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Colonist’s kin’s gravestone found

Cleanup crews are accustomed to finding almost anything, but seldom do they come upon the grave marker of a child, especially one who died almost 250 years ago.

That’s what happened just before Christmas in Culpeper’s Southridge subdivision, which is near the U.S. 29 Bypass.

While picking up litter, a volunteer group from Southridge happened on the stone marker of Johannes Walk, a 6-month-old child who died on Nov. 13, 1769.

It is unclear just how the marker got into the subdivision area since there’s no record of a cemetery ever being there.

According to town public information officer Wally Bunker, the Germanna Foundation has traced the child’s lineage to the Clore family, which has been prominent in Culpeper, Orange and Madison counties since the settling of Germanna on the Rapidan River in 1714.

“There is a direct relationship with Germanna descendants and the infant’s family,” Bunker said. “His grand-mother was Catherine Clore, daughter of Germanna colonist Michael Clore of Gemmingen, Baden–Wuertemberg, Germany.”

The land on which Southridge was built was part of the J. Carleton Clore farm before the subdivision was built.

Clore, a prominent local funeral home director for three decades, was a member of the Germanna Foundation until his death. Any connection between Clore and the grave marker is unclear.

The Southridge volunteers turned the marker over to the town, which then informed the Germanna Foundation of the find. The foundation immediately began to research the name and what it discovered was interesting.

“A grave marker for Johannes Walk, b[orn] and d[ied] 1769 was found at Friedberg Moravian God’s Acre, a cemetery in Davidson County, N.C.,” Bunker said. “Moravian records for Johannes Walk buried in Friedberg exactly match the dates on the marker found in Culpeper.”

The marker also begins with the number “2.” The exact meaning of that is unclear. Was this a reburial? At this point, no one knows for sure.

Culpeper officials will present the marker to the Germanna Foundation board of trustees at 2 p.m. Friday, March 21, at the Brawdus Martin Germanna Visitor Center on State Route 3.

“The recent find shows the rich historical heritage of the Culpeper area,” Culpeper Public Works Director Jim Hoy said.

Donnie Johnston: