ABOUT WARD CEMETERY
Ward Cemetery is a historical cemetery located near Cedar Grove in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Ward, West Virginia, was once a bustling coal mining town in eastern Kanawha County. Ward was home to the employees and families of the Kellys Creek Colliery Company, later known as Valley Camp Coal Company. The coal company leased the land for their mining operation from the landowner, Dr. David Ward. The town of Ward existed from the very early 1900s until around 1970.
Dr. David Ward was a medical doctor and a surveyor and became known as one of the great lumber barons of the West. Dr. Ward was born in Keene, New York, on September 15, 1822, to Nathan and Charolette Beech Ward. He and his family moved to Michigan in 1836. During his lifetime, he acquired extensive redwood and pine lands in California, Michigan, and Vancouver, and substantial coal lands in West Virginia. In the 1880's, one of his major purchases in the Kanawha Valley was for over 900 acres of land along the northwest side of Kellys Creek in eastern Kanawha County. The property had been formerly owned by pioneer William Morris. Dr. Ward continued to purchase land in the Kanawha Valley until he owned many of the rich coal fields surrounding Kellys Creek and Hughes Creek. Dr. Ward never resided in the area, and he and his heirs chose to lease the land to mining companies and were not directly involved in the day-to-day mining operations. Dr. Ward died in Orchard Lake, Michigan on May 29, 1900 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan. After his death, his son, Willis, continued to manage the Ward family business. Willis Ward died in 1944 and his son Harold continued on with the Ward family business operations. Harold Ward died in 1983, and is also buried in Pontiac, Michigan. Today, the David Ward heirs continue to manage the family business.
During the very early years of the town of Ward's existence, a plot of land was set aside to serve as a community cemetery. An independent burial fund was established for the coal miners and their families to help offset the cost of burials and for maintenance of the cemetery. The coal miners and their families paid into the burial fund on a regular basis through payroll deductions. With the passing of time, the mining operations eventually shut down, the land leases ended, and the families of Ward were forced to move out of their homes and relocate. That was the end of the town of Ward and eventually, the end of the burial fund. With the burial fund exhausted, the Ward Cemetery has come to depend upon the generous donations of family and friends of loved ones that are buried there. This is a large cemetery and the grass cutting has become quite expensive. The property is assumed to be owned by the numerous Ward family heirs, and the original cemetery records were lost in a fire. The cemetery was later mapped by caretakers Lee Roy and Helen Smith, and a new inventory list was made from the markers that were visible at that time. Not all graves have headstones, however, so there are many unknown burials in the cemetery.
As a result of the many years of loving care and dedication of Charles and Patsy Tucker and Lee Roy and Helen Smith, the Ward Cemetery has continued to be maintained with the help of donations. Their work now continues through the present caretaker Sherry Smith. Please consider donating to the care and maintenance of the Ward Cemetery.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
We are appealing to family, friends, and businesses for help in keeping the grass cut again this year. The Ward Cemetery is not a perpetual care cemetery. This is a large cemetery, and the cost for cutting the grass has grown each year.
THOSE IN CHARGE OF SEEKING DONATIONS AND CARING FOR THE CEMETERY DONATE THEIR SERVICES WITHOUT CHARGE.
Please inform other family members and friends of the need for donations. We want to continue to keep the resting place of your loved ones beautiful as always for as long as we can, but we cannot do this without your help. Please send your donations now.
Please make your checks payable to “The Ward Cemetery” and mail them along with any suggestions to:
3012 Dorsey Drive
Belle WV 25015
A new Ward Cemetery Advisory Board has been formed to discuss and address issues pertaining to the care and maintenance of the cemetery. We are very thankful to those who have agreed to volunteer to serve on the board. We hope this is the beginning of a positive new direction for the future care of the Ward Cemetery.
The Ward Cemetery is an independent community cemetery and is not connected in any way to the Ward Church of God.
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