Light rain falls softly and steady on patchy grass, whispering pat-pat-pat-pat as it dampens the rocky soil.
It’s late February, and despite the rain, the air is warm at the foot of Bear Mountain in Amherst County. Dean Branham isn’t wearing a jacket, and rain droplets bead and roll off his baseball cap onto his shoulders, darkening his plaid Oxford shirt.
Shirtsleeves rolled up and hands in the pockets of his khakis, Branham, 57, looks at a large, newish rectangular stone a few yards ahead. “Bear Mountain,” reads the inscription. “On this site are buried our Monacan ancestors: Johns, Branham, Hicks, Lawless, Beverly, Adcock, Redcross, Knuckles, Duff, Clark, Roberts, Nuckles, Willis, Hamilton, Terry. The first burial took place in the 1800’s [sic].”