Lynchburg cemeteries are located throughout the city and some date back to the early days of the city. Many of the people buried in these cemeteries are famous. If you are looking for something to do on a fine spring day, travel through the city of Lynchburg to the various cemeteries and look for the following famous “residents.”
Lynchburg has five active cemeteries plus Old City Cemetery, which at this point in time is not accepting new burials. The cemeteries in Lynchburg are as follows: Fort Hill Memorial Park, Forest Hill Burial Park, Presbyterian Cemetery, Quaker Memorial Cemetery and Spring Hill Cemetery.
The Watts family plot is located in Spring Hill Cemetery. Richard Thomas Watts was the gentleman who had 404 Cabell Street built (today known as The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.) RT died September 21, 1910. His wife, Emma, died a few months later, March 22, 1911, while on a trip to California with their daughter Mary. Their children are buried with them in the family plot. Two of the gravestones are labeled just “baby.” The impressive obelisk, designating the Watts family burial plot, was erected many years after RT and Emma were buried.
The founder of Lynchburg, John Lynch (1740-1820) is buried at the South River Meeting House Graveyard. In the late 1700’s John Lynch operated a ferry service across the James River, from the foot of today’s Ninth Street to Amherst County. In 1786 he founded Lynchburg. The church today is known as Quaker Memorial Presbyterian. This church served the Quakers until 1839. By then most had moved away as they opposed slavery.
Poet and activist Anne Spencer (1882-1975) and her husband Edward (1876-1964) are buried at Forest Hill Burial Park. The Spencer plot is located about 100 yards from the entrance, on the left side of the traffic circle. Sharing the family plot are their daughters, Bethel and Alroy and son Chauncey. Anne Spencer was the long-time librarian at Dunbar High School, and co-founded Lynchburg’s chapter of the NAACP. She and Edward hosted many notable African-American intellectuals in their Pierce Street home. Among their friends and visitors were: George Washington Carver, Paul Robeson, Dean Pickens, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall and W.E.B. Dubois.
Chauncey Spencer (1906-2002) shares the family plot. A pioneering aviator and educator who pushed for racial integration of the U.S. Army Air Corps during WWII, he took this cause to then Missouri Senator Harry Truman. After WWII, President Truman desegregated the military.
Spring Hill Cemetery has quite a few “famous” residents. Samuel Miller (1792-1869) was a local businessman and philanthropist. He moved to Lynchburg at 18, prospered in business and became a multi-millionaire. He donated the land that became Miller Park and the Lynchburg Female Orphan Asylum, known today as the Miller Home.
Lt. Gen. Jubal Early (1816-1894) is buried at Spring Hill. Known as Gen. Robert E. Lee’s “Bad Old Man” he reportedly had a bad temper but was brilliant on the battlefield. When the Civil War ended he refused to swear allegiance to the Union so moved to Mexico and then Canada. Eventually he settled in Lynchburg.
Artist Georgia Morgan (1869-1951) is buried at Spring Hill with her tombstone decorated with a painter’s pallet and brush. Known for her still life and landscape paintings she was chair of Lynchburg College’s art department for 30 years. Today her work can be found at the Jones Memorial Library and the Lynchburg Museum.
Don Reno (1927-1984) is also buried at Spring Hill. Known as “The King of Flat Picking Guitarists” he was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. He is credited with co-writing “Dueling Banjos,” the song made famous in the 1972 movie Deliverance.
Presbyterian Cemetery is the final resting place of Edwin “Ned” Emerson (1839-1922). He was an actor, performing at Ford’s Theatre when President Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. He was delivering a line from “our American Cousin” when John Wilkes Booth, a friend of Emerson’s, killed Lincoln. After Lincoln’s assassination, Emerson quit acting and moved to Lynchburg where he worked in the stationery and book business.
Folk artist Emma Serena “Queena” Stovall (1887-1980) is also buried at Presbyterian Cemetery. A self-taught artist she didn’t start painting until she was 62 years old. Sometimes called the “Grandma Moses of Virginia” her scenes of country life–farm auctions, funerals, hog killings, etc.–are in museums as well as private collections.
All of the Lynchburg cemeteries mentioned above are open to visitors from dawn to dusk.
Emma Serena “Queena” Stovall has just been honored with a historical marker, the publishing of a new book–Inside Looking Out: The Art of Queena Stovall–and the current exhibition of her works on display at Lynchburg College’s Daura Gallery.
Emma Serena Dillard “Queena” Stovall was born in Amherst County in 1887. She received the nickname “Queena” from her grandmother because of how other young children could not pronounce Serena. She married Jonathan Stovall, a traveling salesman in 1908. They had 9 children. Living in Lynchburg, Virginia during the fall and winter and spending the spring and summer at their farm in Amherst County, Virginia they had a good life.
In 1949 Queena decided to pursue artistic ventures, she was 62. She enrolled at Randolph-Macon Women’s College to take art classes under the direction of Pierre Daura. Daura liked her natural style of painting so much that he suggested she stop taking classes with him and follow her own unique style without any outside influences.
Queena Stovall’s artwork depicts both black and white Virginians in rural settings, which earned her the title of “Grandma Moses of Virginia.” She produced scenes of ordinary life such as crop harvests, funerals, jarring for the winter, baptisms, cooking and livestock and estate auctions. In 1956 she displayed her first solo exhibition at Lynchburg College. She continued to paint until her health started to fail in 1967.
An exhibition of 44 of her 49 original oil paintings, along with five reproductions, are currently on display at Lynchburg College’s Daura Gallery. This is the largest collection of her paintings ever shown together. The exhibit will be open until April 13, 2018. After leaving Lynchburg College the exhibit will travel to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond. It will be featured there between May 12 through October 14, 2018.
The Daura Gallery also sponsored the publishing of the book “Inside Looking Out: The Art of Queena Stovall.” The 104-page book marks the first time all of Stovall’s works have been printed in color.
Located along Route 130, in Amherst County, Virginia, the historical marker highlights her life and work. Located less than one-half mile from the farm where she lived for 35 years and painted it is a compliment to the strength of her artwork.
Did you know that from the first half of the 19th century and until the late 1980’s shoes and Lynchburg, Virginia were synonymous?
In 1888 the Craddock-Terry Shoe Company was founded by John W. Craddock, A.P. Craddock and T.M. Terry. This company became the largest and most significant manufacturer in Lynchburg and grew into the 5th largest shoe company in the world. When the Craddock-Terry Shoe Company opened a plant at the corner of 14th and Jefferson Streets in 1901 it was the first shoe company south of the Mason-Dixon Line. By the mid-1900’s the company employed over 3,000 workers, in various plants located throughout the city. In addition to its Lynchburg plants, by 1921 Craddock- Terry had factories in St. Louis, MO. and Milwaukee, WI.
Known for manufacturing a quality, precisely fitted product with careful attention to detail and practicality, by 1941, the Craddock-Terry Corporation was manufacturing 26,000 pairs of shoes and boots each day, most of them for the military. Combat boots and other military shoes were the biggest sellers.
During the late-1940’s the sale of regular footwear picked up. It was during this time that Craddock-Terry began to specialize in shoes for babies, children, women and men. During their peak production capacity they were producing almost 100,000 pairs of shoes each day!
By October 1987, Craddock-Terry was forced to file for bankruptcy, with assets of $44.1 million, liabilities of $49.8 million and over one thousand creditors.
We are lucky enough to own an original pair of Craddock-Terry women’s shoes, probably from the late 1800’s. We found them in an antique store in Roanoke. The stamp on the bottom is still clearly visible, the shoelaces are in tact and the condition of the shoes is pristine. When we close and sell The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast we will probably donate them the Craddock-Terry Hotel to be put on display in their lobby. They were a “true find” that we routinely share with our guests.
Have you heard that Thomas Jefferson‘s Poplar Forest is in the process of designing a new entrance, parkway and trail system on the grounds?
The trail system will be implemented in phases and when complete will provide six miles of trails that will traverse the majority of Poplar Forest’s 600 acres. The trails will range from wide paved surfaces to rugged hiking trails to simple mown paths along the perimeters of the fields.
The first phase of the parkway constructions will include two accessible primary trails. The first trail will parallel the parkway, allowing visitors to park at a small trailhead at the new front entrance and walk to Jefferson’s retreat house. The path will cross through different landscapes highlighting the original plantation fields, old road traces and the site of the Prize Barn where enslaved workers packed tobacco for market.
When the parkway opens to traffic, the current single-lane entrance will be converted into the second primary trail, leading walkers down the tree-lined road established by the Hutters in the mid- to late-19th century.
The trail system will highlight historic and archaeological sites and unique environmental features of the property. You will be able to see stands of tulip poplars trees dating to the late 1800s and black gum trees that are over 200 years old. Vernal pools are found along the way. These seasonal wetland areas are home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, including rare species of salamander and other amphibians that would otherwise be prey to fish in larger bodies of water.
On Saturday, October 7, 2017 Poplar Forest will conduct an archaeology behind-the-scenes tour of this latest project. Archaeologists will lead participants on a 90-minute walking tour of the Poplar Forest Parkway. Be one of the first guests to get a glimpse of this exciting trail system. Comfortable shoes are necessary. In addition to the tour you will have access to the Poplar Forest Archaeology lab and the retreat home of Thomas Jefferson. Tours begin at either 11 am or 2 pm. Reservations are required, as limited space is available. Regular admission fees apply. Call 434.525.1806 for more information or visit www.poplarforest.org/events.
If you are staying with us at The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, in Lynchburg, VA you are about a 20-minute drive to Poplar Forest. Let us know which tour you are attending and we will make sure you enjoy your delicious 4-course breakfast before you go walking. Mike and I will see you there!
**information for this blog post taken from the Thomas Jefferson Poplar Forest magazine.
Once again the Lynchburg Historical Foundation is hosting a tour of homes. You will be able to tour four homes on Woodland Avenue on Sunday, September 24 between 1:00 until 4:40 pm. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Lynchburg Visitor Center or the Lynchburg Historical Foundation office. For more information contact the foundation at 434.528.5353.
The four homes on the tour include:
106 Woodland Avenue: known as the Wells House it was built in 1912. Robert Gordon Bailey purchased the lot and built the home for his new bride. She was a student at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. During their days of courting they often would sit upon this hill and gaze at Peaks of Otter. Olive told Robert “if I ever build a house, I’d like to build it right here.” Designed by McLaughlin & Johnson architects it incorporates many Colonial Revival elements.
221 Woodland Avenue: built in 1910, the Sackett House, was the second or third house built on Woodland Avenue. When designing the house, Mrs. Sackett included many designs from her family home on Federal Street. These include the twin mantles in the living and dining rooms, the elliptical and side lights at the front door and the front staircase and banisters.
231 Woodland Avenue: known as the McLaughlin House, this American foursquare was built in 1925. Traditional foursquare floorplan features include the columns across the large front porch, symmetrical placement of windows and doors and an easy-flowing floorplan.
324 Woodland Avenue: the Torrance House was built in 1915 on land that was part of the city’s annexation of land in 1908. This residence has had the fewest owners of any house on Woodland Avenue, only two. This two-story stucco house has a hip roof, a masonry porch and brick patio. The original entrance included an arched entrance with a cathedral door.
This year’s tour will be an easy and delightful walk on a beautiful street in Lynchburg that was once far removed for the downtown area and city center.
The Presbyterian Cemetery was founded in 1823 when six elders of the Presbyterian church purchased two acres from Edward Lynch, son of John Lynch (Lynchburg City founder). Today the cemetery contains about 25 acres. It is an independent cemetery that has been in continuous operation since it began. About 15,000 graves are contained on the property.
Over 213 Confederate soldiers are buried here, making it one of the largest Lynchburg-area Confederate burial sites. Others resting in the cemetery include members of the military from generals to privates, merchants, doctors, lawyers, educators, businessmen, artists and ministers. A few of the noteworthy individuals are Dr. James Brown, 1824–the first burial, Brig. Gen. Samuel Garland, Jr. 1862 and Emma Serena Dillard Stovall, 1980–noted painter Queena Stovall.
The architecture of sculptures, headstones, monuments and art reflect the European cultures of Ireland, Scotland and Germany, as many of the original people buried here were from these countries. Some of the sculptures look Gothic, Georgian or Celtic depending when they were placed in the Cemetery. Some stones are made of marble while others are granite. Intricate colors of gray, pink and black can be found throughout the Cemetery. One of the most dramatic stones is a weeping angel bending over in grief. The angel’s companion is nearby, another angel standing holding a trumpet to signal rapture.
Common symbols found throughout the cemetery on the monuments and tombstones are: various flowers-lilies, roses, oak leaves and ivy, lambs-signifying the grave of a child, urns-often draped with a mourning cloth refer to the soul, snapped or broken branches-a life cut short, doves-peace or messenger of God, a circle-eternal life, angels-a guide to heaven and the morning glory-resurrection.
The Presbyterian Cemetery is located at 2020 Grace Street in Lynchburg, VA. It is open from dawn until dusk. The office is open Monday-Thursday between 9:30 until 2:30. They can be reached at 434.845.0551 or through their email PC1823@msn.com. Their web site is www.presbyteriancemeteryva.com.
Between April until October the Cemetery, typically, holds a public tour the first Sunday of each month beginning at 2:00 pm. Each tour presents a different aspect of the cemetery such as graves found here, cemetery architecture, mourning traditions and how Victorian life and influences in the Cemetery. These tours last about one hour. The cost of attending is $5.00 per person.
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