Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grafton National Cemetery

I knew there was a national cemetery at Grafton, but I had never seen it. No wonder--it is hidden away in a part of town called Fetterman, which used to be a separate community. It is on the opposite side of the Tygart River from downtown Grafton, and feels like a different place. And the cemetery early on Sunday morning had a somber feeling all of its own.

My friend MK Stover told me how to find the cemetery after the storytelling session Saturday night. I had mentioned T. Bailey Brown during the program--Brown is believed to have been the first Union soldier killed in the Civil War. He died on May 22, 1861, in Fetterman. I read about him in a small WV guidebook that has all the test of the historical markers in the state (a very handy thing to keep in the glovebox!).

I was surprised to find that MK knew so much about this soldier. She has, I learned, done a great deal of research on the topic (see her article about him here) and she got me interested in seeing the gravesite of Bailey Brown. For example, she told me that the mother of the founder of Mother's Day said the eulogy for Mr. Brown because no one else would do it--no one wanted to appear to be choosing sides, you see. I am hoping MK will write an article for Goldenseal magazine; I'm sure many people would be interested in learning about little-known bit of history.

So we found our way to the cemetery. Soldiers from the Civil War,, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and Korea are buried here. We did not see any graves of Vietnam veterans, but there may be some.

Pictures describe better than words what we found in this place of rest for those who saw so much unrest.

Bailey Brown's resting place.

Rest in peace, soldiers.


DGranna said...

One of my gt grandfather's brothers, James Griffin, is buried at Grafton. He was first buried at Charleston, then was one of the first moved to Grafton at close of Civil War. I found a picture of his stone on Find a Grave. Even though he was from WV it says Ohio as the brothers went to Ohio to join the union in the Ohio Vols. Glad to have these pictures.

Granny Sue said...

I will look for his grave when I'm back in grafton, DGranna, and place a flag on it. It would be an honor to do so.

Janet, said...

that is a beautiful cemetery, Susanne, and an interesting story about Mr.Brown.

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