Over the weekend, I visited Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney, West Virginia. Romney is located in the Eastern Panhandle in Hampshire County. The cemetery sits on a hill overlooking the South Branch of the Potomac River.
In addition to a Hopewellian mound, for which the cemetery takes its name, it is also known for a Confederate war memorial. Hampshire County, like most of West Virginia’s eastern and southern counties, was staunchly pro-Confederate during the War Between the States. In 1866, citizens decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in the war. This was fairly radical during the Reconstruction Era. In 1867, a monument to the fallen was dedicated. It is thought to be the first of its kind.
Captain Richard Ashby was buried here after he succumbed to wounds suffered in a skirmish along the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Richard was the brother of the “black knight,” Turner Ashby. Today, both brothers lie in the Stonewall Cemetery in Winchester, Va—about an hour southeast of Romney.
The reason I visited the cemetery, though, was not for Civil War history; it is the Hopewellian mound that interests me. The mound site was donated on the condition that the mound would not be disturbed. With that being said, it is believed that the mound was opened at some point in the past. The mound is about 7 feet tall and about 15 feet in diameter. It was probably constructed between 500–1000 CE and is one of the few mounds east of the Alleghenies that is still intact.