Fraternal Memorial Park Cemetery
The cemetery was founded in 1929 and used mostly by local African American migrant families. Most of those interred are veterans of both world wars and their families. The last burial took place in 1978, after which the cemetery fell into disrepair. It was rediscovered by local residents in 2018 and is now celebrated as an important part of the town's history.
Backstory and Context
A local energy company, XTO Energy, owned the land where Fraternal Memorial Cemetery lay. The cemetery was neglected and forgotten until rediscovered in 2017. At the time of its discovery, XTO Energy gave ownership to the Clarksburg West Virginia Cemetery Preservation Alliance. Once the transfer of ownership occurred, volunteers from the community as well as local historical groups gathered and cleared the site.
Most of the graves are unmarked, making tracing lineages difficult. Information on the identities of those buried is scarce. Of the identified deceased, many are listed as veterans on their death certificates or possessed draft cards. Most of the veterans participated in World War I or World War II. Many were also migrants who came to Clarksburg from other states to find jobs in the coal industry. The majority of these migrants were African American. During the early 20th century, many African Americans traveled to Clarksburg from southern states specifically to find jobs in coal mining. Records indicate that the first burial took place in 1928 and the last in 1978. While the cemetery fell into disuse, recovered plat maps show plans for many more burial plots.
After the influx of African Americans, fraternal associations were established as ways of addressing the unique needs of African American communities. There were eight of these fraternal orders in existence during the early 20th century. It is highly likely that the Fraternal Memorial Cemetery gained its name from these orders. Obituary records show that members of various fraternal orders were buried in the cemetery, with no one order claiming ownership of the cemetery.
2. XTO Energy, Horizon Research Consultants, Taylor, T., Botham, K. (2019). Fraternal Cemetery Park Investigation, Harrison County, Anmoore, . Retrieved from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8fLz0o5n6KvVWVUUzhoLVdYSmdSeGw4UVFSbWwtc19QY0Z3/view