The Foreman Massacre took place on September 26, 1777 at the Narrows just north of Glen Dale, WV. Captain William Foreman and twenty-one militiamen from Hampshire County, Virginia were killed in an ambush by indigenous warriors. In 1835, a light horse company in Elizabethtown (now Moundsville, WV) raised money for and put up a sandstone memorial headstone at the Narrows where Foreman and his men’s remains were buried after the attack. Then in 1875, the stone and remains were moved to Mt. Rose Cemetery in Moundsville, WV by the County Court (now County Commission). The stone was placed in a concrete puddle in 1974 and is in very poor condition. The sandstone is cracking off on the front and back of the stone and there are many chips and cracks on the sides. The front has the historic inscription on it so will not be addressed in my civic service project because a skilled mason conservator would be needed to repair it. The back, however, is something I can help with. I have done a great deal of research on gravestone preservation over the last few months. I consulted skilled conservators Bekah Karelis and Sarel Venter of Adventures in Elegance based in Wheeling for advice on my project.
Funding for my project is still pending but I purchased Natural Hydraulic Lime 5.0 from Otterbein and a consolidant from Bellinzoni called Strong 2000 that will be used in the preservation work. First, the damaged part of the stone that is falling off will be removed and the consolidant will be applied with a paintbrush. The stone will be completely saturated with distilled water and the lime putty will be plastered on and covered with wet burlap to cure. Once dry, it will be lightly sanded down until flush with the original stone. Then the cleaning process will begin with distilled water and a soft bristle brush to remove the green organic growth and black carbon residue. In the heavily soiled spots, D/2 Biological cleaning solution will be used. Once these steps are completed, the stone will look better and be preserved for many years to come.
Pending additional funding, I would like to also take the project further and place a clear acrylic box around the stone to protect it from weather and pollutants. I also would like to place a granite plaque next to the Foreman Stone that has the inscription written out so it is easier to read, a summary of the massacre, and the stone’s journey from the Narrows in 1875. Bekah and Sarel also recommended the concrete puddle surrounding the stone be lifted out of the ground and a plastic sheet be placed under it to further help protect the stone from weathering. Once this project is completed, this portion of Marshall County’s Revolutionary War history will be looking its best!
Evan is the Preserve WV AmeriCorps member serving with the Cockayne Farmstead for the 2020-2021 service year.
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