Bioanthropological Investigations of the Reynolds Cemetery in Kanawha County, West Virginia


Between May 17 and August 8, 2001, Cultural Resource Analysts’ personnel completed Phase III excavations for the relocation of the Reynolds Cemetery (46Ka349) in Kanawha County, West Virginia. The project, which was conducted at the request of Dr. Robert F. Maslowski on behalf of the Huntington District Corps of Engineers, was conducted to mitigate anticipated impacts the cemetery would suffer by the proposed Marmet Lock Replacement Project. The site was recommended as potentially eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion D.

Investigation of site 46Ka349 included the identification, excavation, and exhumation of 31 historic graves. Analysis of cultural material recovered indicates that interments were made in the cemetery between 1832 and 1900. Early interments (1832-1860) were identified primarily by the presence of hexagonal shaped coffins constructed with utilitarian hardware, while later interments (1860-1900) were identified by rectangular shaped caskets made with elaborate and mass-produced hardware. Other materials recovered included clothing items, such as buttons and shoes, personal adornment items, such as hair combs and jewelry, and unusual items, such as a full upper denture made of porcelain and rubber.

Skeletal preservation was poor across the site and only fragmentary cranial and long bone remains were recovered from 19 of the 31 burials. Moderately well preserved tooth crowns were present in 18 burials. Dental elements offered a variety of information regarding health and genetic affinity. Dental caries were abundant in the population, but only a few incidences of linear enamel hypoplasia were identified. Although shovel shaped incisors have been documented for non-Mongolid populations, their frequency of occurrence in the Reynolds family population is suggestive of Native American affinity.

Site 46Ka349 was a small rural cemetery containing interments of the founding Reynolds family and perhaps later residents after the Reynolds family moved. The spatial organization was characteristic of an upland south folk cemetery. Burials were aligned in rows and in clusters of children and possible family units.

All of the human remains and associated items recovered from the 31 burials at Reynolds Cemetery were reinterred at Montgomery Memorial Park near London, Kanawha County, West Virginia. The reinterment graves are located in the southeast part of the cemetery overlooking the Kanawha River to the west. Reinterment was conducted on four separate occasions between December 7, 2001 and January 17, 2002. The general location of the reinterments will be marked by a monument made from black granite, while individual reinterment graves will be marked with flat grave markers and upright headstones of gray granite. The flat markers will be used for the 26 graves that lacked associated headstones. The five upright headstones, manufactured to resemble the originals that were recovered from Reynolds Cemetery, will mark the reinterment graves of Col. John Reynolds, Fenton Mercer Reynolds, Van Bibber Reynolds, Elizabeth P. Reynolds, and James C. Reynolds.

Cite this Record

Bioanthropological Investigations of the Reynolds Cemetery in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Alexandra D. Bybee, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.. 2002 ( tDAR id: 378248) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8K35T5Z

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -81.576; min lat: 38.322 ; max long: -81.45; max lat: 38.383 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Charles Niquette

Project Director(s): Charles Niquette

Prepared By(s): Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.

Submitted To(s): Huntington District, Corps of Engineers


General Note: This report was prepared by Cultural Resource Analysis, Inc for and on behalf of Dr. Robert F. Maslowski, Huntington District Corps of Engineers.

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