Last week’s prompt was “cemetery” and although I am a week behind, I will catch up on the weekly prompts. Life sometimes gets way too busy and the research into the past has to wait a bit! The prompt immediately reminded me of the cemetery in Virginia that I would like to visit sometime although it would be quite a trip! It is named the Ashlin-Wilkinson Cemetery.
This cemetery is important to me because it is located on part of Chesley Ashlin’s old farm and Chesley Harrison Ashlin and his wife, Phoebe Byrd James were my 3rd Great-grandparents. Just to see part of the farm where they once lived would be exciting! In addition, Chesley’s parents, Christopher Ashlin and Lucy Baker Ashlin, my fourth great-grandparents, are also buried there. To make it more endearing, Chesley’s son, Columbus Perry Ashlin and Mary Ann James, my second great-grandparents, are also buried in this little cemetery. So here lie three generations of my ancestors and a few other relatives – all in one place on land once owned by the family. I find that pretty awesome!
I found pictures of the Ashlin-Wilkinson Cemetery on Find A Grave.com and was able to see a bit of what my third great-grandfather’s farm looked like. The cemetery is on the top of a hill and in the background are rolling hills and a line of trees indicating a wooded area. The Blue Ridge mountains are in a distance.
I know from the 1860 Census that this must have been a huge farm at one time as it was valued at $3000 which would have been about $80,000 today. Chesley Ashlin’s personal estate in 1860 included the value of 16 slaves and was valued at $11,000 which would be around $350-400,000 today. Of course all that changed after the Civil War and his real estate dropped to $2000 and his personal estate dropped to $550 (about $9,000 today) by 1870. Truly a life changing event for the family. They must have loved their farm enough to dedicate part of it to be their final resting place.
There are just about 13 graves in this little cemetery and the pictures below show how some of the stone markers are deteriorating. It is located in the southeastern corner of Smyth County, Virginia and is ENE of the town of Sugar Grove, VA. It is much closer to Sugar Grove than to Rural Retreat. My father’s family and many relatives lived in the Sugar Grove area in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. If one wanted to visit, from Sugar Grove, take Route 614, which is Cedar Springs Road, 2.2 miles to a well fenced large area on the left and the cemetery is on the hill behind a house. There is supposed to be a path to the cemetery.
The GPS view I discovered shows the cemetery in the middle of a farm field.