Self-Guided History Tours (Narratives)

Enjoy the wonderful history of some interesting people who have been laid to rest in this beautiful place.

The Friends of Spring Hill Cemetery Park and Arboretum have been busy adding historical tours, starting with the old circle, and we are currently working on our fourth version. Listed below are the historical narratives for THREE self-guided walks that correspond to the following numbered signs:

GREEN – Old Circle 1 – see GREEN narrative below

RED – Old Circle 2 – see RED narrative below

BLUE – Begins at Kinney Dr and Lucas Dr intersection – see BLUE narrative below

HISTORY WALK NARRATIVE: OLD CIRCLE PART 1 – Follow GREEN numbered signs to locate these graves

2018 Old Circle Map History Walk – Part 1 – goes with GREEN Tour

1. Spring Hill Cemetery Mausoleum, built in 1910, is a remarkable above ground crypt made of limestone reinforced concrete with a red tiled roof and a Moorish Byzantine design, noteworthy for its raw iron grilles. It is on the registry of National Historic Places.

2. Dr. Henry Rogers (1788-1837) Rogers was one of the first doctors in Charleston. Note the dates 1822, 1823, 1825, 1827, and 1828, these are the death dates of his children. All probably died from an infectious disease.

3. Dr. John P. Hale (1824-1902) Hale was an historic figure and businessman primarily responsible for bringing the Capitol to Charleston. His maternal ancestors were the Ingles and Draper families who founded Drapers Meadows, the first white settlement west of the Alleghenies. In 1755 Mary Ingles, his great-grandmother, was taken captive by Indians. She made salt for the Indians and was the first white person to traverse the Kanawha Valley. In 1840 Hale came to the Valley and took up the study of medicine. In 1847, he gave up medicine and went into the salt manufacturing business. When the civil war broke out, Dr. Hale organized an artillery for the Confederacy, commanding the battery where he was a Confederate surgeon in the Seven Days Battles around Richmond. He introduced the first brick making machinery and, at his own expense, paved the first brick street in America here in Charleston. He helped start Charleston’s first theater and first steam ferry business. He built the Hale House Hotel to accommodate legislators. When the salt business was it its height, he was the premier producer and led in forming a salt trust, the first trust in America. He was also a prolific writer of history books.

4. Jimmy Clark Welch (1836-1861) was killed in action with Dr. Hale’s artillery battery at the Battle of Scary Creek near St. Albans.

5. Betsy Quarrier Fontaine (1882-1882) Note the large, beautifully ornate Celtic Cross Monument.

6. George Summers Laidley (1855-1938) Laidley was widely known as “Professor George” where his influence as an educator and his success in the public schools was well known. From 1878 to 1922, he was Superintendent of Charleston schools and was instrumental in founding the Kanawha County Library. Laidley Field was named after him.

7. Col. Alexander Quarrier (1746-1827) Quarrier commanded a company in the Revolutionary War.

8. Caroline Evelyn Gentry (1870-1939). Gentry was the first woman, and person, in WV to produce a silent film, “Key to Power,“ which was released in 1920.  She was also the first person in the world to make a historic film with continuity and authenticity.  The great American she chose was Theodore Roosevelt.

9. Nora Scanlon (1817 to 1897)  Scanlon was born in County Kerry, Ireland. Her unique stone is of red quartz marble.

10.  Jim T Snyder (unknown)  Snyder has the only pyramid-shaped monument in Spring Hill Cemetery.  Although little is known, his marker is replete with Bible verses leading one to wonder if Mr. Snyder was a preacher.

11. Sanford A. Hickle (1816-1887) Hickle was an inventor with many patents to his credit. These included the great-cold liquor quick-tan in 1865, and the 1866 water-proof patterned enamel used on leather, steel, and wood.

12.  Willie Daniels (1886-1895) Here lies a young boy whose marker is made of zinc.

13. Moses Frankenberger (1834-1902) Frankenberger was a prominent business leader owning Frankenberger’s Clothing Store. He sided with the Union and was imprisoned for three months, losing a large part of his fortune. He organized the successful Citizens’ Bank and helped to build the Temple Israel on the boulevard.

14. Dr. Spicer Patrick (1791-1884) In 1816, Patrick came to the valley as a practicing physician. He was well-respected, traveling long distances to care for his patients. He was interested in the welfare of his county and state and was frequently sent to the Legislature and state conventions. Patrick Street is named for him.

15. Judge James Brown, Supreme Court Justice (1818-1900) Brown was a delegate of the 1861 Wheeling Convention, a legislative member of the Restored Government of Va. In 1863, he helped frame the constitution of the new State of WV and became a judge to the WV Supreme Court of Appeals. This monument dates to 1900, weighs 35 tons and rises to a height of 30 feet. It took a team of 24 mules to draw it up the hill.

16. James Truslow (1778-1830) In 1815, Truslow became the first tailor in the area. In 1867, his son John was appointed by the Town Council to a committee with the purpose of acquiring property for Spring Hill Cemetery.

17.  Mary Watkins (1907-1949)  Watkins was from a family in the steamboat business.  The bronze doors on her mausoleum are important works of art in the Art Deco style. Look through the doors at the beautiful stained glass!

18.  Lewis (1871) & Lizzie Quindora Dix (1863-1880) An ornate zinc monument marks this gravesite.  The many details of the funerary art show the family’s devotion: lamb for innocence; laurel wreath for victory/eternity/chastity; drape is a common symbol between heaven & earth; acanthus leaves – from earthly pain to eternal life; woman pointing up – pathway to heaven.  Notice the testimony on the obelisk “It’s all right.“

19. William S Johnson (1871-1942) Johnson was known as “Pistol Bill“ for his early stance on gun control.  As a senator in the 1908 legislature, he successfully sponsored legislation to require WV residents to have a permit to carry a firearm. He was also superintendent of Fayette County schools, WV State Treasurer, and Executive Secretary of the WV Crippled Children’s Society.

20. Miles Vernon Dixson (1913-1935) Dixson was a teller at the Kanawha Valley Bank. He wanted to be an aviator and went to Glen Clark’s seaplane flying school on the Kanawha River. Prior to taking his test, he took a practice flight over the cemetery where one of the wings came off his plane and he perished in a crash next to the mausoleum.

21. Harry F. Cotton (1854-1878) The angel monument was hand carved in Italy.

22. H.C. Dickinson (1830-1871) Dickinson served in the Confederate Army. He was captured and imprisoned with the group known as the Immortal 600. Because he was an ex-Confederate, he could not practice law. Known for his business sense, Dickinson followed his father in salt making and later into banking, helping to incorporate the Kanawha Valley Bank and serving as the first president. At the time of his death, he was serving as the first Democratic mayor.

23.  Kathleen Robinson (1885-1886)  Notice the cradle monument placed here for loss of an infant. The symbol on the stone, lily-of-the-valley, is for innocence, purity, and virginity.

24. The Unknown Civil War Soldiers (1861-1865)  This area is marked on the four corners with rectangles showing CW, possibly both Union and Confederate.

25. Andrew Donnally (1745-1820) Donnally was born in Ireland and settled in Greenbrier County. In May 1778, he and his family and neighbors survived an Indian attack on Fort Donnally near Lewisburg. He became one of the earliest pioneers in Charleston and one of the largest salt makers in The Kanawha Valley while holding multiple government offices.

HISTORY WALK NARRATIVE:  OLD CIRCLE PART 2 – Follow the RED numbered signs to locate these graves

2018 Old Circle Map History Walk – Part 2 – goes with RED Tour

1. Minerva Risk (1908-1927) The white marble statue of a young girl with angel wings is the focal point of the C.K. Risk family plot. It was placed there in memory of their 19 year old daughter who died of complications during surgery. 

2. Minerva B. Reynolds Todd (1802-1836) The carving of a weeping willow tree symbolized immortality. It was one of the most used symbols of the late 18th and 19th centuries. 

3. James Ruffner (1807-1868) He was the grandson of one of Charleston’s founding fathers, Joseph Ruffner. In 1806, the family dug the first deep salt well west of the Alleghenies and also introduced the use of coal as fuel for the salt furnaces. Note the Teutonic Cross denoting their German heritage. 

4. Dr. James Putney (1816-1876) Dr. Putney’s father was Dr. Richard Putney who came to this area between 1812 and 1814, starting a medical practice in the Malden area. Dr. Richard Putney’s house is the oldest brick dwelling in Malden. Dr. James Putney, Jr. graduated from the University of Maryland in 1889, living in the brick building that is now Malden’s Saline Lodge, the earliest Masonic Lodge in Kanawha County. 

5. Rachel Grant Tompkins (1804-1882) The aunt of President Ulysses S. Grant, she lived in Cedar Grove, WV. She was the reason President Grant visited Charleston in 1872. In 1841, her husband, William Tompkins, used Cedar Grove’s natural gas to fuel his salt furnaces and light the salt works, thus creating the world’s first natural gas industry. 

6. William H. Davis (1849-1938) Davis enlisted in Grand Army of Republic/Union Army, serving as a Light guard (Body Guard) for President Abraham Lincoln from 1863-1865. He settled in Tinkersville (Malden). In 1865, he started his career as a school teacher in the home of Rev. Lewis Rice where he taught Booker T. Washington. He was one of 5 members, serving as Secretary, of the Council of Founders, organizing the Little Zion Baptist Church in Chappel’s Hollow and First Baptist Church of Charleston in 1866. Mr. Davis was nominated to run for Governor of WV in 1888. He retired as an educator in 1913. In 1937, Mr. Davis was an Honored Guest at the anniversary celebration for Booker T. Washington at the Tuskegee Institute. 

7. Henry Floyd Gamble, MD (1862-1933) Dr. Gamble attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania from 1882-1888, and subsequently earned his medical degree from Yale University in 1891. He set up a medical/surgical practice in Charleston, WV with hospital privileges at Charleston General Hospital. He served as president of the National Medical Association from 1911-1912. He was described as an avid reader who spoke German and Hebrew, a devoted man who was politically independent and active in Negro medical affairs. Dr. Gamble was a friend of Booker T. Washington, and was particularly interested in Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He died at the age of 70 when his car was struck by a train. 

8. William W. Rayburn (1870-1905) His stone incorporates a variety of funeral imagery including the tree stump with the unusual details of rope and bark. The fern symbolizes humility, frankness, and sincerity. The ivy symbolizes immortality and fidelity. Ivy clinging to a support refers to attachment, friendship, and undying affection. 

9. Aunt Patsy Weaver (1829-1899) Her monument is the only one in the park which denotes the family relationship of “aunt.” Her stone reads, “Beloved by All, Faithful To The End, She Has Entered Into Her Eternal Reward.” 

10. Elder Lewis Rice (1820-1902) He was the founder and pastor of African Zion Baptist Church (Mother Church of all Negro Baptist Churches in WV). Elder Rice was considered a beloved pioneer minister and referred to as “Father Rice” because of his persistent efforts on behalf of religious freedom and education for freed slaves. 

11. Reverend JE Bullock (????-1909) Rev. Bullock was a minister and lecturer. He served as pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston 1898-1909. He was the first African American invited to open the session of the State Legislature with prayer. He was described as having statewide fame as a great preacher and known for his breath of knowledge. He was also known for writing and directing plays. 

12. Benjamin H. Smith (1787-1887) During the Civil War, in 1863, Lincoln appointed him as US District Attorney for the Western District of Virginia soon to become West Virginia. His three children and their descendants were prominent in developing parts of Charleston, including Kanawha City. 

13. Dickinson (1700-present) The Dickinson Family moved to the Kanawha Valley in the late 1700’s where they became major landowners and salt makers. Two seventh-generation descendants of William Dickinson have recently revived the salt enterprise in Malden, WV. 

14. Gov. George W. Atkinson (1845-1925) He was a Congressman, WV Governor 1897-1901, and US District Attorney from 1901-1905. In 1993, a plaque was placed at his gravesite by the Masons of WV praising his honesty, loyalty, and integrity. 

15. Webster Smith (1856-1941) Note the monument at the gravesite – a Celtic cross decorated with sculpted art characterized by elaborately interlacing bands. 

16. Albert Edgar Summers (1824-1901) A physician from Kanawha County, Summers was the Democratic speaker of the WV House of Delegates in 1872 and Democratic President of the WV Senate 1881-1883. The top of the family’s granite monument has a chiseled drape to signify mourning. 

17. John Dickinson Lewis (1800-1882) Notice the large tree stump with bark peeled away to reveal the family’s name. A tree stump monument refers to a life cut short. Ferns symbolize humility, frankness, and sincerity; vines are one of the more powerful symbols of the relationship between God and man. A laurel wreath is for victory, eternity, immorality, and chastity. 

18. O.T. Thayer (1935-1900) Brothers O.T. and W.T., and the Ruffner brothers, operated a steam ferry across the Kanawha River where the current South Side Bridge is located. Legend is that during Prohibition, liquor was hidden inside this zinc monument as one of the side panels was removable. 

19. W.T. Thayer (1831-1901) W.T. has a large granite urn. He and brother, O.T., founded what came to be known as the South Side Foundry and Machine Company, which they operated from 1870-1900. 

20. Alex Black Conway Payne (1888-1889) A baby, Alex was the son of Charles and Emma Payne. The second cradle gravestone in the park, note “Little Alex” on the bottom piece of the cradle. 

21. Richard Ruffner (1881-1890) Here is the beloved 9 yr. old son of Mary Jackson & Joseph Ruffner. Buried beside his parents, Richard’s headstone has the words “OUR BOY” chiseled in the granite.

HISTORY WALK NARRATIVE:  PART 3 – Follow BLUE numbers (Begins at the intersection Kinney Drive and Lucas Drive)  Follow the BLUE numbered signs to locate these graves

1. Julius de Grutyer, Jr. (1894-1980) was a noted author, artist and Kanawha Valley historian who authored the Kanawha Spectator Part 1 and II. 

2. John W. M. Appleton (1932-1913) was an officer in the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, the union’s first regiment of African American soldiers during the Civil War. Promoted to captain and then major, Appleton led Company A into intense combat in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida where the 54th was assigned to capture Confederate coastal positions. After the war, he moved to Kanawha County where he lived for 50 years. His descendants still reside in Charleston. 

3. Jacob Goshorn (1818-1906) was Charleston’s first mayor, elected four months before Union Troops moved into Charleston following the Battle of Scary Creek in July, 1981. Goshorn surrendered the town to the Union troops whose occupation prevented Mr. Goshorn from serving as mayor of the city. 

4. Matthew Dunbar (1791-1857) It was said Dunbar’s funeral was attended by almost the entire town who deeply mourned his death. In 1876, George W. Atkinson author of History of Kanawha County, said Dunbar was the most distinguished and honorable lawyer and judge of the Kanawha bar of his generation. The obelisk monument at his grave site reads, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” 

5. McLean Nash (1883-1955) “Pax” (peace) is chiseled in the granite cross which is in the Nash family plot. 

6. Rebecca Tendael Wood Littlepage (1823-1896) She and her family lived in the Littlepage Stone Mansion on Point Pleasant Road – now W. Washington Street in Charleston. During the Civil War, Confederate General Henry Wise wanted to use her home as his headquarters, but Littlepage refused. When Wise threatened to blow up the house, she stood on the porch with the children, defying his order and the family home was spared. The Housing Authority of Charleston purchased the house in 1939. The acorn monument placed in the Littlepage/Putney family plot symbolizes life and immortality as the acorn is the seed of the oak tree – a symbol of potential to come and of strength. 

7. Frank Weston Cart (1878-1902) A train engine has been carved on this red granite stone. You will notice that O R C #233 indicates that Mr. Cart was a member of the first union of locomotive engineers. 

8. Henry Lette (1864-1915) and Maggie Paytor Letter (1965-1930) This family used a tree stump and logs to mark the graves. A tree stump generally denotes a life cut short. 

9. Ballengee, Gradie (1901-1901) This is the 3rd cradle monument in the cemetery. But this one is made of metal. Notice the lovely little rose and the inscription: “Our Darling.” 

10. Edward D. Stewart (1877-1938) His serving in the Spanish American War is noted on his stone. He was in Company L, of the 1st West Virginia Infantry. Notice the motto, To Die is Great, which is carve on the stone’s bottom. 

11. Ethel Mime (1896-1902) Her stone denotes that she is the adopted daughter of Virginia F. McGard. 

12. Will Edgar Cooper (1874-1905) Mr. Cooper’s membership in a fraternal organization is noted on his stone. I.O.R.M., stands for the Improved Order of Red Men. Cornstalk-Tribe 23 was a chapter in Charleston, WV. The IORM was a fraternal organization founded in 1765 and originally known as the Sons of Liberty, promoting liberty and freedom in the early colonies. This secret society was patterned after the Iroquois Indian nation and its democratic governing body. 

13. R. R. Dawson (1862-1906) and Lucretia E. Lewis (1875-1942) Notice the various Masonic emblems on this red granite stone. Also notice the beautiful carving at the bottom. “GOD IS JUST-HE KNOWS MY HEART” “GOING DOWN THE VALLEY ONE BY ONE.” 

14. Samuel T. Shrewsbury (1809-1925) Samuel was the son of Joel and Sally Dickinson Shrewsbury, dying at age 16. His father, Joel, came to Kanawha County with his business partner, William Dickinson, to start a salt business as their tobacco business declined after the War of 1812. Dickinson salt continues to thrive in Malden, WV. Notice part of the 23rd Psalm engraved on the stone. 

15. Sarah E. Thomas (1843-1907) This monument has several interesting items to notice; one the open book on which generally is compared to the human heart; its thoughts and feelings open to the world and to God, the etching of the stairs to Heaven; and the cross which means salvation. 

16. Weston Z. Estell (1812-1865) Major Estell served in the Confederate Army, dying as a prisoner at Fort Delaware, a Federal prison camp maintained on an island in the Delaware River. His son, Davis H. Estell (1843-1965), also served in the Confederate Army, and he too died as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout prison camp in Maryland. 

17. William Woodrum (1878-1902) Mr. Woodrum’s stone is a tree stump indicating a life cut short. You will also see that written above the scroll is the union label emblem denoting that Mr. Woodrum was a member of the Typographical Union, Charleston, #146. This was a union for the printing trade which was founded in 1852. 

18. C. C. Watts (1848-1930) Watts was a politician and attorney who served as Attorney General of West Virginia. He built the historic home, Breezemont, a classical revival house located at the top of Watts Hill in Charleston, listed with the National Historic Register. 

19. Gov. William Alexander MacCorkle (1857-1930) He served as the ninth governor of West Virginia, returning to his Charleston law practice after leaving office. In his many travels he publicized the state’s resources. He was founder and president of the Citizens National Bank. MacCorkle Avenue, a major road in Charleston, is named for him and carries U.S. 60 through the area. MacCorkle’s mansion, Sunrise, was built in 1905, and added to the National Register of Historic places in 1974. It now houses the law firm of Farmer, Cline & Campbell who restored the historic home. 

20. Governor Emanuel W. Wilson (1842-1905) Governor of West Virginia, elected in 1884, served 1885-1890, serving 5 years. 

21. Thomas L. Broun (1823-1914) Broun was a private in the Kanawha Rifleman. In 1861, he sold General Robert E. Lee his famous horse, “Traveller.” Broun advanced to the rank of major in the Confederate Army. After the war, he became a prominent attorney in Charleston. 

22. William Lewis is the oldest recorded grave in Spring Hill Cemetery. 

23. Kallil Zegeer (1840-1914) Coming to American from Lebanon, his son went back to bring his parents. The marble monument placed in memory of Kallil Zegeer was made in Italy and shipped to Charleston. The Zegeers owned a candy confectionery store at 230 Capital Street at one time, and a hardware store, built in 1919, which is still owned and operated by the Zegeer family on Washington Street. 

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