28 August 2015

Ellison Ridge Road

Summers County, Ellison Ridge, and the Lillys

As we've shared before, when we have spare time we like to go looking for cemeteries. To add a specific tangible goal, we like to review the Find-A-Grave photo requests and pick out a hopeful target cemetery. Then we do some research on it (a little "digging" you might say) and then we go out and try to locate the cemetery and the requested grave markers.


We don't always find what we are looking for, but we always enjoy looking.

Recently, we decided to go looking for a Lilly Family Cemetery in Summers County. If you are from southern WV, you might realize how daunting that is.  Lilly is the most common surname in our area, far ahead of Smith and Jones and the rest. And from what I can tell the heart of Lilly country is around Jumping Branch and Nimitz in Summers County. Find-A-Grave lists a bunch of cemeteries in this area, most of them with "Lilly Family" in the name, and most of them with less than a hundred graves.

In other words, there are a bunch of Lillys, and many many small family cemeteries. A big task, indeed.

As a start, we made a list, and found that Find-A-Grave lists 18 cemeteries in Summers County all starting with the name Lilly. Now some may be duplicates, but still that's a bunch. So we noted as many directions and coordinates and descriptions as we could find and tried to organize them.

We found that four or five of the cemeteries seemed to be on Ellison Ridge Road. So we plotted out a map, and headed out to find them all. And as a specific goal, we wanted to find Clarice Lilly's grave, which was a Find-A-Grave request from our friend Ralph.

Before tackling Ellison Ridge, we made two other stops. First, we drove out Will Dodd Road in Jumping Branch, looking for a cemetery that was reported to be there, but we struck out. Then we went to Lilly-Crews, a large cemetery in Nimitz. This one is easy to find, well kept, and fairly large. Interestingly, it contains a number of graves that were relocated from a cemetery near the town of Lilly as the Bluestone Dam was being constructed. The old cemetery was flooded by what is now Bluestone Lake.

Finally, we headed out Ellison Ridge. We had rough directions to two cemeteries - the first was about 1.5 miles along on the left at the top of a hill. After we had gone about 3/4 mile, we saw chain-link fencing near an old burned-out sawmill, and visited the small cemeteries there. There were actually two fenced areas, joined together, with one smaller and one more dominant.
When we continued down Ellison Ridge we were looking for a cemetery up the hill from an old schoolhouse. We found this building here, and a cemetery above it, and were sure we had found it.

Just as at the other site, we found two separately fenced areas. We were excited, but were puzzled that we still couldn't find Clarice Lilly's marker. Nonetheless we photographed the lot, and decided it was time to be done for the day.

When we got home and looked carefully at our pictures and mapping, we realized that we had not found a Lilly Cemetery at all. The first two we found were the small Meader/Odie Cemetery and it's larger neighbor just named Meador Cemetery.

The two fenced areas near the "schoolhouse" turned out to be the Fall Rock Cemetery. Not only that, but all three cemeteries were already completely documented in Find-A-Grave. So we hadn't fulfilled a single photo request.

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