Friday, July 24, 2009

Graveyard Rabbit Favorite Photo--Phillip William and Sarah Harner

The topic for the August 2009 edition of the
GYR Carnival is Favorite Photo. Choose your favorite cemetery-related photo and bring it to the carnival.

What a tough decision for this blog. Do I pick a beautiful or unusual tombstone, a new or and old one, family or total stranger, or will the setting be the deciding factor? In the end….none of the above.

Pictured are my two brothers, at the end of a long and hot summer day, 1995, in Morgantown, West Virginia, clowning around. If memory serves me correctly, this was our fourth and final cemetery search for the day. I do have the best family in the world and they do indulge my genealogy whims! Ken and Jeff decided to take a break on top of our paternal great great great grandparents, Sarah and Phillip Harner—Ken resting on top of Sarah and Jeff on Phillip.

Phillip William Harner and Sarah Fearer or Fear Harner are buried in the small Brookhaven Methodist Church cemetery, Morningside Drive, Brookhaven, West Virginia. Back in the day, the church was called Rock Forge and was located in Rock Forge, West Virginia. Changing place names is always a cause for confusion for genealogists just trying to find the final resting places for our ancestors.

The Harner markers are in an area against the back of the church inside a stone block enclosure. There is a sizeable and impressive memorial monument, the two markers for Sarah and Phillip and also a small stone for a Harner infant.

Phillip W. Harner
Feb 14 1909
Nov 15 1885

Sarah Harner
May 20, 1816
Jan 21, 1900

Phillip Harner was a blacksmith by trade. At his death he owned sizeable land tracts in the Monongalia County area in and outside Morgantown. He was born on a farm near Rock Forge. How he met Sarah is unknown. She was from Alleghany County, Maryland. Following their marriage on August 21, 1832 in Alleghany County, Maryland the Harners moved to Green County and Fayette County, Pennsylvania before returning to Monongalia County, (West) Virginia. Around 1850, Phillip built his homestead and together he and Sarah raised ten children in what is now the Sabraton area outside Morgantown, a short horse and buggy ride from Rock Forge Church and Sunday services.


  1. I don't think I could lie on top of a grave. I am not too squeamish about things but I am pretty sure that would creep me out. Shudder.

    I love the maps that have the peoples names on them. I use them for Ontario research a lot.

  2. Great photo LOL!I missed a chance for one of my other half taking a nap in the cemetery not long ago.I am sure I will get another chance!They must love us!

  3. Two brothers photo, CLASSIC!! Love it!

  4. Yeah I have to say that your brothers are a little more brave than I would be. Call it superstition or just plain fraidy cat but no way am I laying on someones Great photo though...