Mt. Hebron Cemetery Preservation Fund

TYPE OF FUND:  Cemetery Preservation Sub-Fund / Field of Interest

DATE ESTABLISHED:   Established August 2014

PURPOSE:  For perpetual funding of Mt. Hebron Cemetery (aka Cortland Cemetery) located in Canaan Valley, WV.

DISTRIBUTION:  An annual grant will be awarded to the Trustees of Mt. Hebron Cemetery to be used for the maintenance, historic preservation, and beautification of the Mt. Hebron Cemetery in accordance with TCF Cemetery Preservation Fund Specifications. 

VARIANCE POWER:  If, in the judgment of the TCF Board of Directors, the restrictions and conditions of the fund become unnecessary, incapable of fulfillment or inconsistent with the charitable needs of the community, the TCF Board of Directors maintains the right to modify the terms of this fund.

FUNDING:  The fund was established with a $20,000 donation from the Trustees of Mt. Hebron Cemetery:  L. Carl Harr, Secretary; David Lesher, Treasurer, Richard Allman, Trustee; and Thomas Allman, Trustee. 

BACKGROUND:   Henry and Mary Rudolph Cooper came to Canaan Valley in 1882 and started a new life on a tract of 1,700 acres of virgin timber with dreams of making their fortune from the sale it. They left a comfortable life on their farm near Winchester, Virginia and spent four days making the trip to Canaan Valley in two horse-drawn wagons with their seven children. Regrettably, Mary never lived to see it and died in 1886. She is buried at Mt. Hebron Lutheran Church back in Virginia where Mary had been baptized as a youngster and where Henry and Mary were married in 1867.

Longing for a church in the Valley, Henry Cooper donated an acre of land in 1897 and the little community built the Valley’s first church, naming it Mt. Hebron Lutheran Church after their old church in Virginia. In 1899, one acre of land behind the church was set aside as Mt. Hebron Cemetery.

Several congregations worshiped in the original church building over the years that followed but as people left the Valley in the 1930s and early 1940s to find work elsewhere, the church building was eventually sold and dismantled and the ground on which it stood is now the site of a private home. Mt. Hebron Cemetery has endured and today is the neatly cared for resting place for some of Canaan Valley’s pioneer families, their descendants and others who were laid to rest there as recently as last year.