Callaway Steptoe Cemetery
Gravestones at the Steptoe Calloway Cemetery: Photo used with permission by New London Museum
Gravestones and the Outer Wall at the Steptoe Calloway Cemetery: Photo used with permission by New London Museum
Painting of James Steptoe by Harvey Mitchell: Used with Permission by Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library
Backstory and Context
Mr. Steptoe's whole subsequent career seems to have been to some extent moulded and shaped by this early connection with Mr. Jefferson...It was chiefly through Mr. Jefferson's influence with the colonial government...that James Steptoe obtained and held the clerkship of Bedford county court.2
Under Jefferson's insistence, Steptoe remained in Bedford County and became a respected member of the local community.3 In 1781, Steptoe married Frances Callaway, the daughter of Col. James Callaway. Through this union, the Callaway and Steptoe families became united through marriage; the Callaway Steptoe Cemetery remains as a demonstration of their connection.
The Callaway Steptoe Cemetery also has historical importance as the location of a Civil War conflict. During the Hunter's Raid toward Lynchburg in 1863, Confederate and Union forces clashed along the land of the cemetery. In a Survey Report on the Steptoe and Calloway Cemetery Nora A. Carter reports the following:
The southern troops took their stand within the cemetery behind the stone wall and fired on the Union Army as it passed. Two northern soldiers were killed, and a long time afterwards the remains of another soldier were found near the wall. His gold watch of excellent workmanship identified him and a letter with the watch was sent to his mother.1The evidence of cannonball fire can be observed by holes in the outer wall of the cemetery. However, the cemetery remains in good condition.
In addition to being the final resting place for James Steptoe, the Callaway Steptoe Cemetery also contains the graves of Col. William Callaway, the founder of New London, Bedford County, Virginia. The descendants of both Callaway and Steptoe are also buried at this location.
2 Johnston, Frederick. Memorials of Old Virginia Clerks. Lynchburg, Va.: J . P. Bell Co.,1888.
3 Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: Federal Hill. Forest, VA: Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, 1982. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/VLR_to_transfer/PDFNoms/0150003_Federal_Hill_1982_Final_Nomination.pdf.
4 Read, Daisy Imogene. New London Today and Yesterday. Friends of New London, Virginia, Inc. Lynchburg, Va.,: Warwick House Publishers, 1950.