“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charles Town in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Edge Hill Cemetery

John Brown Raid Victims

Edge Hill Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
1. Edge Hill Cemetery Marker
Edge Hill Cemetery contains the graves of Fontaine Beckham and John Avis, two participants in the saga of John Brown’s Raid in October 1859. Beckham was the mayor of Harpers Ferry then and one of four civilian casualties. Ironically, though John Brown freed no slaves by capturing the United States Arsenal there, as he intended, the slaves that Beckham owned were feed at his death in accordance with his will. The first civilian that Brown’s men shot and killed was a free black man named Hayward Shepherd, a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad employee.

John Avis, John Brown’s jailor, is also buried here. Avis was kind to Brown while he was incarcerated for a month between his trial and execution and befriended him. As Brown left the jail to be hanged, he kissed Avis’s son. The jailor served as a captain in an antebellum militia company, the Continental Morgan Guards. When the Civil War began in 1861, the company, which wore Revolutionary War-style uniform, was mustered into Confederate service as Co. K, 5th Virginia Infantry.

About seventy graves in the front section of Edge Hill Cemetery contain the remains of Confederate soldiers. They died in local hospitals from wounds suffered at nearby Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, in the Battle of Antietam. Most of the soldiers were from North Carolina and South Carolina.
Marker in Charles Town image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
2. Marker in Charles Town

Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the West Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 17.386′ N, 77° 51.252′ W. Marker is in Charles Town, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of S Seminary Street and E Congress Street, on the left when traveling south on S Seminary Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charles Town WV 25414, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Rutherford House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Stribling House (about 400 feet away); Zion Episcopal Churchyard (about 500 feet away); Focus of Action (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Execution of John Brown (approx. 0.3 miles away); John Yates (approx. 0.3 miles away); John Brown Scaffold (approx. 0.3 miles away); John Brown Hanging Site (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Charles Town.
More about this marker. A July 4, 1860 picture of the Continental Morgan Guards, a militia unit in which John Avis served, appears at the lower left of the marker (Picture courtesy of Ben Ritter). The top center of the marker features a picture of Militia attacking
Marker at Edge Hill Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
3. Marker at Edge Hill Cemetery
Browns raiders, courtesy Library of Congress. The bottom center has a picture of the “Last Moments of John Brown” – Courtesy Library of Congress, with a caption of “In fact, no blacks were present, and Brown kissed his jailor’s son.”
The lower right of the marker contains a map which highlights significant Civil War Sites in Jefferson County, WV, many of which are interpreted by Civil War Trail signage.
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
Confederate Monument image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 12, 2011
4. Confederate Monument
This monument overlooks the Confederate graves in Edge Hill Cemetery.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,118 times since then and 126 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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