We believe that the first graves here pre-date 1852, when Archibald Beane's first wife, Amanda Shires Beane [1826-1852], was buried here. Family legend states that slaves were buried around the perimeter of the fence, while family members were buried inside. While there last summer, my Dad and I did locate the remains of a very old fence in places. Rotting timbers indicated where the nearly 200 year old fence posts did stand. In some places, the wire was lying on the ground, covered over by years of falling leaves and forest debris.
At one point, [as late as 1940's], the cemetery was clear, but it is now overtaken by the forest. Large trees are noted to have rocks in their trunks that may actually be the remnants of old stones.
It is impossible to tell who was buried where. Graves are marked in some areas only by sunken depressions in the ground. Others have a bit of rock, or old stone at their heads. On all of the old stones, we found only a single legible marking. The letter "C". A new stone was placed in the 1990's to commemorate the patriarch and matriarch of the Bean family, who are buried here, William Bean and Rachel Wiseman. It was placed on the 207th birthday of William.
Here is the commemorative stone:
Back of the stone
Front of the stone
William M. Bean was born 18 Sept 1792, it is believed in Baltimore, Maryland. He was one of at least two children born to William McBean and Sarah Bane. He was indentured at the age of 12 [on his 12th birthday] in Monroe County.
Two months after his indenture release, when he reached the age of 21, William married Rachel Wiseman, born 23 Apr 1790 to Joseph Wiseman and Elizabeth Bateman in Rockbridge County, Virginia. The couple were married on 20 Nov 1813 in Monroe County. They had 13 children: Emily, Nancy, Lucinda, Elizabeth, Sarah, John, Thomas, Margaret, Archibald, Joseph, James, William and Martha Caroline. [Nancy is buried here.]
Rachel died 7 Nov 1856 [one month after daughter Nancy]. She died from a fever of unknown origin which brought on a stroke. William was killed not far from here. He was in the "Home Guard" during the Civil War, being too far advanced in age to participate. After trailing a group of renegade desserters, who stealing from the local populace, he lead the posse into Wiseman's Hollow, and as he approached a cabin, one of the desserter's shot from the loft of a cabin. The bullet stroke his head and killed him. [In an ironic copy, his namesake son, William, was a US Marshall, and was also shot unawares by a county constable, from behind, in the head and died.] The date was 01 Jan 1864.
We know of at least 2 slaves buried here.
The remainder of the stones follow:
This is the only stone with a legible marking. Looking at the top left you can just make out what looks like a "C".
Another shot of the stone with the "C".
Here you can see remnants of the old wire fence. There are still some old fence staples holding the fence to this tree.
Fallen along the perimeter of the cemetery we noted this rotting fence post.
The remnants of another rotting fence post along the perimeter of the cemetery.
Still another fallen fence post. Look closely and you will see this one still has remnants of the wire fence attached.
An old stone. You can clearly make out the grave to this stone.
Another grave marker.
This stone marks a grave that is depressed a great deal. [About 8" at the center.]
The remnant of another stone.
Another grave marker.
Another stone marker.
No marking are visible on this larger stone.
This upright stone marker again has no markings that remain visible or legible.
Walter Beane, great-grandson, of William and Rachel, tells stories of William and Rachel to visitors in August 2009.
Great-great-great-great granddaughters of William and Rachel tour Monroe County with Walter Beane and his daughter, Cyndi, in August 2009. Here Walter tells them lore about the cemetery. Walter remembers the cemetery from when he was a young boy, visiting it with his father, John Monroe Bean, and tending to the graves. This was open then, with only one or two trees. As you can see here, it is forested now.
The cemetery faces the old Bean homestead, which remains standing, across the Bert William's road.