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Harrisonburg Rockingham Historical Society

Rockingham County Tombstones by Cemetery


 Harrisonburg Methodist Church Cemetery


Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Virginia. Corner of So. High and W. Water Sts., Harrisonburg, Virginia. The church was originally Methodist, then Brethren and now Mennonite. The marker, with 23 names on it, is on the North front end of the existing Community Mennonite Church by the steps that lead to downstairs.

Note: On Oct 27, 2003 the contents of the crypt with the 23 names were moved to Woodbine Cemetery at the corner of Ott and West Market St. The Daily News Record of Oct 28 described the ceremony


The marker has 23 names that are listed as grave 001 thru 023. It only lists the names. All dates, ages, remarks and graves 024 thru 027 are taken from J. Robert Swank's records of 1967 and from a paper titled "The Old Methodist Burial Ground" located in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society files. When the church was enlarged the next of kin moved their relatives to other cemeteries and the remaining burials were put into one grave with the above marker. Mr. Swank noted "Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Rodgers of KY told me 5/4/1969 at monument that his grandparents Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Rodgers were buried in the Methodist church Cemetery on High St. His father, Nevelle Gordon, was buried out in Dayton during Civil War. The home stood where the Schrum Brickyard later was located." Notes from the paper "The Old Methodist Burial Ground" (no indication who wrote this) are as follow: On the Southwest corner of the square, according to the original plat of the town, Lot No. 12, containing one acre, (this site now being occupied by (the Church of the Brethren) was deeded in 1789 by Robert & Rebecca Harrison to David Harner, Jeremiah Ragan, Richard Ragan, John Hicks, James Mitchell, John Harrison, & Joseph Denny, Trustees of the Methodist Meeting House. Upon this lot, and built of logs, was the first school in Harrisonburg; used also & being the first Methodist Church in Rockingham County, being completed for use in 1794. Previous to this, services were held in the open air & in private residences. Later on - March 10, 1805, a larger and more commodious building was projected, & by August 10, 1806, was completed & ready for use; at which time Bishop Asbury was present and preached the first sermon. He makes mention of the occasion in his journal, giving the size as being, 40x48; also saying the building would hold from 1,600 to 1,800 (a rather large estimate, and showing that it is easy for wise men to be mistaken). Under the shadows of this dear old church was what, perhaps, may be said to be the first burial ground cemetery in Harrisonburg, there were private burial grounds in those early days in the town. Much Methodist history centers around this place and some of the great men of Methodism preached from its high pulpit. Here Bishop Asbury held Conference in 1809; Bishop McKendree being present also, and Christopher Frye, the preacher in charge and host to the conference used for fairs etc. and as a drilling place for military companies. On Sunday, Sept. 19, 1865, it fell with a tremendous crash which startled the town and scared the boys who had gathered there for their usual Sunday feats of daring, climbing and general gymnastics. But the old church was king even until the last and with its dying groans warned the boys of their danger in time for them to get away.

Cemetery Index

Surnames are sorted by section / plot / row / grave - only rows are shown

Row Surname Given Name & MI Birth Date Death Date Headstone Notes Remarks
001 Moore Mary
12 Oct 1842 Aged 73rd yr w/Reuben
001 Gilkeson Mary 22 Feb 1785 31 May 1842
Born in Augusta County, VA
001 Rohr Deborah 1 Sep 1780 5 Nov 1845 Aged 65 yrs w/Jacob
001 Jones Gelia A. 15 Sep 1795 26 Jun 1869
001 Swecker Mariah
2 Jun 1852 Aged 22y 6m 3d w/William; Mariah E.
001 Smith Polly 11 Apr 1795 19 Nov 1832
001 Rutherford Sibald
10 Sep 1830 Aged 58 yr
001 Rutherford Jane
2 Aug 1833 Aged 64 yr
001 Harrison Reuben
15 Aug 1840 Aged 86 yr An article (don't know date or newspaper but written by W. S. Pallis?) stated; born 1752 died 1840, Soldier of Revolution and one of the proprietors of the town after father Thomas' death in 1785
001 Mathews Agnes 23 Feb 1746 7 May 1828
001 Harrison Melvina 3 Feb 1808 12 Nov 1929

001 Harrison Jenetta 21 Nov 1813 3 Mar 1832

001 Herron Catherine
5 Oct 1825 Aged 26y 11m 5d
001 Kindel Margaret A. 22 Oct 1828 28 May 1831 (?)

001 Kindel Perry H. 26 Dec 1829 (?) 6 Jun 1831

001 Baker Nancy 17 Dec 1790 31 Jul 1833

001 Moore Reuben
20 Nov 1835 Aged 66th yr
001 Rodgers Gordon
19 Nov 1838 Aged 70 yr
001 Irick Margaret 17 Nov 1782 24 Dec 1831
001 Jones Alemono E.

001 Jones Robert E.

001 Hal Mary Jane

001 Spottswood Ida H.

001 Cravens Joseph
8 Feb 1817(?) Aged 1y 5m 18d Not on stone - recorded by Swank in 1967; s/Joseph & Mary
001 Rodgers Mrs. Gordon

In 1967 Swank recorded "his wife also buried here"
001 Harrison Mary 3 Jul 1772 5 Apr 1854
Not on stone - recorded by Swank in 1967; w/Reuben
An article (don't know date or newspaper but written by W. S. Pallis?) stated; Mary Matthews Harrison 1772-1854 daughter of Solomon Matthews
001 Whartmann Laurence
11 Apr 1840 Aged 66 yrs; Released from all his cares & woes He rests in calm and sweet repose. Not on stone - recorded in paper "Old Methodist Burial Ground"
An article (don't know date or newspaper but written by W. S. Pallis?) stated; Laurence Wartmann was born 1772, died 1840-the German printer who in 1822 began publishing the Rockingham Register in a buliding that stood upon the lot now occupied by Hawkins Hardware store.
001 Harrison Thomas

No visible marker-An article (don't know date or newspaper but written by W. S. Pallis?) stated; Thomas, founder of the town, was probably buried here but if so his grave has no legible inscriptions.

Copyright 2002 Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society