Please take a moment to email Tom Klatka with Thanks or Questions on his report. Also, report any un-surveyed or endanger cemetery.

Cultural Expressions of Nature in Sacred Contexts:

Documentation of Family & Community Cemeteries

in Roanoke County, Virginia

Thomas S. Klatka

Roanoke Regional Preservation Office

Virginia Department of Historic Resources



Many people helped make this study possible. Above all, I would like to acknowledge the gracious help and cooperation of local residents who kindly provided permission to access cemeteries on their properties. Numerous individuals helped me find cemeteries, provided the locations of other cemeteries, and offered their personal, family, and community memories. Clovis Hartman, Herman Hartman, Gerald Boone, and Lawrence Taylor provided much help and shared memories of living and dying in the Back Creek area of southern Roanoke County. J. R. Garman proved to be an excellent guide in the Bradshaw Valley and Masons Cove areas in the northern part of the county. His willingness to hike up Paris and Catawba Mountains is much appreciated and his knowledge of some small and isolated cemeteries was remarkable. Charles Abe introduced me to many helpful people between Masons Knob and Poages Mill. Finally, Virginia and Roy Ferguson also shared their extensive compilation of social information. Roy Ferguson accompanied me on many excursions and enthusiastically shared his interest and knowledge of the people, cemeteries, and ecology around Poor Mountain and Lost Mountain.

The cooperation of the local governments also made this study possible. Especially helpful were Gary Coleman and Carol Rizzio with the Roanoke County Department of Community Development, Evie Gunter with the Roanoke City Department of Community Development, Sarah Fitzhugh and Robert Dearing with the Roanoke City Office of the City Engineer, Joseph Logan with the City of Salem Planning Department, and Anita McMillan with the Town of Vinton Planning Department. All of these individuals kindly shared the real estate records for their local jurisdictions.

Before leaving for employment with the Transportation Museum, Darlene Richardson helped with the field survey of nearly 50 cemeteries presented in this report. Radford University student interns Alexander Sweeney, Michael Neylon, and Mary Napoli also assisted with parts of the field survey. Michael Siska and Father George Zahn provided help with Catholic mortuary practice, and Morton Rosenberg kindly taught me much about Jewish mortuary practice and its underlying belief system. John Kern and Marie Maier reviewed portions of this report and offered corrections. Patrick Garrow also reviewed the cultural and historic context section and provided constructive insights to clarify my understanding of some key concepts. Their useful and instructive comments are greatly appreciated, but all errors of omission or interpretation are my own.

Without the interest of the Colonial Trails Chapter of the National Society of Colonial Dames 17 th Century you would not be holding this report in your hands. Their generous support permitted the printing of this report and its distribution to local libraries and government offices. I extend my sincere gratitude to the members of the Colonial Trails Chapter for their enthusiastic support of this study and for actively promoting an increased understanding and awareness of American history through the stewardship and protection of historic information and places.


Table of Contents

Research Design, Field Methodology, and Documentary Sources ......................1

A Cultural and Historical Context for Roanoke Valley Mortuary Practices ...........7

The Cultural Appropriation of Nature in Sacred Contexts:
A Consideration of Design Elements in Roanoke Valley Historic Cemeteries
.....................................................................................................36 (should be 35)

References .....................................................................................................56

Descriptive Data for Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County ....................64


Research Design, Field Methodology, and Documentary Sources

Cemeteries are commonly considered sources of information best suited to inform genealogical studies based on unpublished family papers, oral traditions, and archival records. While genealogical information is unquestionably important, cemeteries contain other types of underutilized social data that can further our understanding of the cultural and historical processes that have shaped modern American society. Furthermore, geographic data are essential for planning the protection and preservation of cemeteries. This study was oriented to the goals of identifying and documenting as many inactive, family cemeteries in the Roanoke Valley as possible and collecting information to facilitate their protection and study as important components of our cultural landscape.

The protection of cemeteries as historic resources or spiritual places requires reliable information regarding location, size, and configuration. This information must be easily and consistently integrated into existing public planning documents to increase the utility of these documents during early phases of project planning. Cemeteries are rarely disturbed with willful and malicious intent. Rather, disturbance is usually the product of accidental discovery. To decrease the chances of accidental disturbance to cemeteries, local government officials and prospective property developers must know where cemeteries are located on a parcel of land, as well as the size and shape of the cemeteries. This will decrease the incidence of accidental disturbance and the unexpected delay of project schedules for required legal compliance. It will also enhance assessment of a specific parcel and its suitability for a proposed development while allowing sufficient time to plan the proper integration of a cemetery into design plans in a sympathetic manner that will ensure protection.


To meet these goals of protection, an attempt was made to carefully field inspect and document as many of the known cemeteries in the county as possible. Photographs were used to document the condition of most cemeteries at the time of field survey. The photographs generally depict the local setting of a cemetery as well as some of the markers. Photographs were not used to document every grave or grave marker. All of the cemeteries were field inspected by the author unless otherwise noted in the individual cemetery descriptions. Field inspection entailed a thorough reading of the landscape to identify marked and unmarked graves, to determine if some type of enclosure surrounded the graves, and to properly define site boundaries.

Cemetery boundaries were measured with the aid of a measuring tape, or estimated by pacing when dense vegetation hindered the reliable use of a measuring tape by one person. An engineer’s scale was used to record distance measurements in this study because this measurement scale remains the convention in local government records. Simply defined, this scale records measurements of length in foot units, while measurements of less than one foot are recorded as tenths and hundreds of a foot. While most cemeteries were square or rectangular in plan, other shapes were documented with the use of a compass and measuring tape or the technique of pacing. The result was then compared with any existing documentation. In some cases, cemetery boundaries were defined and documented by professional land surveyors prior to property sale or subdivision, and this information was subsequently integrated into real estate records. With the case of very small cemeteries, local governments appear to set minimum site sizes at 50 feet squared or 60 feet squared. When these small cemeteries were surveyed during this study, the minimum sizes established by the local governments were retained. For example,


if a cemetery consisted of three interments within an area of eight by 16 feet, but local real estate records documented site size as 50 feet squared, then the larger size was included in this report.

All of the identified cemeteries were plotted on United States Geological Survey quadrangle map sheets, and the associated tax identification numbers were determined to facilitate the reliable integration into public planning documents. Tax identification numbers are easily acquired through a review of the Realty Atlases in the local planning offices. Realty Atlases are softbound compilations of real estate plan maps that illustrate the size and configuration of all parcels in a locality. Each parcel is labeled with its associated tax identification number. Many local governments, such as Roanoke County and the City of Roanoke, have integrated their geographic information systems with their web pages to provide online access to all of the realty maps and associated tax identification numbers.

A processual context of mortuary sites was developed to track the historic sequence of cemetery development in the Roanoke Valley and to approach an understanding of the cultural factors that determined this patterned sequence. This contextual framework used principles of social theory to frame the historic development of western religion and intellectual thought in broad economic and political patterns that define American history. Selected physical attributes of cemeteries were collected in the field in order to articulate individual cemeteries with the processual context of mortuary behavior in western Virginia. This permitted a heightened understanding of why individual cemeteries were designed in a particular manner and why design patterns changed through time.

A series of observable surface attributes were recorded for each cemetery. Selected attributes include elements pertaining to the internal structure and surface appearance of each cemetery, as well as environmental information relating to the intentional placement of mortuary


sites on the regional landscape. Basic attributes collected for graves in each cemetery included the number of marked and unmarked graves, the means by which graves were marked, inscriptions on grave markers, the orientation of graves in relation to the cardinal directions, and patterned distribution of graves within a cemetery. Other collected attributes pertain to the cemetery itself rather than individual graves. These attributes included the range of plants consciously or unconsciously planted in a cemetery, the presence or absence of a constructed enclosure to define parts or the entire cemetery, and the size and configuration of the cemetery. Additionally, the elevation, aspect, and topographic position occupied each cemetery were recorded. Due to time constraints and the overwhelming size and complexity of some cemeteries, detailed plan maps illustrating the internal structure of each surveyed cemetery were not drafted. However, generalized sketch maps were drawn for most cemeteries. These sketch maps are not published in this volume, but are filed with the Department of Historic Resources’ Roanoke Regional Office.

A variety of core documents were used as a foundation for planning this study of historic cemeteries in the Roanoke Valley. Most of these documents were based on field surveys and usually provide sufficient detail to enable a determination of how the form of particular cemetery has changed through time. Without question, the best resource on Roanoke Valley cemeteries is a report based on a field survey conducted by members of the Roanoke Valley Historical Society in the 1970s. Their study documented biographical information derived from oral histories and headstone inscriptions for burials that date prior to 1920. Through the efforts of Jean S. Showalter and Ann P. Kyle, a massive amount of survey information was compiled and published by the Roanoke Valley Historical Society in 1986 under the title “Roanoke County Graveyards Through 1920.” Additional information gathered by the historical society, but not


published in their report, is archived in the Clare White Research Library of the History Museum and Historical Society of Western Virginia (formerly called the Roanoke Valley Historical Society and Museum). Other important documents with detailed information on specific cemeteries include the local and regional histories by Deedie Kagey (1983), Helen Prillamen (1982, 1985), Norwood Middleton (1986), and Clare White (1982). Useful information for regional cemeteries is also archived in the Virginia Room at the main Roanoke City Library. In particular, the “Cemetery Files” contain varied information on cemeteries contributed by local historians and genealogists. Finally, the Historical Inventory for Roanoke County, Virginia, compiled by the Works Progress Administration of Virginia, is particularly useful because it contains survey documentation for more than 90 cemeteries in the Roanoke Valley. Field survey for the inventory was completed in 1936 and 1937 and most of the cemetery files provide descriptive remarks on cemetery design and condition. The Virginia State Library permanently curates the original files that comprise the Historical Inventory for Roanoke County and microfilm copies of the inventory are readily available through the interlibrary loan system.

As a final note, this study focused on the inactive and small cemeteries that served families and communities rather than large and active cemeteries operated by religious institutions or memorial corporations. In realty, it is sometimes difficult to make a clear division between large and small cemeteries or active and inactive cemeteries. While this study did survey some cemeteries operated by religious institutions, large commercial cemeteries were purposely avoided. Memorial corporations and religious institutions usually maintain burial records that are accessible for historical research. Also, burial records for some of these cemeteries have been compiled and printed. Ann Kyle, and her associate Margaret Deutsch, compiled comprehensive biographical information from headstones in the City Cemetery and


Fairview Cemetery in Roanoke, and East Hill Cemetery in Salem. These and other privately printed reports can be accessed at the Virginia Room at the main Roanoke City Library.

All of the cemeteries documented in this report were surveyed by the author unless otherwise noted. All of the field documentation completed for this survey is filed at the Roanoke Regional Office of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Field documentation includes written notes, photographs, and sketch maps.


A Cultural and Historic Context for Roanoke Valley Mortuary Practices

Through the 20 th century, the study of mortuary rituals have become increasingly prominent in global cultural analyses (e.g., Aries 1981; Block and Parry 1982; Damon and Wagner 1989; Metcalf and Huntington 1991). More recently, mortuary practices and sites have been used to chart the development of both regional and national social identities in America (e.g., Stannard 1977; Farrell 1980; Sloane 1991; Crissman 1994). In Virginia, few scholars have considered mortuary analysis a useful avenue of inquiry for processual studies. However, a number of archaeological investigations that included the study of human burials or burial places have led to more robust formulations of historic contexts that permit insightful interpretations of diahchronic trends in cultural behavior (e.g., Hudgins 1977; Neiman 1980a; Little et al. 1992; King and Ubelaker 1996; Trinkley et al. 1999). Importantly, these studies lead to an increased understanding that historic contexts developed from all available types of evidence will permit a greater understanding of the cultural content embodied in and expressed by material form (Little et al. 1992: 415).

The following is a processual context for mortuary sites that models the historic development of burial practices in the Roanoke Valley and approaches an understanding of the cultural factors that determined this patterned developmental sequence. This contextual framework is particular to the Roanoke Valley. While some general trends or particular traits pertaining to Roanoke Valley mortuary sites may be applicable to neighboring regions, differing communities and regions should exhibit salient variation. While a cultural tradition will unify people in broad geographic regions through shared spiritual beliefs and mortuary practices, the individual histories of particular communities within each region will produce meaningful


variation expressed in the appearance of mortuary sites. Clear examples are centers of economic and political activity, like the town of Fincastle which was established as an early commercial center and county seat of government. The major Protestant sects built early churches in Fincastle to establish spiritual jurisdiction in the 18 th-century frontier of western Virginia. However, the influences of the different churches dissipated in some backcountry communities and stengthened in others. Therefore, mortuary sites in a broad region like Southwest Virginia can act as material expressions of collective beliefs to differentiate individual social communities while defining and signifying shared membership in American culture.

The following context begins with the founding of the Jamestown colony to discuss the spirtual, intellectual, and material foundations of the mortuary practices that would later characterize the Roanoke Valley. Continued development of local mortuary practices will be charted through the influence of national trends in mortuary customs that reflect the growth of social identity in America.

As Europeans colonized the New World they held various attitudes toward death and the treatment of the dead that represented a continuation of longstanding European cultural beliefs and ceremonial practices. These beliefs and practices were part of a dynamic cultural tradition that originated in the Old World at least as early as the first millennium. By 1000 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church had swiftly converted the pagan peoples of Europe and extended its spiritual authority throughout most of the continent. Within 300 years, the church represented a great unifying institution in Europe and Christian dogma permeated life through a diverse range of cultures. Importantly, European society was instilled with a Christian doctrine that has been practiced in various forms into the modern period (Henretta et al. 1987:9).


Social unity in Europe became unstable and with the 1519 Reformation united European society was completely fractured. Numerous Protestant sects were established following the spiritual revolt led by Martin Luther. New theological principles were advanced, individualism was reduced, and religion became more democratic as the importance of the laity was elevated. Another important change centered on differing interpretations of free will. According to the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas, Christians could use the power of free will to perform earthly behaviors that would affect their own salvation. Martin Luther stressed a divine will in which humans experienced salvation only by the gift of God’s grace. John Calvin elevated the importance of divine will to express his pessimistic view of the human condition. Through his concepts of election and predestination, only a select, privileged group was chosen for salvation (Henretta et al. 1987: 24-27).

One result of these differing spiritual interpretations was the establishment of new churches. Protestant churches grew in number, and the Puritans were established in London while the Church of England remained somewhat ambiguous in its wide-ranging dogma. Other theologians, led by John Knox, actively advocated forms of the Presbyterian system. By the year 1600, European society remained splintered into numerous religious sects that shared core Christian beliefs. An expression of this religious turmoil was the wide ranging mortuary practices that reflected differing concepts of death and the treatment of the dead from one geographic area to another (Curl 1984).

Political and religious strife in England led to the migration of new and diverse forms of Christianity when the English colonized the New World. Soon after the founding of James Fort, James I legally established the Church of England in the Virginia Colony. Shortly thereafter, the Puritans and other reformed Christians fled the Church of England and founded the Plymouth


Colony in 1620. In Virginia and other southern colonies that developed economies based on a plantation system with indentured servants and slave labor, necessity led to the melding of tradition and innovation. New social practices emerged that were rapidly assimilated by the traditional belief system.

When James Fort was founded in Virginia, the colonists enacted the European custom of burying their dead under a church structure or within an adjacent burial yard (see Aries 1981: 78-92). Consequently, most burial ceremonies were performed in sacred places and graves were associated with consecrated ground. Early archaeological excavations at Jamestown were conducted by laypersons who investigated the series of church structures erected by the colonists. These excavations revealed evidence for a succession of superimposed church structures and associated cemeteries. A later review of the rather incomplete records of these excavations led archaeologist John Cotter (1994: 23) to infer that many of the early graves represented “hurried interment” and treatment of the dead in the colony was variable.

Many of the grave shafts identified by during the early excavations followed established practice with the head of the deceased to the west and feet to the east. According to Protestant belief, this orientation would allow the dead to rise on Judgement Day to face God in the eastern sky. However, some of these early grave shafts were inexplicably oriented on a north-south axis. Similar variation was observed in the graves identified by excavations in the Chapel Field at St. Mary’s City in Maryland. Research suggests adherence to accepted religious practices and commitment to religious faith may reflect the presence or absence of religious leaders as well as the degree of influence and control they exerted over the colonists (Riordan 1997: 34-39). While this may explain the variation in grave orientation at the Protestant Jamestown colony, the


variation at St. Mary’s City likely reflects Catholic mortuary practices that do not structure grave orientation in a celestial manner.

Some individuals who died during the early years of Jamestown were buried in simple wood coffins with flat or gabled lids (Cotter 1994; 23; Galt n.d.). In a few cases, the initials of the deceased were inscribed on metal plates affixed to their coffins, or brass tacks were used to record the initials of the deceased in the coffin lid (Tyler 1901; Garrett 1905; Galt n.d.). However, these examples appear to represent the uncommon exceptions. Burial in shrouds fastened with brass pins was a more customary practice. The presence of coffins and biographical markers seem correlated with the clergy and other individuals of social rank. Coffins were not a required element in burial ceremonies immediately following colonization, and research in Maryland and England has documented a trend for the increased use of coffins throughout the 17 th century (see Riordan 1987: 35).

Markers were rarely placed on graves associated with the period of early settlement, but their use became increasingly common as settlement stabilized and expanded. The earliest grave markers were impermanent wood fixtures. This practice may be an expression of the decreased individualism of the laity in Protestant doctrine and a fluid social identity in the colony. During the second half of the 17 th century, the popularity of more permanent markers carved from rock began to rise and their use became increasingly common through the 18 th century (Stannard 1977: 116-117).

Records of the early excavations at Jamestown rarely address evidence for the use of grave markers. Fragmented stone markers were encountered during the excavations, but when these rock markers were erected on the graves remains questionable (Galt n.d.). Evidence for stone markers was not found in the Chapel Field at St. Mary’s City, and only a few of the graves


contained evidence for wood markers placed at the head, foot, or central part of the grave. The majority of the identified markers at St. Mary’s City were circular, driven posts (Riordan 1997: 36). Most of these probably represented wooden crosses that were popular in Europe (Aries 1981: 268-274). Other types of markers used in the colonies included post and rail markers erected over the length of the grave or across the head of a grave, simple carved or uncarved posts placed on the grave, or wood slabs affixed to the head or foot of a grave (Riordan 1997: 36-38).

Throughout these early years, colonists continued to practice the European custom of burying their dead under a church structure or within an adjacent burial yard. Consequently, many graves at Jamestown were associated with an extensive cemetery area located under and around the succession of church structures (Tyler 1901, Garrett 1905, Galt n.d.). With horrific death rates, the cemetery area soon filled and many of the graves were reused until many contained multiple interments (Galt n.d.). High death rates may have strained religious faith and created a constant demand for burial space that spurred the development of new burial practices that used unconsecrated ground. A large cemetery was established some distance from the churches, and “scattered burials” were placed in ditches and other areas within the colony (Cotter 1994: 23). On outlying farms, necessity led to the founding of small burial grounds to serve the needs of resident families and workers. But other practices were used. Archaeological excavations did not reveal a spatially segregated burial ground at the Maine, a circa 1618 to 1625 farm located about two miles northwest of Jamestown. Instead, isolated burials were scattered around the settlement in apparently random places, including a refuse area and a ravine (Outlaw 1990: 37-40).


In 1639, county courts were legally required to select “a convenient parcel of ground for a public graveyard wherever one did not exist,” and by mid-century a public graveyard was legally mandated in every Virginia settlement (Bruce 1910: 113). These early statutes not only required public graveyards, but also specifically addressed burials for people of differing economic standings. For instance, the burial of indentured servants was confined to public burial grounds and prohibited on private land (Bruce 1896: 39). These laws may represent attempts to limit the formation of family graveyards on private lands and curtail burials of economy in places defined by convenience and necessity. However, in daily life, these legislative attempts to control the type and range of burial grounds were unsuccessful.

Both documentary and archaeological evidence indicate that family burial grounds quickly gained popularity and became common elements on the agrarian landscape. Archaeological evidence further indicates these private burial grounds included the planter family and its labor force of indentured servants, slaves, and freemen. For example, excavations of a cemetery at a settlement on Patuxent Point in Maryland (ca. 1658-late 1680s) reveled internal divisions with the planter family and servants buried in one part of the cemetery, while other servants and at least one slave were buried in another part of the cemetery (King and Ubelaker1996: 114-115). Excavations at the Clifts Plantation in Virginia (circa 1670-1730) uncovered a cemetery along the outer edge of the gardens immediately east of the principal dwelling. The cemetery contained two separate clusters defined by social and economic standing. A small cluster of interments contained the bodies of the planter family, and a larger cluster 40 feet away represented the interments of the white and black labor force (Neiman 1980a: 129, 1980b: 28, Figure 6).


Many of the burial practices used by the early colonists became tradition as settlement in the Chesapeake area expanded through the 17 th century. The Patuxent Point cemetery illustrates the combination of new and old mortuary practices (King 1992: 33-43). A majority of the deceased were buried in shrouds secured with brass pins, while only a minority were interred in simple wood coffins. The depth of graves ranged from about two feet to just over four feet deep below ground surface, and all were oriented in a west to east direction. However, only about 61% conformed to traditional practices with the head of the deceased placed in the western part of the graves. Others were buried with their heads in the eastern side of the graves. Graves were usually placed parallel to one another, but the apparent lack of grave markers resulted in some later graves intruding and disturbing earlier graves.

While the separation of cemeteries from the consecrated grounds of churchyards does have precedents in Europe, the concept of a family burial ground does not appear to have an antecedent form. The origin of this new custom remains uncertain although it is a feasible response to the horrific mortality rates and highly unstable social order that characterized the first decades of settlement in the New World. High death rates slowed the formation of social stability and strained religious faith. Additionally, the concept of the family as the basic social unit had eroded. Other factors that may have contributed to the widespread acceptance of this custom included the cost associated with traditional practices (Bruce 1896: 235-236), the desire for nonsectarian cemeteries, or the need for more public cemeteries.

Through the late 17th century and into the 18 th century, the agrarian economic system continued to require a diffuse settlement pattern with widely scattered plantations and smaller farms. Churches were not numerous, and overland travel by road was slow and especially difficult during inclement weather. The distances that separated the few parish churches from


the dispersed farms and plantations encouraged alternative burial practices, and the tradition of using consecrated ground for burial of the dead was superceded, new beliefs were accepted, and new practices enacted. Some cemeteries were associated with parish churches and public land, but these were often miles away from many of the plantations and farms. Nonetheless, even when parish churches were located nearby, some families chose to establish their own cemeteries rather than use the churchyards (Neiman 1980a: 128-129). Out of necessity and desire, rural families continued to establish private cemeteries in close proximity to their houses and many “planters were interred in their gardens” (Bruce 1896: 238). Less frequently, clusters of families established communal cemeteries on convenient grounds along primary transportation routes.

In 1724, the Reverend Hugh Jones documented a redefinition and expansion of social values and customs in 18th-century Anglo-Virginia that departed from antecedent beliefs and practices still prevalent in his homeland of England:

“The parishes being of great extent (some sixty miles long and upwards) many dead corpses cannot be conveyed to the church to be buried; So that it is customary to bury in gardens or orchards, where whole families lye interred together, in a spot generally handsomly enclosed, planted with evergreens, and the graves kept decently. Hence likewise arises the occasion of preaching funeral sermons in houses, where at funerals are assembled a great congregation of neighbours and friends; and if you insist upon having the sermon and ceremony at church, they’ll say they will be without it, unless performed after their usual custom. In houses also there is occasion, from humour, custom sometimes, from necessity most frequently, to baptize children and church women . . . In houses also they most commonly marry, without regard to the time of day or season of the year.” (H. Jones 1956: 96-97).

This passage reflects the transformation of the concept of a sacred place. Once limited primarily to religious property, such as churches and church yards, by the early 18th century the sacred had broadened into the secular and was translated into social action as Virginians created the sacred at home and other places within the local community. “As Jones noted, custom rather than


expediency was already being argued in defense of the preference for services at the dwelling place. Custom, even when it arises originally from necessity, shapes experience” (Isaac 1982: 69). Both urban and country churches usually included burial grounds in adjacent yards, and these churches continued to be a focal point of social life for many nearby residents. However, with families holding burial services at home and burying their dead on prominent landforms within sight of the family house, the sacred was carved into the secular and the house was enlarged as a stage for social life. Collectively, the monuments for the dead inside a church, in the adjacent burial ground, and in the family graveyard provided a constant reminder of the transitory nature of earthly existence.

Through the early 18 th century, demographic patterns changed as life expectancy increased. Social order was restored as the traditional family unit found cohesiveness, the slave-owning planters formed a stable ruling class, and social identity coalesced under the influence of England. European philosophical principles associated with the Age of Reason drifted into the colonies. More secular views of life became prevalent and inspired the combination of a renewed awareness of individual thought and human reason with more traditional religious principles (Deetz 1977). By mid century, the Great Awakening attempted to meld egalitarianism with reaffirmed traditional values to accelerate the rise of the Baptist and Methodist churches. John Wesley advocated the “methods” of Christianity and broadened the spiritual landscape by legitimizing everyplace as a valid place of worship. Through his leadership, pietist revivalism strengthened while great orators, like George Whitfield, encouraged the steady advance of evangelism. These processes ultimately engendered an overall rise of Protestant Christianity throughout the colonies (Henretta et al. 1987: 124-132).


In the first half of the 18th century, sporadic Indian attacks encouraged by the French seemed to impede English expansion into Southwest Virginia. In response, the political and religious leadership supported western settlement as a protective buffer against potential attacks. The Toleration Act permitted freedom of worship in Virginia and thereby encouraged a wave of settlement led by the Scotch-Irish and Germans among others. Active supporters of religious freedom in Virginia were motivated by various interests (Dreisbach 2000). While the Anglican gentry used the western settlers as pawns in political maneuvers, they also feared the intrusion of Presbyterian and Protestant dogmas into the Tidewater as a threat to the established Church of England. As the striking mixture of ethnic and religious communities in the middle colonies began migrating south through the Shenandoah Valley, the Virginia backcountry became distinguished by a cultural pluralism and a more open social and political order that contrasted with the piedmont and coastal areas of Virginia. Despite strong resistance by the gentry, the evangelical Baptists and Methodists began a significant conversion of poorer classes of blacks and whites. As the Revolutionary War approached, the Church of England was reorganized as the Episcopal Church and the need for cooperation during wartime led to additional legal statutes that increased religious freedom (Henretta et al. 1987: 133-135, 259).

Mortuary practices in Southwest Virginia remain poorly understood for this initial settlement period. Given a low population density and a dispersed settlement pattern, frontier cemeteries were likely small and designed to meet the immediate needs of an extended family. Where small groups of families clustered in proximity to a transportation or service facility, both individual family or larger communal cemeteries were possible. Graves were most often unmarked or marked with impermanent markers. Identity of the deceased was temporarily maintained in family memory. This practice would be expected for a frontier society with a fluid


social identity that continued to embrace a Christine doctrine in which individualism was de-emphasized. More permanent stone markers are present on some of the earlier cemeteries in the region, but uninscribed markers provide no evidence of identity or date. Additionally, the isolated nature of a frontier settlement certainly hindered access to the commercial market system where cut headstones were available.

Early 19th century evangelists, such as Charles Finney, continued to influence the mass conversion of rich and poor into the Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian faiths. Finney was a key figure in the revivalist movement and a central advocate for an emotional faith that departed from the intellectual foundation of faith that had taken hold in many Protestant churches. Conversion to Christianity was an act of free will in which a person could be “saved” through submission to the Holy Ghost. As an advocate of free will, self-governance, and human equality, he is often seen as an important figure in the Jacksonian era (AS@UVA n.d.a). To the alarm of conservative clergy, Finney also encouraged the public praying of women and their participation in revivals. Significantly, women emerged from the Second Great Awakening with a heightened moral and social power they exercised through the creation of organizations that actively fostered religious and social reform (Henretta et al. 1987: 345; Mathews 1991: 40-41).

At the same time, the Unitarian church in New England advocated transcendentalism, an intellectual and spiritual movement that exerted a strong influence on American society. Key elements of transcendentalism were easily assimilated by the evangelical Christianity (Matthews 1991: 26-27, 35-37). The Unitarian minister Ralph Waldo Emerson believed an alternative and ideal order of reality could be experienced through the senses. This new perception transcended, or went beyond, tradition ways of understanding and permitted an individual to experience God’s presence in all aspects of nature. Elements of transcendentalism were readily adapted by


evangelists like Charles Finney whose own religious conversion occurred in nature as a mystical union between himself and God (AS@UVA n.d.b).

Revivals grew in popularity not only in urban areas but also in the backcountry. With fluid boundaries of class, denomination, literacy, race, gender or age, the revivals welcomed all potential converts. Camp meeting revivals helped organize a pluralistic society into tightly knit communities bound together through cohesive ties of belief, kinship, shared experience, and mutual welfare (Matthews 1991: 29-32). Baptist and Methodist preachers transformed the spiritual landscape of Southwest Virginia through the stage of the multi-denominational revivals and the innovative use of new church structures. Preachers enacted missionary efforts by continually travelling the backcountry. These “circuit riders” braided devout families together into communities with self-governing congregations. Through evangelical efforts, the influence of Protestant churches was extended (Henretta 1987: 299). In large part, the religious pluralism of contemporary Appalachia is the legacy of camp revivals during the Second Great Awakening (Dorgan 1999; L. Jones 1999; MacCauley 1999).

As populations continued to grow and settlements continued to expand, church graveyards became urban fixtures in the late 18 th and early 19 th centuries. Pronounced racial segregation prompted free blacks to acquire church property operated as independently of the white population as law provided. In 1818, the “Beneficial Society of Free Men of Color” purchased a Petersburg, Virginia lot for use as a graveyard, and by the Civil War free blacks in the urban centers of Petersburg and Norfolk owned “$60,000 worth of church property” and an additional “$1,000 worth of property for burial purposes” (Jackson 1969: 162, 163). Regardless of who owned church and burial property in urban areas, development pressure limited or prevented graveyard expansion and within time the urban graveyards became overly crowded.


In the countryside, the established pattern for Protestant burial practices persisted through the 19th century. Church, community, and family burial grounds continued to be used by whites of economic standing, while “pauper” graveyards were later established for the landless poor. The segregation of free blacks and slaves from the white population was usually continued in death, so their burials were often restricted to cemeteries reserved for blacks. Planters routinely established burial grounds for their deceased slaves. Less frequently, the burial of slaves took place in parish graveyards or in family plots of slave owners (Works Progress Administration 1940: 76). More possibilities existed for free blacks who could be buried in church, community, or family burial grounds. Sometimes, pauper graveyards were established with separate sections reserved for blacks and whites.

In the first quarter of the 19 th century, mortuary practices in the backcountry altered as population densities increased, small villages developed ties to external commercial markets, and religious reform movements spread quickly the country. These trends shadowed a larger transformation of society structured by an emergent worldview that embraced a renewed awareness of individual thought, human reason, and social identity (Deetz 1977). During this period, permanent grave markers with inscribed biographical information were adopted in Southwest Virginia. The use of permanent fixtures to mark graves expresses and specifies the cohesive nature of a nascent social identity in the backcountry. As a representation of social sentiment, enduring grave markers act as material expressions of collective beliefs to differentiate individual lives while defining and signifying integration into a social group. The adoption of permanent grave markers as a social emblem is “not merely a convenient process for clarifying the sentiment a society has of itself: it also serves to create this sentiment; it is one of its constituent elements” (Durkheim 1965: 262-266; 1973: 160-162).


Many of the earliest examples of these permanent markers were inscribed with little more than the initials of the deceased and the year of death. While the popularity and use of permanent grave fixtures grew rapidly, the adoption of marker inscriptions developed slowly. The desire to preserve group membership and individual identity in death continued to intensify until the use of marker inscriptions became an increasingly common practice through the second half of the 19 th century. Nonetheless, the use of plants (such as yucca and boxwood) and uninscribed fieldstones to mark graves continued into the modern period for a variety of religious, social, and economic reasons.

Graveyards were consciously designed with an internal structure characterized by graves placed in a celestial alignment. Families were segregated as groups nested within an overall pattern of orderly rows that imparted a sense of conscious serenity (see Crissman 1994: 61-62, 106-108). The celestial nature of this symbolism was extended to the placement of graveyards on the landscape. Often situated on knolls or ridge tops, the dead were elevated to heaven on sacred and prominent places that provided a constant reminder of the transitory nature of earthly existence (Eliade 1996: 99-100).

Demographic growth continued in the urban centers. Three consequences of this growth had important influences on burial practices (Schuyler 1984: 292-294). A rising population led to an increasing number of deaths that taxed the capacity of existing graveyards. New burial grounds were formed along the outskirts of development and older graveyards fell into despair. Moreover, as the demand for urban parcels increased so did the value of urban property. Consequently, graveyards were soon perceived as an economic commodity rather than a spiritual landscape. Finally, as more people clustered into urban areas, existing methods of sanitation and refuse disposal became obsolete.


Although overpowered by the unpleasant odor from privies and inadequate refuse disposal, the architecture for the dead attracted the gaze of public health officials. Urban graveyards, especially the unkempt and overcrowded examples, were mistakenly isolated as main contributors to health problems in cities. Graves became the origin of “gases,” “atmospheric impurities,” and “miamas” thought to produce or strengthen epidemics that the medical profession was powerless to stop. Epidemics, such as yellow fever in 1822 and Asiatic cholera in 1831-1832, “reinforced the correlation between disease and urban burial” (Schuyler 1982: 292; see Sloane 1991: 34-38). As a result, public health officials advocated the end of burials within city borders and the removal of existing graves to rural locations.

Development pressure and health concerns have been traditionally considered primary factors that led to the inception of the “garden” or “rural” cemetery as an alternative place of burial (Schuyler 1984: 293-294). Perhaps an even greater factor was the influence of transcendentalism on American perception of the human condition. One outgrowth was an increased fascination with death in American ideology. Cemeteries were conceived as “landscapes of hope” (Sloan 1991: 75) and “schools of life,” and transcendental thought permeated the dedication speeches for these new cemeteries (Wills 1992: 63-75).

These cemeteries were termed rural cemeteries due to their location in the agrarian countryside. The rural cemetery movement was modeled after an ancient Greek burial practice and it brought into widespread use the term “cemetery,” which was adopted from the name of an Athenian burial ground which meant “place of repose” (Wills 1992: 64; see also Jackson and Vergara 1989; Sloan 1991). As burial grounds were transferred to the countryside they were transformed from “a depository for dead bodies” to “a place of repose” (Douglas 1839, cited in Jackson and Vergara 1989: 20), from a “graveyard” to a “cemetery” (Farrell 1980: 111).


The rural cemeteries were also known as “garden” cemeteries due to the planned landscapes and lavish plantings that rivaled contemporary arboretums. Detailed design plans were followed to create “natural” landscapes with ponds, curvilinear paths, and open spaces structured by rolling terrain and accentuated by carefully designed plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers (see Loudon 1843). Situated within these pastoral landscapes was the ornate, yet massive and imposing, architecture for the dead.

These new cemeteries reflect changing conceptions of death. Death was no longer a feared event but a natural process in which the deceased were momentarily laid to rest before awakening to glorious eternity. Cemetery design imparted a tranquil, sentimental emotion that attracted visitors who sought respite from the nearby urban areas. “Romanticism transformed nature from a place into a value” (Rose 1991: 65) while congested and unsanitary urban development fostered alienation from the natural world. Pastoralism did not alleviate social change but was embraced as a sedative to the forced and imminent changes driven by industrialization (Rose 1991: 64-67).

Mount Auburn was established near Boston in 1831 as the first example of a rural cemetery. The form of the rural cemetery became very popular and the concept spread through the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the country. Hollywood Cemetery, established in 1849 outside of Richmond, was the first southern example of the rural cemetery movement.

By the second quarter of the 19 th century, retail markets made headstones of marble available in Southwest Virginia (e.g., Floyd Inelligencer 1855). Epitaphs commonly recorded the name, birth date, and the death date of the deceased. Often, the identity of a deceased woman was imparted through the identity of her husband. This practice remained fairly common through the early 20 th century. Various symbolic representations with spiritual or natural themes


were carved into the stones (see Crissman 1994: 124-128). Common decorative carvings include two hands clasped together and the tree of life. Epitaphs included biblical and rhythmic inscriptions that generally conveyed a belief in physical death as a temporary respite until the deceased awaken to a spiritual eternity.

In the Bennett Springs area of Roanoke County, the Burnett Cemetery features the earliest local example of a commemorative stone that was not erected to mark the location of a grave or the identity of the deceased. A stone was placed between the graves of Sallie and Joshua Burnett (deceased 1855 and 1852, respectively) to preserve remembrance of a temporary, physical bond transcended in death to an eternal, spiritual bond. This separate stone was inscribed, “We lay here together, In the embrace of death, ‘Till we rise from the grave, In newness of life” (WPA 1936).

Other aspects of the rural cemetery movement were incorporated into Southwest Virginia cemeteries. More varied types of plants imparted functional and symbolic qualities into cemetery design. Through the conscience use of plants, the celestial orientation of graves, and the selection of specific places on the landscape, cemeteries were designed as expressions of nature that subsumed reflections of culture embedded in the geometry of carved stones, iron fences, and rows of graves. As the use of inscribed marble headstones continued to grow throughout the 19 th century, the customary use of fieldstone markers persisted. While the use of fieldstone may connote economy or convenience, these markers also convey a sense of tradition, modesty, and simplicity.

Burial practices and cemeteries for free blacks and slaves were poorly documented and remain poorly understood. During the earliest period of colonization, indentured servants and slaves were interred in the burial grounds of the planter family, but they were segregated by


space. As the institution of slavery matured, owners generally placed burial grounds for slaves in the marginal areas of their farms and plantations. During this time, the cultural pluralism of the African slaves was diminished through shared experience in bondage. An African-American society eventually emerged that adopted not only the English language but also many cultural values and religious beliefs of Euro-American society. Slaves and free blacks accepted the religions of the dominant white society as a unifying social force and offered new forms of expression to meet their needs with a stronger emphasis on “spiritual endurance as well as physical resistance” (Henretta et al. 1984: 252).

Excavations at College Landing in the City of Williamsburg investigated twenty graves in a slave cemetery used from 1790 through 1820. Mortuary data indicated the slaves were buried following many traditional Christian practices adopted by Medieval Europeans and practiced by Euro-Americans in the New World. The deceased were wrapped in burial shrouds and placed in pine coffins. Coffins were placed in individual graves, oriented to the east, and arranged in orderly rows. As with other cemeteries, for poorly understood reasons a minority of the graves were oriented north to south rather than west to east (Hudgins 1977: 63-64, 71, 74). There was no evidence for permanent grave markers, but impermanent markers may have been used since none of the graves at College Landing intruded one another. The continued lack of permanent grave markers suggests the social identity of slaves remained fluid due to the disruptive effect of bondage on the stability of families and the cohesion of social groups.

Variability in the mortuary treatment of slaves is often thought to result from differing moral and religious convictions of slave owners. While some accounts indicate the limited participation of owners in the mortuary practices of slaves, other accounts suggest disinterest. Some accounts report burial without the spiritual guidance of clergy while other accounts


indicate visiting clergy would conduct services on a periodic basis (WPA 1940: 76-77). The undocumented and forgotten nature of most slave burial grounds suggests a prevailing attitude of disregard on behalf of the owners. On the other hand, a few written documents suggest the contrary. Elijah Poage provided a variety of commercial services in the village of Poage’s Mill, just south of the town of Big Lick in Roanoke County. An existing account book documents his commercial transactions from 1858 to 1866, including the purchase of coffins by area residents for deceased slaves (Poage 1858-1866). Papers of the Early family of Franklin County and Lynchburg include records of the family’s long-standing account with a Lynchburg undertaker for coffins, religious services, and burials. Later, the Early family continued an account for the burial of black servants (Diuguid 1875).

Throughout Virginia, identifying slave cemeteries is problematic. Possible slave cemeteries in the Roanoke area include The Pines on Bent Mountain, the Cain Cemetery north of Salem, and the cemetery in the yard of Big Hill Baptist Church. The Pines cemetery commands one of the more prominent landforms on the top of Bent Mountain. Family history of the property owners asserts the cemetery was established on the high knoll immediately behind the owner’s house as a burial ground for slaves. Later, it was enlarged as a reserve for free blacks. The Cain and Big Hill Baptist Church cemeteries contain the graves of former slaves and may have been established at an early date. The form of black cemeteries in the Roanoke area was very similar to the traditional cemeteries associated with whites. The cemeteries were consciously designed with an internal structure of graves placed in a celestial alignment within an overall pattern of orderly, serene rows. Graves were generally unmarked or marked with uninscribed fieldstone markers. Later, these practices expanded to include the use of commercially produced marble and granite markers, locally produced cement markers, and metal


markers issued by funeral homes. Additionally, the majority of these cemeteries were adorned with consciously selected plants. Conforming to regional practices, yucca, periwinkle ground cover, and oak and cedar trees were the most prevalent type of plants favored for cemeteries.

By mid-century, rural cemeteries became inseparable companions of the urban settings for many large cities. Inner city social structure was reflected in these cemeteries since only the more powerful and affluent could acquire the large plots required by the definition of a rural cemetery or the imposing monuments that acted as an emblem of status and wealth. Smaller burial plots for the less affluent were near the support buildings or perimeter fencing and away from the ponds, winding paths, and shaded groves (Farrell 1980: 110-111; Jackson and Vergara 1989: 19).

Due to the spacious and lavish nature of these 19th-century planned landscapes, garden cemeteries became popular with nearby urban populations in search of a secluded reprieve from the city. Guidebooks permitted visitors to review a short history of the cemetery while taking a walking tour highlighted by stops at the graves of distinguished individuals. The popularity of these rural, garden cemeteries encouraged the American park movement as well as the professionalization of landscape architecture (Jackson and Vergara 1989: 19, 32).

As a late 19th-century reaction to the cluttered and imposing architecture in some cemeteries, the “lawn plan” was introduced. New design concepts minimized the visual effects of monuments as reflections of culture and accentuated the appeal of open spaces and vistas bordered by lush vegetation as reflections of nature. Iron fencing was prohibited, and grave markers were required to be smaller and less obtrusive. Small, rectangular tablets set flush with the ground surface replaced monuments. By minimizing the element of monuments on cemetery landscapes, viewsheds were opened while the cost and time of grounds maintenance were


decreased since mowing could proceed relatively unhindered (Farrell 1980: 113; Jackson and Vergara 1989: 22, 28). Rigid uniformity in the grave markers and decorations implied the collective, and vistas of sweeping lawns interrupted only by limited clusters of trees and flowers helped mask any evidence of the individual. Inflexible regulation of the appearance of graves coupled with the advent of annual or perpetual care fees for gardening and grave decoration decreased the authority and power of the plot owners and descendants of the deceased. This accelerated a process of creating a unified landscape and transferring care of the dead from families to strangers (Sloane 1991: 105, 111-120). Americans discarded the “individualism of Jacksonian democracy” and adopted the promised “accomplishment of the corporate collective” (Farrell 1980: 115).

The first Jewish and Catholic places of worship in the Roanoke Valley were founded during the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century and coincided with the development of the local rail yards and regional industrialization. A Catholic cemetery was established shortly after St. Andrew’s Church was founded and two Jewish cemeteries were established shortly after the reform synagogue Temple Emanuel was founded in the late 19 th century and the conservative synagogue Beth Israel was founded in 1900.

Soon after the founding of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, a parcel of about 50 acres was transferred in 1890 to the Diocese of Richmond for the establishment of a church cemetery. The design of St. Andrews’s cemetery incorporated a strong influence from the garden or rural cemetery movement, yet integrated material elements of longstanding traditional Catholic beliefs. Linear driveways, aligned with the cardinal directions, bound the cemetery to structure its internal divisions. Embedded in this formal plan, a series of curvilinear driveways accentuate the natural topography of the cemetery and define larger internal sections.


The internal sections and subsections created by this geometric plan were further defined and reinforced by individual family plots and plantings of trees and shrubs. Statuary serve as foci for some of the internal sections of the cemetery and for some family plots. Following traditional Catholic practices, most of the graves form clusters of nuclear and extended families sometimes surrounded by curbing. While the graves of children were sometimes clustered in sections of Catholic cemeteries, or buried in adjoining cemeteries, the graves of children at St Andrew’s cemetery were generally located in family plots. St. Andrew’s cemetery also contains separate plots for members of the clergy. Individual graves were not aligned in a celestial orientation. Rather, some graves were oriented toward statuary, but most were aligned parallel to other graves in each family plot or larger section. Graves within larger sections generally face the driveways to facilitate a clear view of the headstones by visitors.

Cemeteries for the Temple Emanuel and Beth Israel synagogues were started on adjacent parcels and together form a rectangular shape. Salient geometric design elements shared by the cemeteries impart an image of a single large cemetery, while more subtle attributes differentiate one from another.

An ornate stone wall marks a unified southern boundary and gates provide entrance to a driveway that encompasses the two cemeteries. The cemeteries are covered with grass while trees and shrubs accentuate the overall perimeters of the cemeteries. A shared border between the cemeteries is marked in muted fashion by a shrub and a few trees. Straight walkways connect the orderly rows of graves marked with large headstones and monuments. The use of geometric design elements and sparing use of plants to define space between and within the cemeteries reflects traits common to lawn or park cemeteries that were enjoying rising popularity in the nation. However, the large headstones and monuments in these Jewish cemeteries provide bold


statements of individual identity that are incongruent with the concept of a lawn cemetery where individual identity was masked. Burial in a Jewish cemetery is not a prescribed practice so Jews may be buried on private land. However, burial in a Jewish cemetery is strongly preferred to permit a burial service officiated by a rabbi. Jews are not buried in caskets constructed with metal parts and vaults are not used. Caskets are constructed of wood that are often ornate, attractively finished, and fastened with wood pegs. This material practice is guided by the desire for the body to complete the sacred cycle revealed in the biblical teaching, “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).

Each cemetery was designed with both individual and family plots. Similar to the Protestant practice, Jewish burials were also oriented with the long axis of the grave shaft oriented in an east to west direction. The deceased were placed in graves with their heads to the west and feet to the east. Following Jewish custom, this orientation would permit the dead to face Jerusalem. Personal preference governed the placement and orientation of markers on a grave, but headstones were usually placed at the head of a grave. Most of the grave markers in the Beth Israel and Temple Emanuel cemeteries are oriented to permit easy viewing of headstone inscriptions by visitors using the internal driveway and walkways.

In these cemeteries it is customary for visitors to place small pebbles on grave markers as a sign of remembrance and visitation. This traditional practice presumably developed when burials took place in arid regions where rocks were piled on the tops of graves to hinder disturbance by animals. All headstones were inscribed in English, but in the Beth Israel cemetery headstones or footstones were also inscribed in Hebrew. This practice represents the exception in the reform Temple Emanuel cemetery. The Beth Israel cemetery is also differentiated from the Temple Emanuel cemetery by its rear row of graves where infants and sacred items were buried.


Conservative and orthodox Jews do not discard sacred objects or texts, such as Torahs and prayer books. Sacred items heavily worn through extensive use receive respectful burial with the grave capped by a marker inscribed with contents of the grave. These practices serve to differentiate the two cemeteries.

The advent of the lawn cemetery marked the development of the cemetery as a carefully managed business. Its conception during the end of the 19th century corresponded with the founding of specialized professional societies such as the national Funeral Directors’ Association and the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents. Trained professionals, albeit strangers, served the needs of mourning families. This trajectory continued with the acceptance of embalming and the development of perpetual care facilities controlled by a corporate entity (Farrell 1980: 119; Sloane 1991: 120). The outcome became known as the “park” or “memorial park” cemetery in which planners “preferred natural appearances over natural character” (Farrell 1980: 128).

Like the lawn cemeteries, memorial parks attempted to mask the individual and eliminate signs of death. Unobtrusive memorial tablets replaced monuments and epitaphs were reduced to inscriptions of birth and death dates. All internal fencing was banned including curbing or plantings that provided internal subdivisions. The cemetery was projected as a place of the collective dead where evidence of the individual was minimized (Farrell 1980: 120). Internal zoning permitted replication of a community’s social stratification by conceptualizing the cemetery land as real estate which varied in price according to parcel size and location (Farrell 1980: 123-124). As American society renewed its concept of the afterlife, the memorial park reaffirmed the sacred nature of cemeteries. Corporate owners asserted heightened control over


cemeteries grounds with a renewed emphasis on the sacred that discouraged visitation for recreation or respite from daily life (Sloane 1991: 174).

Business directories chart this trajectory in a delayed, yet rapid fashion in Southwest Virginia. By 1870s, newspapers and business directories advertised the services of undertakers and marble dealers in the larger population centers of Salem, Lynchburg, and Wytheville (Boyd 1871: 448, 570). These services soon proliferated and were also offered in small villages (Chataigne 1884: 547-551). In an 1893 business directory, J. Shartzer, a florist in Salem, advertised his specialty of arranging “bouquets, baskets, design & cut flowers for funerals and decorating” (Chataigne 1893: 1067). During the first quarter of the 20 th century, embalmers and funeral directors advertised their services, the Evergreen Development Company operated a commercial cemetery, and various retailers offered iron fencing, tombstones, and monuments (Hill 1917: 864-893; Floyd Press 1921).

As the number and popularity of professionally operated cemeteries and large church cemeteries increased to meet the needs of a more mobile and changing population, the use of traditional family cemeteries by native residents continued in the Roanoke Valley. Older family and community cemeteries were expanded and new cemeteries were established. While gravehouses found popularity in other areas of Appalachia (Martin 1984: 66), this type of cemetery architecture was apparently rare in the study area. The influence of design elements characteristic of the lawn and memorial park cemeteries began to change the formal appearance of these traditional cemeteries. Internal divisions within cemeteries created by plantings and fencing gave way to open spaces for the collective enclosed by wire mesh fences, and more recently, chain link fences. Plants were removed and replaced by mowed grass. Flowering trees,


such as dogwoods, joined the traditional oak and cedar trees to provide limited shade. Evergreen or flowering deciduous shrubs sometimes joined a bench to create a place of rest in a shady area.

National trends in grave markers offered by retail catalogs and memorial corporations also found local acceptance. Memorial portraits appear on some area grave markers, but this practice was generally restricted to the second quarter of the 20 th century (see Crissman 1994: 128-130). More common headstones include heart-shaped stones, unadorned headstones, cast-metal markers, raised-top and lawn markers. Many families began to rely on the temporary metal markers issued by funeral homes and memorial corporations as the sole markers on the graves in their family cemeteries. While temporary metal markers and cement paving bricks sold at home improvement centers have become grave markers of economy in late 20 th century cemeteries, the use of uninscribed fieldstone markers continued for economic and social reasons through the 1970s.

While local family and community cemeteries generally conformed to national trends in cemetery design, some features provide local distinction. The use of stalagmites and stalactites to mark graves in the Hatcher-Goodwin-Chapman Cemetery reflects the karst topography of the Roanoke Valley. An underground vault built of brick in the William and Sarah Grisso cemetery was recorded in a family bible, and many local craftsmen fashioned distinctive headstones of cement.

The rapid decline of family cemeteries over the past 50 years correlates with the decline of family-based farms and the rise of the global market system. Although Virginia statutes do not prohibit the establishment of family cemeteries on private property, very few families maintain the practice. Changes in real estate values, land use patterns, and personal mobility have combined with diminished life-long bonds between individuals and their spiritual and social


communities to lessen the practical desire or spiritual need for family and community cemeteries. Commercial cemeteries have become the accepted and preferred place for burials. This trend includes an institutionalized American view of death as an inevitable biological event that must be accepted with peace and fulfillment. This belief melds together tenets of Christianity with core concepts in the 19th century philosophical trends of humanism and transcendentalism. The uniformity in modern mortuary practices through the entire country reflects these collective representations of Americans that supercedes the boundaries of geographic location, social class, or religious affiliation (Metcalf and Huntington 1991: 209-214). As commercial cemeteries have become accepted as part of modern tradition, cultural concepts of the cemetery in the sacred – profane dichotomy have changed. While traditional values in rural areas generally maintain cemeteries as sacred, the demands in urban areas have forced a redefinition of cemeteries as multipurpose landscapes.

As open space becomes increasingly scarce in urban centers, cemeteries take on a new aesthetic value. Many cemeteries are adopted for passive recreation (USA Today 1998) and others are actively managed as multiple use areas to deter vandalism and provide recreational services and wildlife habitats in urban areas (Thomas and Dixon 1973). Local governments now impose zoning ordinances to ensure cemeteries are compatible with the requirements of current and future land use. Yet many planners concede that carefully considered state and local land use regulations should also address long term issues by defining unambiguous responsibility for perpetual maintenance and financial liability (Schwab 1995). Whether we consider cemeteries as spiritual or historic landscapes, valuable forms of open space, or problematic service areas, cemeteries will require innovative planning and adaptive reuse if they are to persist into the future (Clendaniel 1997).


The Cultural Appropriation of Nature in Sacred Contexts: A Consideration of Design Elements in Southwest Virginia Historic Cemeteries

Celestial Orientation of the Dead

Traditional Protestant burials were oriented with the long axis of each grave shaft oriented in an east to west direction. The deceased were placed in graves with their heads to the west and feet to the east. The bodies were laid in a supine position with arms along the sides of the body or folded across the torso. Whether in Europe or the Appalachian Mountains of the United States, this practice has the same traditional explanation. In this position, the dead continually faced heaven and await resurrection on Judgement Day when they would rise from the grave to face Jerusalem or view Christ in the east, as recounted in Christian mythology (Anonymous 1974: 60; Montell 1975: 82; Bettis 1978: 114; Aries 1981: 14).

During the first millennium, Christians read the Book of Revelations in the Bible for guidance in conceptualizing the meaning of death and as a spiritual basis for developing social practices relating to death and dying. Beginning in the 12th century and lasting some 400 years, Europeans began to recognize an alternative biblical inspiration which melded the Revelations of Saint John the Divine with the Gospel According to Saint Matthew. This enabled the coupling of the Second Coming of Christ with the Last Judgement and culminated in an interpretive scheme which posited three primary elements: the act of divine judgement, the separation of the just from the damned, and the resurrection (Aries 1981: 99-101). The essence of this tripartite design guided various ways of conceptualizing death from the early middle ages when the return of Christ was anticipated without fear, through a subsequent period when anxious anticipation and concern were heightened as the idea of judgement became dominant, to the end of the middle ages when the thesis of the Last Judgement became focused on the personal destiny of


the individual (Aries 1981: 97-106). As the interpretive concepts of death in western society have continued to change through the modern era, an influence for related change has extended to ritual practices for burying the dead. Nonetheless, the essence of the underlying conceptual belief in this lengthy process of biblical interpretation has persisted to structure burial practices in a solar orientation.

Individual graves were rarely dug on a precise compass orientation, but rather they were generally oriented toward the position of the rising sun on the eastern horizon. Additional variability was introduced into this procedure since the exact position of the sun rising over the eastern horizon changes throughout the year. For instance, at the latitude of Roanoke the rising sun moves from approximately 60 degrees east of true north during the summer solstice in June to approximately 120 degrees east of true north during the winter solstice in December (U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office 1964). As a result, the exact orientation of graves tended to vary from any northeast through any southeast direction depending on the time of year when the graves were excavated. Following cemetery establishment and excavation of the initial grave shaft, the long axes of subsequent graves within a cemetery generally ran parallel with only minor variation. This pattern often persisted even in cemeteries that were active for lengthy periods of time. While graves within a cemetery were usually oriented parallel to one another, the overall orientation of graves between cemeteries tended to differ more markedly. As a general rule, the orientation of graves within cemeteries tends to reflect the time of year when individual cemeteries were founded.

Although the nature and form of cemeteries have experienced considerable change through the centuries, Christian dogma has continued to direct the orientation of burials to a celestial structure. All of the cemeteries observed during this study contained graves that were


oriented on an east – west axis, but a few of these cemeteries contained one or two graves oriented differently. Variations in burial practices, such as grave orientation, have been documented in other regions and explanations usually center on the belief that individuals were buried in an unusual manner if they lived their lives in a way that violated the accepted moral or ethical standards of a community (see Neiman 1980: 138). When asked to explain this practice in the Roanoke Valley, community members or cemetery caretakers were unable to offer an explanation and a few denied that any graves were not aligned with all other graves in the cemetery. Therefore, the explanation for variation in grave orientation within a cemetery in the Roanoke Valley remains unknown. The internal structure of cemeteries is also imbued with other social meaning. Clusters of graves typically signify nuclear and extended families while multiple clusters of graves in family cemeteries usually signify differing families associated through affinal relationships. Individual graves spatially segregated from internal grave clusters reportedly represented family outcastes or individuals related to families through friendship or shared experience.

Cultural Expressions of Nature

“choose out for a Burying place some unfrequented vale in the park, where is, ‘no sound to break the stillness but a brook, that bubbling winds among the weeds; no mark of any human shape that had been there, unless the skeleton of some poor wretch, Who sought that place out to despair and die in.’ let it be


among ancient and venerable oaks; intersperse some gloomy evergreens. the area circular, ab t . 60 ft. diameter, encircled with an untrimmed hedge of cedar, or a stone wall with a holly hedge…”

- Thomas Jefferson, 1771(quoted in Betts 1974: 25)

The array of plants commonly featured on cemeteries in the Southwest Virginia region has considerable generality, and should not be deemed universal even within the relatively small area encompassed by this study. The most common types of plants observed on local cemeteries include periwinkle and grass ground cover, yucca and boxwood shrubs, and cedar and oak trees. While this core set of plants includes the most common plants now found on Roanoke Valley cemeteries, temporal and spatial variation should be recognized in broader regional contexts. Nonetheless, strong influences exerted by national cemetery movements of the 19 th and 20 th centuries clearly affected local cemeteries by stimulating and sustaining popularity in the use of particular types of plants for both functional and symbolic reasons. For example, following its introduction during the colonial period, periwinkle became a frequently used plant during the rural cemetery movement and its use in cemeteries found broad acceptance in southwest Virginia. A thick carpet of periwinkle functions to reduce landscape maintenance by impeding the growth of weeds and grasses while it masks minor subsidence of a grave. Since it is an evergreen plant, it provides a visible signal for the presence of a cemetery throughout the year. As with other evergreen plants, periwinkle connotes everlasting life and its spring blooms correlate with the timing of the Christian holy day of Easter to represent renewed life. The early 19th -century rural, or garden, cemeteries featured conscious, meticulous landscape designs and often resembled arboretums with mass plantings of varied trees, shrubs, and flowers. Cemetery administrators enforced strict horticultural rules governing the design


evolution of these landscapes. For example, the 1839 administrators of Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery imposed unwavering control and strict regulation of all aspects of the cemetery including its landscape design. For the selection of specific flowers for a gravesite, the administrators advised:

“…nothing coarse and incongruous with the object and the place should be chosen. Those which are delicate in size, form and color should be preferred. Such as are simple and unobtrusive, and particularly those which are symbolical of friendship, affection, and remembrance, seem most fitting to beautify the Place of Graves” (“Rules and Regulations of Green-Wood Cemetery” cited in Jackson and Vergara 1989: 20).

Available documentary and landscape evidence suggests the conscious use of particular plants in regional cemeteries was initially stimulated by design concepts for the rural cemetery movement in the second quarter of the 19 th century. Mount Auburn Cemetery was established in 1831 outside of Boston as the first rural cemetery, and Hollywood Cemetery was established in 1836 outside of Richmond as the first southern example of a rural cemetery. As the popularity of these innovative types of cemeteries increased in urban areas, characteristic design features were steadily adopted in the countryside and incorporated into previously established family and community cemeteries. The adoption of cemetery design elements constituted part of a regional representation of contemporary American social thought during the 19 th century. Plants were consciously selected for use in rural cemeteries due to qualities considered congruent with the principle tenets of humanism and transcendentalism on which the rural cemetery movement was founded (Loudon 1843, Wills 1992). Subsequently, the array of plants adopted in the agrarian countryside was a mixture of native species with introduced species easily propagated by seed and others that remained hardy as bare root plants during overland shipment. Seeds and bare root plants were carried into the region by immigrants or made available through mail order catalogs and traveling salesmen (e.g., Koziol 1998).


The following discussion centers on the most common plants featured in historic cemeteries of the Roanoke Valley including periwinkle and grass groundcover, yucca and boxwood shrubs, and oak and cedar trees. These plants represent native and introduced species consciously planted on cemeteries; however, natural processes may have removed or masked the identity of former plants purposefully integrated into cemetery designs. Chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease eliminated native trees that may have been present on earlier cemeteries of the region. Flowering dogwoods became a popular tree on 20th- century cemeteries, but a current regime of anthracnose fungus may result in the removal of many specimens from regional cemeteries and diminish evidence of their recent popularity.

Although a wide variety of perennial flowers were likely planted in local cemeteries, accurate data could not be collected during this study due to plant dormancy during cold weather and the short bloom periods of some flowers. Spring flowers, such as daffodils and iris, were popular on both sacred and secular landscapes. Other flowers noted in local cemeteries included baby’s breath, chrysanthemums, petunias, peonies, roses, Rose of Sharon, and violets. Though flowers were sometimes included in mortuary practices prior to the 19 th century, infrequent use suggests flowers did not carry widespread ritual meaning (Aries 1981: 419). However, the incorporation of flowers into burial services steadily rose in popularity throughout the early 19 th century. This practice correlates with, and was likely caused by, the development of the rural cemetery movement that required the combination of a wide variety of flowers with trees and flowering shrubs into cemetery design. With the advent of the national cemetery movements and the associated development of 20 th -century mortuary ceremonies, flowers became widespread and integral elements at funerals and in cemeteries where they continue to convey specific social information (Crocker 1971: 122-123).


Periwinkle & Grass

One of the most prevalent plants in regional cemeteries is an evergreen groundcover commonly known as periwinkle (Vinca minor). The tapered and glossy leaves of this Eurasian evergreen groundcover grow on trailing stems that reach a length of approximately two feet. Although it grows best with light shade and moist soil, it readily adapts to its local environment and will tolerate a range of growing conditions. Once established, periwinkle will thicken and spread by means of trailing stems that root after contact with soil. As the plants mature, the trailing stems intertwine to form a dense carpet of glossy leaves and wiry stems. In early spring, small flowers bloom at the tips of stems. Although a number of modern cultivars now exist, the original form of periwinkle featured small blue or violet flowers and deep green leaves.

Periwinkle was a staple in historic European gardens (Gerard 1975: 894-895). As European settlement expanded through North American, periwinkle was introduced as an attractive and useful groundcover. Due to its ability to adapt to a variety of growing conditions it readily migrated throughout much of the New World where it developed many regional referents, such as periwinkle, littleleaf periwinkle, myrtle, trailing myrtle, and creeping myrtle.

Periwinkle has a long history of use in this country and has been widely used to control erosion and to blanket the ground underneath the well-established canopy of a wooded area. Periwinkle thrives in shady areas underneath an established tree canopy. It is well suited for old cemeteries in central Appalachian Mountains where it is commonly called ivy (see Hall 1973: 17, Bettis et al. 1978: 113). Once established, it will flourish with little or no care. This evergreen groundcover functions to reduce the amount of periodic maintenance at a cemetery. An established carpet of periwinkle prohibits growth of grasses and weeds and hides any minor


subsidence of soils on more recent graves. As an evergreen, it connotes remembrance and everlasting life for many people, while others believe its spring blooms represent renewed life since they occur around the Christian Easter season. Periwinkle will flourish with little or no care; consequently, it will continue to thrive even if a cemetery falls into neglect. Throughout the year, periwinkle serves as a visible clue for the presence of a forgotten cemetery masked by the vegetation of a wooded area.

Exactly when periwinkle was accepted as a plant for use in cemeteries is poorly understood. While Thomas Jefferson included periwinkle in his 1794 discussion of garden plants at Monticello, he did not include it in his cemetery design (Betts 1947: 27). Loudon (1843: 109) included it in his list of suitable plants for cemeteries where he classified it as an “undershrub of very small size, frequently planted over graves.” He further noted it was commonly used in cemeteries of the Austrian province of Tyrol, probably “in consequence of the notice of the plant by Rousseau: Viola la Pervenche!” These references suggest periwinkle was planted in cemeteries at least as early as the 18 th century, but its widespread popularity probably correlated with the development of the rural cemetery movement in the early 19 th century.

Periwinkle is a common element of modern landscape design, but it is no longer planted in cemeteries. Nonetheless, it persists in about 41% of the cemeteries surveyed for this study. The climbing or trailing plant English ivy (Hedera helix) was observed on less than 1% of local cemeteries. The prevalence of these plants was undoubtedly higher given the accounts of area residents who reported the conscious removal of established periwinkle growth during the “renovation” of older cemeteries. Probably due to the design plans for the late 19 th -century and early 20 th -century lawn cemeteries and memorial park cemeteries, periwinkle has been actively removed from many regional cemeteries and replaced with a ground cover of mowed grass.


Mowed grass is a defining element in the modern concept of a cemetery and it is present on nearly 77% of the cemeteries surveyed for Roanoke County. Local cemeteries without a grassy lawn are typically abandoned cemeteries no longer maintained but left to develop a thick growth of scrub brush and briars.


Yucca is a genus of broad-leaved evergreen plants consisting of more than 30 species native to North America and the West Indies. The plant and its uses captured the attention of European explorers who soon transported specimens to their home ports (Gerard 1975: 1543-1544). One species, Yucca filamentosa, is prevalent on historic cemeteries in Southwest Virginia. These hardy plants form a low cluster of long, spearlike leaves that terminate in a narrow spine. In early summer, a central stalk grows up to five feet in height and produces large numbers of white, bell-shaped flowers. While the central stalk grows rapidly, these plants have a slow rate of spread. Extremely hardy and drought resistant, deep taproots make established specimens difficult to remove.

Yucca filamentosa has the common name Adam’s Needle, but in the study area it is simply known as “yucca.” It is sometimes called “rock lily” because it is considered a good component of rock gardens. Older residents also refer to this plant as “cemetery lily” due to its prevalence in area cemeteries. Yucca was often used as a decorative evergreen in local cemeteries and for some older residents its suitability as a cemetery plant was partially defined by its local bloom period in late May and early June. This period correlates with Memorial Day, a national holiday of remembrance that traditionally requires annual cemetery maintenance and decoration.


Loudon (1843: 110, 112-113) documented the suitability of yucca “for cemeteries and churchyards” and classified it as an evergreen plant “of compact habit, which will grow on a grassy surface.” Grass covered areas were a defining element of the rural cemeteries in the 19 th century. However, it was used at an earlier date in the Roanoke Valley region where it was sometimes planted to mark the head or foot of a grave. Yucca plants, with or without accompanying stone markers, provided enduring grave markers in regional cemeteries. Some local resident reported the planting of yucca at the head of recent graves until more popular stone markers could be erected at a later date. When used to mark the foot of a grave, a yucca was rarely accompanied by a footstone. A yucca plant will migrate slowly since it can propagate by taproot offshoots; therefore, it may no longer mark the exact head or foot of a grave. Like periwinkle, yucca will flourish with little or no care long after a cemetery falls into neglect. Throughout the year, yucca serves as a visible clue for the presence of a forgotten cemetery masked by the vegetation of a wooded area.

While yucca continues to be present on the modern landscape in western Virginia, its status as a desired ornamental plant has declined. Like periwinkle, yucca plants are no longer incorporated into cemeteries, and contemporary cemetery renovation projects usually attempt to eradicate these tenacious plants. Nonetheless, they continue to persist on 36% of the cemeteries surveyed in the Roanoke Valley. Other evergreen shrubs from the euonymus and taxa genera, such as emerald euonymus and yew, occur on less than one percent of local cemeteries.


Another long-lived evergreen shrub featured in some historic cemeteries of Southwest Virginia is the boxwood. Native to southern Europe and Asia, the boxwood formed a popular


component of early English gardens (Gerard (1975: 1410) and it readily adapted to North America following its introduction during the 17 th century. The boxwoods in local cemeteries probably represent various forms of the species Buxus sempervirens, commonly called English boxwood, American boxwood, or common boxwood. These widely grown and popular evergreen shrubs have dense foliage of dark green and glossy leaves with a leathery feel and an oblong to oval shape.

Loudon (1843: 103) documented the use of boxwoods on 19 th -century cemeteries. He also included it in a list of plants used as family emblems and “frequently planted over graves of Highland families settled abroad” (Loudon 1843: 103, 114-115). Like the yucca plants, boxwood shrubs became fashionable decorative plants in local cemeteries. However, due to limited popularity or ease of eradication, boxwoods are present on only 18% of the cemeteries surveyed in Roanoke County. While boxwood shrubs were sometimes used to mark cemetery borders or as ornamental plants in open areas of a historic cemetery, the most common placement was among the headstones marking a row of graves. Less frequently, boxwoods were used as an early form of grave marker. For example, the Day family bible documents the use of a boxwood shrub to mark the head of the 1796 grave for William Day in Day-Hofawger Cemetery.

Cedar and other evergreen trees

Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a juniper and the most widely spread conifer in eastern North America. Young specimens produce needlelike leaves that develop a scalelike appearance as the plant matures. Seeds are produced in reddish or purple cones that resemble


berries. Eastern Red Cedars are bushy species with fragrant, red colored wood, and close plantings will grow to form a hedge or natural fence. Loudon (1843: 95) considered red cedars “suitable and very hardy” trees for 19 th –century cemeteries, and other accounts indicate cedars were used on cemeteries at earlier dates. During the late-18th century, Thomas Jefferson planted cedar trees to attract wildlife at Monticello, his estate in central Virginia. Beyond this functional quality of cedar, Jefferson also remarked that its ornamental qualities outweighed a perceived difficulty of propagation, and in his early landscape plans he envisioned the cemetery at Monticello as “encircled by an untrimmed hedge of cedar” (Betts 1947: 25, 558-559). The diary of John Hartwell Cocke related the introduction and use of cedar trees in the Piedmont of Virginia during the mid-18th century, and the diary included Thomas Jefferson’s report that his brother-in-law planted cedar trees near the graves of his children in Albermarle County about 1755 (Betts 1947: 637). These early accounts suggest cedars were not present in the central Virginia piedmont during mid 18 th century, but they were quickly adopted for use on secular and sacred landscapes. Cedars are native to western Virginia where they remain prolific in areas underlain by limestone.

Cedar trees are an important construction commodity and the fragrant wood is used in cabinetry. However, the popularity of cedar trees as an ornamental species has diminished during the second half of the 20 th century, and they are rarely included in contemporary landscape designs. Cedars persist in about 22% of the cemeteries surveyed for this study. Its prevalence was likely higher earlier in the century since local residents often reported the conscious removal of cedar trees during the “renovation” of older cemeteries. As a consequence of the design plans for lawn and memorial park cemeteries, cedar trees were often removed from many regional cemeteries to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of a grassy lawn.


Other types of evergreen trees were planted in regional cemeteries but their incidence was infrequent (less than 5% of the observed cemeteries). Represented types include Eastern or American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), American Holly (Ilex opaca), and Pine (Pinus sp.).

Oak and other deciduous trees

Oak is the common name for a large genus of hardwood trees (Quercus sp.) that readily adapted to a variety of habitats throughout North America and other regions of the world. In the eastern United States, most oak species are deciduous, though some evergreen species occur in the southeastern coastal regions. Though this large genus includes considerable formal variation, oak trees are readily recognized by their distinctive fruit, the acorn. Oaks also produce strong wood with attractive grain long valued in the lumber and construction industries. Aesthetic qualities and a long life span continue to overshadow the slow growth rate of these trees and contribute to their longstanding ornamental value in planned landscapes. Western society has also transformed oak into a symbol of strength reified by numerous historical and mythological associations.

Since the spread of Christianity throughout Medieval Europe was facilitated by the assimilation of earlier pagan religious beliefs into Christian dogma, and given the early incorporation of oak into western mythology, it is conceivable that the use of oak in burial places occurred at an early date. While Gerard (1975: 1339-1441) noted the widespread use of a variety of oak trees in 17 th -century English gardens, the association between oak and burial places remains poorly documented. The association occurred in America by the 18 th century. In 1773, Jefferson buried his deceased friend Dabney Carr at base of their favorite oak tree at Monticello (Betts 1947: 41). In the early 19 th century, Loudon (1843: 101-102) documented the


use of a variety of oak trees on the landscapes of 19 th -century rural cemeteries. He also included oaks in a list of plants used as family emblems and sometimes planted over graves (Loudon 1843: 99, 114). Oak trees persist on 20% of the Roanoke Valley cemeteries. As with cedar trees, the prevalence of oak trees on cemeteries was likely higher earlier in the century. Oak trees were often cleared from historic cemeteries to facilitate the establishment and maintenance of a grassy lawn.

A wide variety of deciduous trees were intentionally planted on regional cemeteries including black walnut (Juglans nigra), catalpa (Catalpa sp.), cherry (Prunus sp.), flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), hickory (Carya sp.), locust (Gleditsia sp.), maple (Acer sp.), and yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). However, the use of these types of trees on local cemeteries was not widespread and no species occurred on more than three percent of the observed cemeteries.

Weeping willows (Salix babylonica) also warrant discussion since these trees are often thought to be associated with cemeteries. The early use of weeping willows in cemeteries has been well documented; however, their use as ornamental plants diminished through the 19 th century. In a circa 1808 memorandum to his property overseer, Thomas Jefferson directed him to plant a hedge of weeping willows around the graveyard at Monticello (Betts: 1974: 44). Thirty-five years later, Loudon (1843: 90, 103) reported the continued popularity of these trees in churchyards, and he included them in his list of “deciduous trees with pendulous branches, adapted for being planted singly by monuments, or over graves as substitutes for monuments.” Nonetheless, he urged refrain from the use of these trees “because the expression conveyed by such trees, being that of a moist situation, is altogether unsuitable” for cemeteries (Loudon 1843: 90). Weeping willows were not observed on any cemetery in the Roanoke Valley.


Natural Emblems of Social Identity

As a representation of social sentiment, an enduring grave marker acts as a material expression of collective beliefs by differentiating an individual life while defining and signifying integration into a social group. The widespread desire to preserve group membership and individual identity in death coincided with the spread of an ideological transformation that ordered the western world through a renewed awareness of individual thought, human reason, and social identity (Deetz 1977). This worldview emerged in 18 th -century America to reshape the material culture of death as it intensified and reached efflorescence during the second half of the 19 th century. Through this processual change, death was romanticized and “exalted as a moment to be desired. Untamed nature invaded the stronghold of culture, where it encountered humanized nature and merged with it in the compromise of ‘beauty’” (Aries 1982: 610). This ideal was made visible in the “beautification of death” conceptual movement partially expressed through heightened elaboration of material culture in mortuary display (Little, Lanphear and Owsley 1992).

In the Southwest Virginia, simple fieldstone rocks represent the first types of permanent markers for graves. Fieldstone grave marker were simple in form, required little or no masonry skills to make, and raw materials were easily acquired. Anyone could produce these markers with only limited modification of a rock slab into a roughly rectangular shape. These factors likely contributed to their widespread and lengthy use.

Fieldstone grave markers vary considerably in size, shape, and composition. Some examples are so small and coarse in appearance they are difficult to distinguish from unmodified rock exposed on the land surface. Others are readily recognized as modified rocks due to their


large size or elaborate shape. The conspicuous examples represent the exception since the majority of fieldstone grave markers have a common range of size and a rectangular shape. However, this observation is not informed by a quantitative analysis. In general, these markers have a tabular shape with rounded or angular corners and extended up from the ground surface to reach a height of one-half foot to two feet. Three fieldstone markers recently replaced with modern granite markers were observed along the fence that encloses the Amos-Wray Cemetery. The average dimensions of the markers were 25 inches long, 12 inches wide and 1 ¾ inches thick. Marks of weathering suggest these markers were set into the ground nine to twelve inches deep.

While some fieldstone markers were intentionally made with small dimensions, most small examples represent the product of weathering and erosion. Many fieldstone markers in the area were made from shale and phyllite. These rocks are abundant in the region and each type is soft and fractures along parallel planes, so modification into a desired shape is easy. These same characteristics also increase susceptibility to weathering and breakage. Other types of rocks selected for grave markers included harder, more durable granite, quartzite, sandstone and limestone. In the karst regions of the county, stalagmites and stalactites were sometimes used to mark graves. Therefore, the selection of particular rock types for grave markers appears opportunistic rather than controlled.

The earliest preserved examples of fieldstone grave markers in the study area have inscriptions that document use in the first decade of the 19 th century, but uninscribed rock markers were used over a broad time span and may have been use during earlier time periods. Early fieldstone markers with inscriptions remained simple in form. Inscriptions were limited to little more than the year of death accompanied by the full name or the initials of the deceased.


The headstone for Katherine Doosing in the Woods-Spessard cemetery of the Catawba Valley, is a good example of an early fieldstone marker inscribed with the deceased’s first and surname as well as the year of death, but its high degree of craftsmanship is unusual. More common examples were inscribed with the deceased’s initials and year of death.

Many county residents interviewed during this study consider fieldstone markers unsuitable for their family cemeteries. For many residents, these markers remain indicative of a low social or economic standing. These contemporary beliefs encourage residents to replace the fieldstone markers in their family cemeteries with modern forms of grave markers. This practice occurs throughout the Appalachian region (e.g., Martin 1984: 100-101). While the use of fieldstone markers may connote economy or convenience, in the contextual development of mortuary display they convey a sense of tradition, modesty, humility, and simplicity. For these reasons the use of inscribed and uninscribed fieldstone markers persisted in Roanoke County through the late 20 th century. Late examples of uninscribed fieldstones mark the grave of the “Infant Boy Linton” who was buried in the Blankenship-Jones-King Cemetery in 1967, and the grave of Terry Shepard who was buried in the Wingo Cemetery in 1975. Regardless of contemporary attitudes, simple fieldstone markers represent a modest tradition that transcends the social divisions of ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, or economic standing.

The Prominence of Death

Mountains have remained symbols of the sacred through a diverse range of cultures around the globe. Through time many methods have been developed to create sacred spaces that form perceptible breaks in a world otherwise perceived as objective, homogenous space. These methods give tangible form to the invisible sanctity of place and engender the experience of a


spiritual, subjective existence that coincides with a corporeal, objective existence. “This is the reason for the elaboration of techniques of orientation which … are techniques for the construction of sacred space” (Eliade 1957: 29). Natural promatories on the landscape have been conceptualized as central axes connecting the corporeal and spiritual worlds, places of power, or places of creation or renewal. Some have used mountains as alters for worship, places for pilgrimage, or centers of communities (Bernbaum 1988). Through myriad methods, mountains assume “the spatial symbolism of transendence” (Eliade 1958: 99).

As colonists spread their settlements through Virginia, necessity led to the development of small burial grounds to serve the needs of families and workers resident on widely spread settlements. Family cemeteries grew popular and soon became common elements on the agrarian landscape. As the colonists oriented the agrarian landscape for sacred purposes and began the separation of the dead from the consecrated ground of churchyards, they elevated their dead to heaven by burying them on prominent landforms. As embodiments of the spiritual, elevated peaks assumed “a widespread role as hallowed places of the dead” (Bernbaum 1988:15). Ridge tops, knolls, and hills within sight of the family house were selected as favored locations for cemeteries. A constant reminder of the transitory nature of earthly existence was created through the conspicuous placement of burial grounds on the landscape.

Nearly 85% of the family and community cemeteries identified in Roanoke County were placed on prominent landforms, such as ridge tops, ridge benches, and knolls. These cemeteries were not necessarily placed on a local landform of the highest elevation. Rather, landforms were chosen that made the cemeteries conspicuous from a domicile or central area of a community. These areas were generally higher in elevation than the house or community, but were not necessarily the highest elevation in the immediate area. Family cemeteries were most often


placed on prominent elevations within sight of the family house. Community cemeteries were often on notable landforms within sight of the central area of the community, or, in the case communities that occupy linear valleys, on elevations that made the cemetery readily noticeable from a primary road.

Other cemeteries were less conspicuous due to placement on specific landforms that were generally of lower relief. About 15% of the cemeteries idientified in Roanoke County were situated along the slope or base of a ridge, or on a stream terrace. Cemeteries placed in these areas usually occupied landforms where the slope ranged from gentle to moderate and did not exceed 15%. Cemeteries on sloping terrain arguably occupy marginal lands. Topographic settings of low elevation or sloping terrain were not popular locations for the placement of cemeteries, and as the slope of a landform increased its economic potential tended to diminish.

For the 300 cemeteries documented in this study, 78% were attributed to a European-American affiliation, nearly 12% were attributed to an African-American affiliation, less than 1% were attributed to both African-American and European affiliations, and affiliation was not determined for about 10% of the cemeteries. More than 25% (9/35) of the African-American cemeteries were located on sloping terrain, while only 9% (22/234) of the European-Americans were located on sloping terrain. Additionally, the two cemeteries with both African-American and European affiliations were located on sloping terrain. This pattern probably reflects economic and social controls imposed by a dominant white society to restrict the size of land holdings by blacks and limit their choices for the placement of cemeteries on the landscape.

Through the celestial orientation of graves, conscience use of plants in design, widespread acceptance of local rocks for grave markers, and specific placement of burials on the landscape, cemeteries in the study area were consciously designed as cultural expressions of


nature. This accepted pattern of mortuary display embodies the influential principles and tenets common to the intellectual and spiritual movements that grew out of transcendentalism and the “great awakenings.” These spiritual landscapes, created as important and conspicuous components of the agrarian countryside, constituted the “proper” memorial to life and death though now they often seem displaced in the context of modern thought.



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1843 On the Laying Out, Planting, and Managing of Cemeteries, and on the Improvement of Churchyards. Facsimile edition 1981. Ivelet Books, Great Britain.

MacCauley, Deborah Vansau
1999 Mountain Holiness. In Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism, edited by B.J. Leonard, pp. 103-116. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Martin, Charles E.
1984 Hollybush: Folk Building and Social Change in an Appalachian Community. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Matthews, Jean V.
1991 Toward a New Society: American Thought and Culture, 1800-1830. Twayne Publishers, Boston.

Metcalf, Peter and Richard Huntington
1991 Celebrations of Death: The Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual. Second edition. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Middleton, Norwood
1985 Salem: A Virginia Chronicle. Salem Historical Society, Salem, Virginia.

Montell, William L.
1975 Ghosts Along the Cumberland: Deathlore in the Kentucky Foothills. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville.

Neiman, Frazer D.


1980a Field Archaeology at the Clifts Plantation Site, Westmoreland County, Virginia. Report on file at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Richmond.

1980b The “Manner House” Before Stratford (Discovering the Clifts Plantation). Robert E. Lee Memorial Association, Stratford, Virginia.

Outlaw, Alain C.
1990 Governor’s Land: Archaeology of Early Seventeenth-Century Virginia Settlements. The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Poage, Elijah
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Prillaman, Helen R.
1981 A Place Apart: A Brief History of the Early Williamson Road and North Roanoke Valley Residents and Places. Privately printed, Roanoke, Virginia.

1985 Places Near the Mountains. Privately printed, Roanoke, Virginia.

Riordan, Timothy B.
1996 The 17th-Century Cemetery at St. Mary’s City: Mortuary Practices in the Early Chesapeake. Historical Archaeology 31(4): 28-40.

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1986 Roanoke County Graveyards Through 1920. Compiled by J.S. Showalter and A.P. Kyle. Roanoke Valley Historical Society, Roanoke, Virginia.

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1991 The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Stannard, David E.


1977 The Puritan Way of Death: A Study in Religion, Culture, and Social Change. Oxford University Press, New York.

Thomas, Jack Ward and Ronald A. Dixon
1973 Cemetery Ecology. Natural History 87(3): 60-67.

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1999 The African American Cemeteries of Petersburg, Virginia: Continuity and Change. Report prepared by the Chicora Foundation, Incorporated for the Department of Historic Resources and City of Petersburg, Virginia.

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1997 The Living are Playing Among the Dead Again . September 8, 1998, page 17A.

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1964 Azimuths of the Sun. H.O. Publication Number 260. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

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1982 Roanoke 1740-1982. Roanoke Valley Historical Society, Roanoke, Virginia

Wills, Gary
1992 Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America. Simon & Schuster, New York.

Wunsch, Aaron V. and Catherine C. Lavoie
1999 Laurel Hill Becomes the First Landmark Cemetery. National Historic Landmarks Network (2)1: 1, 15-16.

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1936 The Burnett Cemetery. Works Progress Administration of Virginia, Historical Inventory of Roanoke County, Document 314. Microfilm, Virginia State Library, Richmond.

1940 The Negro in Virginia. Compiled by the WPA Writers’ Project in the State of Virginia. Hastings House Publishers, New York.


Descriptive Data for Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County
The remainder of this report provides descriptive and historical information for the 300 cemeteries documented in Roanoke County during this study. The cemeteries are presented in


alphabetical order based on family surname. Assignment of cemetery names was often based on reports from members of families and local communities. Otherwise, cemeteries were named after the founding family or families, or after families whose ancestors represent the earliest interments in the cemeteries. Whenever possible, names assigned to cemeteries during previous survey efforts were retained.

Documents for each cemetery include a series of standardized attributes and text information followed by inscriptions from grave markers. The standardized attributes require some clarification. Location refers to Salem City, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, or Town of Vinton. Realty map refers to the real estate number or tax identification number assigned to individual parcels by local governments. Map sheet refers to the United States Geologic Survey quadrangle map sheets for Roanoke County. Map sheets that comprise the local jurisdictions in the county include: Bent Mountain, Catawba, Check, Elliston, Garden City, Glenvar, Looney, McDonalds Mill, Roanoke, Salem, and Stewartsville. A small part of Roanoke County is included on the Hardy quadrangle map sheet, but no cemeteries were identified on that map sheet so it is not included in this study. Grid locus refers to a small area on a map sheet. Each map sheet was subdivided into a grid pattern and individual squares were given an alpha-numeric designation. This grid pattern duplicates the grid established by the Universal Mercador Grid System (see below). Within the grid pattern, columns were assigned alphabetical designations starting with “A” on the west or left side of the map and continuing sequentially to the letter “L” on the east or right side of the map. Rows were assigned numeric designations starting with number “1” at the north or upper side of the map and continuing sequentially through the number “14” or “15” at the southern or lower part of the map. Universal Transverse Mercador (UTM) grid system coordinates were also computed for each cemetery. With the UTM grid system the


globe is divided into 60 zones running north and south. Easting measurements represent the number of meters east of a central meridian in a particular zone and northing measurements represent the number of meters north of the equator. This system provides a simple and accurate method for recorded geographic locations, and offers more reliability and precision than the Geographic Coordinate System (latitude/longitude).

The standard attributes also include three topographic variables, the temporal period, and the cultural affiliation. The temporal period is simply the period or periods of time when a cemetery was in use. Cultural affiliation actually refers to broad ethnic categories currently used by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Table 1 lists all of the cemeteries and associated locational information. All of the information included in Table 1 is repeated in the descriptions of individual cemeteries.


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County.

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Abe Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-8 96.03-2-19.1

Alcorn Roanoke County Garden City F-10 107.00-4-38

Aliff Roanoke County Bent Mountain G-8 95.04-1-11

All Family Roanoke County McDonalds Mill K-6 20.00-1-29

All, James & Mary Ann Roanoke County Glenvar D-3 12.00-1-28.3 or 28.4

Amos Roanoke County Garden City D-11 114.00-2-21.1

Amos-Wray Roanoke County Garden City F-8 98.03-1-9

Angel Roanoke County Garden City K-1 80.00-1-5.1

Argabright Roanoke County Garden City C-10 106.00-2-27

Arnold Roanoke County Salem B-3 14.00-2-48/49/50?

Atkins Roanoke County Garden City J-7 99.00-01-32.2

Back Creek Baptist Church Roanoke County Garden City A-8 97.03-1-18

Baker Roanoke County Stewartsville C-11 61.02-3-16

Bandy Roanoke County Garden City I-6/I-5 89.03-3-2

Bandy-Crowell Gap Roanoke County Garden City I8/9-I/J-8 108.00-1-1

Bandy-Crockett Roanoke County Garden City J-1 79.02-1-1.1

Bandy-Goodwin Roanoke County Elliston I-2 73.00-1-68.5

Bane-Givens Roanoke County Glenvar H-14 63.04 -1-1

Barnhart Roanoke City Salem I-14 5120120

Baugh Roanoke County Looney F-15 12.00-1-3

Beckner Gap Roanoke County Glenvar K-3 23.00-1-36

Beard-Garman Roanoke County Glenvar A-5 20.00-1-20

Beamer Roanoke County Bent Mountain B-11 65.00-2-22

Bell Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-4 86.11-4-47

Belleview Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-4 86.11-4-47

Bellmont Roanoke City Roanoke H-8 7340101

Benois Roanoke County Garden City B-5 87.10-2-8.1

Beth Israel Roanoke City Roanoke J-9 713-7130112

Bethlehem Baptist Church Roanoke County Garden City K-2/L-2 80.00-2-4


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Betts Roanoke City Roanoke G-8 3170320

Big Hill Baptist Church Roanoke County Glenvar H-14 64.01-3-27

Blankenship Roanoke County Garden City F-8 98.04-3-22

Blankenship Graves Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-7 96.02-1-23/24?

Blankenship-Jones-King Roanoke County Elliston H-5 72.00-1-1

Blankenship, William Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-3 75.00-2-2

Blue Ridge Baptist Church Roanoke County Stewartsville C-13 71.11-1-2

Bohon Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-4 85.01-1-21

Bohon Brothers Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-10 104-1-8

Bohon Family Roanoke County Glenvar J-15 64.04-3-29

Bonsack Roanoke County Stewartsville B-6 40.14-2-16

Boone-Naff Roanoke County Garden City G-8 98.04-2-31

Bott Hollow Roanoke County Elliston I-3 73.00-1-34

Bowman-Schilling Roanoke County Elliston K-8 93.00-1-24

Bratton Roanoke County Salem B-9 44.02-2-24.3

Briggs-Jackson Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-10 103.00-5-3.1

Brillhart Roanoke County Glenvar C-5 20.00-1-8

Brillhart-Custer Roanoke County Glenvar G-3 12.00-1-14

Brooks-O'Neal Roanoke County Salem E-8 45.01-1-8

Brown Roanoke County Roanoke E-4 27.14-2-14

Brubaker Roanoke County Salem K-5 26.17-1-6

Brubaker-Huffman Roanoke County Salem I-6 36.10-1-14.1

Buck Mountain Roanoke County Garden City C-7 97.02-1-7

Burnett Roanoke County Salem J-1 16.00-1-2.1

Butt Roanoke County Glenvar L-10/11 55.01-1-21

Cain Roanoke County Salem D-7 35.03-2-75

Campbell Roanoke City Garden City F-4 453 0204

Campbell-Beckner-Wertz Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-2 77.09-4-52.3


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Carbaugh Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-1 67.18-1-7

Carney-Pace Roanoke County Roanoke K-7 40.17-2-7

Catawba Roanoke County Catawba D-13 8.00-1-8

Catawba Church Roanoke County Catawba A-14 7.00-2-49

Chapman Roanoke County Bent Mountain K-2 76.12-1-13

Church Hill Salem City Salem F-11 203-7-1

Cocke Roanoke County Roanoke G-3 27.08-2-17

Coles Roanoke County Bent Mountain B-11 103.00-3-56/57

Community Christian Roanoke County Garden City E-6 98.01-2-18

Conner Roanoke County Bent Mountain A-13 111.00-1-56.4

Cook Roanoke County Stewartsville A-7 40.14-2-3

Coon-Richardson Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-3 76.15-3-25

Cooper-Kent-Heslep Roanoke County Elliston G-2 72.02-2-11.1

Craighead Roanoke County Elliston H-14 116.00-1-8

Craighead-Conner Roanoke County Elliston H-14 109.00-1-3

Crawford (Eakin) Roanoke County McDonalds Mill K-7 31.00-2-7.1

Cunningham Roanoke City Garden City D-1 1300117

Day-Hofawger Roanoke County Garden City B-2 77.11-1-55.2

Delaney Court Roanoke County Garden City K-1 80.00-1-5.1

Dent Roanoke County Roanoke D-5 27.17-4-13

Denton-Neff Salem City Salem I-10 116-1-2

Deyerle, C. M. Roanoke County Elliston G-3 72.00-1-1

Deyerle Hollow Roanoke County Elliston E-1 63.00-1-24.01

Deyerle, Thomas Jefferson Roanoke County Elliston G-2 72.02-2-21/21.1?

Dillard Roanoke County Roanoke D-4 27.09-2-28.1/30 or 27.13-4-2

Dooley-Blankenship Roanoke County Salem G-7

Duckwiler-Hurt-Board Roanoke County Elliston K-1 73.00-2-10/11?

Duckwiler-Goodwin-Gillaspie Roanoke County Elliston H-14 64.03-1-19.02


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Eakin-Wright Roanoke County Glenvar F-3 12.00-1-16

Ebenezer Baptist Church Roanoke County Roanoke A-5 37.06-1-10/12/13

Eddington Roanoke County Garden City I-1 79.01-3-10

Ferguson, John & Lucy Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-8 96.03-2-18.1

Ferguson Family Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-4 85.01-1-30

Ferguson, David Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-4 85.02-1-5/11.1?

Ferguson, S.K. Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-6/7 95.01-2-29.1

Ferguson, William Griffith Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-7 95.01-3-70

Ferris Grave Roanoke County Garden City D-11 113.00-1-31

Foster Roanoke County Elliston K-2 73.00-2-32

France-Keagey-Obenshain Roanoke County Roanoke C-4 26.16-1-7

Freeman Roanoke County Salem G-7 35.04-2-35/50/52?

Galilee Roanoke County Elliston F-4 72.00-1-

Garman-Moses Roanoke County Glenvar B-9 41.00-2-22

Garner-Saunders Roanoke County Bent Mountain K-6/L-6 87.17-6-11.1

Garst, Frederick Salem City Salem I-8 29-1-1/29-1-5

Garst-Showalter Roanoke County Roanoke A-5 26.18-1-12.2

Gearheart Roanoke County Garden City I-2/I-3 79.03-5-56

Gish Roanoke City Roanoke K-9 710 0601

Gish-Muse Roanoke County Stewartsville B-10 61.02-6-19

Gladetown Vinton Roanoke J-12 60.19-5-47

Goode Roanoke County Salem F-15 66.04-5-4 or 66.04-2-15/15.1

Graham Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-7 95.01-2-13

Graham Family On line at TCherokeeRN homepage. Not in Klatka 1st Report.

Green Ridge Baptist Church Roanoke County Roanoke E-3 27.10-8-2

Greenwood Roanoke County Bent Mountain K-3 76.20-5-25

Grice-Woods Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-5 85.04-1-1

Grisso, John & Fannie Roanoke County Bent Mountain G-4 85.02-1-27

Grisso, William Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-5 86.03-4-22/23/24?

Grogan-Calloway Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-10 103.00-5-1


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Ground-Garst Roanoke City Salem L-8/L-9 6380201

Grubb Family Roanoke City Salem J-13 514-5140108

Grubb, Fannie & Tom Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-7 95.01-2-6/14/15?

Grubb, Hattie Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-6 94.00-1-2.05

Gum Springs Roanoke County Salem B-9 44.04-2-55/56

Hairston-White-Hill Roanoke County Garden City C-3 87.08-3-24

Haislip-Hartman Roanoke County Garden City E-8 107.00-5-7.6

Hall Family Roanoke County Glenvar E-4 21.00-1-22

Hall-Garman Roanoke County Glenvar E-4 21.00-1-21

Hall-Wright Roanoke County Glenvar F-4/G-4 21.00-1-9

Harris-Arthur Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-6 86.19-2-11

Hartman Cemetery County Garden City F-9 107.00-4-68.2

Hartman-Bowles Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City G-9 107.00-2-34.1

Hartman-Jordan Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City F-8 98.03-1-22

Hartman-Kingery-Kasey Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City F-9 107.00-4-5

Hartman-Kingery-Simmons Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City H-9 108.00-2-4.1

Hartman-Lyles Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City H-9 107.00-2-2 or 3

Hartman-Shartzer Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City B-4 87.07-05-08

Lewis Harvey Family Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-6 97.05-1-27.2

Hatcher-Goodwin-Chapman Roanoke County Elliston L-2 74.00-1-41.13

Hawley Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-8 97.03-2-16

Hays Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-7 96.01-2-34

Helms-Terry Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-11 103.00-5-69

Hemlock Avenue Roanoke County Garden City B-9 106.00-02-35.03

Henderson Roanoke County Glenvar D-4 21.00-1-35

Henry Family Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-6 85.04-2-33/34?

Henry, Stephen Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-3 76.03-5-2

Henry-Willet Roanoke County Elliston K-8 93.00-2-7


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Hicks Roanoke County Glenvar C-8 31.00-1-33

Hogan Cemetery Roanoke County Garden City K-1 79.02-1-13

Hogan-Chisom Roanoke County Garden City L-1 80.00-1-38

Horsley Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-3 74.00-3-13

Houtz Salem City Salem I-12 250-1-1.5

Howbert-Day Roanoke City Roanoke D-14 1260514

Howell Roanoke County Stewartsville C-10 61.02-2-15

Hylton Family Ronoke City Bent Mountain J-1 5090112

Jackson Roanoke County Salem B-9 44.04-2-53

Johns Cemetery Roanoke County Glenvar A-7 31.00-1-9

Jordan Roanoke County Garden City F-10 107.00-4-82.4

Kefauver Roanoke City Garden City I-1 4360603

King Roanoke County Elliston I-14 117.00-1-28.2

Kingery-Brough Roanoke County Garden City F-9/G-9 107.00-2-29

Kingery-Campbell Roanoke County Garden City G-8 98.04-1-44

Kingery-Meador Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-9 106.00-2-74

Kirkwood Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-7 94.02-2-34

Kittinger Roanoke County Bent Mountain G-8 95.04-1-4.3

Lavinder Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-5 86.15-3-6.3

Lavinder-Wood Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-7 94.02-2-16

Lawrence Roanoke County Elliston L-12 111.00-1-35/36?

Lewis-Powell Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-11 111.00-2-1.9

Leffler Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-3 76.03-7-21.3

Light Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-9 105.00-6-2

Little Back Creek Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-5 85.03-1-11.01

Little Hope Primitive Baptist Church Roanoke County Elliston H-2 82.00-1-6

Lockett Roanoke County Garden City B-3 77.18-1-38

Logan Roanoke City Bent Mountain J-13 5090401

Lowry-Sears Roanoke City Salem K-8 6140324


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Lunsford Roanoke County Stewartsville B-10 50.03-1-14

Mallory-Gordon-Danner Roanoke County Roanoke E-3 27.06-3-5

Mangus-Mt. Cassell Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-11 65.00-1-27.2

Marie Drive Roanoke County Bent Mountain G-10 104.00-1-29/43?

Martin Roanoke County Garden City F-5 88.04-1-25

Martin, Drew Roanoke County Glenvar D-8 32.00-1-14

Martin, Ed & Sylvia Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-7 96.02-1-29

Martin-Simpson Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-6 94.02-2-3

Martin, Sparrel Roanoke County Bent Mountain B-7 94.00-1-28.03

Mason Road Vinton Roanoke L-12 71.06-1-40

Mays, Alexander & Temple Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-7 94.02-2-29

McClanhan Roanoke City Roanoke C-11 232 2214

Mclung Roanoke County Roanoke L-8 50.01-1-16.02

McCray Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-5 84.04-1-1/2/3?

McGuire Roanoke County Garden City D-11 113.00-1-27

McGuire-Kingery-Buckner Roanoke County Garden City C-11 106.00-2-31

Meador-Parker Roanoke County Bent Mountain J-8/K-8 96.04-3-1.8

Mercy House Roanoke County Glenvar L-12 55.09-1-18.1

Metz Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-8 96.03-2-23

Miller-Day Roanoke County Garden City B-2/B-3 77.15-1-3329

Millers Cove Roanoke County Looney G-15 12.00-1-1

Mitchell Roanoke City Roanoke C-12 1410207/1410208

Moore Roanoke County Glenvar F-7 32.00-1-18

Moore-Bain Roanoke County Glenvar C-9 41.00-1-4

Moorman Roanoke City Roanoke E-11 2031113

Morgan Roanoke County Catawba D-13 8.00-1-8

Mount Moriah Roanoke City Roanoke K-9 710 0710

Mt. Pleasant Roanoke County Garden City J-3 79.04-2-54

Mt. Pleasant Church Roanoke County Garden City I-2 79.02-1-69


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Murdock-Bain Roanoke County Glenvar C-9 41.00-2-19

Murdock-Fagg Roanoke County Glenvar C-10 41.00-1-11.1

Murray Roanoke County Garden City D-12 114.00-1-64

Muse, Elijah & Louisa Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-5 86.03-4-4

Muse-Harris Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-4 86.01-1-24.1

Old Lick Roanoke City Roanoke G-11 3020101

Old Wingo Roanoke County Garden City D/E-10 107.00-5-48/56?

Oliver Roanoke County Roanoke I-9 N/A

Oregon Ave. Roanoke City Garden City B-1 1560204

Owen Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-4 85.01-1-25

Owen-Hale Roanoke County Salem E-14 66.00-1-13

Owen Cemetery Roanoke County Elliston I-3 73.00-1-63

Oylers Roanoke County Garden City E-11 114.00-1-39

Parrish Cemetery Salem City Salem I-8 B/W35-3-1&35-3-2

Persinger Roanoke City Roanoke B-13 152 0315

Peters Creek Roanoke City Salem K-7 6160624

Pines Roanoke County Bent Mountain A-10/B-10 103.00-2-10.2

Pinkard Court Roanoke County Garden City D-4 87.08-1-1

Poage Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-6 96.01-37

Poindexter Roanoke County Roanoke B-5 26.19-1-30.1

Preston Vinton Roanoke K-11 61.13-2-29

Rettinger-Callahan Roanoke County Glenvar J-13 64.02-3-8.2

Reynolds-Beamer Roanoke County Salem C-14 65.00-1-33?

Reynods-Carpenter Roanoke County Glenvar I-12 54.04-6-39

Rhimes Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-4 85.01-1-42

Richards-Stultz Roanoke County Garden City C-3 77.20-1-43

Richardson-Bonsack-Brubaker Roanoke County Roanoke G-6 38.16-1-3.10

Ridgeway Roanoke County Garden City G-9 107.00-3-11.1

Rison-Willet-Sloan Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-8 94.00-1-80

Romar Drive Salem City Salem H-13 300-1-4.3


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Routt Roanoke County Garden City K-5 89.00-3-35

Roanoke County Roanoke I-4 28.01-1-14

Roy Roanoke County Garden City D-9 107-5-26

Scott Roanoke County Salem B-9 44.04-2-50

Sears Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-4 84.00-1-2.7

Shartzer-Thompson Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-3 77.14-7-2/3?

Shaver-Deyerle Roanoke County Bent Mountain L-1 77.05-2-30

Shaver-Light Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-8 96.03-2-12

Shepherd, Lewis & Lenore Roanoke City Salem J-15 None

Sheppard Roanoke County Garden City G-10 107.00-02-57.01

Simmons-Weaver Roanoke County Garden City H-8 99.00-2-20

Simpson Roanoke County Check I-1 117.00-1-24.1

Slate Hill Baptist Church-Old Roanoke County Garden City B-5/C-5 87.11-2-36

Slate Hill Baptist Church-New Roanoke County Garden City C-3 87.08-3-32

Sloan Roanoke County Bent Mountain G-7 95.02-2-61.1

Sloan-Hattin Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-5 86.03-1-10.1 & 10

Smallwood Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-8 96.03-2-19.2

Smallwood, John & Henretta Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-7 96.02-1-29

Smith, Absalom & Martha Roanoke County Salem C-2 14.00-2-3

Smith Family Roanoke County Catawba F-15 15.02-1-16

Smith-Horne Roanoke County Salem G-2 15.02-2-34/36/37

Smith-Turner Roanoke County Glenvar I-14 64.01-1-53/56/57?

Snyder-Briggs Roanoke County Garden City D-11 114.00-2-20

Springwood Roanoke City Roanoke F-10 2050701 & 2050702

Stamback Roanoke County Garden City E-10 107.00-5-56.2

Statler-Seacat-Sedon Roanoke County Bent Mountain I-2 76.10-4-25

St Clair Roanoke County Stewartsville B-6 40.04-1-8/9?

Sutphin Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-6 85.03-1-15

Taylor Roanoke County Garden City B-13 113.00-1-44.1


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Temple Emanuel Roanoke City Roanoke J-9 713-7130111

Terry Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-10 103.00-5-6/7/10?

Terry-Coles Roanoke County Elliston L-9 103.00-1-2

Thrasher-Short Roanoke City Roanoke I-10/J-10 707 0207

Tinnel Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-7/E-7 95.01-1-36

Trevey-Anderson-Hartman Roanoke City Salem J-8 613 0502

Trout-Miller Roanoke City Salem L-12 6021106?

Turner-Day Turner-Day Roanoke County Bent Mountain E-7 95.01-2-20

Turner-Richardson Roanoke County Garden City H-6 99.01-1-4

Twine Hollow Road Roanoke County Glenvar F-14 63.00-1-8

Unnamed (fortune Ridge) Roanoke County Garden City E-10 107.00-5-56.5

Vinyard, Abraham Vinton Roanoke K-12 60.20-3-57

Vinyard, Christian Vinton Roanoke K-13 71.05-2-50

Virginia Springs Road Roanoke County Garden City J-7 99.00-01-21

Wade Roanoke County Garden City B-13 113.00-1-44.1

Wade-Gladden-Neighbors Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-3 74.00-3-26

Wade-Lloyd Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-5 84.04-1-11

Walton Roanoke County Salem C-12 55.04-1-71

Webb Roanoke County Check K-1 117.00-1-88.3

Webster, Johnny Roanoke County Bent Mountain B-7 94.00-1-20

Webster, Henry Roanoke County Bent Mountain C-7 94.02-2-9

Webster-Sink Roanoke County Bent Mountain B9/C9 103.00-3-37

Wertz Roanoke County Bent Mountain H-7 96.03-2-4

West Hill Salem City Salem F-10 104-10-8

Wharton-Burgess Roanoke County Bent Mountain F-4 75.00-2-36.1

Whiteneck Roanoke County Garden City H-7 99.00-2-11

Wills-Walton Roanoke County Bent Mountain K-2 76.12-2-34

Wimmer Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-7 95.01-2-3

Wingo Roanoke County Garden City D-10 107.00-5-40


Table 1. Documented Cemeteries in Roanoke County (continued).

Cemetery Name Location Map Sheet Grid Locus Parcel Number

Wood Roanoke County Roan/GardCty K-14/K-1 70.04-4-19.01

Wood-Goodwin Roanoke County Elliston K-2 73.00-2-38.1

Woodmont Roanoke County Bent Mountain K-3 76.00-04-18

Woods-Spessard Roanoke County Glenvar G-5 21.00-1-49.8

Woodward Roanoke County Check H-2 117.00-1-6

Woltz Roanoke County Bent Mountain D-10 103.00-5-91 or 90

Wrenn Salem City Salem I-8 30-1-15

Wright Roanoke County Stewartsville C-9 50.04-3-65