How Moundsville, WV, got its name (and Whitegate Cemetery)

Across the street from WV Penitentiary lies Grave Creek Mound.  The cold rain, as well as time demands, stopped us from hiking up.  According to: http://www.donnan.com/indian_mound.htm
“The Grave Creek Mound has been preserved and is located within this West Virginia town’s city limits, across the street from its eerie old, stark stone neighbor, the West Virginia Pen. This Indian burial mound was constructed around 200 B.C. The mound stands 69-feet tall and has a base diameter of 295-feet. The original mound was also encircled by a moat 5-feet deep, and 40-feet wide.”

The stone buildings, which I wish we would have taken time to explore, are earlier museums.

We needed to get back home, but still had one stop – Whitegate Cemetery, permanent home to those who died while incarcerated (bodies never claimed).

When I asked our tour guide where it was located he gave directions, adding that it was located across a creek and “a bridge should have been built, but…” With the rain they’d been having he didn’t know how high the water was.  The ground was too soggy for us to park by the side of the road, so B.D. drove back and forth while I slid down the embankment and skipped across whatever stones were sticking above the water to reach the graveyard.
The graves were marked by metal signs, the type of which I’d never seen.  However, according to legend, a kind-hearted warden’s wife suggested the gate  (hence the name Whitegate) to warm the site.
After taking a few pictures, I was alerted by the sound of a car horn that it was time for me to gingerly tip-toe back through the cold water and be on our way home.
“Did you think that maybe your shoes would be soaked?”  How long has B.D. known me?  In utero, perhaps?  Would a little thing like a very cold creek stop me?  The water was much lower than at the Belgian coke mines in Vinton County, so I was happy.

We had a great time, and plan to go back.  F.F. will accompany us. A little thing like a cold water creek doesn’t bother him, either.


Winter’s coming on so we don’t know when we’ll be able to go on another adventure, but we’re always up for it.  Keywords: cheap or free, a few hours away, different.

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