In the "Old" News

Archived by Donna Bluemink

Norfolk-Virginian, August 8, 1868

DEATH OF A GOOD NEGRO - John Jones, a worthy and estimable negro, died suddenly in this city yesterday. During the yellow fever, in 1855, John Jones' name was as familiar as "house-hold words." His self sacrificing efforts at that time are well known to our citizens, among whom he was a general favorite.

The citizens of Norfolk after the pestilence proposed buying John his freedom, but as the laws of the State required all manumitted slaves to leave the State, he preferred to stay as a slave.

John has now passed away from all earthly cares and a monument should record the good deeds he did whilst living.

Norfolk Journal, August 11, 1868. The Funeral of "Jack" Jones. The remains of this man were conveyed to their last resting place on yesterday evening, followed by a large number of our most respectable citizens. Deceased formerly belonged to Mrs. Watson, and in the fever of 1855 was employed by the Howard Association to bury the dead. He displayed a remarkable amount of moral courage under the most trying circumstances, and many of our citizens yet treasure up the memory of kindnesses conferred on them by him who is now no more.

The Howard Association attended his funeral in a body.

Peace to his ashes.

Find a description of John Jones' duties during the epidemic at the yellow fever site using "Edit," then "Find on this page."

Grave Location: West Point Cemetery

The Virginian-Pilot, October 13, 1892

THE NEW CEMETERY - The committee appointed to take into consideration the purchase of land for a new cemetery submitted a lengthy report last night, in which the following bids were made for lands to be used for the purpose as indicated by advertisements in the city papers: From

James G. Simmons, Driving Park, 54 34-100 acres, at $400 per acre, $21,600;
Leigh Bros. & Phelps, Leighton farm, 70 acres, $20,000;
East Norfolk Land and Improvement Company, 49 acres, $16,000;
Charles Myers, for North East Land Company, 50 acres, at $1,500 per acre, $75,000;
Minton W. Talbot, 70 acres, at $1,000 per acre, $70,000;
A. W. Cormick & Co., for W. W. Simpson, farm on Tanner's Creek, 140 acres at $475, $76,500;
J. F. Coleman, 60 acres, at$500, $30,000;
Merchants' and Mechanics' Bank, 70 acres, $20,000;
M. E. Wood, 33 to 35 acres, $100,000;
R. F. Baldwin, secretary New Norfolk Company, 133 acres, $110,000;
H. L. Page, 33 acres, at $450 per acre;
Pollard Bros, agent, 125 acres, for $60,000.

The committee did not believe that the city could afford to pay these prices and advised that the wall on the back of Elmwood Cemetery be pulled down and the old pesthouse track, owned by the city, be improved and used for a cemetery. The committee also submitted a resolution authorizing the appropriation of $1000 to commence the work. The report of the committee was unanimously adopted.

The Virginian-Pilot, October 18, 1892

THE CEMETERY by the Editor of the Virginian. As the city authorities contemplate extending Elmwood Cemetery, thereby taking in the pesthouse and grounds adjacent, it is well to think seriously before acting.

To resurrect those pestilential bodies, would only be to spread contagion though the land.

The earth is the best absorbent known to Christianity, and will retain the germ of disease indefinitely, especially when buried below the second or third strata.

The disease is there; is latent; it needs only to be brought to the surface to show that it exists.

Some years ago, in removing the bodies from one of the cemeteries of London, some victims of the scarlet fever were disinterred. Though they had been buried thirty-seven years, the malady broke out in the most violent form, which show to what extent the earth will retain the germ of disease. The yellow fever broke out in Vera Cruz some years ago, caused by tearing down the walls of old buildings. The same thing occurred in South America.

"Why should we run the risk?"

It would cost more than 100 per cent to extend the walls and make other improvements than the lots would be worth. Besides, the immaculate beings of Huntersville would not be placed in jeopardy.

The Virginian-Pilot, October 21, 1892

Dr. Riddick, the Health Officer, thinks that when the pesthouse is removed from the present site to make more room for the cemetery purposes it will be better to burn it and the contents - bedding and bed clothing. He thinks that in the absence of another pesthouse there is danger from the removal of the bedding, etc., that has been used for smallpox patients.

The New England Historical & Genealogical REGISTER, Vol. XLVIII.January, 1894, pp 17 & 18, and 336 & 337.

INSCRIPTIONS AT NORFOLK, VA. Commissioned by Edward W. James, Esq., of Norfolk, VA.The following inscriptions taken from Cedar Grove Cemetery, Norfolk, VA., may prove of interest to New Englanders and person of New England descent.

In memory of CAP'T LIFE HOLDEN, a native of Shrewsbury, Mass., and for more than thirty years a resident of this City, who departed this life Feb. 25th, 1844, aged 60. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

Sacred to the Memory of JULIA ANN BRYANT, who was Born at Providence, R. I., June 17th 1803; And Died in Norfolk, Va, June 9th, 1845, Aged 42 years. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John xi. Chap. 25 ver.

In Memory of JOHN PADELFORD, Born in Taunton, Mass. Dec. 6, 1796: Died Aug. 25, 1826. Amiable and bland in his manners, generous and just in his dealings, he won the affectionate regard of all who  knew him.

Memory of PORTEOUS DEMING, a native of West Milton, Vermont, who departed this life, Nov'r 12th, 1833, in the 29th year of his age. Not youthful bloom, nor manly strength, could shield him from thy sting, O Death, nor love's most fond endearing ties, restrain his spirit from the skies.

Erected by his only surviving Son, To the memory of STEPHEN HARRIS, a native of Boston, Mass., but for the last 36 years previous to his death a citizen of this Borough, where he died on the 26th day of October, 1836.

CHARLES L. BROCKWELL, Born in Lyme, Connecticut, Dec 31st, 1802, Died Feb. 12th, 1848.

Raised to the memory of MARTHA P. FOBES, consort of Alpheus Fobes, Jun. She was born at Taunton, Mass, and died in this Borough, June 6, 1833, aged 33 years and 4 months. She lived a christian and died in triumph. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

Our Mother MRS. MARY CLARKE, Born in Portsmouth, N.H., June 9, 1792; Died in Norfolk, VA, May 28, 1868. Christ in me, the hope of glory.

MRS. ELLEN M. McMATH, Born in Portsmouth, N.H. March 29th, 1824. Died in Norfolk, VA, June 7, 1852.

Sacred to the memory of WARREN KETCHUM, who departed this life Sept. 3rd, 1844, Aged 43 years. A native of Vermont but for the last eight years a resident of this City. How sweet O Lord is death to me Since death will bring my soul to thee.

Sacred to the memory of SYLVANUS CROCKETT son of Jonathan & Catharine Crockett of Thomaston, Maine, who died at Norfolk, VA, on board schooner Corro, Oct. 7, 1844.

In memory of SYLVANUS HARTSHORN. Born in Schaghticoke, N. Y., Sept. 27, 1792. Died in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 19, 1866.

DIEDAMIA ALLEN [HARTSHORN], his wife, Born in Providence, R. I., Nov. 1, 1797. Died in Norfolk, Va., Nov. 19, 1866. They lived together more than 50 years, and in death they were not divided.

The following inscriptions taken from the Elmwood Cemetery, Norfolk, VA., may be interesting to some of the readers of the REGISTER:

To My Beloved Father. Sacred to the memory of COLLINS THAYER, Born at Uxbridge, Mass., April 7th, Died at Norfolk, Va., of the prevailing Epidemic: Sept. 19th, 1855, Aged 65 years. He was a kind and devoted husband and father much beloved and respected by all who knew him. None knew him but to love him. None named him but to praise. "Dearest father thou hast left us, We thy loss most deeply feel; But 'tis God that hath bereft us He can all our sorrows heal."

In Memory of Our Dear Mother, ANNA A. GODFREY. Born in Maine, Died in Norfolk, Va., April 22, 1881, Aged 41 years. Dear mother thou hast gone to rest, Thy toils and cares are O're; And sorrow, pain and suffering now, Shall ne're distress the more. Erected by her children.

Sacred to the memory of SAMUEL MARSH. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut; died Nov. 28, 1814.

In Memory of MRS. E. L. T. JONES, nee Drew. Plymouth, Mass., Apr. 21, 1809. Died in this City, Feb. 25, 1884.

In memory of My Husband. LEANDER SPAULDING. Born in Jaffrey, N. Hampshire, Jan. 3, 1839. Died Nov. 23, 1880. An honest man, the noblest work of God.

In the memory of GEORGE HENRY, Beloved Son of Peter & Hannah J. C. Turney. Born in Manchester, N. H., June 28, 1858, Died in Norfolk, Va., May 1st, 1875. A treasure lent not given, Yours still in Heaven.

Sacred to the memory of HANNAH J. CHOAT, wife of Peter TURNEY. Born in Winsor, Me., June 20, 1825, Died in Norfolk, Va., Feb. 15, 1870. Oh! may we in that world afar, Meet, see and know each other there.

My Mother ABBIE I. CHENEY. Born in Westminster, Vt., May 26, 1850. Died in Norfolk, Va., Oct. 11, 1888. Rest sweet rest.

In Memory of JOHN D. THURSTON. Born in Newport, R. I. December 3d, 1797. Died in Norfolk, Va., November 22d, 1857, Aged 59 yrs. 11 mos. 10 days.

In Affectionate Remembrance of My Husband ALFRED D. BLAKE, Born at Wrentham, Mass., July 16, 1848. Died at Norfolk, Va., Aug. 31, 1884. Asleep in Jesus.

To our Father DAVID P. WILLIAMS. Born in Albany, Me., March 22, 1820. Drowned at Gosport Navy Yard June 19, 1862. At Rest.

Sacred to the Memory of CHARLES OTIS BOUTELLE, U. S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. Born in Lexington, Mass., Aug. 4, 1813. Died at Hampton, Va., June 22, 1890.

SUSAN LOUISE BOUTELLE. Born in Plymouth, Mass. Died in Norfolk, Va., Dec. 26, 1883. She went about doing good.

My Beloved Husband A. L. HILL. Born in Strafford, N. H., Nov. 26, 1814. Died in Norfolk, Va., Dec. 3, 1889. An Honest man's the Noblest work of God.

Landmark, June 16, 1894 (Elmwood and Cedar Grove Cemeteries)

Report on the New Cemetery There is now no more popular subject of discussion than how, when and where Norfolk is to acquire the necessary amount of land for cemetery purposes. THE LANDMARK has published several reports from the Council committee relative to the matter, and it will be remembered that at the last meeting of the Common Council City Engineer Brooke submitted a plan which was then published in brief, but which is now published in extenso.

The report of the City Engineer, after calling attention to the most salient features of the cemetery question, says: The almshouse, tract containing about twenty acres, will furnish a solution to the troublesome problem. A large part of this tract is at present a morass, hence would not bring as much per acres other ground, which, together with other reasons, would prevent its being used for other purposes. An inspection of this plat (which show that 703 burial lots could be gained by the following method:

It is proposed first to limit the area of the marsh by bulkheads, to excavate the bed of the marsh inside of the bulkhead to mean low water, or if possible a foot lower, and by the construction of an automatic tidegate just west of the present bridge to maintain a salt water lake where shown.

From the bulkhead to the winding drives which environ it will be a grass slope which may be interspersed with beds of colius and flowers in pretty and ornamental shapes and lined with trees.

Outside of the grass slopes and eight feet above mean low tide are the winding drives, and outside of these again there is a grass slope up to the burial lots, which start at an elevation of ten feet above mean low tide and slope gently up to Princess Anne Avenue.

The sides of the new acquisition will be walled with brick to a height of six and one-half or seven feet, the brick on the ground being used for this purpose and the boundaries on Princess Anne Avenue are to have stone-capped brick walls two and one-half or three feet high, surmounted by a neat iron fence five feet high and pierced by opposing iron gates with the names of the cemeteries over them.

Beside the stone bridge now connecting the two cemeteries there will be a neat rustic bridge just opposite the wide avenue in Elmwood so that persons can visit either the east or west end of this cemetery without having to go all around.

All the roads will be shelled and rolled, and a keeper's lodge will be erected where shown, from which the keeper will have a good view of most of the grounds and all entrances thereto.

It will be necessary to do considerable excavation to fill in behind the bulkheads, but a careful survey shows that we have sufficient material in the ground to accomplish it. It will also be required to construct a drainage sewer through Cedar Grove, and this has necessitated the opening of a skew street or alley which I would have preferred leaving out had it been possible.

Over the marsh and between the old almshouse tract and the land of Mr. E. A. Outten an embankment will be required, and as it will not do to build a brick wall on a new embankment for the present I have designed a substantial high board fence on this embankment until it is solid enough to build the wall on it.

Before leaving this branch of the subject, I would respectfully make a few suggestions in connection therewith.

First, I would urge the expediency of extending Princess Anne Avenue westward across the two small branches of the creek.

Cheap bridges could be built for this purpose for the present and street sweepings would in a year go far towards opening the avenue to Granby Street. The avenue being extended, I would suggest the building of a wall and fence along the side of West Point Cemetery on the north side of the avenue, with an appropriate gate opening on the avenue, so that the present entrance into West Point through Elmwood can be abandoned. The acquisition of a dozen large burial lots would go far towards paying for the wall.

The estimated cost would be $28,940, and as an offset 703 burial lots would be acquired, the sale of which would amount to about $50,475.

The Virginian-Pilot, June 22, 1905, "Skeletons Help to Build City Park"

What are believed to have been human skeletons, fourteen in number, were recently dug up at the naval hospital point by the big steam dredge of the Sanford and Brooks Company, which is cutting away the point. A considerable portion of the bones, it is said, found their way to the site of Jackson Park, which is being filled with the material dredged from the hospital point. The remains unearthed are supposed to have been those of either Federal or Confederate soldiers, although it is said there is no record of burials of soldiers at the point. Some of the bones, it is said, were picked up by laborers, who have kept the gruesome souvenirs, while the major portion of the remains were dumped on scows and taken around to Mahone's Lake, where the dumping of material into the lake is going on.

The Virginian-Pilot, April 8, 1908, "New Cemetery to be Known as Forest Lawn"

An ordinance changing the name of Evergreen Cemetery to "Forest Lawn." Chairman Walker of the Cemetery Committee pleaded for the original name, but Chairman Hodges of the Board of Control said the new cemetery would be a "modern up-to-date" burial ground, "in which Norfolk citizens will be proud to rest," and therefore he thought Forest Lawn will be a more appropriate name. The new name was adopted.

The Virginian-Pilot, October 23, 1908, "A New Cemetery is Needed Now"

Cemetery facilities in Norfolk are becoming an urgent matter for consideration, declares Superintendent J. M. Broughton, who is in charge of the City of the Dead.

That it will be up to the city to at once improve and open the new cemetery, to be located on the Bunting farm (Forest Lawn), and over which there was considerable litigation recently, is generally admitted. There is no time, it is declared, to delay the work of preparing the tract for use.

Superintendent Broughton yesterday notified the Board of Control that there are now but three regular lots undisposed of, besides a few irregular pieces of ground, which he asked authority to sell, if it is the wish of the board.

He also explained that a plot large enough for seven lots, could be utilized if properly drained and improved. The board instructed the city engineer to do the necessary work. The wretched condition of the roads in the cemetery, owing to the recent rains, reported by Superintendent Broughton, was also referred to the city engineer.

At the earliest practicable moment the new cemetery will be opened to the public.

Norfolk Landmark, December 20, 1910, "Select Site for Cemetery" - Calvary Cemetery

If the recommendation of the committee appointed to select a site for a colored cemetery is adopted by the Councils, the Calvary Cemetery, Inc., will go out of the business of burying people and the city will purchase their twenty-three acres of grave yard for $19,500 in 4 1-2 per cent bonds at par.

After Attorney James S. Barron, representing the Calvary Cemetery, Inc., had reduced his selling price from $21,000 to $19,500, appearing before the cemetery committee at their meeting last night, they voted unanimously to recommend the acceptance of the offer.

The site immediately joins the old Calvary Cemetery now owned by the city. It was bought by a private corporation, and converted into a burial place for colored people. When the question of a new negro cemetery came up in the Councils several months ago, the corporation offered to make a contract to bury the city's colored dead at so much per head, but the proposition was voted down.

The strongest competitor of the offer of the Calvary Cemetery, Inc., considered by the cemetery committee last night, was for the sale of fifty or more acres near Old Town crossing, Norfolk county, for $325 an acre.

Finally the committee had Mr. Barron summoned from his home, and asked his best price for the property. After holding out for some time for $21,000 city bonds, he accepted the proposal of the committee. He stated that the purchase price includes all improvements made by his corporation and the usual cemetery equipment.

One argument that was used in favor of this site was that it is now a competitor of the city, as a member of burial lots have been sold there.

When the vote was taken, Councilman J. Frank East asked to be excused. The discussion preceding was behind closed doors.

The Ledger-Dispatch, December 20, 1910, "Hot Fight in Council Over the Cemetery" - Calvary Cemetery

The special cemetery committee of the Norfolk City Council last night decided to recommend that the city buy the Calvary cemetery annex for the burial purposes of the colored population of the city, the price of the 23 acres in the tract having been reduced from $21,000 to $19,500.

It is expected, however, that there will be much opposition before the Council to the purchase of the property, there having been, and is still pending, a strong protest, by adjoining property owners against the use of said land for cemetery purposes, the protest being made on the ground that it will reduce the value of the adjacent property.

This opposition, on its face, looks as though it is being made with no possibility of accomplishing the end in view, as the land is question is already in use as a cemetery (having recently been developed, by the holding company, as such), but the hope of the opponents referred to, is said to be that if the deal with the city for this piece of property is broken up it will cease to be used as a cemetery.

The holding company insist that this is not so, and say that if the city refuses the rock-bottom figures at which they have now offered the property, the company will proceed with it as a privately conducted cemetery for colored people.

Other strong opposition to the purchase of this annex to Calvary cemetery is expected to come from the owners of other sites that have been offered for sale to the city for colored cemetery purposes.

It cannot be said that the vote in the committee last night was unanimous in favor of the purchase of the Calvary annex. but, after a thorough discussion of the subject, there was no strong opposition to its purchase.

A member of the committee who is greatly in favor of the "annex" purchase, said today that while he expects a hot fight in the Council against the committee's report, he believes the committee was fully justified in the conclusion they reached, for which conclusion he gave three reasons:

(1) This annex property is already developed for cemetery purposes, and the purchase of it will get out of the city's way a sharp competitor in the cemetery business.

(2) The cost of the maintenance of an annex to Calvary cemetery - the running expenses - will be the wages of two men less than at any other site offered.

(3) The colored people themselves want it purchased because of its convenience to them in walking to it, because the burials there will be less expensive to them, and because it will avoid separating their dead, they, many of them, having heretofore used Calvary cemetery for burial purposes.

The Virginian-Pilot, January 11, 1912, "To Remove Graves in West Point Cemetery"

The Board of Control has determined to remove all graves in that part of West Point Cemetery south of Twelfth Street, Letters were written yesterday to all the colored ministers asking them to ascertain the wish of their people who have relatives buried there. The controllers propose to remove the bodies to new graves in Calvary Cemetery,

The Norfolk Landmark, October 9, 1919, "Boys Unearth Human Skeleton on Banks of Hague"

A skeleton was unearthed last night on the west bank of the Hague, behind 228 Colley Avenue, by the three small sons of R. B. Grimmer.

The boys were digging a cave while playing that they belonged to Captain Kidd's pirates, when the spade grated strangely against a solid substance. After a few moments of digging a grinning skull was unearthed, and shortly afterwards the whole skeleton was uncovered bit by bit.

The skull was filled with roots and sand. The teeth were perfectly preserved. The fine rows of small even teeth led Detective Nowitzky, who conducted the investigation, to pronounce it the skull of a woman.

Not far from the spot where the skeleton was unearthed is a hole from which a buried treasure was dug many years ago. Older settlers in the neighborhood say that on a certain night in that place the neighboring families were disturbed by the sound of voices and a muffled sound as of digging. When some of the men dressed and went to the place, no one was there. The only thing that puzzled them was that a hole had been dug that night.

But certain old men remembered hearing how John Colley, Sr., and John Colley, Jr., had taken all their valuables from the old Colley house one night when the Federal troops were approaching Norfolk. The next day John Colley, Jr., went to join the Confederate army. He never returned. The secret of the spot where the treasure was buried died with him. Whether distracted by grief for the loss of his boy, or feeble minded, John Colley, Sr., would never reveal to any member of his family the place where the treasure was buried.

When asked by his family he would merely point towards the west bank of the Hague. It was shortly after his death that the neighbors were disturbed by the sound of voices and of digging.

The Colley family, for whom Colley Avenue was named, are among the earliest settlers of Tidewater Virginia. What was once the Colley farm is now Ghent, the most beautiful residential section of Norfolk. Lots in that section now are worth more than whole acres when John Colley owned the hundreds of acres which lie about the Hague. Yet the Colley family did not reap the harvest of increasing real estate values.

Virtually the whole family was wiped out in a yellow fever epidemic back in 1855.

Detective Nowitzky and Officer B. L. Smith Wick brought the skull to Police Station Precinct No. 1 for investigation.

The Virginian-Pilot, October 17, 1935

Norfolk in By-Gone Days by the Rev. W. H. T. Squires, D. D., "WHERE SLEEP THE FATHERS" – Cedar Grove Cemetery

Thousands and tens of thousands pass the green shades of Cedar Grove without giving these tranquil acres the tribute of a thought or glance. But the precious dust here gathered is well worthy the consideration and the time of Norfolk's busiest men. To be sure there are a few among the quick who visit here, those whose life is sprung from the dead lying so still below the leaving sod. Cedar Grove is rich in memorial of a glorious and heroic past. The silence here is pregnant with memories, the wealth and influence, pomp and pride, the distinction and the honor that once was Norfolk's own.

Though silent, save for the echoes of a distant horn, or the far rumbling of  a heavily laden truck, there are many voices which will speak, and eloquently, to the ear attuned to hear. Those who sleep so silently in the city of the dead once had their sorrows and their struggles, their pleasures and their pains. There are many memorial redolent of war, agony, separation, bloodshed, shipwreck, pestilence and bitter sorrows. So the cold marble often testifies.

It is interesting, too, to note how human we are even in death. Fretted marbles, elegant and costly stones, shapely obelisks attest the pride and wealth and power of the crumbling hand and the forgotten name.

The day was cold and bright and keen, with the tang of autumn in the air. A shrewd breeze lifted the withering leaves on oaks, elms and sycamores. The sun was warm, but the earth, like the stones, was cold and cheerless.

I had written of many of these dead, whom I now came to visit in their long abode. In these papers I had described their homes, streets, churches, schools, stores, warehouses, ships, their noble qualities and their weaknesses. I had seen them as they came from England or from Scotland, as they made fortunes, built their homes, reared their children, and as they had fallen in war, pestilence or died in peace – all by the power of plastic imagination. At every turn I found names recorded in "Norfolk in By-Gone Days."

GRAVES OF WELL-KNOWN MEN – To speak of all, even within the narrow limits of Cedar Grove, would certainly be impossible. But let us recognize a few here and there.

In the centre of the cemetery are four rounded corners, where two green and grassy lanes intersect. ROBERT FARMER sleeps under a handsome table-tomb, protected by a strong iron fence and remarkable well preserved after a century. (He died in 1842). Just beyond him CAPTAIN THOMAS T. WEBB, U.S.N. (1790-1853) rests beside his daughter, who married COMMANDER JOHN TUCKER, U.S.N. and C.S.N.

Pause a moment beside these graves and hear the record of history. As a youth Webb was in the thick of a battle aboard the U.S.S. Macedonian. He fought the pirates of Algiers with Decatur, Barron and other heroes. He came to the Norfolk navy yard (1818-21), and was later assigned command of the U.S.S. John Adams for service in the West Indies. Later he commanded the Vandalia off the coast of Florida. He was appointed captain in 1841 and remained an honored citizen of Norfolk until his death.

His son-in-law, JOHN R. TUCKER commanded the C.S.S. Patrick Henry, which accompanied the Merrimac (Virginia) in that battle forever famous. Commodore Buchanan speaks of him in the highest terms for bravery and efficiency.

On this same corner the vaults of the THOROWGOOD and FENTRESS families are no doubt filled, but vaults give no hint to the stranger as to the identity of those within their silent chambers.

On the opposite corner JAMES WILLOUGHY lies under a beautiful table-tomb, his mother by his side. Our early Governor, Sir John Harvey, once granted all this land from Sewell's Point to the Eastern Branch to the Willoughbys. They were the first family, and now only six feet of ground remains to James, one of the heirs.

The third coroner is rich in dust. Here lie many, who in their day filled large places in the public eye. Rev. ENOCH M. LOWE, the young clergyman who served Christ Church, on Church Street, only a year or two before his untimely death. He was buried in the chancel of his church – an old English custom. But when the building was swept by fire his remains were reinterred in this grave where he has slept for more than a hundred eventful years (1827).

Almost beside Mr. Lowe REV. ARISTIDES SMITH (1809-1892), the president for many long and useful years of Norfolk Female Institute, lies besides his wife. Her marble stone was the gift of her pupils, erected 80 years ago.

MRS. ELIZABETH F. HENNING, (1820-53), who spent some years in Africa as a missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church lies close beside the Smiths. REV. UPTON BEALL, for six years rector of Christ Church (who died in 1847), lies under another marble monument, a lectern upon which a Carved Bible and book of Common Prayer are laid.

To this crowded corner COMMODORE WARRINGTON and many of his family are gathered. Here again the thoughtful visitor must pause.

LEWIS WARRINGTON (1782-1851) born in Williamsburg thirteen months after the surrender of Cornwallis, was an alumnus of William and Mary, and at 18 years of age, became a midshipman (1800). His first cruise was made in the famous U.S.S. Chesapeake destined to begin the War of 1812 in 1807 at Cape Henry. The young officer did his part in suppressing the pirates of the West Indies, and then the African pirates in the Mediterranean. The rising young man won his spurs aboard the Vixen, the Siren, the Enterprise, the Essex, the Congress, the United States. Commanding the U.S.S. Peacock he captured H.B.M.D. Epervier in 42 minutes, for which he received a vote of thanks from the Congress, with a gold medal and a commission as "Captain."

Later he commanded the Macedonian, the Java, and the Guerriere. Then he spent three years as commandant of the Norfolk Navy Yard. He was the first commandant of the Navy Yard at Pensacola, Fla., (1826) and returned again to our Navy Yard (1832-39). The town built near the new yard at Pensacola was named Warrington in his honor. After a life so filled with patriotic activity and naval honors, he sleeps well beneath the sod in Cedar Grove.

TWO IN ONE GRAVE – It is only a step to a large, flat stone that tells quite another story. Under it two young naval officers, drowned in our harbor, sleep in one grave. ROBERT MONROE HARRISON, WILLIAM I. SLIDELE and Frederick Rogers were drowned when a boat capsized on our harbor, April 5, 1828. Harrison and Slidele are buried together under the large flat stone which tell of the tragedy. Harrison was only 17 years old at the time. Their funeral was one of the largest ever held in Norfolk.

The remaining corner, deeply shaded by giant crepe myrtle trees, is occupied by the Mallory family, prominent in professional and political life in Hampton and Norfolk for fully half a century.

Near the Cumberland Street gates three merchants who made their fortunes here and aided the development of the future city, lie closely side by side, in the same enclosures and under stones strangely similar. JAMES ARBUTHNOTT, born in London, made his home in Norfolk until his death (1856). Beside him lies JOHN COWPER, mayor of Norfolk (1801), member of the House of Delegates (1771) a member of the commission which erected the Virginia Marine Hospital at Washington Point (1787) active in every good work, and – as we guess – the grandfather of Bishop Granbery, who bore his name. WARREN ASHLEY, a third merchant, lies next to Cowper.

Just across the grassy lane the Granbery family are gathered. So far as we know Norfolk has produced as yet only one bishop. JOHN COWPER GRANBERY, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He was born December 5, 1829, graduated from Randolph-Macon College and served as a chaplain in the Confederate army. After the war he became professor of philosophy in Vanderbilt University and was elected (1882) bishop, while in that faculty.

I was attracted to the lonely grave of Sarah B. Kollock, the wife of Rev. Shepherd Kosciuszko Kollock, for 10 years the distinguished pastor of the Bell church (Presbyterian). He came to the pastorate here in 1825, a young clergyman of 30 years. Mrs. Kollock (1799-1828), was four years younger than her husband. Close beside her tomb is the small grave of their daughter, Susan, a child of eight. Dr. Kollock died in Philadelphia (1865), two days before General Lee surrendered, a man of 70 full and faithful years. The brief and simple epitaphs carved on each stone so long ago gives no hint of the sorrow, mental anguish and bitter grief that are the common lot of mortal man.

Very close by the Kollock stones JOHN McPHAIL, and MARY, his wife, lie side by side. It is only said that John was born in 1773 and died in 1851. But there are many lines that may well be inscribed between those dates. He was a native of Glasgow and as a young man made his home in Norfolk. A devoted Presbyterian he did more than any one man, perhaps, to build the Bell church in this city. There are three names that the Presbyterians of Norfolk have forgotten, but should not forget, McPhail, McKinder and Maxwell. It was they who brought Benjamin Porter Grigsby to this city and under his enthusiastic leadership built the largest church in Tidewater Virginia. McPhail and McKinder were the first ruling elders in the church, elected as we judge in 1801, when the first organization was effected. Let us quote here William S. Forrest:

"John McPhail died at his residence in this city, Tuesday, November 4, 1851, in the 78th year of his age. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, he came in early life to this country and for more than half a century had lived here. Mr. McPhail took an active part in the organization of the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, and for many years filled the office of ruling elder."

VIRGINIUS D. GRONER – Near the Princess Anne Avenue gate we linger once again. The name that now arrests us, Virginius Despaux Groner (1838-1903). Born in this borough, he was educated at Norfolk Academy, and soon became a colonel in the Militia. He organized the "Norfolk Independent Corps." Though he turned to law and commerce he was a born soldier. In 1859 he visited that famous Virginia soldier and statesman, Sam Houston, and served in Texas against the warlike Indians.

When the War Between the States began Colonel Groner went to New York, bought a ship load of arms for the State of Mississippi and delivered them to the governor of that state. He planned a surprise attack upon Fort Monroe, after Virginia seceded, but Gov. John Letcher forbade him to make the attempt. Somehow we find ourselves wishing that the governor had encouraged that heroic effort!

Had Colonel Groner put that plan successfully over there would have been a world-wide sensation to add to our national history. The colonel served the Confederate States army in many items we cannot discuss here, both at Montgomery, Ala., and at Richmond. Then he was assigned the Fifty-ninth Carolina Cavalry, then to the Sixty-first Virginia regiment.

He held Fredericksburg for two days against gigantic odds until the arrival of General Lee. Severely wounded at the bloody battle of Spotsylvania Court House, he rejoined his command at Petersburg, although still on crutches!

After the fighting was done he labored as continuously for the commercial upbuilding of Norfolk as he had for the Confederate cause before it fell.

Beside him lies his wife, Katherine Campbell Groner, the daughter of John Archibald Campbell, of Alabama. Judge Campbell was appointed to the Supreme Court of the United States by Franklin Pierce (1853), and resigned only when Alabama seceded. Though he bitterly opposed secession he did his utmost for the Confederate cause, once the die was cast, serving as assistant secretary of state to President Jefferson Davis. He was one of the commission who met President Lincoln and William H. Seward at the famous though futile Hampton Roads conference (1865).

"After life's fitful fever they sleep well."

The Virginian-Pilot, March 2, 1941, "Potter's Field - A Biblical Haven for the Unknown" by Idah Hermance Wood

And the chief priests took the silver pieces and bought with them the potter's field to bury strangers in . . ."

Since Biblical times the criminals, beggars, the unknown have gone to rest in Potter's Field. Many destitute, but proud, have been buried there too.

Perhaps it was because of that, when I asked for information on Potter's Field, John Staton smiled, "We don't call it Potter's Field. We call it the Norfolk Municipal Burying Ground." Somehow, the official names seems to take away the stigma of burial in poverty.

In the Old Testament and in the New, mention is made of Potter's Field, or Aceldama, the field of blood.

When Judas betrayed Jesus and repented, he took the 30 pieces of silver, "the price of him that was valued," and brought the money to the temple. The priests thought it unlawful for the "reward of iniquity" to be added to the treasury, so after debate they purchased a field to "bury strangers in."

Since that time in every hamlet and village, money is set aside to procure land for a last resting place for the unknowns.

John Staton, is assistant superintendent at Forest Lawn Cemetery, in Norfolk. Mr. Staton has friendly eyes, but they flashed when something I said seemed to imply pity for unkept graves. "The graves in that portion of the cemetery are cared for just as in the other sections. We cut the grass there every time we do on the other lots."

And it is true. For that section is like a beautiful park. Tall pine trees shade its peacefulness. Flowering shrubs give it color. In fact, they doubly bless it, for twice in one year the bushes burst forth in bloom.

Mr. Staton was worked at Forest Lawn for six years. He tells us that in the Municipal Burying Ground there is an old section with about 225 graves and a new section of one-fourth an acre with 90 buried there already. The former has been in use since 1909. The latter is being added to at the rate of 15 a year.

The city furnishes a casket and box for a deceased person whose family is unable to assume payment, for a criminal whose family has hesitated to claim the body, on an average of one unidentified person a year. An apparent suicide was buried there recently because of only tentative identification.

The city furnishes no vaults, no markers. But the Government erected a small stone to a war veteran upon discovery of his burial in the city lot. There has been a double funeral there; and once a body was exhumed to be fingerprinted. That happened a number of years ago, for now the prints of an unidentified body are taken before burial.

Local undertakers serve in rotation. There is no classification as to religion. This is not always possible, so each funeral is presided over by a chaplain. Services often being conducted by Chaplain Callender from the City Home.

Records of all deaths are kept in the office of Dr. J. C. Sleet, City Health Commissioner, in the Old Post Office Building. Many of their files go back as far as 1892. It has been compulsory to keep all records since 1912, and a copy of each death certificate is sent to Richmond.

Mrs. J. C Craft, who has worked in Dr. Sleet's office since 1921, keeps all data on deaths and burials. If her job of recording such vitals and necessary facts seems depressing, her cheerful countenance does not show it. She is always eager to be of help in giving information. But her only sorrow is that these records of the "unwept, unhonored and unsung," have become only statistics. She probably feels as Thomas Gray one felt:

"Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire:
Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre. . . "

The Norfolk Municipal Burying Ground for colored is at Calvary Cemetery, just off Princess Anne Road. One turns to the left beyond the oil tanks, follows a winding road until the quiet shady cemetery is reached. Calvary itself is a well-kept cemetery. Just beyond, to the northwest, are two acres of land given over for use by the city as Potter's Field. Here, as at the white cemetery, the graves are unmarked but records are kept of each burial.

Here, too, the city furnishes casket, but no vault. And each service is presided over by a chaplain, and each funeral is handled, in turn, but one of Norfolk's colored undertakers.

The average yearly is usually over 100. The year 1939 found the city paying for 103 colored burials in the Potter's Field section. Here the percentage of unidentified is higher, being three or four per year.

THE MACE, July/August 1979, "Historian of the Cemeteries"

His history lessons are rapid-fire and laced with a crackling repertoire of one-liners. No speaking in measured tones and whispering commiseration for Charles Herbert Hoffman.

Known by his friends as "Herbert," this senior cemetery keeper is brimming with details about the dead who lie in 19th century Cedar Grove, West Point and Elmwood cemeteries.

He'd like to converse with the first man executed by hanging during Reconstruction - Dr. David Wright, who shot a Union soldier because the soldier was impolite to a southern lady.

And there's Professor Jean Odend'hal, who came to the United States as secretary to Lafayette on the famed Frenchman's last visit to American in 1824. Odend'hal was buried in Cedar Grove in 1883.

Civil War General Robert B. Taylor, commander at the Battle of Craney Island, was also buried there along with a score of other Confederate officers and enlisted men.

And after the Civil War when newly-freed blacks wanted a place to be buried, they were given a spot west of Elmwood Cemetery called West Point. But to ensure segregation, a wall went up between black and white graves. It still stands.

And so does one of the nation's only two monuments to black Union soldiers. In the 1870s, a black city councilman, James Fuller, worked with a group of citizens to get the monument erected; they staged bake sales and other fund-raisers to pay for it. This year, that tradition continued when a black Masonic lodge restored the monument for Memorial day.

Hoffman remembers when Memorial day parades started downtown and ended at the flag-draped gates of the cemeteries. "Unfortunately, the flags were Confederate, and civil rights meant the end of the parade," he says, adding that the holiday is still a time when many individuals and organizations come to decorate graves in the three cemeteries clustered along Princess Anne Road.

Those graves include not only the well-known but the families of the well-known. The cemetery is where local and state officials, their families, and members of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's mother's family are buried. There, too, lies the son of the designer of the ironclad ship, the Merrimac, and the great-grandson of the revolutionary hero Ethan Allen.

"But there are many unknown figures here, too," says Hofffman. Some are unknown because all grave records were lost in a fire. (During the Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped restore some records.) But other unknown dead perished during Norfolk's Yellow Fever epidemic in 1855 when mass graves were necessary.

Unknown Civil War soldiers are also in the cemetery: "One day, while helping an old lady find the grave of her father, I pointed to a nearby grave saying we didn't know who was buried there. "Oh, I know," she said, "My father buried a Yankee soldier there."

Hoffman also tells about bodies found wen Norfolk's downtown was redeveloped and when the city inched out into what was farmland. "The cemeteries' oldest graves date back to 1786 and were found by a North Carolina farmer and transferred here," he adds. "All this was once pasture land. They put up the iron fences to keep cattle from grazing on the graves."

All these tidbits of local lore fascinate Hoffman, who say he has always been a history buff and continued that interest while working at the cemeteries off and on for 16 years.

And despite all those hours with the dead, Hoffman's lust for living is unabated. "I accept the inevitability of death with some humor. But I also appreciate the peaceful beauty of this cemetery, and I know it's a beautiful place to work."

And no, he doesn't believe in ghosts. "Dead people don't hurt you," he insists. "Live ones do."

Other newspaper articles of interest though not yet in the public domain:

In Grave '130' Lies Sea Hero, All But Forgot, Virginian-Pilot, March 27, 1947

Identity of Man in Graveyard Still Mystery, Virginian-Pilot, June 19, 1955

A Monumental Job - Meet Junior Carr, Keeper of Norfolk's Oldest Cemeteries, Virginian-Pilot, May 17, 1983

Mt. Olive Cemetery Comes to Life, Virginian-Pilot, December 7, 1986

Graveyard: Burial Vault is Found under Site of MacArthur Center, Virginian-Pilot, September 16, 1995