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‘All proper, Harold … Relaxation in peace’

FAIRMONT – Do not forget that man again in highschool?

You understand: The man who acquired good grades, starred in sports activities and was good to everyone – even the youngsters who weren’t standard?

Each college has one.

And on the previous Fairmont Excessive College 108 years in the past, that man was Harold Chester Goodenough.

By all accounts, he was the preferred boy in class.

He was additionally a reputation locally, owing to his exploits on the soccer area.

That’s why classmates saved vigil at his home on Walnut Avenue after he got here down with typhoid fever.

And why individuals from Fairmont’s monied West Facet sat shoulder-to-shoulder with their blue collar neighbors from the East Facet for his funeral, following his dying from the illness weeks later.

Nowadays, Harold, ceaselessly 17, is a star of once more, of types.

He’s a part of a brand new advertising marketing campaign for Woodlawn Cemetery – his remaining resting place, the place, for years, his grave sat unmarked.

That’s now not the case.

Extra on that.

First, although, some historical past, of a historic place.

The cemetery, which is punctuated by towering bushes and rises that supply sweeping views of Fairmont, does have its bona fides in that class.  

Metropolis native and Abraham Lincoln confidante Francis Pierpont is buried right here subsequent to his spouse, Julia.

From his home on Quincy Avenue, Pierpont in the course of the Civil Conflict saved the president knowledgeable with clandestine dispatches of the army marketing campaign in the-then westernmost climes of the Commonwealth.

He additionally provided up methods to maintain footholds for the Northern trigger.

Pierpont was elected governor of the Restored Virginia in 1862 because the Confederacy started to unravel.

Julia, in the meantime, was an abolitionist whose compassion after the struggle to troopers who wore each the Blue and the Grey finally led to the founding of Memorial Day.

Coal barons who equipped the North’s effort on the sly additionally relaxation right here.

Their graves are in the identical expanse with these of political gamers and others who made the Mountain State, effectively, the Mountain State.

That’s a number of civic chronology in repose, mentioned Raymond Alvarez, a Fairmont State College professor who’s a member of Woodlawn’s board of administrators.

The board met on a drizzly Saturday on the former superintendent’s residence, an ornate dwelling on the cemetery’s gateway.

“Ornate,” wasn’t the adjective to explain that handle when most members of the present board got here on just a few years again, Alvarez mentioned.

By then, the place was positively in want of rehabbing, he mentioned.

Home windows have been damaged out and boarded, the roof was leaking and rubbish was piled excessive in corners.

Board president Nancy Bickerstaff picks up the historical past: “I mentioned, ‘We’ve gotta clear this place up.’ It was that dangerous.”

The graves have been a good sadder story, each board members mentioned.

Weeds have been all over the place and a variety of headstones had toppled from the toll of time.

Grass had grown so unkempt that Alvarez truly found foot stones of graves he by no means knew existed after the mower made its rows.

Then, there have been the unmarked graves, similar to in Harold’s case.

Marking the unmarked, meant delving into forensic detective work, which meant countless poring over data and different paperwork to see who was who – and the place they may be buried.

In latest months, the board and its volunteers have been capable of present headstones for 4 once-unmarked graves, together with Harold’s.

His, is an easy marker, with an engraved soccer over his identify and dates of his beginning and dying: Dec. 28, 1897-Nov. 13, 1915.

Bickerstaff, in the meantime, nonetheless can’t discuss him with out tearing up.

“Right here’s a baby, in an unmarked grave for 100 years,” she mentioned. “It grabbed by coronary heart.”

And if it grabbed her coronary heart, Alvarez mentioned, it could possibly additionally seize the collective of hearts of historical past buffs and Civil Conflict fanatics who like their holidays to transcend theme parks and jaunts to the seashore.

“It’s cultural tourism,” he mentioned. “The historical past of West Virginia begins right here.”

And possibly its soul does, too, he mentioned.

The morning’s drizzling of rain had let up, so after the assembly, Alvarez and different board members walked to the grave of a younger man as soon as misplaced to time.

A younger man mentioned to be courteous, respectful and pleasant to everybody he encountered – save for the individuals in different uniform on the soccer area.

It was hardly formal, because the grave marker had already been in place for the previous a number of months.

The Rev. Leo Riley, an area pastor who lives close by and enjoys strolling the cemetery for reflection, provided a short prayer.

It appeared just like the rain was coming again, so individuals peeled off – however Alvarez, after inserting a small wreath, lingered a bit.

Then, he provided a small goodbye as he walked to his automotive.

“All proper, Harold,” he mentioned. “Relaxation in peace.”