Tavenner Cemetery

Located in south Parkersburg, Wood County, W.Va.

Situated along the 2200 block of Camden Avenue, Tavenner Cemetery is the oldest surviving cemetery on the south side of Parkersburg, West Virginia. It is close to the site of Neal's Station, a pioneer fort and the first permanent settlement in the area. The cemetery's establishment date of 1821 is based upon the death and burial of the fort's builder Captain James Neal. (He was disinterred from Tavenner in 1916 and relocated to Mt. Olivet Cemetery.) Neal's son-in-law, Col. Hugh Phelps (large landholder of the area, including the cemetery's property at that time), and his wife Hannah Neal Phelps, were buried there in 1823 and 1824, respectively. Even though the graveyard was used by many families of the early Tygart district, it earned its name "Tavenner" from the internment of the Colonel Thomas Tavenner family (Thomas, his wife Elizabeth Beauchamp Tavenner, his son Thomas Jefferson Tavenner, and several other members of Thomas Jefferson's family).

In 1948, a group of descendants formed the Tavenner Cemetery Association. All of the association members have since passed away. Plans are currently underway for the association to be revived.

The Tavenner family plot, near the center, was for a time partitioned off from the rest of the cemetery by a fence. The partition was installed, perhaps, when the perimeter of the cemetery was fenced by the Tavenner Cemetery Association in 1952. In 2006, the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society, seeing the need to replace old dilapidated 1950s fence, raised $7,000.00 for a replacement, which was installed in the fall of 2007. The WCHS is currently raising money for a perpetual cemetery maintenance fund for Tavenner, Dils, and Holliday cemeteries.

Below is a list of known burials, compiled from headstone readings, newspaper obituaries, etc. Each entry contains the following information (if available): decedent's name, date of birth, date of death, parents' names, spouse's name, military service, headstone notation, source notation, and obituary information. The "headstone" or "footstone" notation indicates the presence of a gravestone for that individual as of 2011. The source notations (the numbers following each entry) correspond to the sources used. A complete list of the sources appears at the end of this list.

All remaining gravestones have been photographed and can be viewed here. Names that are underlined are linked to a photo. To see the photo, just click on the name.

Known Burials


1. Some Early City, Village, and County Burying Grounds, by John A. House, "Tavenner Graveyard"
2. Wood County Cemetery Inscriptions, "Tavenner Cemetery," recorded by Mrs. Shirley H. Bee, Chairman, Old Bible and Cemetery Records Committee (Parkersburg, W.Va.: West Augusta Genealogical Society, 1964)
4. Wood County, West Virginia, Court House Death Records
5. Wood County Board of Health Death Certificates, 1913-1921
6. Obituary from local newspaper [Most obtained through use of Russell Roy’s Wood County, West Virginia Obits index]
7. West Virginia Vital Research Records (online through W.Va. Division of Culture & History)


DSJ = Daily State Journal
PD = Parkersburg Dispatch
PMN = Parkersburg Morning News
PS = Parkersburg Sentinel
PSWS = Parkersburg Semi-Weekly Sentinel
PWS = Parkersburg Weekly Sentinel
WSJ = Weekly State Journal
WVWT = West Virginia Weekly Times