WILLIAMSTOWN - It's not the oldest graveyard in the Valley, but Williamstown's Riverview Cemetery may be one of the most popular, according to Pat Peoples who, along with husband, Bill, took ownership of the cemetery in 2006.
"It's a highly visited cemetery. You can find someone visiting there at all hours of the day," she said. "It's also highly-decorated. People decorate the graves in every season. I've had people put Christmas trees on graves."
The Peoples try to be accommodating, although Pat said winds sometimes blow unanchored decor across the cemetery and into a nearby farmer's field.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Pat Peoples stands near some of the oldest gravestones in Williamstown’s Riverview Cemetery. The graves were moved into the cemetery when I-77 was being built nearby in the 1960s.
A distinguishing feature that sets Williamstown's Riverview Cemetery apart from many local graveyards is that it's not located on a hillside.
"The entire cemetery is flat, and the wind is almost always blowing there," Pat said. "But there's 10 acres, and plenty of room for expansion."
Established as a public burial ground in the early 1900s, Riverview Cemetery was originally owned by the Knights of Pythias and was later run by a board of trustees known as the Riverview Cemetery Association who turned the property over to the Peoples in June 2006.
"We weren't really looking to run a cemetery, but it came up at the right time," Pat said. "I had just retired as an educator and had spent years at a desk or in a classroom, so I thought this would be something different. It's a lot of hard work at times, but I enjoy it so much."
Although the cemetery was established at the turn of the 20th Century, she said there are graves that pre-date that time.
"Some graves are older than the 1900s, but many of those were transferred into the cemetery by the state in the 1960s when Interstate 77 was being built," Pat Peoples explained.
Riverview also has the only free-standing columbarium in Wood County where urns containing cremated remains are stored.
"It's been well-received, and can be visited at any time," Pat said.
For many years Riverview has been the central focal point for the Williamstown community's annual Memorial Day ceremonies. A parade forms every year at Tomlinson Park in town and proceeds out Waverly Road to the veterans memorial located at the center of the cemetery.
"It's obvious this cemetery is of major importance to Williamstown, so we always try to take extra care of the facilities," Pat Peoples said.