Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brooke Cemetery, Wellsburg

Without consciously meaning to, I've been doing a lot of research lately on supposedly haunted cemeteries throughout the great state of West Virginia.  When I thought about it, the reasons behind this little journey have been two-fold.  On one hand, I'm preparing an in-depth article debating whether or not investigators should look to haunted cemeteries for field investigation sites and looking into the state's cemeteries has definitely provided more insight.  On the other hand, my motives are a little more selfish:  I'm trying to expand my list of haunted locations in WV in order to make it not only the most accurate, but the most comprehensive list of haunted places in the Mountain State.  Other websites tend to list a lot of cemeteries, so its imperative that I include them for posterity.

Today's blog is another example of the many, many one-liners that are listed on a variety of websites, including Shadowlands and WVGhosts.  According to the WVGhosts site, this location is also referred to (erroneously) as the Wellsburg Cemetery.

Photo from Wikipedia
In any event, the Brooke Cemetery IS in Wellsburg, and is actually the THIRD cemetery in that town.  The first burial ground was laid out in 1791, but was replaced by a new cemetery in 1814, located along Main Street and 12th St.  By 1855, this cemetery was becoming crowded and falling into disrepair.  As a result, a new cemetery was commissioned along Pleasant Avenue in northern Wellsburg.

This new cemetery was built on land purchased from George Cox and David Fleming, and originally was about 12 acres.  It was built in the popular style of a garden or park cemetery, which was norm for the Victorian era.  John Chislett designed and built the cemetery which was officially dedicated 16 October 1857.  However, the first burial in the new cemetery actually took place on July 10th of that year, when Eleanor George, wife of cemetery board of trustees member Samuel George passed away.

Shortly after the cemetery was dedicated, people began moving their loved ones' remains from the town's earlier cemeteries to the new, fashionable Brooke Cemetery.  However, it wouldn't be until 1876 when there was a "mass migration."  That year, the 12th Street cemetery officially closed and a contract was awarded to E. Gaver & Co. to move the remaining bodies from this, and several smaller cemeteries...a feat that was accomplished by the first of December.

Today, Brooke Cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the final resting place to many interesting characters from the history of West Virginia.  Veterans from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the War of 1812 can be found among its burials, as well as Patrick Gass who was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Rev. Doctor Joseph Doddridge who was the first minister of the episcopal church in Ohio and western Va.

With the wide range of personalities interred within the cemetery, dating back to the earliest days of Brooke County's history, it is any guess who or what is responsible for the hauntings therein.  What is known is that it was reported to WVGhosts that visitors to the cemetery have experienced apparitions and mists that collect into curious shapes.

 More Information at:
National Register of Historic Places
Survey of Cemeteries
Brooke Cemetery


  1. I like internet browsing very much in my spare time. I love to read articles, news, events, magazines and some books also. I like to read horror stories and 2 days ago when I was looking for some story, I went through one Site , and found many interesting and some funny things in that article. That’s why I thought to share this with you all and the above article is also very interesting. I would definitely refer it to my friends. Thanks for sharing above article with us.

  2. I am from Brooke County and was told the original cemetery was in a flood plane and that was part of the reason it was moved. Also, many of the relative were moved on or dead so the old cemetery had no families keeping it up.