Return to Jollytown

April 25, 2010 - 4 Comments

by Jim Barnes

Last year, on May 4th, to be exact, Mark Tennant wrote in this space, about our trip to the villages of Brave and Jollytown, PA to visit the graves of Civil War soldiers. On Sunday, April 18th, Mark and I once again journeyed to these villages  to again visit the graves of Union Civil War soldiers and also to meet with Gary Wise, a Jollytown native who has been researching members of the 7th Regiment of West Virginia Volunteer Infantry who were from this area. Gary’s family also owns the farm on which Jesse Taylor, 1st soldier from the 7th to be killed in the war, is buried. Gary is a wealth of information on this subject and also is responsible for rehabilitating the Taylor family cemetery.

Gary told us that when his family bought the farm on which the cemetary is located, there was no fence around it and cattle grazed in it. This had also resulted in many of the headstones being knocked over and damaged. Gary and his family fenced off the cemetery and stood up the headstones where possible. They now mow and maintain it regularly.

We met Gary at the cemetery near Brave, PA where Medal of Honor winner, John Shanes, is interred. Mark’s research over the past year revealed that he is a very distant relative of John Shanes which made this trip doubly interesting. This cemetary, however has not faired as well as the Taylor Cemetery. It is irregularly mowed and upkeep is sparse. The caretaker stopped by while we were talking and told us that he does what he can, but the families of the people buried there never send him any money and he has to do upkeep mostly at his own expense. The ground is hilly and rough and this would make the job more difficult.

Our next stop was the monument to Jesse Taylor in Jollytown. As the pictures show, this is an impressive monument, but time and the forces of nature are taking a toll on it. The ten-pounder Parrott Rifle at the monument is in serious need of maintenance. If the carriage is allowed to weather much more, it will begin to rot and the weight of the tube will cause a collapse. As you can see from the photographs, all of the paint is gone from much of the wood and the grain is looking rough. Gary told us that it was his understanding that many years ago, the association which at that time was in charge of the monument, loaned the cannon to a reenactor group in Greene County. The group kept it for an extended period of time and did not seem to want to give it back. When the Monument Association did get it back, they secured it firmly to a concrete base to prevent anyone from being tempted to take it again.

Unfortunately, as the members of the Association aged, there was no new people to take their place. Gary was not sure if any association still existed. One elderly gentleman from outside the area still comes in from time to put flags at the monument. Gary agreed to see what he could find out about the possibility that this Association still functions.

Last year, we talked about getting together a group to paint and refurbish the guns at the monument. This year, the need is if anything, greater. If anyone is interested in participating in such an endeavor, contact me at this website. Perhaps we can organize something in conjunction with Gary and other local folks.

For our last stop of the day, Mark and I visited the grave of one of his direct Civil War relatives in the Fairview Cemetery near Bobtown, PA. This is regularly maintained site, with many more recent burials. Consequently, the graves were in better shape, despite a spate of vandalism by local teenagers a few years ago in which many of the stones were knocked over. These were later repaired by employees of a local business. Judging from the GAR markers, we judged that there were at least a dozen Civil War soldiers buried there.

This trip once again reminded us that history needs guardians. The care of these various memorials that we saw is in the hands of the living. Where this is being done, the care shows. When it is not, the neglect shows, and the cows and the weeds obscure the memory of brave individuals and their times. If succeeding generations fail to care for the memories of those who went before, they will lose their own identities.

If anyone is interested in contacting Gary Wise and visiting the Tayor Cemetery, please email me at this address and I will put you in touch with him.

Comments (4)

mark Tennant

May 2nd, 2010 at 8:01 am    

Jim, very good job on article. If we don’t take care of these monuments and cemeteries, who will. The relative at the Fairview Cemewtery we visited was Joseph Pride, a great-great Uncle who fought in the 3rd WV Cavalry.

Jim Barnes

May 2nd, 2010 at 5:34 pm    

Thanks, Mark. I hope we can get some people interested in this project.

Dori Anderson

December 5th, 2010 at 12:35 am    

I am interested in the ancestry of Jesse Taylor. Could you please send information or a link to information? I have read the Taylor cemetery transcription already, and I have reason to believe a sibling of John , Sr. may have been an ancestor. Thank you.

Jim Barnes

December 5th, 2010 at 10:09 am    


Have you talked to Gary Wise when you were out looking at the tombstones? He has a ton of info on Jesse and his regiment. I will look for some links for you.

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