A Photographic Study of All Things West Virginia

John Hayes Patton

It is customary practice in rural West Virginia for burials to take place in family cemeteries.  These cemeteries are typically located on high ground and offer a commanding view of the family property, a fitting and proper final resting place for the deceased.  Maintenance responsibility, of course, falls to the remaining family members.

Most of these family cemeteries are proudly maintained, but in some instances they fall into a state of neglect.  In these cases one can only speculate that the surviving and ever more distant relatives have either moved away or cannot be bothered with the burden of upkeep.

The image that follows shows the grave of John Hayes Patton,  a Union soldier in the Civil War who is buried in the Hershberger Cemetery in Roane County, West Virginia.  This old cemetery is located on a high knoll that would have offered a nice view of the surrounding area, but is now thoroughly overgrown with vegetation and largish trees.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of these old unmaintained cemeteries scattered across the state of West Virginia.  They are fascinating places to visit, but i’m always saddened by the thought of so much history slowly eroding away.

Hershberger Cemetery


One response

  1. Marilyn Walker

    John Hayes Patton was my great-great grandfather, and there are more visitors to his grave than you might think. Unfortunately, most are now too old to take on the task of maintenance of the cemetery or live out of state. A note: John Hayes Patton’s father was William Patton who is portrayed on the West Virginia State Seal.

    January 31, 2014 at 5:16 pm

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