The old City Cemetery on High Street is the most historic cemetery in Logan County. Henry Clay Ragland and many other of the town’s early prominent citizens are buried here. No one knows who and when the first person was buried here. So it’s hard to determine its age but it’s probably as old as the town itself. The Logan Courthouse Village was first established as Lawnsville in 1827. Anthony Lawson acquired a track of land containing the cemetery in 1842. His wife, Ann Lawson was murdered by slaves in 1847 and was buried here. The name of the cemetery when Ann Lawson was buried has yet to be ascertained. When the town was first incorporated in 1852 as Aracoma, the cemetery became known as the Aracoma Cemetery (See comment below). The Aracoma name was changed to Logan in 1907 and sometime after that the cemetery was called the Logan Cemetery, the Logan City Cemetery and now it’s referred to as the the Old City Cemetery. Despite its long history and the prominent citizens buried here, the cemetery has a long history of neglect.
The Graves of Our Dead
Logan County Banner, March 31, 1898
We are told that the best evidence of our civilization is the manner in which we care for the graves of our dead. The savage, for a little time, bewailes [sic] the departed loved one, but marks his resting place with no stone, and never revisits the place which of all others should be the most hallowed. Civilized men, while bowing with resignation to the stern decree, which for a time severs the tenderest ties, never loses the hold upon the silken cord of memory, marks with monuments of stone, tree or flowers the graves of those he loved, and visits ever and anon their sacred urn. How is it with us of Logan county? How treat we the graves of our dead? Our cemetery here at Aracoma is sadly neglected. A few of the graves are cared for, but the great majority have been so neglected, that it is impossible to locate the graves of many who died even within the last decade. Just across the river from this place is the old Dingess burying ground, where the ashes of Peter Dingess, one of the fathers of Logan county and several of his children, as well as many others of the old pioners [sic] rest, which is in a sad and dilapidated condition. The fathers, mothers, wives and children of some of our wealthiest and most respected citizens sleep within its narrow confines. Their graves were once marked with respectable headstone, but today, the fences around it are destroyed, stock wanders over the sunken graves and the headstones are thrown down and broken. Something should be done to restore these graves, and that something should be done at once. Here in our cemetery at Aracoma, the authorities of the town should take hold of the matter, and see the cemetery is at least kept clean and under fence. Either our citizens or the town council should act at once.
*Credit and thanks to Brandon Ray Kirk for searching through the Logan County Banner microfilm at the WV State Archives in Charleston to find the above article.
Taken Feb. 10, 2017 courtesy of Paula Solar.
The gallery below shows some of the headstones easily photographed without having to dig through the heavy brush and briars. Everyone is welcome to share any additional images or information about this cemetery. If you would like to share a photo, please send it to the admin at firstname.lastname@example.org.