The Old Fairmont City Cemetery is located adjacent to a city park. It has been badly overgrown for a number of years. We know the property was sold to the Borough of Fairmont in 1851 by Uz Barnes. The deed indicates that it had been used as a public burying ground for a number of years. We think the earliest burial was 1816 of John Manley. We deduce this because of the epitaph "May God have mercy on the soul of John Manley" and the appearance of the lettering. It would seem to have been done with a simple hammer and chisel. However, we have not found corresponding records of Mr. Manley as the area has gone through a number of configurations since the earliest European occupation, beginning first in West Augusta County, Virginia; Monongalia County, Virginia; and then Marion County, West Virginia. The City of Fairmont annexed this area known as West Fairmont in 1899, and the demographics changed from affluent White professionals to immigrant families to African American. Many of the homes of the late Victorian period were in bad disrepair and have been demolished and replaced with more modest dwellings that are much easier to care for and have the support of non-profit funding agencies which facilitate the current residents remaining in their homes.
The cemetery's demographics changed as well. Some of the monuments mark the graves of more affluent families, some of immigrants (Irish, Italian, German), quite a number of children, and veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War (including United States Colored Troops). Some remains were disinterred and removed to Woodlawn across the way (upper class at least at its opening) and Evergreen, one of two African American burial grounds in the city. The cemetery fell out of use and became a pauper ground around 1930.
There has been an ongoing effort to clear the overgrowth, locate the stones that have fallen, retrieve, reset and repair the stones that are broken, compile an accurate list of individuals buried there, and make that information available to the public. We pick up the torch that was dropped in 1922 and strive to make this an accessible part of our history.