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Pasture Fence Mountain Cemetery

Association: None
No. of Markers: 26 (View)
No. of Individuals: 0 (View)
Location: Private, Brown's Cove, Albemarle Co.

The Pasture Fence Mountain Cemetery is located in Brown's Cove, a rural part of northwestern Albemarle. None of the stones contain inscriptions. Instead, archival and property records were researched by the current land owner to try to establish the function of this cemetery. This cemetery illustrates a difficulty in our research, how to determine if unmarked stones belong to a slave graveyard or to other rural community members who may not have inscribed their gravestones. In this case, an 1875 map indicates that this area was owned by the Keyton family, where they operated a tanning yard. A 'Chapman' farm lies adjacent to the Keyton place. Today, this cemetery lies off Via Lane, named after the Via Family who own a number of farms in the area. The population of Brown's Cove decreases after slavery is abolished (as many of the former slaves left for greater employment opportunities in cities) and again after the federal government closed off an important road that once connected Charlottesville to Harrisonburg (the former Brown's turnpike). This road was closed in the 1930s when they opened the Shenendoah National Park.

This cemetery contains 26 stones, most of which are carved into pointed shapes. If this were a family cemetry for the Keyton, Chapman, or Via families we would expect some inscriptions and probably fewer stones (most private family cemeteries in this region of Virginia contain two or three generations and cease being used in the 20th Century). Thus, the presence of over two dozen stones suggests use by more than one family. About half of the families in Brown's Cove relied on slave labor during the ante-bellum period (see the Mt Fair Plantation Cemetery in this database for such an example). This cemetery may have been used for an enslaved community. Via family traditions record that slaves were often buried alongside the Via family. Research continues to determine whether this is an old Via Family Cemetery or a Slave Cemetery. In the meantime, we refer to it by its geographic proximity to Pasture Fence Mountain, reserving a final determination as to the identity of the individuals buried for a later time.