01 September 2014

Reed Cemetery

Reed Cemetery

Far down the C&O Dam Road in Daniels is the well-maintained Reed (or maybe Reed/Smith) Cemetery. It is a small cemetery (about 30 interments) with 3 family names - Reed, Smith and Lilly. The reports are that Dr. James used to own the land, and lived in a 2-story farmhouse below the cemetery. The farmhouse is gone now, but the view from the cemetery is serene and beautiful.

Finding the place

We received photo requests for the cemetery (from Ralph), but not a specific location. Ralph found death certificates of his family that listed the funeral home. I emailed to request the cemetery's location, and they replied timely with the following:
The information we have on Reed Cemetery is that it is located off C & O Dam Road in Daniels, WV, near the Boy Scouts Camp.  Before you get to the camp, turn back to the left and go about a quarter mile, turn beside Dr. James' two-story farmhouse on the right.  Cemetery sits upon the hill behind the farm.  Unfortunately, there is no other direction or contact information on file.    Good luck!
We got to the scout camp easily enough, I (David) remembered it from my scouting days. We hunted among the houses around there for a while without luck. I was about to give up, but Sherry wanted to try going past the scout camp, and I have learned to trust her intuition. We went another mile or so to where you cross the turnpike to stay on the C&O Dam Road.

At that point, Sherry spied a group of folks preparing to take their BBQ/Gyro wagons to a fair. We were directed to the head of the group with our questions. He immediately recognized the description of his neighbor's property. He remembered a pond he use to fish near the cemetery, and the occasion that his cows wandered onto the his neighbor's field, and Dr. James kindly assisted him in herding the cows home. He pointed us further down C & O Dam Road away from the Boy Scout Camp. He said there use to be a bird sanctuary sign. How fortunate we were to approach the neighbor that actually had interactions with Dr. James and knew of the cemetery. Later we realized the cemetery was well inside the property and not view-able from the main road and without his assistance.

We didn't find the bird sanctuary, but we did eventually figure out that Belwood Lane was the correct turnoff.  After maneuvering the dirt lane over a half mile, I saw the cemetery, or rather, I saw a flag post and a fenced area at the top of a knoll and knew we found our cemetery!  We went on to the end of the road and talked to a neighbor, seeking permission to explore the cemetery. Without hesitation, he directed us to a nice, well-maintained path up to the top.

We were so excited to find the site, we parked at the bottom of the field and walked up through the tall grass full of  purple blooming wildflowers. When we arrived at the top, we saw the gate was on the other side.  We followed fence having to crawl under some rusted old strands of barbed wire that connected perpendicularly to the outside of the cemetery's fence. We both chuckled and said, "cow diversion tactic." As we pulled brown thorny "hitchhikers" from our clothes, we noted the well maintained path that we could easily navigate in our little Honda.  However, we enjoyed following the deer trail from the pond covered in vegetation to the flag seen at the top of a hill beaconing the position of the cemetery.


We started our normal process - I go through the place systematically while Sherry pinpoints the whereabouts of any photo requests and noting possible relationships.  She also likes to take artistic photos of the surrounding scenery and plant life with a whimsical eye. We also note any family buried away from the family in a corner or outside a fence, which is a great clue to the family history. Also, we are careful not to post a picture or information on a family member without a death date.  With family cemeteries we like to digitally record all the headstones.  Later we complete an internet and vital statistics search to create a family tree.  We post the family tree as a public tree on Ancestry.com. We use a camera with GPS so that the photos are pinpointed to a location.

Inevitably we find head stones that are unreadable.  Sherry will urge me to help her read the eroded, lichen-covered words to try to preserve the information.  If unsuccessful, we audio record what is readable and take a digital picture. Occasionally someone will know who was buried there. Once we return home we try to elicit the information from the pictures using digital enhancement then confirmation with a death certificate, vital record, etc.

Unlabeled Graves

This cemetery has seven or eight graves with markers but no labeling. If you know who these graves might belong to, please contact us.


If you want to see the Find-A-Grave records for this cemetery, here is the link:

We setup a public tree on Ancestry for the Reed family, which is listed as "Reed Cemetery Tree". From a quick search on Elias Reed, it looks like there are a bunch of other public trees that will tie into it.

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