Page 17 - WPA Book
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Works Project Administration – Articles from Rockingham County

CEMETERIES

1. SUBJECT:
Bear Graveyard.

2. LOCATION:
Five miles south of Shenandoah, Virginia. About 500 yards south of Bear Lithia Springs. Just west of Route
#12.

3. DATE:
1780.

4. OWNERS:
A.B. Cover, present owner.

5. DESCRIPTION:
This graveyard is not very large, and there are only three markers with inscriptions. It is in bad condition.

6. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
The Bear family came from Bern, Switzerland, and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There were two
sons, John and Jacob Bear. After a short time they moved to the Shenandoah Valley, in Virginia, and settled
near the Adam Miller (Muller) home. John Bear married his daughter Ann Miller, and Jacob married Barbara
Miller. Adam Miller gave each of his sons-in-law a large tract of land, which included the Bear Lithia Springs.
John Bear soon after moved with his family to Churchville, Augusta County, Virginia, while Jacob remained
with his family on the place. He had three sons, Jacob, Jr., Henry and Adam Bear. Jacob, Jr. and Adam Bear did
not marry, and they came into possession of the Bear Lithia Springs. Henry married and had a son named Jacob
to whom his uncles willed the Bear Lithia Springs. This Jacob Bear had a son named Jacob Asbury Bear.

When Lieutenant Governor Spotswood visited this valley in 1716, and came across the Blue Ridge Mountains
he lost one of his diamond studded knee buckles for which there was offered a generous reward. About 1860,
while harvesting wheat near the place where Governor Spotswood crossed the mountain, Jacob Asbury Bear
found the knee buckle. He did not realize the value of his find, and it was kept in his home until about 1890
when the house was destroyed by fire. Mr. Bear searched the ashes and found the knee buckle. The silver was
melted, but the remains of that knee buckle are now in the possession of Mrs. Fannie Bear, Elkton, Virginia.
She has also a silver teaspoon that was made from the knee buckle, which belonged to her great-grandfather,
Colonel Jacob Slagle, who was an officer in the war of 1812. Mrs. Bear has an old stove, about one hundred and
fifty years old, which belonged to the original Jacob Bear (the name was Bearin in the early days).

John Bear died at Churchville, Virginia, and is buried either at that place or at New Market, Virginia.

After the battle of Port Republic, during the War Between the States, twenty privates and one officer were
buried in this cemetery by the Northern Army.

The inscriptions on the tombstones are written in what is probably dialect German, and are as follows:

1726 1724
ISTANA BAR DENIS NOVE
BARA BAERIN ISD JACOB BGE
UNDEIN LEBEN BOREN ABERY
LAVCH ABEGOTT DERGERECH TEOB
VORAUGEN UND ERGLEICH ZUZEIT
IMHERN ZENUID DOCHNDER RUHF

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