Where is Bullskin Churchyard, WV where Revolutionary Col. Hugh Stephenson and 3 others are buried? ?

+4 votes
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Looking on Google Maps on both the satellite and topo views, I can find the headspring of Bullskin Run (Creek), in a plowed field, but there is no church nearby. Records indicate that the church began to deteriorate in the early 1800s and the congregation went elsewhere. I can't find a churchyard or gravestones anywhere thereabouts. I tried to put in a photo request, but there is one outstanding from 2015 that hasn't been fulfilled. Besides Col. Hugh S., also buried there are my 7x great grandparents Richard and Honora Stephenson and Valentine Crawford. It seems odd that a distinguished officer like Col. Hugh would have his grave go missing. He was one of only two men who gathered together a regiment to fight the British in the colony. I also checked at Arlington to see if his grave was moved there, but no. I put in messages to the nearest Presbyterian Church as well.
in Genealogy Help by Lee Recca G2G6 Mach 1 (12.2k points)

Hi, Lee; I'm sorry I can't help answer this question regarding the actual location of these four graves.

I did find a snippet regarding the colonel, however. Unfortunately, the website is no longer found, so this small paragraph is all there is:

My Patriot Ancestor - Piedmont Chapter - SAR

piedmontchapter.org/Pages/Patriots/valentineCrawford.htm

His first wife was Catherine. He is buried in the Bullskin Presbyterian Churchyard, Summit Point, Jefferson Co, West VA.. He was a Colonel in the Virginia Militia, wagon master general, and confident and secretary to George Washington. He died after falling though the ice on Jacobs Creek, Berkeley Co VA on January 7th.

 

And here is the application for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places Inventory of the Stephenson family farm at Bullskin, with some interesting data regarding the farm and the colonel:

For what it's worth, I added an "image" of a short newspaper clipping (Aug 1906) to Hugh Stephenson's WikiTree page.  More than 100 years ago, the letter writer didn't know where the burial grounds were located, either.
I heard that older graves had been moved to Zion Episcopal Churchyard in Charles Town so I went to findagrave and looked but there are no Stephensons or Crawfords buried there. I'm reading a biography of George Washington that mentions a letter written to his "worthy friend" Richard in his youth, but the recipient's last name is not known. Could that have been Richard Stephenson?

A little more about Cap. Hugh Stephenson:

“by 1775, the town [of Mecklenburg] boasted 1,000 inhabitants. In 1775, General George Washington issued a call for "Virginia Volunteer Riflemen." Captain Hugh Stephenson filled the ranks of his company here. The troops departed from "Morgan's Spring," about one-half mile (1 km) south of the town limits, on July 16, 1775. This famous "Beeline March to Cambridge" covered 600 miles (1000 km) in 24 days. Thirty-eight Revolutionary veterans are buried in the surrounding area.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherdstown,_West_Virginia

The property is now called Burns Farm and they have some recent photos on their Facebook page. There is a photo looking S/SW from the property, perhaps including Summit Point where the church and gravestones are/were.
Early next month, I will be making another trip back to West VIrginia to try to locate the graves of my ancestors, Richard and Honora Stephenson and their son, Col. Hugh Stephenson. I will visit and photograph grave markers on the property of the Summit Motorsports and also at Burns Farm, which is built on the foundations of Richard Stephenson's homestead, surveyed by George Washington in 1750. I will also visit the Edge Hill Cemetery in Charles Town, where another Revolutionary War hero, Col. James Stubblefield, is buried. There is also a squarish barren patch at 1636 Leetown Rd. in Charles Town that could be a deserted cemetery. I will explore all these places. Wish me luck!

6 Answers

+5 votes
 
Best answer
Lee, I am a member of the WV SAR. We have a chapter
in that area. Our website is WVSSAR. You can
email your questions to me and I will forward or you can
go to site. The local chapter most likely has this information and will  assist you.
by Bob Tilley G2G3 (3.7k points)
selected by Lee Recca
Keith McDonald and Jim Parrish,

I am coming to West Virginia on Friday, April 20 and will be there all weekend. I'd like to visit any libraries or museums you recommend to try to find out what happened to the graves of my Stephenson ancestors. Thank you for your help. Lee
Give me a call when you get here.  I think I have the property location of where the church/cemetery was narrowed down to a couple hundred yards....

304 728-7817 (home)

202 598-9109 (cell)
I have been trying to locate pictures on these graves as well!  On the farms facebook page they said they would take some pics for me but I closed that facebook page and wasn't able to find their page on my original facebook page.  Valentine Crawford is my 6th great grandfather, I had put in a picture request for the graves on find a grave but never saw anything.  Just found this page this morning and it has a wealth of information, so happy to have found you all!
stones we found were for Throckmorton and Thompson, who were property owners

going over land records, there was a 1 acre plot that was sold back to them that would appear to be where the church/cemetery once were, but we saw no evidence of a structure/gravestones.  since they were separate deeds, I do not think the house/family cemetery were built on top of the church/graveyard, but they are next to each other, both mentioned being near the head spring of the Bullskin, which is on the adjacent property, Bullskin Farm.
Hi Dena, Thanks for your new information! Are you saying that the Burnses agreed to take pictures of the gravestones on their property? I went by there twice but there was no one home. Burns Farm has a Facebook page and I've been corresponding with them there. I would love to find the gravestones of Richard, Honora and Col. Hugh Stephenson and the SAR says they will put up a plaque if we find it. Lee
Hi Lee, yes, they were going to take pictures for me.  I had sent them a message thru messenger on facebook thru the Burns Farm page and asked about the cemetery and if they could take some pictures of Valentine Crawford and Honora.  Whoever it was that responded said that the stone just had initials but they would take some pictures for me.  This has been about 1.5 to 2 years ago but I think I asked them on my old FB.  I found them on my account that I kept and sent them a message yesterday to see if they remembered me and if they would get some pictures but there was no response but it was marked as my message being seen.  Seems like they had said it was to the side or backside of their property.  Sure wish I had the original response and that would tell us a lot.
Dena, that is good to hear. The Burnses are very busy but they do reply eventually. I look forward to seeing photos of the graves and, if they don't materialize, I will plan another trip in the fall.
I made another trip to the Bullskin Presbyterian Churchyard and photographed the headstones there. As Keith MacDonald said, they were for Throckmorton and Thomson. No Stephensons. I would still like to see the initials on the Burns Farm headstones, but now I'm focusing on a township in Fayette County of SW Pennsylvania which is called . . . Bullskin! The history of the county says it was named that after the old home place in Virginia of some of the early settlers.
Hi Lee, did you get a chance to check out the wooded mounds in the field North of the Bullskin Spring Headwaters?  Any success in your research?  Hope all is well.
Thank you for asking. I see I didn't update this with the results of my later trip in early October 2019. I was escorted to the grave sites by a volunteer that Summit Motorsports arranged for me. The graves were close to the later graves of Thomson and Throckmorten. There were three rounded headstones; I could not see any inscription on them. There were also three rectangular footstones. It is documented that Col, William Crawford took his brother, Col. Valentine Crawford's body back to Bullskin to be buried alongside their mother, Honora Crawford Stephenson (letter from Crawford to George Washington). I'm thinking the third gravestone is that of Richard Stephenson, who died earlier despite being 16 years younger than his wife. So that just leaves the grave of Col. Hugh Stephenson missing. He died in 1776 in camp of malaria (it was said). So, he may be buried in the vicinity of battlefields where he was serving.
+6 votes

https://sites.google.com/site/jcwvhistory/home/historic-churches

Summit Point Churches

On September 22, 1737, Rev. William Williams took the ministerial oath to preach on his plantation. This was the beginning of what would become the Bullskin Presbyterian Church, near Summit Point. According to the records of the Presbytery of Donegal, a church building was actually located near the headspring of the Bullskin Run, near Summit Point, as early as 1740. The regional Potomoke Presbytery appears to have referred to this church as the Bullskin Church; in ecclesiastical records it is referred to as "Hopewell." Itinerant preachers usually served the small Presbyterian churches in the county and frequently held services at irregular intervals. By 1800, the small church building was in decay, and the congregation decided to join the Lutherans at a new church in Middleway.

by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
+7 votes
The SAR Patriot and Grave record says Valentine Crawford died 7 Jan 1777, Berkeley, VA. SAR Patriot Index Edition III (CD: PP2210, Progeny Publ., 2002) plus data to 2004

SAR Ancestor #P-140896  DAR #A027664

Jacob's Creek Cemetery, Jacob's Creek, Westmoreland, PA

GPS 40.12888 N;  79.7410 W

http://patriot.sar.org/fmi/iwp/cgi?-db=Grave%20Registry&-loadframes
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (563k points)

He was perhaps the son of Valentine Crawford, Sr. My ancestor Richard Stephenson married the widow of V.C. Sr., Honora, who had two children by Crawford. The Stephensons had five or six sons and one daughter of their own. Both of the Crawford sons and the Stephenson sons all served in the Revolutionary War. Col. V.C. Sr's other son, William Crawford was a land agent for George Washington and served under him during the War, and was tortured and killed by Indians. I don't know where his grave is, either. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Crawford_(soldier)

+3 votes

There is a "sketchy" entry on FindAGrave, here:  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/143728591/hugh-stephenson

It shows "Summit Point, Jefferson County, West Virginia" as the location... There are two similarly brief entries for his parents, too.

by J Stewart G2G6 Mach 1 (19.6k points)
Thank you. I've seen that. I wish it weren't so sketchy. In "Pioneers On the Bullskin" more information is given that the church was located just yards from the Bullskin Run's headspring.
+2 votes

I recently found this plat of Richard Stephenson's property, signed by the 18-year-old George Washington. It's from the Boston Public Library.

https://collections.leventhalmap.org/search/commonwealth:q524n609t

by Lee Recca G2G6 Mach 1 (12.2k points)
+3 votes
Lee, I have been searching as well for the burial site for my ancestor, Col. Valentine Crawford.  My armchair research led me down a few paths, but I think I've located the most probable place for the church site remains and the burial sites. According to some information I found, the old church remains are still there, located about 150 yards North of the Bullskin head-spring. About 3/4 of a mile South of Summit Point is a farm immediately West of Leetown Rd.  If you follow Bullskin Run going East to West across Leetown Rd, you find the actual head-spring.  The head-spring is just West of Leetown Rd., just South of a field labled "Head Spring" on Google maps, and just East of what looks like an old farm house.  If you're looking at Google maps, there are what look like 3 mounds with heavy foliage in the field directly North of the head-spring. The middle one is about 150 yards North of the head-spring, and I would bet is the location of the church remains and probably the burial sites. The other mounds should be investigated as well I think.  The mounds run North/South and are just West of Leetown Rd. I hope to investigate further, but if the information helps any distant relatives find their way to it, that would be great as well.
by

Very interesting. I had been told that the "old farm house" was built on the foundations of the church. My friends and I looked all over that property for the graves but found nothing. However, that farm house is west of the headsprings, not north. My sources said that the church was 100 yards north of the headsprings. I can't go back to West Virginia until summer is over, but I'm looking forward to resolving this as soon as I can get back there. The WV Sons of the American Revolution would like to put plaques on their graves. Thank you very much for the information. By the way, the coordinates would be

image

39°14'19.2"N 77°57'23.9"W

  right?

Very glad you'll have the opportunity to visit at some point.  I hope it's not a wasted effort. I will continue to dig and post if I find anything new.

Yes, on the coordinates - it is showing up on my Google Earth Pro as:

39.14.19.51 N
77.57.23.91 W

Maybe you can shed some light on a related problem. The records indicate that Honora married her first husband, your ancestor Col. Valentine Crawford, when she was eight years old. I have written twice to the profile owners and they have replied that they will look into it, but that's the last I've heard. I suppose it's possible that she was married at that age, but unlikely.
My apologies for the very late reply. Honora Eleanor Grimes 1708-1776  was actually married to William Valentine Crawford Sr. 1692-1736. I've seen records of him called both William and Valentine. William Valentine Crawford Sr.'s parents were William Crawford 1662-1732, and Naudiane Valentine 1665-1698. William Valentine Crawford Sr. and Honora Eleanor Grimes had 2 sons, Col William Crawford and Col Valentine Crawford. After William Valentine's death, Honora remarried to Richard Stephenson. What a family and an incredible story.
Yes, that aligns with the data I have, too. Great research!

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