Bowman Cemetery

This Cemetery is located behind the Sandy Hook Elementary School, on Sandy Hook which is immediately South of the Strasburg Town corporation limit. 

A number of researcher and authors have made the follow statements regarding the cemetery.

Location: On the Boyd Stickley property there is a cemetery commonly called the Indian Graveyard. No Indians are buried there. The graves are probably those of Sonner and Robinsons. This information was documented by the cemetery researcher about 1965.

Daniel Bly's book published 1996 states that, "While John(Sonner) purchased a number of other properties including several farms and lots in the town of Strasburg, he and his family lived on Sandy Hook farm and his is probably buried in the old Christian Bowman graveyard on the hill overlooking the river.".

This cemetery was documented to be a Sonner Graveyard in "Tombstone Inscriptions: Shenandoah and Page Counties, Virginia" published about 1982 by Duane Borden. This same source documents that a black walnut casket of heavy construction was struck when workmen were installing water mains into the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

This cemetery is documented in the book published by E. E. Keister. This book was published 1972. Mr. Keister documented the following, ".....Ezra Stickley, who was born on and lived most of his life on that farm and who recently died at the age of about 89 years old, told me that his plot was know as the Sonner graveyard and that members of the Sonner family and their slaves were buried there.".

A Strasburg resident recalls seeing about fifteen headstone on the cemetery during the early 1940s.

Another local resident recalls walking from Strasburg to the cemetery with his father and sitting there on many occasions during the 1930s. A map draw about 1865 indicates a family living on Sandy Hook with the same name as this person.

Many older Strasburg residents recall the cemetery but no particular information related to the number of stone and etc.

The above articles were published by the Northern Virginia Daily, Strasburg, Virginia

The above articles were published in the Harrisonburg Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va.

In the above article it states,
"Stickley said her father-in-law Ralph, sold 25 acres to the school board for the school in the late 1960s and family members knew there was a private cemetery there.  Gloria Stickley, a librarian at Strasburg High School, said the cemetery is marked by for tall cedar trees

Why didn't the school board take measures to preserve and protect the old cemetery?  They removed the old cedars that marked the boundaries and there are no headstons remaining.  I have talked to a number of eyewitness that have told me there was about fifteen headstones standing the in the 1940s.  More were likely on the cemetery but fallen over by deer passing through the area.  One of the eye witness I talked to, a Mr. Zirkle who's father owned the property in the 1940s told me that some of the stones indicated military rank. Mr. Carl Rinker, a public land surveyer, told me that he knew of the cemetery and was told by his employer Mr. Whitmore not to indicate the cemetery on the plat of the property.  Please help restore that historical landmark and show some respect to the early settlers who are burried there.

More to follow:

Calvin Sonner