Cemetery Personalities

Between 15,000 and 20,000 people are estimated to be buried in the Old City Cemetery. A small percentage of that total is listed here by category with brief biographical notes. These unique characters represent the diverse population that inhabits Lynchburg’s “city of the dead.”
Biographical Notes
Religious Leaders: Ministers of the Gospel, Deacons & Church Trustees

Alexander Doniphan (1820–1877)
Itinerant minister and revivalist; early leader in the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Church; “a sweet singer and peculiarly gifted in prayer”; fundraiser and “financial agent” for the old Lynchburg College

Robert F. Hening (1815–1888)
Cabinet maker and milliner; longtime member of Centenary Methodist Church; leader of singing at Centenary; “a Methodist of Methodists”

Click here for more religious leaders… 

Domestic Servants

Julia Whiteley Branch (c.1850–1937)
Midwife and baby nurse; employed by many prominent families in Lynchburg

Anica Mitchell (c.1850–1917)
Faithful and beloved “mammy” of the Moore family for over 40 years; mother of four

Albert J. Williams (1874–1955)
Chauffeur for Lynchburg Corporation Court Judge Frank P. Christian and later for shoe company executive Bland Terry, Sr.

Virginia Jackson “Jennie” Hicks (1879–1964)
Cook and laundress; admired for her “exquisite work, comparable to a fine French hand-laundry;” “she was an artist and a lady in her field”

Phillip Pleasant (Whiteley) (c.1850–1937)
Coachman, butler, and gardener for Garland and Almond Families; served in U.S. Colored Troops during Civil War

Artists, Musicians, Actors, Entertainers, Writers & Composers

George Fitch (Died 1912)
Leader of the first African-American band in Lynchburg

Lizzie Chambers Hall (1875–1965)
Published poet

George Abner Patterson (1869–1922)
Engineer for Norfolk & Western Railroad; country music band leader; father of four

Ulysses S. Grant Patterson (1867–1916)
Musician, composer, and mail carrier; first band director at Virginia State University; professor of music at Virginia Theological Seminary & College; well-known baritone soloist and cornet player

Bransford “Buddy” Vawter (1815–1838)
Gifted poet, writer, and orator—“Lynchburg’s first poet;” author of the widely-acclaimed poem “I’d Offer Thee This Hand of Mine,” which was set to music and published nationally

Lawyers, Legislators, Politicians & Judges

Daniel Butler (1874–1942)
School teacher and postal clerk; active in local Republican politics; unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1898

Robert Cox (1862–1906)
Member of the “Bolters Convention” in the 1880s; see Ferguson and Schewel theses

William Daniel, Sr. (1770–1839)
Judge of the General and Circuit Courts of Virginia; lived at Point of Honor; namesake of Daniel’s Hill neighborhood (now historic district)

William Daniel, Jr. (1806–1873)
Judge of Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, 1846–1865; represented Lynchburg in Virginia General Assembly, 1831, 1835, and 1837; father of John Warwick Daniel, longtime Virginia senator

Robert H. “Bob” Gray (Died 1865)
“A saddler by trade, but politics was his profession, and especially politics of the Democratic persuasion;” “a Democrat of Democrats;” by dying in 1865 “was fortunately spared witnessing the saturnalia created by Republican carpet baggers in the South he loved”

Samuel F. Kelso (1827–1880)
Laborer; represented Lynchburg in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868

William H. Lydick (1806–1882)
Merchant; prominent in local Republican politics; represented Lynchburg in the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868; “on a jury, he was as sure to hang it as he got on it”; member of the Universalist Church

Tobacco

Pleasant Labby (1792–1869)
Pioneer of tobacco industry in Lynchburg; mayor of Lynchburg, 1836; “apostle” of the Universalist faith in Lynchburg

Israel Snead (1780–1845)
Trusted tobacco inspector for almost 25 years

Josiah Henry Whitlow (1809–1897)
Tobacco farmer, commissioner, and inspector; body removed to OCC from his family plantation Greendale in Campbell County

Sporting Women

Lizzie Langley (1833–1891)
Proprietor of one of Lynchburg’s most successful “sporting houses,” located on Commerce Street in the neighborhood known as “Buzzard Roost”

Agnes Terry (Died 1917)
“The largest colored woman in Lynchburg” at the time of her death 

Assorted Businesspeople

William Grant Anderson (1875–1955)
Insurance agent for Southern Aid Society

William Jacob Calloway (1854–1907)
Merchant and general store owner; longtime friends of Spencer family on Pierce Street

Squire Higginbotham (c.1820–1882)
First African-American undertaker in Lynchburg; trained by leading white undertaker George A. Diuguid; predecessor of modern-day Community Funeral Home

Armistead Pride (1790–1858)
Pioneering barber in early Lynchburg; first professional to cup and leech and to pull teeth in Lynchburg

Frances Jane Brodie “Fannie” Rosser (1884–1973)
Worked for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co. for 32 years; “one of Durham’s most outstanding business women”

Teachers, Principals & Other Educators

Sallie Frank “Frankie” Anderson (1904–1986)
Teacher at Yoder Elementary School for over 40 years; recognized for her innovations in mathematics curriculum

Ottawa Anna Gladman Curle (1857–1885)
One of the first three African-Americans hired to teach in Lynchburg public schools; graduate of Howard University; daughter of prominent free black barber Thomas G. Gladman

James William Mozee (1862–1941)
Teacher in Lynchburg Public Schools for 31 Years; first African-American principal at Dunbar High School, 1932–1937

Gregory Willis Hayes (Died 1906)
Graduate of Oberlin College; second president of Virginia Theological Seminary & College (*oral history suggests Hayes may have later been moved to White Rock Cemetery or the Seminary grounds)

Josiah Holbrook (1788–1854)
Educator and scientist; founder of the “lyceum movement” in 19th-century America

Mary Louise Williams (1932–2002)
Science teacher at Linkhorne Middle School; valedictorian of Dunbar High School Class of 1949; lifelong member and officer of Court Street Baptist Church

Medical Professionals

R. B. Gaines (Died 1811)
Physician; one of the first doctors to practice in Lynchburg

Harry Wilson Reid (1892–1969)
Pharmacist; Lynchburg’s first African-American pharmacist; veteran of World War I

Mary Willie Alvis Gildon (1866–1933)
Midwife; operated a small birthing hospital in her home on the corner of Fifth and Taylor Streets; was chastised by Virginia Registrar of Vital Statistics Walter Plecker for recording a baby’s race “incorrectly”

Artisans & Master Craftsmen

Georges Blanc-Hector (1907–1987)
Native of France; personal chef for French Marshal Joseph Joffre; executive chef, Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York

John Ernest Krause (1833–1894)
Native of Germany; master sheet metal worker and tinner

Francis “Frank” Sterk (1827–1884)
Native of Germany; master machinist of Norfolk & Western Railroad shops in Lynchburg

Samuel Phillip Bolling Wilkinson (1883–1927)
Cabinet maker and head of baggage room at Southern Railway Station, Kemper Street, Lynchburg

Inventors
Walter Louis Butterfield (1917–2006)
Chemical engineer; invented porous zinc granules and other patented building materials
 

Wesley A. Wright
Originator of Durham brand tobacco

People Important in the History and Development of the Old City Cemetery
John Brown (Died 1801)
Merchant; removed from old Anglican burying ground on Court Street to OCC sometime after 1806; only know gravestone in OCC with death date prior to 1806
 
Lucy Harrison Miller Baber (1908–1996)

Coauthor of Behind the Old Brick Wall; early advocate for Cemetery preservation; juvenile justice reformer

Benjamin S. Fortune (1808–1873)
First superintendent of the Cemetery, 1866–1873

Cassell Duval Holt, Jr. (1921–1997)
Manager of Public Affairs and Government Coordinator for Babcock & Wilcox Co.; early advocate for restoration and rehabilitation of the Cemetery; namesake of the Cemetery’s Holt Apple Orchard

Alexander H. Logwood (1869–1934)
Cemetery superintendent, 1927–1934

James A. Marks (1837–1896)
Cemetery superintendent, 1888–1895

James Tompkins (Died 1806)
First Presbyterian minister in Lynchburg—“an industrious pioneer in his sacred calling;” first identified burial in the Old City Cemetery; operated a school for girls

Founding Fathers & Mothers of Lynchburg
Samuel Jordan Harrison (c.1770–1846)
Merchant and hotel owner; mayor of Lynchburg in 1808, 1814, and 1817; expelled from Quaker Meeting for joining the Masons; one of four aldermen chosen to organize the municipal government when Lynchburg was incorporated in 1805
 
Josiah Leake (1778–1806)

Lynchburg’s first Commonwealth’s Attorney and postmaster; one of the first interments in the Old City Cemetery

William Morgan (1769–1842)
Mayor of Lynchburg, 1818

Jane Hughes Owen (Died 1835)
Founded Lynchburg’s first lending library; school teacher and gardener; “love apple” legend

John Schoolfield (1766–1831)
Mayor of Lynchburg, 1811

John Thurman (1778–1855)
Saddle and harness maker; mayor of Lynchburg, 1820; founder of the first Sunday School in Lynchburg (1817); Clerk of the Market; Inspector of Butter and Lard; City Coroner

John Victor (1793–1845)
Silversmith and jeweler; mayor of Lynchburg, 1825; credited with establishing Lynchburg’s first reservoir and gravity-fed water system; prominent leader in Methodist Protestant church

Institution Builders
Phillip Fisher Morris (c.1852–1923)
Minister of Court Street and Eighth Street Baptist Churches, 1881–1911; founder and first president of Virginia Theological Seminary & College, 1888–1890; founder of Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention
 
Amelia Elizabeth Perry Pride (1857–1932)

One of the first black school teachers in the Lynchburg public school system; teacher and principal for 30 years; founder of the Dorchester Home for elderly black women; founder of the Mackenzie Sewing School and Theresa Pierce Cooking School for African-American children

Virginia Marie Cabell Randolph (1876–1962)
School teacher for 30 years; established a “Community House” at 812 Eighth Street for after-school activities for neighborhood children; sponsored first Boy and Girl Scout Troops for African-American youths in Lynchburg; infamous recycler and handywoman

Frank Trigg, Jr. (1850–1933)
Born a slave in the Virginia Governor’s Mansion; first African-American male teacher in Lynchburg City Schools; president of three colleges—Virginia Collegiate & Industrial Institute, Bennett College, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Appalling, Horrific, Bizzare or Unusual Deaths
Parham Addams (Died 1821)
Killed by the explosion of his soda water machine; horribly mangled—left imprint of face in marble
 
Dewey Bryant (1895–1921)

“Killed…in a battle between miners and state officials in the West Virginia mine troubled district” (Logan, West Virginia)

William Littleberry Bryant (1863–1930)
Night watchman at Miller Female Orphan Asylum; killed by falling onto railroad tracks while on his way to interview for a railroad job

Edward Cox (c.1884–1920)
His “death was hastened by the drinking of substitutes for whiskey”

George W. Freeman (1857–1914)
Suicide by laudanum; note said “nobody loves me…the Devil is greater than God”

Elijah Goff (1884–1900)
Smothered by sawdust; only 16 years old

Briget McGrath Kenidy (1802–1850)
Killed in a mudslide during a severe summer storm

Richard Tyree (1855–1885)
Fireman on Richmond & Allegheny Railroad; killed in train wreck at South Bridge, near Lexington, Virginia

Maria Wilson (1861–1878)
Jumped from a second-story gallery window during the tragic panic at Court Street Baptist Church (October 16, 1878); she was one of eight women killed

William Wyatt (Died 1876)
“Victim of a fearful wound and the victim of a consuming passion”

Veterans
James Duffel (1759–1835)
Silversmith; Revolutionary War Soldier
 
Francis Gray (1759–1827)

Revolutionary War soldier; charter member of the Society of the Cincinnati

Joshua Rathborne Holmes (1781–1845)
Merchant; native of Connecticut; Colonel in War of 1812; first superintendent of Lynchburg’s water works

Henry Holdcroft Norvell (1759–1847)
Revolutionary War soldier

Edward Karol Osika (1919–1998)
Army Engineer during World Ward II; fought in the “Battle of the Bulge”; liberated a prison camp; served under General George Patton for 4½ years (Osika was known as “Patton’s Man”)

Richard “Uncle” Thurman (Died 1830)
Revolutionary War soldier; friend of General Lafayette; devout Methodist—an elder in his church

Refugees, Strangers & "Just Passing Through”
Armistead Beckham (Died 1862)
Civil War refugee; family fled to Lynchburg to escape fighting in northern Virginia
 
Billie Pearl Buhler (1917–1918)

Daughter of William Buhler and “Pearl Young”—both actors in a traveling troupe theater company; died of “accidental suffocation”

P. J. Davis (Died 1891)
Unable to buy a train ticket to his home in the North; committed suicide by jumping into the James River; tombstone reads “Unknown White Man Drowned in James River, June 1, 1891”

Immigrants
James Ambrozini (1806–1859)
Grocer; native of Trieste (then part of Austria); one of Lynchburg’s first Italian citizens
 
Elizabeth Gavino Hubert Lushington (1873–1929)

Native of Antigua; wife of Lynchburg’s first African-American veterinarian; homemaker and mother of five

Civil War Notables
Slave Jane (Died 1864)
Probably a hospital nurse, laundress, or cook; the only woman buried in the Confederate Section during the Civil War; slave of Col. W. H. Brown
 
Samuel Brice (c.1825–1881)

Served Lynchburg Home Guard as a slave and body servant during the Civil War

John Ferguson “Yankee Prisoner” (Died 1864)
Union soldier, serving with the 2nd Regiment of North Carolina Infantry (a regiment of anti-secessionists/pro-Unionists; mistakenly left in Confederate Section by Federal Burial Corps when removing other Union soldiers in 1866

Silas Green (c.1845–1937)
Tobacco factory worker and wagon driver; volunteered as a slave to serve in the Confederate Army

P. M. Mitchell (Died 1862)
Confederate soldier; jumped from upper story window of his hospital ward in a fit of desperation

Joseph A. Parker (Died 1904)
Member of “Mosby’s Rangers,” who specialized in the use of guerilla warfare during the Civil War

Leaders of Benevolent, Charitable & Secret Societies
Caroline F. R. Morgan (1806–1883)
Officer of the Dorcas Society of Lynchburg
 
Russell Custo Pritchett (1887–1962)

Longtime employee of and advocate for the Lynchburg Chapter of the Salvation Army

James Junious Robinson (1931–2002)
Iron worker in Boston, Massachusetts; Past Grand Exalted Ruler of the Improved Benevolent & Protective Order of the Elks

Potter's Fields Residents
Eliza Ellen “Ella” Jamerson (1866–1897)
Prostitute; committed suicide by jumping into the canal; disinterred and put in a barrel headed for dissection classes at University of Virginia; discovered and reburied
 
James Moseley “Molly Peckerwood” (Died 1843)

Subject of a silhouette kept by the Diuguid family for four generations; “the town drunk,” known for his excellent penmanship when sober

George Wilson (Died 1859)
Buried in Potter’s Field in 1859; plot was surrounded by Confederate graves during the Civil War and later covered by the concrete Veterans Bench (1931)

Te-Chin Hu (1927–2003)
Native of China; political prisoner in Taiwan for 10 years; converted to Christianity in prison, became a devout Baptist, emigrated to the United States in 1987, and worked as a cook

Beloved Members of the Community

“Blind Billy” (c.1805–1855)

Gifted fife player; born a slave, but grateful citizens purchased his freedom; “a favorite of the entire community;” “he could render his notes as sharp as would make a soldier do or die, and then render them so soft and sweet as to induce the coyest maiden to surrender at discretion” 

Charles L. “Charley” Sumpter (1821–1873)

“…it was like an oasis in the desert to come in contact with him;” taught boys “the art of swimming”; “…it would have been a hazardous thing to have uttered a word against Charley Sumpter in the presence of a Lynchburg boy, so great was their affection for him”

John Bell Tilden (1801–1876)
Tinner and copper worker; founder of Lynchburg’s first “hose company”; “lay missionary” and courier to local Civil War soldiers in battle—became known as the “Soldiers’ Friend;” early temperance advocate; “no man who ever lived in this city was more universally beloved”

Civil Servants

Charles “Chuck” Church (1945–2002)
City Manager of Lynchburg, 1991–2001

William Taylor Henderson (1861–1920)
Foreman of Lynchburg City Stables for 32 Years

Frank Ernest McQuarry (1879–1931)
Driver and foreman for Lynchburg Public Works

William Wiatt Norvell (1795–1871)
Banker; Clerk of Hustings Court in 1816; City Treasurer for 15 years; veteran of the War of 1812

Famous Relatives, Ancestors & Descendants
William Harrison Bryant (1839–1908)
Farmer; grandfather of Claiborne Henry “Clay” Bryant, the MLB player who pitched in the 1938 World Series
 
Claiborne Gladman (1788–1855) 

Barber; great-great-great-grandfather of Frederick Drew Gregory, Deputy Administrator of NASA, 2000–2005

Phillip Edley (1924–1972)
Brother of Christopher C. Edley, former head of the United Negro College Fund

Winnie Lee Branch Johnson (1867–1920)
Mother of Charles Spurgeon Johnson (1893–1956), first African-American president of Fisk University and prominent sociologist

John H. Kinckle, Sr. (1810–1889)
Porter at Lynchburg’s Union Depot; grandfather of Eugene Kinckle Jones, first Executive Secretary of the National Urban League

Samuel K. Jennings Mead (1811–1855)
Son of Rev. Stith Mead (c.1767-1834), famous itinerant Methodist preacher known as the “founder of Methodism in Virginia;” named after Dr. Samuel Kennedy Jennings (1771-1854), physician and minister, one of the founders of the Methodist Protestant Church in the late 1820’s, who lived in Lynchburg for a brief period

Eleanor Hening “Nelly” Gray (1764–1839)
Sister of William Waller Hening, author of Hening’s Statutes at Large of Virginia

Owen Owen (c.1750–1819)
Great-grandfather of Robert Latham Owen, Oklahoma Senator and Cherokee Indian advocate

Eleanor Custis Lewis Carter Brown Patteson (1800–1845)
Grandniece of George Washington

Robert Rucker (1847–1921) and Susan Ellen Rucker (1847–1915)
Grandparents of Marian Anderson, famous American singer

Warwick Spencer, Sr. (1847–1927)
Foreman at Heald’s Bark Mill; grandfather of Chauncey Edward Spencer (1910–2002), pioneering African-American aviator

Mary Jane Thornhill (1875–1949)
Grandmother of M. W. Thornhill (born 1930?), first African-American mayor of Lynchburg; and grandmother of Yvonne Thornhill Ferguson (born 1935?), Civil Rights leader in Lynchburg

Maria Ball Carter Tucker (1784–1823)
Grandniece of George Washington; wife of George Tucker, picked by Jefferson to be on the first faculty of the University of Virginia; mother of six

Sarah Early Word (1789–1853)
Sister of Methodist Bishop John Early

Directly Connected to Famous People, Places or Things
Charles Hillsman (Died 1886)
Bodyservant of Civil War General Jubal Early
 
Laura A. Smith (c.1809–1845)

Wife of Rev. Dr. William Andrew Smith (1802–1870), third president of Randolph-Macon College and pro-slavery author; lived in the “Rocking Cradle House” during the famous episode (1839); her child was in the cradle—her husband exorcised “Beelzebub” from it

Exceptional & Unforgettable
Ota Benga (c.1884–1916)
Congolese Pygmy from Africa; brought to Lynchburg after being caged in the Bronx Zoo with an orangutan (*oral history suggests Benga may have later been moved to White Rock Cemetery)
 
Henry Wise Crichton (1838–1899)

Kissed the hand of Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro when he toured Lynchburg; according to local legend he also tweaked the nose of future president Andrew Johnson while campaigning in Lynchburg in April 1861; father of champion hooproller Frank W. Crichton (or Creighton)

Lugie Carter Buck Ferguson (1890–1988)
School teacher and hairdresser; one of the first African-American women to vote in Lynchburg

Leander Harrison (1827–1903)
Barber for white men; born a slave, but purchased his own freedom at age 24 for $900; father of ten

Nancy Holt (Died 1887)
125 years old according to epitaph

William Carrington Hudson (1882–1959)
Went insane after wife and child died; tried to kill Dr. Stickley; shelled black walnuts for money at the Western State Lunatic Asylum

Emily Clements Jefferson (1835–1920)
Renowned cook and innkeeper

“Old Bob” Jones

Hugh Montgomerie (1775–1854)
Building contractor; native of Scotland; “no man better known in the community, not only by reason of his cultivated mind but for his brilliant conversational powers”

William H. “Billy” Rhodes (c.1823–1886)
Tailor and “clothing renovator;” assistant to Dr. Elisha Kane during his famous research expedition to the Arctic

James Scurry (Died 1869)
Master stone mason; native of Ireland; “colorful character”; son John G. Scurry was a prominent civil engineer who laid out many of the first railroads in the Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska, and was City Engineer for Seattle, Washington, in 1880s

William H. Sumpter (c.1810–1878)
Fond of math (“Pike’s arithmetic); feats of pedestrianism; wore beaver hat; “probably never had an enemy”

William A. Talbot (1816–1855)
U.S. Postal Service agent; led volunteer company to fight in the Mexican War; one of Lynchburg’s first policemen (a “constable”); first federal mail agent on Virginia & Tennessee Railroad; first “Odd Fellow” in Lynchburg

George B. Thurman (Died 1860)
Saddle and harness maker; according to local legend, as a child he was lowered into a pipe to listen for rushing water on the day Lynchburg’s first water system was installed; “he loved his friends, a good dinner, and a joke, the last probably best of all”

James C. Winn (1817–1897)
Free man of color, son of “colored” mother and French father; wrote letter to American Colonization Society protesting the deportation of free blacks to Liberia

Subjects of Books & Other Widespread Publications

John Wesley Childs (1801–1850)

Itinerant Methodist minister; “an extraordinary example of personal piety, a useful, laborious and faithful preacher of the gospel;” subject of a book by Rev. John E. Edwards; brother-in-law of Bishop John Early 

Mary Spencer (1831–1914)
Lived on packet boat ‘Marshall’; featured on a popular postcard
 
William Corbin Spencer (c.1834–1916) 

Public school teacher in Nelson County; lived on packet boat ‘Marshall’; featured on a popular postcard

Eleanor Rosalie Tucker (1804–1818)
Subject of Recollections of Rosalie, written by her grieving father

James Addison Wilkinson (1822–1885)
Last captain of the packet boat ‘Marshall’, which conveyed General Stonewall Jackson’s body from Lynchburg to Lexington in 1863; superintendent of City Alms House; pictured on ‘Marshall’ postcard

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