Armstrong Colored Cemetery
Located somewhere on private property east of Grafton Street between E. Sioux Lane and Armstrong Street.
We have no listing for this cemetery.See the Mt. Pisgah Benevolent Cemetery page for a list of people found in the county death records who may have been buried in this cemetery.
Rediscovering this cemetery
First of all, I have named this the Armstrong Colored Cemetery for a number of reasons. All of the property deeds referred to it as a “colored cemetery” and William Armstrong of Romney set aside the property for the cemetery. I have never seen or heard it referred to by that name.
I had first heard of this colored cemetery from Mr. Ralph Haines many years ago. I was particularly interested since it was almost in my backyard. As all things at that time it drifted away and was just brought back from the cobwebs of my mind when Charles Hall commented to me that the Colored Cemetery near Indian Mound was probably the only one in town. Standing not more than 50 yards away at the time, I remarked, “no, there was one right there!”
With the help and expertise of Steve Moreland, we ventured to the Hampshire County Courthouse to search property records to see if there was any mention of it in deeds. Every deed from the most recent owner back to 1845 mentioned the cemetery. Deed Books referenced were, from [first to last or most current]:
1. Book 39, page 249 Angus McDonald to William Armstrong
2. Book 41, page 53 March 6, 1847 from William Armstrong to the cemetery trustees for "...burying the people of colour, whether slave or free...".
3. Book 54, page 228 excepting a graveyard for colored people
4. Book 57, page 143 ?? referenced in Deed Book 60, page 309 below
5. Book 60, page 309 chancery court correction
6. Book 71, page 51 conveyance by trustees referencing a deed of trust; no description given.
7. Book 90, page 102 simple transfer within family; no description given
8. Book 90, page 242 Nov. 23, 1926 widow of R. W. Dailey to W. E. Beaty and Russel Saville, exception for a graveyard for colored people; at this point graveyard seems to be undisturbed.
9. Book 90, page 365 April 23, 1927 to W. W. Bailey references “…to a stone at the S. corner of what is supposed to have been a colored cemetery from which the bodies have been removed”
10. Book 112, page 450 mentions abandoned colored cemetery
11. Book 349, page 572 reference to abandoned colored cemetery
12. Book 361, page 678
William Armstrong was the owner of 16 acres and sometime, based upon property records, between 1845 and 1868, set aside ½ acre for a colored cemetery on this property. The exact location of the cemetery is unknown, but it was located north of Romney’s original lots, #81 & #91, near the intersection of Antigo Place and Sioux Lane. In Deed Book 90, page 366, the follow information is listed, “…to a stone at the S. corner of what is supposed to have been a colored cemetery from which the bodies have been removed”. This was dated April 4, 1927. I would also imagine the name of Armstrong Street, on which I live, was also named for him. We also searched a number of old Romney plat map and there was never a cemetery shown in that location.
William Armstrong was a prominent citizen and land owner of Romney. Armstrong is listed as the owner on many of the original 100 lots of Romney, including the above mentioned, #81 & #91. From the webpages of Wikipedia, “born in Lisburn, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, Armstrong immigrated to the United States in 1792 with his parents, who settled in Virginia. He studied law in Winchester, Virginia before becoming a United States tax collector in 1818 and 1819. Armstrong served as member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1822 and 1823 and then was elected as an Adamsite Democratic-Republican to the Nineteenth and Twentieth Congresses and as a National Republican to the Twenty-first and Twenty-second Congresses (March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1833). After leaving Congress, he engaged in the tavern business in Romney, Virginia (present-day West Virginia) until 1862. He died in Keyser, West Virginia on May 10, 1865 and was buried in Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.Dan Oates
January 21, 2017