Reconnecting With the Past

NATRIUM – When Moundsville resident Judy Digiandominco received a call Monday saying the grave of her ancestor was found in a centuries-old cemetery located at the Dominion Natrium Processing and Fractionation Facility property, she simply couldn’t believe it.

Located in what was once called “Welcome Community,” is a tombstone of her direct ancestor John Hyder, who was married to Jane Cockayne, in an old forgotten cemetery located south of the Rail Loaders building on the plant’s property. Dominion employees and the Marshall County Historical Society had been working to restore the cemetery to reveal to local residents Tuesday and wanted to invite Digiandominico and her sister, Sally Traversa, a Martins Ferry resident, to see the grave for themselves.

“It’s just absolutely unbelievable we were able to find our great-great-great-great-ancestor so this is really a very meaningful day for us, because we’ve not known where to find them,” Traversa said. “This is something we can pass down to our children so they know where to come and visit.”

According to the sisters, they knew John Hyder lived in the Clarington area, but did not have information on his burial place. Finding Locust Grove is another piece of the puzzle of their family’s history.

“We had no idea about this cemetery,” Digiandominco said. “This is absolutely wonderful.”

The $5,000 project between Dominion Natrium and the Marshall County Historical Society to repair and restore both the Locust Grove Cemetery and Cedar Curve Cemetery, is part of Dominion’s environmentally-related projects designed to serve local communities.

According to Christine Mitchell, compliance coordinator for Dominion Natrium, the cemetery’s restoration was done through volunteer work of Dominion workers.

Over the past month, employees have mowed, removed brush and weeds, replaced an old chain link fence with new decorative aluminum fencing and gate, removed remnants of leaning concrete fence posts, installed a solar light post and sign and restored some broken tombstones.

A light post and sign also was ordered for the Cedar Curve Cemetery north of the compressor building. According to Mitchell, a bench and flowering shrubs will be added if funds are available.

There are about 30 tombstone in Locust Grove and the Marshall County Historical Society believes one of the men buried there fought in the Revolutionary War.

Cedar Grove Cemetery is thought to be where servants and paupers were buried, since the graves are not marked.

“It’s been a wonderful partnership,” Jane Klug, president of the historical society, said. “I’m so glad we have some residents of the area here and so glad we have two ladies who are direct descendants here today to enjoy this.”