August 11, 2008

Harper Cemetery

View from Harper Cemetery, Harpers Ferry, WV

Next to Lockwood House at Harpers Ferry is the old Harper Cemetery, which has a lovely view. Walk down the steps and you may see this sign saying:

Harper Cemetery
Passing through this region in 1747, Robert Harper - a Pennsylvania architect contracted to build a Quaker church in the Shenandoah Valley - was so impressed by the beauty of this place and the water-power potential of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers that he settled here and founded Harpers Ferry.

When Harper died in 1782, there were only three houses in the town. Optimistic about the community's potential for growth, however, Harper had set aside this 4-acre cemetery. Childless, Harper left most of his estate to his niece, Sarah, who subsequently married a Wager. As you wander around the cemetery, you'll find the grave markers of some of Sarah Wager's descendents as well as stones of Irish and German immigrants who settled in this area during the 1830's.

Left: These steps connect the Ridge Trail to the old cemetery.

(I don't know whether Robert Harper was from the same family as my ancestor, Alida Belle Harper.)

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