Situated in a small valley between Union Campground Road and Lieving Road, Bumgarner Cemetery dates to at least 1850. Over the next century, approximately 50 people were buried here. When it was founded, this cemetery was located within the Bumgarner farm, though it currently rests on the property of one of the Roush families.
The first known burial was Samuel Bumgarner, War of 1812 veteran and head of the Bumgarner family in Mason County after 1835. Every successive burial was related to Samuel by either blood or marriage. In fact, the burials here include his wife, four of his children, their spouses, six grandchildren and their spouses, and six great-grandchildren.
One of Samuel’s sons buried here is Lewis Taylor Bumgarner (1816-1911). Lewis became a local politician during the Statehood Movement when he was chosen to serve in the state’s House of Delegates after the murder of Lewis Wetzel. During the 1860s, he gave numerous speeches on the topics of the Civil War and Statehood. He would be reelected twice more, in 1863 and 1872.
There are also at least two Civil War Veterans buried within Bumgarner Cemetery. One is another of Samuel’s sons, Rezin Bumgarner. Rezin served in Company F. of the 13th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Many of his fellow soldiers in Company F. were also from the Bend Area, prompting the newspapers to refer to them as “our own Mason County boys.” The other soldier is Francis Asbury Martin, son-in-law of Lewis T. Bumgarner. Martin was a 1st Corporal in Company E. of the 9th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Neither of their headstones indicate their status as veterans.
Among the other burials, you’ll find the surnames of Dodson, Fields, Fowler, Nease, Parsons, VanMatre, Yeager, Zerkle, and Zuspan.
This coming summer, I will be leading a complete restoration of this cemetery. If you wish to volunteer your time, our first day of work will be Saturday, April 29. I’ll be there from 9-5, although you do not have to stay the entire time. Any help is appreciated.
After we remove the brush and trees, I will be leading the documentation and restoration of the headstones. To help, you do not need prior knowledge of how to fix headstones. I’ll be leading a workshop specifically on headstone restoration once we reach that stage.
Once it comes time for the cleanup to begin, there will be signs on Union Campground Road directing you to the cemetery. I look forward to seeing you there!
Chris Rizer directs the Mason County Historic Preservation Society which can be found on Facebook.
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