Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday: John Atkinson

These photos show the gravestone of my immigrant Atkinson ancestor, John Atkinson, who was probably born in Ireland, sailed to Baltimore and eventually came to what is now Ohio County, WV in the late 1700s. He and his wife, Eleanor (Mitchell) Atkinson were the parents of 9 children. I descend from their son, James.

The graveyard where many of the earliest Atkinson from my family doesn't seem to have an official name. It has been transcribed as both "Riley Hill Road Cemetery" and as "Atkinson Cemetery". It's located on property that was once owned by John Atkinson that was passed down to his son, David whose descendants lived there until sometime in the last 75 years, I believe.

I was first told of it by a distant cousin in 1997, but I wasn't able to find it until 10 years later, and then just last summer I was able to visit again with a GPS to record the exact location. It's in the middle of a woods behind a field, and can be difficult to find if you don't know exactly where to go, and to make it even more confusing, if you try to follow the GPS, it will try to lead you up a dirt road that washes out before you can get where it says you can, so you have to know to go around and through a residential area.

The cemetery hasn't been well taken care of, but someone has been trying to repair the graves and clean the place up recently. I don't know who that is. I wonder if this might have been a place for kids to hang out and cause trouble, some of the broken stones look as if they've been shot. It's sad that there are people who would treat the final resting place of human beings that way.

One thing I was grateful for was a photograph of a tree that marks the location of those graves. Another researcher shared it on a private Ohio County research site. I loved that she declared that the huge, ancient oak seemed to be guarding over the Atkinson family buried there. The photo below is mine, my first view of the tree which told me that I was finally on the right path to view the graves of my earliest Atkinson relatives in America!

You can view John Atkinson's entry on Find a Grave, or see my data for him on Rootsweb.

1 comment:

  1. I need to scare up a few older tombstones...LOL Did you ever do any rubbings of these older ones of yours?


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