History

According to the 1902 deed for the cemetery, the land was deeded to Allen Cole, William Goens, Tucker Ford, Albert Mason, Douglass Roper, Benjamin Carter, and Wesley Fry by the local quarry owner, Standard Lime and Stone Company. The deed states, “to have and to hold the said lot herein conveyed with all rights, privileges, and appurtenances thereunto belonging, including a right to use a road, for ingress or egress to said burying ground, and used by…the said Trustees or their successors forever.” As of July 26, 2019, the following people were appointed as trustees of the cemetery: Henry Allen, Lena Carey Williams, Thelma Winston-Grant, Kristine Winston Hosby, Carla Spears, Stacie Nicole Ford-Ngoue, Jennifer King, and Latavia D. Smith.

Several of the original trustees of the cemetery were the same trustees as Stewart Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, which was established in 1889. The church land was deeded by the bordering orchard owner, and former slave owner, William T. Stewart, and the cemetery was deeded by the owner of the Standard Lime and Stone Company quarries. The cemetery is located a short distance away from the church property, on the crest of a hill, overlooking the former apple orchard, and close to the nearby quarry. The original trustees of the cemetery were hard-working men, some of whom were direct descendants of slaves. According to numerous census documents and death certificates, many men buried in the cemetery worked at the orchard or quarry.

 

The cemetery was never officially given a name; the original deed for the cemetery only refers to it as a “burying ground.” Over the years, those laying their loved ones to rest have developed various names for the cemetery including Methodist Cemetery of Kearneysville, Stewart Chapel Methodist Cemetery, Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Cemetery, and Boyd Carter Memorial Cemetery. Local historians believe that due to the large number of slaves owned on the bordering properties, the burying ground was a place where enslaved individuals were buried before it was officially deeded as a “burying ground for colored people and no other purpose (DB 98, Page 68).” 

 

At the time, the African American neighborhood in Kearneysville was known as Hartstown.  Local community leader, Boyd Carter, played a pivotal role in the Hartstown and the expansion of the cemetery. Carter worked at the local quarry for more than 40 years. As the quarry closed in the 1940s, the owners, Standard Lime and Stone gave Carter several plots of land throughout Kearneysville/Hartstown. Most of his properties were deeded to families in the community and many members of those families are now buried in the cemetery. 

In 1948, Boyd Carter acquired the property bordering the cemetery on the northeast and northwest (DB 173, Page 120). Around this time, Carter used a portion of his land as an extension of the original cemetery.  Boyd Carter acquired this land on June 8, 1948 and the first burial on his property was that of Susan Turner who died on June 21, 1948. After his death in 1963, the land transferred hands. In a deed from November 7, 1963 there is mention of the cemetery and the possibility of burials beyond the deeded boundaries; “this conveyance is made subject to such rights of burial as may exist – it being understood that there may be certain bodies buried in the portion of the land herein described near-to and along the northeast line of the old cemetery and the northwest line of the old cemetery” (DB 263, Page 273). On December 9, 1963, David and Alice Allen were assigned as trustees of the portion of Boyd Carter’s land that had burials (DB 264, Page 149); this addition to the Methodist Cemetery was eventually called Boyd Carter Memorial Cemetery. 

 

According to photographic evidence of current visible headstones/markers, the earliest known burial was that of Ann Goens in 1904; the most recent burial was Christine McNair in 1999. Although the 1904 headstone is the earliest visible headstone, other documents have mentioned burials from 1900 and 1901 as well. Veterans of both World War I and World War II share the honor of being laid to rest in this cemetery, as do veterans of more recent wars such as the Korean War. Local veteran, Charles L. Ferguson–who fought in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam–said that the VFW visited the cemetery yearly to honor these men; Charles L. Ferguson’s parents, grandparents, and siblings are buried in the cemetery.  According to death certificates, burial records, oral history, and remaining visible grave markers, there are well over 100 burials. As of September 2019, more than 80 graves with decipherable headstones/markers; metal markers are still being found buried beneath the soil. There are more than 15 metal markers above ground that can no longer be read.

 

This cemetery has many characteristics of traditional African American burial grounds. Plantings like yucca, daffodils, lilies, and rose bushes mark graves. As is traditional of African American burials, individuals were laid to rest in an east-west orientation. Some of the burials are not only near family members but also arranged in kinship groups.  Additionally, there are tokens and symbolic memorials left on gravesites. 

 

Known Surnames in the Cemetery:  Allen, Briscoe, Brown, Burden, Campbell, Carey, Carter, Ferguson, Fletcher, Ford, Fredericks, Goens, Head, Hunter, Jackson, King, Lockley, McDowell, McNair, Murray, Perry, Ratliff, Ross, Splown, Strother, Stubbs, Turner, Twyman, Walker, Warrick, Winston, Woodfork