Mt. Wood Cemetery History: 1902
- from "History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer (1902), CHAPTER XVIII—SILENT CITIES OF THE DEAD.
MOUNT WOOD CEMETERY.
The crowded condition of what is now known as the Hempfield cemetery, together with the imminent prospect of its removal on account of the construction of the Hempfield Railroad, moved a number of the prominent citizens of that day to look about for another place of interment, and finally Mount Wood was selected as the site, with the following named gentlemen as members of the company and who also signed the application for an incorporation: Thomas Sweeney, Moses C. Good, Henry Moore, Neil McNaughten, Morgan Nelson, Alfred Caldwell and J. M. Bushfield. A meeting was held soon after for the purpose of organization, ? at this meeting John McLure, Sr., presided, while F. W. Bassett acted as secretary. These gentlemen became permanent officers and John R. Morrow was elected treasurer. Mr. McLure was afterward succeeded as president by John Goshorn and he by John Bishop, Esq., who held the office until the time of his death, when Robert Campbell, Esq., was elected, and he is still the president. F. W. Bassett was the first secretary and continued in that office until 1871, when I. H. Williams was elected. The first directors were John McLure, S. P. Hullihen, James E. Wharton, John R. Morrow, M. Edwards, Henry K. List, William McCoy, Philip Sutton and F. W. Bassett.
The grounds, we are informed, at first comprised over 20 acres, and were laid out by Robert Woods, Esq., in beautiful style. Mount Wood cemetery, from its naturally beautiful and attractive situation, at once became the popular cemetery not only of the city of Wheeling, but lots were purchased by residents of the country round about. It is situated on an eminence immediately east of North Wheeling, and from it an unobstructed view of the country in all directions for miles and miles is obtained. For many years the grounds were neatly and tastefully kept, the walks were graveled and bordered, and were well attended to; the vaults were neat and attractive, the shrubbery was fresh and beautiful, and there was no cemetery in the West that presented a more inviting appearance, but of late years, or since the establishment of Greenwood cemetery, there is not the same appearance of things that was admirable and noticeable a decade ago. We do not mean by what we have said to underestimate or underrate what is still a beautiful graveyard, but there is something about it now that shows the beginning of its decline. Some of the stones are inclining, and upon others the inscriptions are faded and worn, the result of the effects of sulphur and the elements; then, too, the tombs do not generally show that care and attention that are necessary to keep them at all times presentable, but this we apprehend is attributable to the fact that the friends of many who are interred here are either gone from the city or have ceased to take an interest in beautifying the lots. These remarks and stricture are the result of visits to the cemetery. Many of the tombs, however, and by far the larger part of them, are in very good condition; indeed, some of them are really beautiful, and show the effects of tender care and love in every little particular of adornment and embellishment.
In Mount Wood cemetery there are eight vaults owned by the following families: First, the vault erected by Isaac Cotts in 1863. This vault is situated on the drive which winds around the base of the hill, and is not far from the turnstile near the superintendent's house. There are quite a number of coffins in this vault, containing the remains of the members of the family, and probably such others as the courtesy of the owners has permitted to occupy it.
Near by this vault is another very handsome one owned by John L. Hobbs, while just beyond, but below the drive, is the vault of the late John Bishop, who died a few years ago, and whose remains are laid in it. In this vault are also several coffins, the names of whose occupants were unknown to our informant.
We next come upon the family vault of General Shriver, and just beyond this are those of the Ott family, erected by Samuel Ott. Upon the summit of the mount there are two vaults, one the property of D. C. List and the other of the late Capt. John List, although unoccupied at present, the family of the latter having removed his remains to Greenwood.
The superintendent of Mount Wood cemetery at the time this visit was made was Levy Noble, who lives near the grounds and gives them all the attention one man can possibly do.
He informed our commissioner that his individual efforts were inadequate to the demands upon them, but he did the best he could. The walks needed gravel, some of them attention and the cemetery in general much more care than it gets. There are quite a number of lots enclosed by paling fences, and many of them are becoming unpainted, old and are gradually falling down, all of which detracts very much from the appearance of the grounds.
Mount Wood cemetery, or the portions of it that persons would choose for the purposes of interment is nearly all occupied, and it is only a question of time until it will be practically abandoned. Among some of the persons who are buried in this cemetery are the following, whose names we noted upon the monuments and gravestones: Dr. S. P. Hullihen, the children of Col. E. M. Norton, the wives of Benjamin Fisher and John McLure, William Wilson, Rev. Paull and many others.
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