Frightful Friday - Historic Woodlawn Cemetery

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WDTV) -- You'll find a beautiful view of Downtown Fairmont from the top of what was once known as Hamilton HIll.

The Historic Woodlawn Cemetery features thosands of friendly ghosts overlooking the Friendly City.

11,000 people watch over the Friendly City from this 42-acre piece of land, but you can't see them.

Welcome to the Historic Woodlawn Cemetery.

In the late 1800s, sheep occupied these grounds instead of gravestones.

It was the Hamilton Family Farm.

On an April day in 1875, young Joseph Hamilton, around 14 years old at the time, was carrying a gun walking through the sheep yard.

He fell over a dividing fence, accidentally firing the gun and shooting himself.

Young Joseph Hamilton was the first buried here.

Decades later, he rests among some of the most prominent West Virginians and Fairmont residents in history.

What started as a small family burial ground grew quickly a few years later. Graves from the old Presbyterian Church Cemetery were moved here, including that of Boaz Flemming, the founder of Middletown, later renamed Fairmont.

Nancy Bickerstaff is president of the cemetery board.

"The people are the who's who of Fairmont who are buried here," Bickerstaff said.

The 'who's who' include former senators, governors, civil war soldiers, doctors, and lawyers.

That includes, most notably, the Father of West Virginia, Francis Pierpont. He's buried beside his wife Julia Pierpont who is credited for inspiring Decoration Day. It was renamed Memorial Day in 1882.

When the sun sets no the cemetery, don't be surprised if you hear from some of the 'who's who' of the area.

"Some of the people who work here think there are ghosts in the cemetery," Bickerstaff said. "They say they hear noises in different buildings. But they're friendly ghosts, so we're not going to worry about them."

One of those buildings is the Woodlawn Abbey that sits atop the hill.

There are 500 crypts inside there, but none in the eight sections include the number 13.

People are still being buried at the cemetery to this day, joining the thousands of other West Virginians as friendly ghosts overlooking the friendly city

"It just goes on and on. Walking through here is like walking through history," Bickerstaff said.