Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thornrose Cemetery

Bronze door of an elaborate mausoleum.

The graveyard surrounding Trinity Church had served as the town cemetery since 1760, even for those who were not Episcopalian. With the Trinity Church cemetery full a hundred years later, the town purchased acreage at the far western extreme of Beverley Street for use as a new community cemetery. The first burial took place in 1853. Tourist brochures will tell you that 1,700 civil war soldiers are buried there, that T.J. Collins designed magnificent tombs, a bridge, gatehouse --- blah, blah, blah.

None of that stuff is as interesting as the stories about the less than famous interred there. For years a circus band entered the cemetery and played at the grave of Eva Clark, a trapeze artist who was shot when caught up in a love triangle. Thornrose is also the final resting place of a female Confederate spy, a Charlottesville madam and a twice widowed woman recently buried between her two husbands; before her death in 1988 she would go to the cemetery each day and read the newspaper out loud to her husbands.

1 comment:

  1. I lived in Staunton almost 17 years ago. I was in a two story house across from the cemetery. I had many eerie encounters with both Union and Confederate soldier spirits. I would often see a soldier standing behind be while lounging with head back in a cast iron claw foot tub on the second floor, And there was great tension between the soldiers spirits, as if they were still at war all these years later. Call me crazy, but I know what I saw, and i know what I felt...