Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cemetery Photos Part 2

Here's a sampling of the less ostentatious headstones that make up my family's cemetery.

It's hard to make out, but these ones say "father", "mother", and "sister".  They would seem to go along with the gravesite setup I posted about in the last entry.  There should be a big fancy placemarker to go with them.  But there isn't, and there isn't any trace of one having been in their vicinity, which is weird.  The only thing I can think is that there was a big fancy placemarker, but it was broken down or fell over a really, really long time ago, and was maybe too damaged to fix?  But that doesn't seem likely, because we have lots of broken gravestones in the cemetery, that either were patched with concrete, or are left laying carefully on their sides in the spot where they originally belonged.  Hmmm...

This one sits all by it's lonesome.  I shouldn't have cropped so much out of the photo, because it makes it hard to tell how small this one actually is.  It's pretty little, and it's for "Lucy May".  It's already been broken and patched back together, as you can see if you look near the bottom of the headstone.  I imagine someone tripped over it or the lawnmower hit it.  Or maybe there was a dramatic intrigue where Lucy May was a teenager who did something considered unacceptably shocking like having a baby with a married man, and died in childbirth, and was afforded only a barely-there placemarker for a gravestone, and some self-righteous jerk in the community came and kicked it down, so Lucy May's poor, devastated father came and patched it back together......... ahem....or something.

These ones are super tiny.  They sit right up against the road in the oldest part of the cemetery, and they're not associated with any big fancy placemarkers or larger family groups of headstones.  The second from the left is one that has fascinated me since I was a kid.  It says nothing on it but "D. A. R."  and it's small enough to be a knick knack on a shelf.  I guess I think it's so interesting because it's a good representation of the kind of mystery you always find in old cemeteries:  people whose gravestones leave no clues as to who they were or what their life was like.  D.A.R. could have been an incredibly poor person who couldn't afford a headstone, or a rich, influential person who died with some kind of shame on their head that led the community to make their eternal resting place as invisible as possible.

This one is for "Jane".  She was the wife of.....somebody whose name has faded considerably.  She died in February of 1871.  This headstone shows off a good representation of a common problem with the oldest, round-topped, white-colored stones in the cemetery.  The vast majority of them have inscriptions stamped onto the bottom, under the names and dates, but they're all written in the same type of script writing, which makes it pretty much impossible to read them once they've been worn down.  I suppose doing some rubbings might be the answer....maybe when it's warmer, though.  I didn't make too much of an effort on this particular trip to get close-ups and such, because it was ridiculously bitter cold out.  We're planning to go back in the spring.  Maybe then.  Anyway!  One of the most interesting things about our cemetery is the noticable lack of crosses.  You'd think there aren't any at all until you go to the newer section and find them on the mid-20th century graves.  I'm wondering, though, if all the inscriptions I can't make out on the old graves are scripture-related.  We'll have to see....

Here's an example of another common trait shared by nearly all of the old headstones in our cemetery:  there's no birthdate, just the death date, and the length of the person's life is counted out by years, months, and days.  The two headstones in the foreground belong to Alexander and his wife Irena.  According to his stone, Alexander lived for 69 years, 7 months, and 9 days.  Irena lived for 72 years, 2 months, and 18 days.  Alexander died in the early 1870's, and Irena died in the late 1880's.  If they had kids, I don't think they're buried alongside their parents, because these headstones sit on their own.  In fact there's a lot of headstones in this section of the cemetery that represent married couples, but you don't see any graves for the children sitting with them.  Maybe they were people whose kids all moved away.

Next entry:  Big fancy placemarkers.  We've got an eye-opening number of freemason-related obelisks and and one great big statue for a freemason family actually named "Mason".



  1. D. A. R. I'm guessing that would be Daughter's of the American Revolution

  2. That makes sense! Buy why would it be such a little knick knack of a headstone with nothing else printed on it?


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