery. Fought, along with Sprouse unveiled the monument Monday.
Commission President Blair Couch said a lot of work has been done on the cemetery and its upkeep over the past few years, much of it unheralded.
"My wife reminded me that what we do for the least of those among us means the most," Couch said.
West Virginia University President Marie Foster-Gnage said she welcomed the society's efforts in putting up the monument.
"It's history and it's important. We want to honor that connection. Our students need to know that history," she said.
Wood County Historical and Preservation Society President Bob Enoch noted a 1901 newspaper article about a resident of the poor farm at the time, described as a poor wretched soul. "His obituary appeared in the paper a couple of weeks after the article came out; the man was only 50 years old," Enoch said. "His sister provided for his burial, but few at the poor farm were so fortunate. This monument is intended to honor Mr. Richardson described in the article and others like him," Enoch said.
"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," Enoch 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.