WARNING! The Ward Cemetery is very old and the terrain can be very rugged and steep. ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK! No person associated with Ward Cemetery (such as but not limited to cemetery caretakers, volunteers, or independent contractors) assumes liability for any loss, damage, accident, or injury incurred by anyone entering the Ward Cemetery for any purpose.
INFORMATION FOR VISITORS AND OTHERS
Ward Cemetery is a very old cemetery established in the late 1800's for the community of Ward, West Virginia, and the employees and families of Kelley's Creek Collieries/Valley Camp Coal Company. Ward Cemetery is not a perpetual care cemetery and is not operated for profit. There are no deeded plots and no pre-need arrangements or pre-need contracts of any kind. Ward Cemetery is still an active burial ground and the final resting place of many former Kelley's Creek Collieries/Valley Camp Coal Company employees, their families, and their descendants. Ward Cemetery is cared for by volunteers who depend upon donations to accomplish their work. All cemetery fees and donations are used to finance the care, beautification, and preservation of Ward Cemetery. Grass cutting is dependent upon the availability of funds. If you have family buried at Ward Cemetery and would like to donate, please make checks payable to Ward Cemetery and mail to:
c/o Sherry Smith
3012 Dorsey Drive
Belle WV 25015
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
• There are to be no burials, including ashes and urns, without first contacting the Ward Cemetery caretaker, Sherry Smith. You may contact Sherry through your assisting funeral director, or by phone at (304) 595-2919, email firstname.lastname@example.org ,
or use the CONTACT FORM on this website.
• Vaults are required for all burials. Most cemeteries require a burial vault for maintenance purposes. Without a vault, the ground settles around the casket and the casket can deteriorate and collapse, leaving an extremely sunken grave which is dangerous to maintenance staff and cemetery visitors.
All of the smaller gates are always unlocked for visitors.
• Ward Cemetery does not employ or contract grave diggers. The assisting funeral home works with the family of the deceased to secure grave diggers and payment is made to the grave diggers by the family of the deceased.
• Upon proper notification and approval by the cemetery caretaker, Sherry Smith, cremation urns may be buried by the family in an existing plot of another family member without charge (donations are appreciated) or buried by the volunteer cemetery staff for a small fee. There are no scattering gardens in Ward Cemetery. Due to maintenance and safety concerns, scattering of ashes is not permitted in Ward Cemetery. Cremation urns must be buried and not placed above ground. Please contact us for approval before burial of ashes. We MUST know the identity of the deceased FOR OUR RECORDS and the LOCATION OF THE BURIAL URN to assign a plot number AND to prevent accidental unearthing during cemetery maintenance and new burials. Unauthorized placement of urns in unapproved places may make them subject to removal or relocation. If you need a separate burial plot for burial of an urn, please contact caretaker Sherry Smith at (304) 595-2919 or email@example.com or use the CONTACT FORM on this website for additional information on pricing and procedures.
• There are to be no placements of monuments, headstones, or cremation urns, and no construction of terraces, curbs, or similar structures without prior approval. This is to prevent encroachment upon the numerous unmarked graves. Both upright markers and flat markers are allowed in Ward Cemetery. For prior approval you may contact caretaker Sherry Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or a committee member by using the CONTACT FORM on this website. NO PRE-NEED HEADSTONES ARE ALLOWED.
• In addition to terraces, curbs, and similar structures, headstones, statues, and other grave monuments are considered by law to be the personal property of the family who purchased them or built them. Ward Cemetery does not clean, sell, install, engrave, repair, or maintain headstones or terraces, curbs, statues, or similar structures. The family of the deceased, not Ward Cemetery, is responsible for the purchase, installation, engraving, cleaning, repair, care, and maintenance of these items. No person associated with Ward Cemetery (such as but not limited to cemetery caretakers, volunteers, or independent contractors) assumes liability for any loss, damage, or vandalism of these items. If you are the owner of a headstone, repairs and replacements may sometimes be covered by your homeowner's insurance policy. The government will sometimes replace worn or damaged military headstones upon request of the family.
• When visiting Ward Cemetery, you will always find the smaller walk-in gates open for visitors. You may find the large drive-in gate of the cemetery locked. This is due to past problems with theft, vandalism, and damage caused by off-road vehicles. If you need access through the locked double drive-in gates, please contact us IN ADVANCE OF YOUR VISIT to make arrangements for one of our volunteers to meet you to unlock the gates. You may email us at email@example.com or contact Sherry Smith at (304) 595-2919, or use our CONTACT FORM. ONLY COMMITTEE MEMBERS OR MAINTENANCE PERSONNEL WILL BE ISSUED KEYS TO THE CEMETERY. If you are interested in becoming a Ward Cemetery Advisory Committee member, please contact us. Volunteers are needed.
• The cemetery has no trash pickup, so please take any trash and old flowers with you when leaving the cemetery. Burning trash has not been allowed for a long time and the trash bin has been removed. Please do not throw garbage on top or beside of our storage bin. It is not a trash bin.
• The cemetery visiting hours are from dawn until dusk. Please do not remain in the cemetery after dark.
• Please keep all children in check and do not allow them to play on any of the monuments. This is disrespectful and may also cause damage to the stone or result in serious injury or death to the child. Some upright headstones are extremely heavy and if toppled over, could crush and kill a small child.
• Please be respectful of other cemetery visitors. There may be people visiting the cemetery who are in mourning and may want to be left alone. If a funeral service is occurring in the cemetery, please respect the privacy of the family and consider making a visit at another time. Please do not obstruct a funeral or a funeral procession.
• Do not touch or try to clean any monuments or gravestones, unless they belong to you or you have permission from the family. Some older headstones fall apart under the slightest touch. Touching may overturn and destroy the stone and cause serious personal injury or death. Harsh chemicals and wire brushes can cause permanent damage to stones.
• When photographing headstones, never apply shaving cream, chalk, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, or other products to the stone to make the stone easier to read. These products may permanently damage the stone and these actions can be considered an act of vandalism. Wetting the stone will often make it more readable. Water in a spray bottle is the only accepted substance. Using natural lighting from the sun and other tools such as mirrors/reflectors, off-camera flash, and high lumen LED flashlights can also make the headstone inscription more readable in a photograph.
• Please try to avoid walking or standing on graves, and never remove anything from a grave such as flowers, figurines, stones, coins, or other items that have been left by family.
• All pets must be on leash. It is your responsibility to clean up after them.
• Alcohol is not allowed on cemetery grounds.
• Please do not litter! This is disrespectful and causes more work for the caretakers. If you find litter please be helpful and remove it.
• Report vandalism or theft to the police and caretaker, and do not attempt to clean up or alter the scene in any way as this will hinder the police investigation.
WARD CEMETERY IS CARED FOR BY VOLUNTEERS WHO DONATE THEIR SPARE TIME TO CARE FOR THE CEMETERY. THE MOWING AREA OF WARD CEMETERY (INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF FENCED AREA) IS APPROXIMATELY TWELVE ACRES IN SIZE AND EXPENSIVE TO MAINTAIN. IF YOU ARE UNHAPPY ABOUT THE LENGTH OF THE GRASS OR THE CONDITION OF THE CEMETERY, YOU ARE INVITED AND ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETINGS, BECOME A VOLUNTEER, AND DONATE YOUR TIME AND/OR MONEY TO HELP IMPROVE CONDITIONS. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE WARD CEMETERY ADVISORY COMMITTEE, PLEASE EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org OR USE THE