Look Back: Teamwork restores cemetery

In 2013, Eagle Scout candidate Jordan Stemple, shown on the right, elected to restore the Edelen Cemetery, situated on the north end of the DuPont plant site at Washington Bottoms, as his project. Under the guidance of DuPont engineer Dave Johnson, on the left, they are shown having just unearthed the headstone of Robert Edelen, who died in 1819. With help from his “troop-mates,” and guidance from Mr. Johnson, Jordan did a first class job of restoring the burial ground of this early Wood County family. Needless to say, Jordan joined the ranks of Eagle Scout. It should be noted that DuPont attractively fenced the cemetery and it continues to be maintained by DuPont and Chemours. (Photo from WCHPS archives)

Continuing to use the works of John A. House, the items below will conclude our 2020 jaunt into the “Silent Cities of the Departed.”


Edelen Cemetery

Following is an excerpt of John House’s chronicle of his visit to the Edelen Cemetery in 1927: “The old Edelen Graveyard is situated on the upper end of the Bottom [Washington], a few rods back from the Ohio River, opposite the lower end of Blennerhassett Island.

“It is five or six rods, perhaps, above, and back of the old Lewis house. The grounds are unfenced, but well sodded with grass, closely mown, clean and neat, but a Mr. Bartlett, who lives in the old Edelen house, tells me that when he came there, seven or eight years ago, the brush and briers were higher than his head, and so thick a rabbit couldn’t run through them.”

Old Woodyard Graveyard

“I visited the old Woodyard Graveyard sometime in the fall of 1926 and again in February 1933. This old time cemetery lies a little west of the Bull Creek Pike, on Lot No. 2 of the Presley Woodyard estate, adjoining the line of No. 1.

“It is on a little point between two small hollows that unite some rods below and the stream flows down into Holmes Run.

“On my first visit I found the place a complete jungle of brush and briers, matted with grapevines. There were sassafras and wild cherry bushes from ten to twenty feet high and the ground among them completely carpeted with blue myrtle. There were two sassafras trees thirty inches in diameter and festooned with poison ivy. Straggling specimens of phlox once planted on the graves were still trying to maintain an existence among the brush.

“On my last visit I found the ground cut off, plowed and cropped with the nearby field, though three or four of the large trees still stood.

“Most of the graves were obliterated, and the headstones, which were made of sandstone or merely flagstone, were scattered about on the ground or leaning against the trees. A few in out-of-the-way places may have been yet standing.

“One stone, which was about three feet high and eighteen inches wide, bore the name of Presley Woodyard, who died June 4, 1838, aged sixty years.

“A small overthrown marble [stone] about two feet high proclaimed that S.W. Woodyard died in December, 1870, aged thirty-five years.

“Lewis Sisson died in 1853, in his seventy-sixth year.

“John P., a son of Francis and Ruth Woodyard, died in 1833, in his eighteenth year.”


Bob Enoch is president of the Wood County Historical Society. Would you like to help preserve our past for future generations? The society offers informative monthly meetings and an interesting, 20-page quarterly newsletter. Dues are just $20/year. Send to: WCHPS, P.O. Box 565, Parkersburg, WV 26102.


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