We have come to have an unreasoning, unshakeable faith in our good luck in genealogical research.
We left the Harrisville Library (open Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon) about 11:00 a.m., armed with the following description:
SINNETT (PATRICK) CEMETERY (M92),
aka Hulderman Ridge or Charles Moyers Cemetery. Located on southern end of Hulderman Ridge on right side of road leading to Indian Creek
This information was printed in the book of Ritchie County, WV, cemeteries, recently published by the Ritchie County Genealogical Society.
Along with the description, we had a map (which is in fact priceless) showing all the roads in Ritchie County, and verbal directions from the librarian, gained after a long phone call to her husband. Hulderman Ridge Road
Maneuvering around Harrisville, we took 16/29, alias South Street, to the intersection with State 16, and shortly thereafter veered off on 16/12, confusingly named Hulderman Run Road. But it soon left the creek and started winding up a steep hill to the very top and we had no question but that it was Hulderman Ridge Road, which was very encouraging. The road was a good solid one lane wide, with well formed ruts for our truck tires. We have the right vehicle for this kind of work.
We got all the way down to the south end of Hulderman Ridge without noticing any cemetery, so we turned right on 17/9, which slid quickly down one side of the ridge, and saw no cemetery there, so we climbed up 17/9 and down the other side on 16/15, where we also saw no cemetery.
Next to the road a lady about our age (who turned out to be Mrs. Blankenship) was cutting firewood, and we asked about the Sinnett cemetery up on Hulderman Ridge. "You can't drive there," she told us, and gave us rather confusing directions as to how to drive and then walk. When we showed her the piece of paper that identified the cemetery as Charles Moyers Cemetery, she changed tack, and directed us down the road to the next house, where we should talk to Charles Moyers.
This we did, and Charlie Moyers came to the door and we explained what we were seeking. "You can't drive there," he confirmed, "but if the lady next door lets you drive up the holler behind her house you can Charles Moyers Cemetery walk to it." And he drew us a little map on a piece of paper showing the road and the gate and the road along the ridge at the top and the clearing and beyond the clearing, the cemetery.
This stage of our genealogical exploration involves looking for the ancestors of one of our daughters-in-law. When we explained that we were looking for relatives of our daughter-in-law's great-grandfather Jefferson Hoover, Charlie Moyers gave us a funny look. "Jefferson Hoover was my grandfather," he told us. "You just wait right here."
We were standing in front of his house, our clipboard and papers spread out across an evenly trimmed privet bush, so we waited right there. In a very short while, Charlie Moyers came out of his house and handed us our very own copy of his own creation, a 27-page genealogy (which, it turned out, included our daughter-in-law, although it was unaware of her marriage to our son.)
After getting over being overcome, we asked for his address, then started up the hill to see Mrs. Blankenship about cutting through her holler to the cemetery.
About the same time we were talking to Mrs. Blankenship (of course she agreed to our using her road) along came a beat up old blue car containing a young man and a little girl, who turned out to be three years old. This was the husband of the librarian, Mr. Seese, who, having been laid off, with nothing to do, had driven off after us to see if he could help us find the cemetery. So we piled him and his daughter Kirstin Spruce Grove Church into the truck and moseyed up the even narrower, deeper ruts leading up the holler. Sure enough at the top of the hill we found the gate, walked through after being well captured by a rambling rose, turned right, climbed to the top of the ridge, saw the clearing on the left, and, by the time we got to the far end of the clearing, spotted the graveyard.
Charlie Moyers had explained to us that his aunt had told him that Patrick Sinnett was not buried there at all, but somewhere along the ridge about half way between the cemetery and the house where he, Charlie Moyers, was born, but that the historical society people, wanting to mark the grave of this Revolutionary War veteran, had hurried up with brass plaques and put them in the cemetery anyhow. So we dutifully photographed and recorded the brass plaques, along with the graves of our daughter-in-law's GGG grandparents, and some aunts and uncles, too. Kirstin Seese played around the cemetery while we cleared away the grass and took photos.
As we were leaving to drive back down the holler, who should appear but Charlie Moyers. "How far into this are you? Are you really interested in hearing more history?" We assured him we wanted to hear as much as he could tell. He began, "Jefferson Hoover owned all this land over to the next ridge. 540 acres. Jefferson Hoover's house He sold it to my grandfather Moyers, who had nine children, and we each got 60 acres when he died. Jefferson Hoover donated the land for the Spruce Grove Church. If you're interested, I could take you to the church and to another cemetery and show you Jefferson Hoover's house," he offered, and we eagerly accepted. We drove the Seese's back down the hill, then on to Charlie's house where he hopped in the truck.
Our path led us up one dirt road and down another, and soon we were well and truly lost. We stopped to photograph the beautiful Spruce Grove Church, and then drove by the 1908 house built for Jefferson Hoover, still kept immaculately by the family, painted every year, but now unoccupied. Then we drove to two more cemeteries, where we photographed the graves of our daughter-in-law's grandparents and great aunt and uncle.
"Are you lost?" asked Charlie, and when we admitted we were he said, "Good, I treat you every different way and some of them you like!" Charlie, it turns out, was a retired insurance adjuster, who knew every back road in the state.
So, without any excuse except our high moral character (readers may remember that the chief genealogist on the sixth floor of the New England Historic Genealogical Society had told us that if we had high moral character we would find our ancestors) we found more ancestors and more wonderful family stories today.