The Opequon Presbyterian Church Cemetery is full of history, memories, has been a place of peace, and remembrance for many people. The burials and gravestone inscriptions connected with Opequon Presbyterian Church will probably always be a “work in progress.” Early records either were not kept by the church or have been lost forever. Many of the gravestone markers are in excellent condition today and are easy to read. Other stones are broke, worn or otherwise damaged and no legible characters remain to give us a clue to their history. Many other markers, as well as the stone walls that once surrounded some of the burial grounds, were destroyed or removed during the Civil War.
The Burial Grounds
There are five burying grounds at Opequon Church. Thses are described briefly in the document below and in greater detail in the 1996 publication by C. Langdon Gordon, “The Old Burying Grounds of Opequon Presbyterian Church”.
- Burying Ground #1
- (1736-1799) Adjacent to the north wall of the sanctuary; extends 45 feet north and 40 feet westward
- Burying Ground #2
- (1745-1904) Largest and most prominent; Northeast of the sanctuary; contained within the black iron fence
- Burying Ground #3
- (1790 – 1860) About 10 feet south-southwest of the present sanctuary south wall; about 30 feet by 35 feet
- Burying Ground #4
- (1804 – 1866) 200 feet east of Burying Ground #2; in open field near large tree
- Burying Ground #5
- (1905-1938) Extreme south end of Opequon Church grounds: about 20 feet by 40 feet in area
Detailed History and Information
For a more detailed history and information on the grave stones that have been recovered and recorded please view this document of the Opequon’s Burial Grounds as researched by the Daughters of the American Revolution, circa 1970s.
Memorial Scatter Garden
The Opequon Memorial Garden was authorized by the session in 2008 as a way of memorializing members and non-members of the congregation who wish to have their remains “scattered” on the property and under the supervision of the Opequon Presbyterian Church.
The scatter garden is in the shape of a Jerusalem Cross. The Jerusalem Cross was a variant of the Crusaders’ Cross. It contains four smaller crosses that are said to symbolize the four books of the Gospel.
Mathew, Mark, Luke and John
The four distinctive areas are located within a 54 foot diameter circle of stonework that is connected to the church parking lot by a stone path. Each quadrant has plants arranged around two meditation areas with all-weather seating positioned to afford individuals a place for prayer and meditation and an unrestricted view of the beautiful Kernstown Civil War Battlefield.
Each leg of the cross is oriented to the compass and each quadrant of the cross (northwest, southwest, southeast and northeast) would serve as a designated scattering area. Services will be oriented toward one of the four quadrants with the presiding minister officiating from the raised sub-cross in the flowerbed. Guests and members of the family would be seated on the two intersecting legs of the cross.
Members of the Opequon Presbyterian Church would be entitled to have their remains scattered in the Opequon Memorial Garden for a onetime fee of $600. Non-members would be interred in the Memorial Garden upon approval of the Session. Non-members would be entitled to the same recognition and services for a fee of $700. Records as designated above would also be provided. Inscription of the individual’s name on a memorial plaque in one of the four quadrants would be available for an additional fee to cover labor and materials.