The Boyd Carter Cemetery is an African American cemetery located on Granny Smith Lane in Kearneysville, WV.
The cemetery has been referred to as Boyd Carter Cemetery, Stewart Chapel Methodist Cemetery, Methodist Cemetery of Kearneysville, and Jefferson Orchards Cemetery. Sometimes the Cemetery is referred to as two separate cemeteries, although they are on the same tract of land.
The cemetery has at least 84 known burials. The first known burial in the cemetery was in 1904 and the most recent burial was in 1999. There are some graves with only markers and no discernible text. There are several United States military war veterans buried there. There are also many unmarked graves. A list of known burials can be found here: https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2660456/memorial-search
A December 1902 deed shows trustees, however, local historians believe that burials of slaves on the property was likely due to previous ownership of slaveholders.
While the cemetery has fallen through the cracks of time and maintenance is needed, it is not an abandoned cemetery. A clean-up effort is underway. Relatives of those who are buried there still visit their loved ones, and frequently leave mementos and tributes which are visible throughout the property.
From local historian, Jim Surkamp:
The Boyd Carter Memorial/Kearneysville Methodist Cemetery shown below could very well be a second stage burial site where there was once a large burying ground for persons enslaved who died working for the Dandridge family – the largest slave-holding family in the county 1850-1860 and who maintained a farm all around the burying ground and the house they built still stands and is inhabited — the dozens of what could be, from using ground penetrating radar, grave sites (pre-Civil War slave sites had wood markers that deteriorated). I have a great graphic showing the location of the cemetery within the given property, which initially was a 318 parcel deeded to Phillip Pendleton Dandridge in the 1830s – BELOW IS THE BRIEF
Addison Reese: “The 84 number is from burial lists and headstones/markers. New markers are constantly being discovered as clean-up efforts are underway. Ground penetrating radar, death certificates, and other less traditional grave markers (stones, plantings, etc.) make that number much higher.”
We believe further investigation into a slave cemetery to which the Boyd Carter cemetery was added is supported by documentation of the adjacent farm’s history and its heavy use of enslaved labor for decades. back into the mid 1700’s. During all that time, the cemetery was within the Dandridge family the holder of the largest number of enslaved persons for many years in Jefferson County for much of the pre-Civil War 1800s, according to Census records.
The dozens of identified spots in the Boyd Carter cemetery, unmarked but with vegetation and ground disturbance suggestive of gravesites from before the Civil War when wooden markers were more the norm in African American burying ground suggest that this location was initially a burial area for persons enslaved by the owner of the land.
Adam Stephen, a major general in the Revolutionay War, in 1763 purchased 1100 acres that encompass the cemetery site. Stephen owned about 2,000 acres in today’s Jefferson county. (Adam Stephen had purchased The Bower property May 10, 1750 and lived at his “Bower Lodge” from 1753 until 1772, when he moved into his larger home in Martinsburg, the town he had founded).
Gen. Stephen, upon her marriage in 1780 to Captain Alexander Spotswood Dandridge (a first cousin of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington) gave his only daughter, Ann, 600 acres out of the 1100 acre parcel that he purchased in 1763 and which encompasses the Hazelfield tract (Ann’s), Rockwool’s proposed site, and the cemetery environs on the western side of this original 1100 acre parcel.
When Adam Stephen died in 1791, The Bower hunting lodge property (different from the 1100 acre parcel) passed to his only grandchild, Adam Stephen Dandridge I, who had been born December 5, 1782. This Dandridge married on January 21, 1805 Sarah Pendleton.
Unlike today’s Bower, which was rebuilt from the same walls after a fire in March, 1892, the original house was smaller, not having the dormers, the wing to the north (left in the photo) and with only the aforementioned small, square portico around the entrance.
The Census of 1810 shows the Dandridges had 64 enslaved persons, more than any other household in the County. – (County Census, beginning p. 324 on reel).
Adam Stephen Dandridge and Sarah Pendleton had three sons — Adam Stephen (1814), Philip Pendleton (1817), and Alexander Spotswood (1819) — and three daughters — Sarah Stephena (1811), Ann Spotswood (1813), and Mary Evelina Dandridge (1817). Philip and Mary were both born October 2, 1817.
According to the 1820 Census, the Dandridges had 43 people, thirty-four of whom were enslaved and mostly men. – (County Census). We can only conjecture to what extent these workers stayed mostly at the Bower or did work and farmed, either “leased-out” to others or at other family-related farms such as Hazelfield and the rest of the 1100 acre site where the cemetery is located.
Adam Stephen Dandridge I died Nov. 20, 1821 at The Bower. Many of the enslaved were put up for sale in 1824 by the executors of the estate.
Widow Sarah P. Dandridge in 1830 and living at the Bower was listed as the owner of fifty-one persons.
The division of estates of The Bower among the six children of the late Adam Stephen Dandridge was recorded February 18, 1834. It gave the largest tracts to the three family members who planned to live and commit their lives to the property, and lesser portions to siblings who would be moving away. Adam Stephen Dandridge II got The Bower’s manse and 318 acres (Lot 1);
Sarah Stephena Dandridge Kennedy, who already married author John Pendleton Kennedy’s brother, Anthony, Oct. 11, 1832 – received 318 acres, an adjacent farm to the south called “Elmwood on the Opequon” (Lot 2);
Philip Pendleton Dandridge received 318 acres (Lot 3); THIS 318-acre farm is the parcel that we conjecture brought about a pre-Civil War burial location for its enslaved persons who died at the farm, which evolved to include in the 1880s the environs of the Boyd Carter Cemetery. African American residents active in farming around that property in the late 19th century – most notably the very successful farmer and community leader, John Fox – were born at the Bower property of the Dandridges before the war before resettling in Kearneysville and starting their community Harts-town, a church and school.
Ann Dandridge Buchanan, who already married Thomas Buchanan, received part of “Quarter Farm” totaling 234 acres, 2 rods (Lot 4);
Mary Evelina Dandridge received another part of “Quarter Farm” totaling 199 acres, 3 rods, 10 perches (She would marry Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter in 1836, move away and live in Essex County for the rest of her life. Her Lot lands would be sold to a farmer named Meredith Helm. (Lot 5);
and Alexander Spotswood Dandridge received 190 acres 12 perches. (Lot 6). – (County Deed Book 20, p. 605).
The 1840 Census shows three “Dandridge” households: The Bower, owned by Adam Stephen Dandridge II and his wife Serena and their numerous children, helped and provided for by thirty-four enslaved persons
The second was that of Anthony and Sarah Dandridge Kennedy, who appear to have been caring for the two elder ladies of the clan at nearby Elmwood on the Opequon: Anthony Kennedy’s 64-year old mother Nancy, and Sarah’s 55-year old mother, the widowed Sarah Pendleton Dandridge. Fifteen enslaved persons were helping them at that time in 1840. – (County Census, p. 35).
The third – the focus of this narrative – the 318-acre farm managed by Philip Pendleton Dandridge where the cemetery is located. The 1840 Census shows that he and his wife lived there with help from a dozen enslaved persons.
In approximately 1845, Phillip Dandridge completed a home in the northern portion of this parcel that stands today described by himself as made of brick with a description that matches closely the description given in the current property description in the County Assessor’s records.
Phillip Dandridge’s wife died. He struggled as a farmer.
Walter Dean Myers, who was born in Martinsburg, descended from the Dennis family who worked at The Bower and has become a respected author, wrote this in his book, “Now Is Your Time”:
“In 1849, Adam Stephen Dandridge II lived at The Bower and ran the plantation. His brother Philip lived nearby. When Philip needed to secure his loans, he put up part of his inheritance, which consisted of part of the Bower lands and his Africans:
‘The following slaves, the property of the said Philip P. Dandridge, now in his possession in Jefferson County, or in the custody of Dr. Gellot Hollingsworth and Samuel Hollingsworth, in the State of Louisiana, together with the increase (children) of said slaves – vis; Cato, Henny, George, Robert, John, Daniel, James, Simon, Peter, Tina, Caroline, Leah, Mary Ann and her children, Rachael, Ann, Louisa & children, Frances, Margaret, Patty, including all of the slaves of the said Philip P. Dandridge, whether named or not. . . to secure a debt of said P. P. Dandridge’ – (Myers, P. 99). NOTE: “Rachael” mentioned in the above note could be “Rachael,” owned Adam S. Dandridge, who died July 2, 1853 of cancer, aged 80. – (Jefferson County Register of Deaths, 1853, P. 1, Line 44).
Philip Dandridge had been advertising for months already to unload his 318-acre farm, that had 250 cleared acres, 70 acres of enclosed pasturage, sheep, ponds, a nine-room, brick house and “all his farming implements household and kitchen furniture on his farm.” A public sale occurred on December 21st, 1847 – (“The Martinsburg Gazette,” Vol. 48 March 4, 1847, P. 3; March 11, 1847, P. 3; December 9, 1847, P. 3).
When Census-taker, J. J. Miller, asked 33-year old Philip Dandridge in 1850 what his occupation was, the answer was: “None.” Dandridge gave his worth as $4500. He lived there with his wife thirty-year old Carolina and their five children. Also living at the 318-acre “cemetery” farm were six enslaved persons over fifty years of age – four men and two women, three children and a woman aged twenty in 1850.
The 70-year old Sarah Dandridge died March 13, 1855, leaving all her enslaved to her struggling son Philip. She had this will drawn up three years earlier. His financial straits point to a sale. They were appraised: Armstead 26 $1125; Alfred 24 $1150; Henry 10 $800; Peter 7 $700; “Woman” 30, child $1000; Jesse 4 $275; Judy 7 $375; Ann (not sound) 23 $450; York (encumbrance) 60 $100. – (County Will Book 2, P. 520).
Phillip’s use of the assets from his will promptly put him in yet more legal and debt problems and the property became the property of his mother whose name appears on the 1852 Howell Brown map showing the county and its owners.
Adam Stephen Dandridge who had a vast operation based at The Bower with forty five enslaved persons stepped in and agreed to basically buy out the lands of three of his siblings, including Philip’s, who in 1858 moved to Winchester with his second wife and he would die in 1881.
That Adam Stephen Dandridge reported 82 enslaved persons working for him on all his farms suggests that he absorbed those enslaved that worked for Philip Pendleton and continued to maintain the Farm where the cemetery site is located
Adam Stephan Dandridge continued to run that “cemetery” Farm until after the Civil War. But as he aged and began going blind, litigation with William T. Steward led to the farm passing out of Dandridge hands for the first time ever in the 1880s.