America's most inbred family make their own concrete headstones
EXCLUSIVE: America’s most inbred family buries their dead in a private cemetery in Virginia more than 55 miles from their home in Odd. They’ve been making their own concrete headstones since the 70’s
- The Whittaker siblings are the descendants of two sets of first cousins who got married, sparking the family of incest
- Around 30 relatives are buried in the tiny overgrown graveyard in Pearisburg, Virginia
- Direct members of the Whittaker family have handmade gravestones, while others are professional
Members of America’s most inbred family have been making their own concrete headstones since the 70’s – and bury their relatives in a tiny cemetery more than an hour from their home.
DailyMail.com can reveal that the Whittaker family have their own private cemetery, Gordon Cemetery, which has around 30 graves of their relatives.
They include the parents of Ray, Betty, Lorene and Larry, who shot to fame after a documentary aired in 2004 – John and Gracie Whittaker who were first cousins.
One family-run funeral chapel based in Beckley has been providing a service for the family, with obituaries for several of the deceased relatives appearing on their website.
A source close to the family told DailyMail.com that the company helped to take them to a quiet private cemetery in Pearisburg, Virginia – 55 miles outside of Odd – where their parents married, to try to stop it from being targeted.
‘The Whittaker’s always paid us what we agreed to. We would take them down to a little family cemetery in Virginia and bury them there. Someone in the family they make their own headstones out of concrete’, they said.
DailyMail.com can reveal that the Whittaker family have their own private cemetery, Gordon Cemetery, which has around 30 graves of their relatives
It is located in Pearisburg, Virginia – 55 miles outside of Odd – where their parents married but the family don’t get to visit much
Only their mother Gracie in the direct family has a professionally made headstone, though their father John has a floral arrangement spelling ‘Dad’ on display
‘Whenever we had a funeral for then the entire staff knew what we were dealing with, and also the family members who went to church and had jobs, their church members would come and help with the service.
‘Not many people would come just family and church members and they would bring food and try to make a bad situation as good as they could.’
The Whittaker’s have been making their own remedial concrete headstones since the 70’s for family members who pass away.
Some of the headstones have slight spelling mistakes, with letters and numbers appearing backwards – though many members of the family attended local schools.
When asked about the graveyard, Betty told DailyMail.com: ‘We don’t go much.’
Freddy Whittaker – brother of Lorene, Betty, Ray and Larry – was initially buried on the family property after his death in 2013, but he has since been moved to the private plot. The fours on his date of birth have been on backwards.
Only their mother Gracie in the direct family has a professionally made headstone, though their father John has a floral arrangement spelling ‘Dad’ on display.
A neighbor of the cemetery told DailyMail.com: ‘I’ve had this land since 2007 and I’ve only seen someone come one or twice.
‘It was really overgrown, and then a year or so ago one guy came and cleared it all up, tidied it and put the sign up for Gordon Cemetary.
Freddy Whittaker – brother of Lorene, Betty, Ray and Larry – was initially buried on the family property after his death in 2013, but he has since been moved to the private plot
Barbra Whittaker was born in September 1940, and did not appear to marry before she died following a short illness in October 2008
Betty, 71, is the matriarch of the family and confirmed to DailyMail.com that the family don’t visit the graveyard much
‘Some of the headstones have been made by the family, you can tell which ones. They just wrote out the names and then filled them with concrete, it’s why some of them have backwards letters and numbers. It’s sad really.
‘Some of them, which are older, have better headstones but the majority of the family just have the homemade concrete ones which have stones in.’
The siblings are the descendants of two sets of first cousins who got married. DailyMail.com previously revealed that the bloodline continued with a set of identical twin brothers, whose children got married.
John and Henry Whittaker were born in 1897. John went on to marry his own first cousin Ada Riggs – the daughter of Mary Perkins, who was the sister of John and Henry’s mother Eliza.
Ada and John had nine children, including Gracie Irene Whittaker who was born in 1920.
John’s brother Henry married Sally Burton and they had seven children, including John Emory Whittaker, born in 1913. Henry’s grave can be found at the tiny run-down plot of land; others are dotted across Virginia.
A neighbor of the cemetery told DailyMail.com that he hasn’t seen many people come to the area since he bought the land in 2007
Michael Whittaker passed away in July 2001, aged 40
Gracie and John were first cousins, but married in November 1935 and had their first child in 1937, having 15 in total.
Experts claim that inter-family relations could have caused some of the heartbreaking conditions that the living family members are struggling with.
Many members of the family have suffered from a heart attack, while two did not make it through infanthood.
Aileen was the first of 15 children that the couple had, and passed away in June 1997 after suffering from a heart attack. She had one son called Frankie with her husband.
The couple then had a baby boy, Emery Lee Whittaker, in 1938, who died a month later after suffering from pneumonia.
Barbra Whittaker was born in September 1940, and did not appear to marry before she died following a short illness in October 2008.
An obituary shows that she died at St Mary’s Hospital in Huntington, and she was described as a homemaker who loved picnics with her family.
The grave of one of the twins, Henry, also calls the tiny run-down plot of land their final resting place, though others are dotted across Virginia
Aileen Violet Whittaker, born in 1937, was the first child of first cousins Gracie and John Whittaker
Some of the headstones have slight spelling mistakes, with letters and numbers appearing backwards – though many members of the family attended local schools
Not much is known about the next two sisters, Nannie Lou Whittaker, born in 1942, and Connie Jean Whittaker, born in 1943.
Both married and are still living in Lowe, with Nannie Lou losing her husband William, later remarrying a man called Leonard, and Connie living with her husband James.
Freddie Lee Whittaker was born in 1944 and made-up part of the documentary produced in 2004 and was part of the family portrait along with his brother Ray.
He passed away in May 2013 following a long illness and is buried close to the family home in Odd. It is not clear if his illness was related to his genetic complications.
Lorene Whittaker was born in 1946 and had her one son, Timmy, in 1979.
Mary Madeline Whittaker was born in 1948, and passed away the following year, though the cause of her death is unclear.
They have several animals running around the property, which is crammed with broken-down vehicles, and a trailer which Larry resides in near to a chicken coop, surrounded by a small creek
The property has several rundown buildings on the outskirts of the family home, including a trailer and what appeared to be an outhouse. Larry (at right) resides near a chicken coop and surrounded by a small creek
DailyMail spoke with members of the family who said they were thrilled with their new creature comforts. Pictured: Timmy, Betty and Lorene. Pastor William Plumley told DailyMail.com that Timmy and Lorene had been members of the Good Hope congregation for many years and enjoy getting involved in the sermons
John Wade Whittaker died in 2022, after being born in 1950, and had five children, several grandchildren and one great-grandson.
He suffered a long battle with cancer, and died with his loving wife Sophia by his side, and was cared for at Bowers Hospice House.
Betty Ann Whittaker is considered the matriarch of the family, and reportedly promised her mother that she would not marry and planned to look after her 14 siblings.
She was born in 1952 and features a lot on the documentary, taking care of shopping to ensure the members living in the small run-down property are eating enough.
Danny Ray Whittaker, known as Ray, was born a year after Betty.
Larry Whittaker and Kenneth Whittaker were born in 1956, and 1957, and also appear in the most recent documentary and talk about how their lives have improved.
The final two siblings are Judy Kay Whittaker, born in 1959 and Michael Stevie Whittaker born in 1960.
Michael passed away in July 2001, aged 40, while Judy died in August of 2021 – though it is unclear how they both died.
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