Dismayed at Condition Of Cemeteries in Area
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to travel back to Wheeling from my home in Maryland. The roots of my family run deep in Wheeling, going back to the middle of the 1800s in one branch and even farther in another. I was anticipating the chance to see where my great grandparents and other relatives were buried and sharing pictures to my relatives. You can imagine my dismay when I realized it was an impossible task.
Many of my family members are buried in the Mt. Zion Cemetery on Fairmont Avenue. Despite the amazing efforts of a small handful of volunteers led by Paula Stein, Stephen Davis and Charles Yocke, much of the cemetery is strangled by brambles and brush and the road that encircles the center of the cemetery is too dangerous to drive a car upon.
I was further dismayed to find that the cemetery at Roney’s Point has vanished completely, without so much as a gate or a sign to indicate its location. If it hadn’t been for the kindness of the man who lives next door to where the cemetery is located, we would never have even seen where the “entrance” to the cemetery is supposed to be.
I am aware that times are tough across this country and I am also aware that West Virginia has had to bear a greater burden than many other states, but I am reaching out in appeal to the pride of the people in Ohio County. There is a proverb that states: “As you do for your ancestors, so shall your children do for you.” Do our ancestors deserve to be treated as if they never mattered? Do the founders of Ohio County who worked and bled and died to make Wheeling the great city it is, deserve to be lost simply because the times have gotten a bit hard? This is the heart of your history, the names of the people and the connections of communities where you live.
Can you not find it in your hearts to gather the funding and the volunteers to restore your ancestors to the dignity they deserve? I call upon your civic leaders and the people of Ohio County to answer my challenge and find a way to honor your history, restore your pride in who you are and where you come from so that your children will be able to do that for you.