The original deed for Edge Hill Cemetery was recorded in Jefferson County, Virginia on August 9, 1858. The original four acres of land for the cemetery was given by John Stephenson to the Trustees of the Charles Town Presbyterian Church. Since that time, the cemetery has been in continual use as the primary burial site for the citizens of Charles Town and Jefferson County and has continued to grow in size. The cemetery now consists of nearly 21 acres. In 2019, the Charles Town Presbyterian Church deeded the original four acres to the cemetery, making it truly a community cemetery.
During the Civil War, 184 Confederate soldiers were buried in the military section of the cemetery. Many of these men were killed locally in battles such as the Battle of Antietam in 1862 and the battle of Cameron's Depot in 1864.
Edge Hill Cemetery
by Doug Perks
Figure 1 Superintendent's Lodge at Edge Hill Cemetery c. 1930s.
In 1872 the Trustees of Edge Hill Cemetery contracted with the construction firm owned by Julius Holmes and Henry Rust to build the Superintendent’s House seen in Figure 1. The building was described as a two-story brick structure forty-three feet long fronting on East Alley - later renamed Seminary Street. The arched gateway provided access to the cemetery off of East Congress Street. It is interesting to note that before the Superintendent’s House was built the access to the cemetery was off of East Washington Street. If you look at the clip in Figure 2 (below) you can see the lane between the words “Seminary” and “Lot” which served as the cemetery’s entrance. The construction announcement which appeared in the June 25th, 1872 edition of the Spirit of Jefferson noted that “the only regret is that the whole lot of ground within the enclosure does not belong to the Cemetery proper so that this building could be erected at the Northern entrance on Main street.” In 1858 John Stephenson donated the land which would become Edge Hill Cemetery. At the same time Stephenson gave land north of the cemetery for the establishment of a women’s seminary, and in 1883 Stephenson’s Seminary opened its doors. Once the seminary building was erected, access to Edge Hill moved to the gateway in the Superintendent’s House.
All work on the Superintendent’s House was done by local contractors. Jacob Tutwiler was the mason in charge of the brick work. Interior and exterior painting was done by William Kimes. Charles Horace Gallaher plastered the walls and the ceilings. Carpentry work was completed by Holmes & Rust. When finished, the Spirit opined that “the erection of this Lodge and its occupancy by a suitable, competent Superintendent will ensure the much-needed protection of the grounds and improvements at “Edge Hill” which will encourage the beautifying of “God’s Acres.” Among those who were Trustees of the Cemetery were Lewis Dinkle, Charles Horace Gallaher, Arthur Wells “Sunshine” Hawks, Cleon Moore, and John Howard Strider.
In 1919 the Cemetery expanded when four and one-half acres were added directly south of the existing cemetery. The land was purchased from the heirs of Rebecca Lane Huston Hunter and at that time the Cemetery’s Trustees estimated that the addition would meet the demand of lots for at least twenty years.
The Superintendent’s House was removed in the summer of 1940. To ensure continued access to the Cemetery, demolition started on the south end of the building and proceeded north. Once removed, the Superintendent’s House was replaced by a one-story brick building which fronted on Seminary Street and served the dual purpose of housing the cemetery’s tools and equipment and providing office space for the Cemetery’s Superintendent.
Figure 2 Edge Hill Cemetery c. 1880s.