One acre of land was set aside for use as a cemetery in 1780 by Abraham Shepherd to the Elders of the Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church. Since then, the cemetery has served as the final resting place for scholars, soldiers, priests, and more. Following the American Civil War, Elmwood Cemetery was officially chartered in 1869. The cemetery is considered to be part of Shepherdstown's historic district and has grown significantly since its chartering.
Backstory and Context
From its beginning, the cemetery has been the final resting place of a wide array of individuals, such as Dr. Joseph McMurran, the first president of Shepherd University. Others include Revolutionary War veterans, Confederate soldiers, and veterans of both the First and Second World Wars. At final count, there are 252 Confederate soldiers buried in Elmwood Cemetery from the Battle of Shepherdstown, the nearby Battle of Antietam, and other battles.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans organization took charge of maintaining and improving the portion of the cemetery that housed the remains of Confederate soldiers. In 1935, they, along with the State of West Virginia, erected the Confederate Soldiers monument. One of the most prominent pieces of the cemetery, the monument lists the names and regiment of 535 area men who served in the Civil War.
While Shepherdstown is considered to be the "Most haunted town in America," the Elmwood Cemetery does not have a specific ghost story associated with it. However, there was a "Spirit of Elmwood" tour available to take visitors through the cemetery to learn about the people buried there and the region they lived in.