BECKLEY, W.Va. — A Princewick family made a grisly discovery just after Christmas when they found a nearly 95-year-old grave in their family cemetery had been dug up and the Confederate veteran whose body had lain there was missing.
Saprina Roark said her great-great-grandfather Thomas Meadows, a private in the 36th Virginia Infantry, had survived the Civil War and had once owned hundreds of acres in the Princewick area. He was the great-uncle of Gov. Clarence Meadows, who served one term in that office and also two as the state’s attorney general. Thomas Meadows died in 1921.
In spite of the remote location, there are ATV trails nearby, he continued. Patrick said there are four-wheeler tracks “all around,” and people ride there frequently.
Patrick and son Noah investigated, finding the foot stone dislodged from the ground and tossed toward the head of the grave. The grave was about 5 feet deep, Patrick said, and so he took pictures and called the Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office.
He was told he could fill in the grave after he made the report, but Patrick and Noah did a little more investigating on their own.
They dug into the loose dirt in the bottom of the grave and while they did not find a casket they did discover the top of Thomas Meadows’ skull, detached from the rest of his skeleton…