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.
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.