Local cemetery a real history lesson

FAIRFIELD TWP. – It takes a while to get there, but it’s well worth the drive.

Reading the names of people buried in Centenary Cemetery in Fairfield Township is like reading a history of nearby Bartlett and Cutler.

Goddard. Yocum. Dunbar. Brandeberry.

The cemetery and Centenary Church sit nestled in between tracts of farmland owned by the McVicar family.

“It wasn’t as good a farm as the one they had at Dunbar,” said Myrtie McVicar, 88, a Barlow resident, local historian, retired teacher, former journalist and Navy wife. “This is all different to me.”

“This used to be farms with tractors running,” she said, referring to land on either side leading up to the church, built in 1866.

A Dr. Harsha laid out the village of Harshaville, but it later was renamed Cutler. Harsha’s wife had a sister, whose husband, Rezin Corothers, worked on trains. They bought a farm one mile north of Harshaville/Cutler. The family allowed the Methodist church to be built on their farm, and the cemetery was added. It is still being used.

Ronald H. Place Jr., 69, of 285 Barrett South Road, Vincent, said the grave of his grandfather, Ray R. Goddard, might be the oldest he could find in the cemetery.

Goddard was a storekeeper and was postmaster from 1914 until his retirement in 1959.

“There are so many of the older ones,” Place said. “I don’t know if you can read them.”

Another gravestone belongs to Winchester McAtee (Feb. 22, 1847 to Oct. 6, 1942), who was a member of Company K, 6th Regiment of the West Virginia Calvary.

“When this fellow and two others buried in a Bartlett cemetery went to sign up in Parkersburg, they ended up in Virginia,” Place said.

The western counties of Virginia split from Virginia in 1861 when the southern states started to secede. The western counties later became West Virginia on June 20, 1863.

According to www.familysearch.org, the 66th regiment of the West Virginia Calvary was formed from the 3rd West Virginia Mounted Infantry on Jan. 26, 1863.

Another McVicar cousin was Mary Gossett, who drove a horse and buggy until her death in 1945. Her husband didn’t drive either.

Myrtie McVicar said she has been searching for information on Roy G. Brandeberry, who might have drowned at age 5. He is buried in Centenery Cemetery.

Still another McVicar relative owned a tea room at Fourth and Washington streets in Marietta. Nellie Staley Carothers died in 1943 and is buried in Centenery. She and another woman owned the tea room for several years.