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The Boyd Carter Cemetery is an African American burial site in Kearneysville, WV and holds almost 80 marked graves. The cemetery's oldest readable marker dates back to 1904 and as late as 1999. The Dandridge family ran a farm around the site and the unmarked burials of many who are believed to have been slaves there were found using ground penetrating radar technology. Today, the cemetery is threatened by sewer and pipeline projects that may encroach on the property.


  • Much of the cemetery is on a hillside
  • Many of the grave markers are in wooded areas like this one

    Located in Kearneysville, WV, the  Boyd Carter Cemetery is a historic African American cemetery. The site has been known by several other names, including the Steward Chapel Methodist Cemetery, Methodist Cemetery of Kearneysville, and Jefferson Orchards Cemetery. Though the Boyd Carter Cemetery's oldest known burial took place in 1904, there were likely several burials on the site before that time. The markers from these burials have no readable text. Many were likely placed by poor families who could not afford an inscription or the words have worn away over time. Veterans of many wars are buried in the cemetery. There are about 80 known burials in the cemetery. 
    Local historian Jim Surkamp suspects that there are many unmarked burials on the site. The Dandridge family, who once owned the most slaved in the county throughout the mid-1800s, had property in what is now Kearneysville. The family owned a farm that was located around the cemetery site and likely buried deceased slaves on the property that is now the Boyd Carter Cemetery. This theory was supported when grave sites were found using ground penetrating radar technology. 
    The most recent burial in the cemetery took place in 1999. Today, the cemetery is maintained by a crew of volunteers, many of whom have relatives buried on the property. While it has become overgrown in recent years, the cemetery is still visited by family members of the deceased. The cemetery is now threatened by the Rockwool sewer development project and the Mountaineer Gas pipeline. Volunteers Jennifer King and Addison Reese have noticed discrepancies in the cemetery's proportions on the construction plans and the actual property maps. The women have begun protesting the construction plans on the grounds that severe damage will be done to this historical site if the plans persist. The heavy machinery and frequent traffic through and around the site pose a threat the preservation. 

Williamson, Aliah. African-American cemetery close to proposed building site of gas pipeline. Local DMV. April 03, 2019. Accessed April 21, 2019. https://www.localdvm.com/news/west-virginia/african-american-cemetery-close-to-proposed-building-site-of-gas-pipeline/1898823692.

History. Boyd Carter Memorial Cemetery. Accessed April 21, 2019. https://www.boydcartercemetery.org/history/.

McCormick, Liz. Gov. Justice 'Fully Supports' Rockwool Project, Despite Local Opposition. WV Public Broadcasting. September 19, 2018. Accessed April 21, 2019. https://www.wvpublic.org/post/gov-justice-fully-supports-rockwool-project-despite-local-opposition#stream/0.

Major Pipelines Under Construction in West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. Accessed April 21, 2019. https://dep.wv.gov/pio/Pages/Major-Pipelines-In-West-Virginia.aspx.