POND CREEK - It's only a short hike up a steep hill off a dirt road, but it's a hike few -outside some hunters - have made in the last century.
Wednesday, a small group trudged up the hill off Long Run Road to locate a rural cemetery that hasn't seen anyone buried since 1920.
"These people have been forgotten," said Bob Enoch with the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society
Photo by Jody Murphy
Bob Enoch, left, with the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, Bill Townsend and Larry Allen survey a previously undocumented cemetery off Pond Creek.
Photo by Jody?Murphy
The intricately carved headstone of Alma Florence Hall, a 24-year-old wife who died in 1904, is one of the many hidden treasures of the county’s undocumented cemeteries.
Accompanied by Larry Allen and Bill Townsend, Enoch was taken to a undocumented cemetery on Pond Creek.
The small cemetery contained about a dozen graves and about a half dozen visible markers. The cemetery was used from the 1870s until about 1920.
Allen grew up in south Parkersburg. He lives outside Belpre, but his family initially settled in the Belleville area of Wood County. He spends some of his free time driving the back roads of Jackson and Wood counties tracking down graves and cemeteries looking for relatives.
In addition to finding a number of cemeteries, Allen said he's met a lot of nice people.
"I have been invited to more suppers than I could ever attend," he said.
Bill Townsend, who lives on Pond Creek with his brother, led Allen to the cemetery off Long Run on property owned by James White. Allen contacted Enoch about documenting the site.
Spearheaded by the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, West Augusta Historical and Genealogical Society and Wood County Historic Landmarks Commission, volunteers have been able to find and document about 270 rural cemeteries so far. Enoch estimates there are probably more than 300 rural graveyards in the county.
"We are finding more every day, and we know there are many more out there we just haven't discovered yet," he said. "They are often on private property. Many are family cemeteries and they may only have a few graves in them."
The cemetery on Long Run is dotted with last names of Swain, Flinn, Boso and Beegle.
Enoch took a GPS reading of the site and will record it on the assessor's map. Allen will list the site on the website Findagrave.com.
Allen is glad officials like Enoch are tracking the old cemeteries.
"There is a lot of interest in this. People are looking for their ancestors."