Wednesday, February 4, 2009

THE OLD FRUM CEMETERY or Linda following the Yellow Brick Road


This blog has been copied from my genealogy journals and updated to include more recent research. The original was written back in the summer of 1995. I look back on the original and smile to myself as technology for genealogy research was in it’s infancy in 1995, and any discovery over the net was very exciting. I guess that excitement at discovery hasn’t changed…LOL

Back in the early days I was in constant correspondence with a distant cousin and premier researcher, Robert Poole Wilkins. Robert was a history professor and had done some incredible research into our mutual roots in the Morgantown, West Virginia area. Unfortunately, he did not use a computer, so we had to communicate the old fashioned way—by snail mail.
I was interested to find the cemeteries where my 4x great grandparents, Sampson Smith Frum and Elizabeth VanGilder Frum were buried. Robert was not certain of the location.

At that time I was heavily involved with various roots e-mail listings and one day, from out of the ether, came a response from a gal in Morgantown. She was willing to do a little poking around in the local library to see if she could find my Frums. Talk about a random act of kindness!!!!

To say that she was successful would be an understatement. There was a listing done in 1939 for the Old Frum Cemetery outside the city of Morgantown and there rested my Frum roots. Can you say---ROAD TRIP!

In June, 1955, we piled into the car and headed to Morgantown for several days. Just before leaving, my contact e-mailed me some rather rough directions….but you genealogists, we have a sixth sense for rooting out a cemetery!!!

Following our check-in at the motel, lunch on High Street, and some browsing in the Morgantown shops, we started out the Kingwood Pike (also known as route 81.) The Morgantown city limits end at the Harner Chapel (land donated by a 2x great uncle.) At this point we set the mileage counter in the car and traveled on the Kingwood Pike for 2.2 miles to a crossroad. We turned right and followed dirt and rutted road, past farms and woods. No cemetery appeared.

Suddenly I recognized a name on the mailbox--Maxine Wise--a relative on the Pool side. In need of HELP, I pulled in and rang the bell. A smiling, distant cousin came to the door. Maxine had known I was coming from my Internet friend. She told us to turn around and follow the road across the Kingwood Pike and stay on it until we came to Aaron Creek Road. At the bottom of the hill we were to turn left onto Aaron Creek Road and drive until we saw the large white Harner farm (WOW, more relatives)! The Harner's extended the old southern hospitality beyond the call of duty!! Peggy McClure Harner actually escorted us to the home of Dayton Wiles who was currently the owner of the property where the Old Frum Cemetery was located. Dayton showed us the best way to make the ten minute hike down over the hill from Route 81. This spot is exactly slightly less than 1.2 miles from Harner's Chapel. It is in a relatively open wild field next to the trailer home before you come to what is now called the Old Kingwood Pike Road.

Our little band of five carefully climbed over the dilapidated barbed wire fence onto Dayton's land. We followed the fence as it wound through knee high weeds and wild flowers, into deep woods and finally out to grazing pastures. Once we arrived at the pasture, the Old Frum Cemetery literally emerged to our right. Nestled in a shaded wood overlooking Aaron Creek we found the remains of our ancestors. I felt like Dorothy running toward The Emerald City as I approached this plot of land. It had taken over two years of long distance research and at times frustrating work to finally locate it.

The cemetery was partially surrounded by a rusted iron fence. One piece of the fence has been torn down and the majority of the cemetery had been vandalized. Emotions were mixed--elation at finally discovering this seemingly lost portion of our heritage and sorrow at the absolute violation of our ancestor’s final resting place. Tombstones had been knocked over and broken, weeds abounded, and cows had used the ground as their private toilet.


We found Ann Frum Pool's (my 2x great grandmother) marker on the ground. The men were able to prop it up next to its base. It is a large monument which she shares with Margaret L. Pool, her 1 year old daughter, who died in 1849.






Sampson S. Frum's marker is near his daughter, Ann Frum Pool. Although his stone has weathered and is barely legible, a carved "tree of life" is visible above his name. Since there are no military markers in this private cemetery, I have to guess that the War of 1812 citation mentioned in the 1939 cemetery book is written at the bottom of the stone.

Elizabeth Vangilder Frum's stone was smashed into three pieces and lying beside Sampson's. Weathering and destruction have made her stone almost impossible to read. The importance of the government's program to catalogue cemeteries in the 1930's and 1940's is certainly evident in the Old Frum Cemetery. Without that printed information, much of this portion of my history would be lost.

The earliest grave in the cemetery is Elizabeth Vangilder Frum which dates back to 1845. It is important to note that the cemetery is located on what was a piece of Sampson Frum's property along Aaron Creek and was designated by him to hold the remains of his family. In reviewing the Morgan Magisterial District map from 1886, this is the piece of land that Sampson willed to his son Alpheus. The reading of the cemetery in 1939 showed that there were only 20 marked graves and 5 unmarked. The other Frum's are Alpheus and Jane Frum, their young children and one grandchild. The Pool's are descendants of Ann Frum Pool.

Adjacent to the main Frum Cemetery is a smaller one enclosed by a fence made of chicken wire. The graves are those of Alpheus Jerome Pool, his daughter in law, Martha E. Poole, her young son, Arnold Poole and others that I could not see from outside the fence.

It is my understanding from Peggy McClure Harner that the Old Frum Cemetery was on Pool property up until the time that the Harner's purchased it. We entered the property on Dayton Wiles' property, but may have crossed onto Harner land as we approached the cemetery. The property divisions were not clear to me. I would imagine that any brave descendants who wished to also make this pilgrimage would be welcome. Dayton told us that he never heard of his neighbors shooting anyone crossing the land (his attempt at humor!)

Reflecting on the sad condition of the Old Frum Cemetery, I only wish that it could be restored. Apparently there are other family grave sights in the Morgantown area that are sorely in need of repair and descendants have taken it upon themselves to clean them up. It would be a lasting tribute to our ancestors if we could "pool(e)" our resources and restore the Old Frum Cemetery.

More Currently:
My brother Ken and I returned to the Old Frum Cemetery two years ago during a trip to Morgantown. From the Old Kingwood Pike, there is no longer access. The property owner has put up a high impenetrable barbed wire fence. We did not explore an entrance from the Aaron Creek side of the property.

Recently, I have also located an obituary for Alpheus Frum. In 1901 when he died, the Old Frum Cemetery was called the Bell Cemetery. Where that name came from is unknown to me since only Frum’s owned the property up until Alpheus’ death.

My Morgantown Family surnames in the cemetery and those we met during these trips:
Frum
Pool or Poole
Harner

Location:
Old Frum Cemetery
Kingwood Pike
Route 81
Morgantown, West Virginia

Listings on the Internet:
The Old Frum Cemetery, USGenWeb Archives, Monongalia County, West Virginia, 1966
http://files.usgwarchives.net/wv/monongalia/cemetery/cem0001.txt

Old Frum Cemetery, Listing on Findagrave.com
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2141391

4 comments:

  1. Linda,

    very interesting. I have a friend who is a Harner. Her family had a farm near Beavercreek which is east of Dayton. Hmmm

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  2. My paternal grandmother was Frances Frum married to Charles Clayton Dent. She and Charles were living in Kingwood, where my step-father George Samuel Dent was born - in 1912. Any possibilities here?

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  3. Dear Linda,
    I Sherrie L. Frum Garcia.Iwas born in Athens OH.,and Was raised in Columbus. My father is Jerry Wayne Frum. My grandfather was Paul Frum. I don't know much about my father side,but my niece had done a report on our family for school and said we were of Hapsberg dynasty decent . do you have any thoughts or knowledge of this. Iasked my dad and he did not know. He resides now in Viena,WV. It would be nice to have some knowledge of my family to pass on to our six chilren.Thank you for all your help in discovering our roots.
    God bless
    Sherrie Frum Garcia

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  4. There is a road in Athens, OH called FRUM ROAD. Does anybody have any idea why this is so?

    ReplyDelete