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THE HOLLINGSWORTH - PARKINS GRAVEYARD
The Hollingsworth - Parkins graveyard is an old Quaker burying ground located just off Jubal Early Drive behind the PolyOne plant. It is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) existing graveyards in the city of Winchester.
In order to appreciate the significance of this graveyard you have to understand a little about the Hollingsworth and Parkins families and their importance to the early history of Winchester and the surrounding area.
Abraham Hollingsworth was a Quaker who was born in Delaware in 1686. He came to this area about 1729 and settled in the area called Shawnee Springs where his son, Isaac Hollingsworth, built "Abramís Delight" in 1754. Family tradition says that Abraham Hollingsworth paid for his land three times: "First a cow, a calf, and a piece of red cloth to the Shawnee Indians: next a sum of money to the Kingís agent; and finally a sum of money to Lord Fairfax." Abraham and his family were members of Hopewell Friends Meeting, which was formed in 1734. Hopewell is located in Frederick County near Clearbrook. The Hollingsworth family established a flourmill near the springs and was engaged in many other enterprises.
Another prominent Quaker family during this era was the Parkins family. Isaac Parkins acquired 1,425 acres in three tracts in 1735. One tract of 725 acres included the graveyard location and the location of the Parkins family home, which was west of the graveyard on what is now Valley Avenue on the southwest corner of Jubal Early Drive and Valley Avenue. This large brick house (no longer standing) was called "Milltown" and later "Willow Lawn."
When Frederick County was established in 1743, Isaac Parkins became very prominent in its affairs, serving as a justice and a member of the House of Burgesses. He erected a sawmill and two flourmills. The Parkins family was instrumental in the establishment of Centre Friends Meeting, which was first located near the Parkins family home. Centre was moved farther into Winchester in 1819. Near the original location of Centre Meeting was another small graveyard, which was moved to Hopewell in 1961.
John Parkins left the graveyard for the use of Quakers in 1815. His will, dated May 5th, 1815, states:
"I John Parkins being sick of Body but of sound understanding do make devise and direct in this my Last Will & Testament that that spot of ground called and known by the name of burying ground on my land wherein my parents and many others of our family have been Entered be kept and forever Reserved for the purpose of Burying Ground for the use and to be at the disposal of the Society of Friends in general..."
There was, of course, much marrying among these early Quaker families. T.K. Cartmell in his history of Frederick County written in 1908 (Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants) observes: "The Hollingsworths intermarried with the Parkins, Lytle, Jolliffe, Robinson, Houghton, Lupton, Griffith and many other families, which makes the lines so intricate and the descendants so numerous that it would require a large volume to enumerate them - it being positively asserted that the name appears in Census Reports of every State in the Union save three." (p. 293)
The largest grave marker in the Hollingsworth - Parkins graveyard is that of Isaac Hollingsworth. However this is not the Isaac who was the son of Abraham. This Isaac was a cousin and is several generations later. This Isaac was the son of Zebidae Hollingsworth and Lydia Allen. He was born in 1771 and died in 1842. He married Hannah Parkins who is also buried there. Some of the other family names of those buried in the graveyard are Lytle, Brown, Smith, Richards, Neill and Gilkison. A listing of all the graves taken from a graveyard census in 1931 exists at the Handley Archives.
The graveyard, covering about a quarter of an acre, was located between the Hollingsworth and the Parkins family homes. For many years, the graveyard was isolated and the only access was to walk up the railroad tracks from Papermill Road. When Jubal Early Drive was built in the 1990ís, the graveyard became much more accessible.
It appears that there were few burials in the Hollingsworth - Parkins graveyard after the mid 1800ís. Many family members had by that time moved away and there were other Quaker graveyards in the area, the largest being at Hopewell. During the 1800ís the Henry family acquired some of the surrounding land and you sometimes see references to the Hollingsworth - Parkins - Henry graveyard.
The wall around the graveyard was built around 1930 to replace an older stonewall which had deteriorated. When this wall was built, no opening for a gate was included. Instead, steps, called a "stile" - were built into the wall. Since then, the back corner of the wall has sunk and made an opening so it is possible to enter the graveyard without climbing the wall. Footing in the graveyard is precarious so visitors should be very careful.
By the early 1990ís, the graveyard was neglected and many of the grave markers were damaged. Because of its isolated location, the graveyard was overgrown and not regularly maintained. In 1995 a local Boy Scout as part of an Eagle Scout project undertook an extensive renovation. At that time a plaque was attached to the wall identifying the graveyard. Since then, volunteers have maintained the graveyard and many of the grave markers have been repaired. In 1996 the graveyard was formally deeded to the trustees of Hopewell Monthly Meeting and Winchester Center Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends.
Article about graveyard from The Winchester Star.
Appeared on Wednesday, May 14, 2003.
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