Culpeper Star-Exponent | March 21, 2014 | By Jeff Say
The mystery of the historic grave marker found in the Southridge Village and Town Homes subdivision has taken a new turn.
In December, a grave marker engraved “No. 2, Johanes Walk, b(orn) 4 March 1769, d(ied) 13 November 1769,” was discovered by a crew cleaning up the site.
The Southridge Homeowner’s Association notified town public works officials, who retrieved the marker and safely stored it until it could be turned over to the Germanna Foundation, which has conducted considerable research about the person on the grave marker.
For months after being alerted to the find, Germanna Foundation officials have been researching the information contained on the grave marker.
Wednesday, new light was shined on the mystery.
Former Southridge and Culpeper resident James Lee Lloyd told the Star-Exponent that he owned the grave marker for 30 years — having bought it at an antique shop in Fredericksburg.
“A friend called me and said there was a news story about the marker and I knew it was mine,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd pointed out he didn’t want the marker back, he just wanted to help clear up where it came from.
A resident of Culpeper for the past seven years, Lloyd moved to live with his son in Arizona in October.
Around Oct. 15, he took the marker to a wooded area along a slope behind Southridge and placed it out of the way.
“It was too heavy to take with me,” he said.
Lloyd , who retired from Coffeewood Correctional Facility in September, said he lived in Fredericksburg for 30 years and purchased the marker at an old antique store. It has since closed, he said.
He discovered the marker just sitting on the ground and workers there told him that it had come from a cemetery in North Carolina.
“If I remember correctly, I think I paid $30 for it,” Lloyd said.
“We are grateful to the residents of Southridge Village and Town Homes and the Culpeper Department of Public Works for bringing this endangered grave marker to the Germanna Foundation for conservation and a replacement marker,” said Germanna Foundation President Marc Wheat. “Johanes Walk lived only for a few months, but we remember him – he is related to nearly half our members.
According to records, the dates on the marker match exactly the birth and death dates of Johanes Walk, infant son of Martin Walk Jr. and Elisabeth Fiscus Walk.
Officials are attempting to sort out historical information and conducting further land records research.
However, it appears that the number two on the marker indicates the second burial in a Moravian cemetery.
A grave marker for Johanes Walk, b(orn) and d(ied) 1769 was found at Friedberg Moravian God’s Acre, a cemetery in Davidson County, N.C. Moravian records for Johanes Walk buried in Friedberg exactly match the dates on the marker found in Culpeper.
Lloyd said he was surprised to hear about the discovery, and that he never knew of its historic value.
“I kept it with me all the time, I just thought it looked neat,” he said.
Wheat said the whole story has been amazing and shows how well loved the baby was that copper script is on the grave marker.
“It’s just remarkable,” Wheat said. “When we were contacted, we searched through our records. We know exactly who this baby is. It’s just a complete head scratcher why the head stone was found where it was.”
A presentation will be held at the Germanna Visitor’s Center at 2 p.m. Friday as the town turns over the marker to the Germanna Foundation.