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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

OLD CEMETERY CLUES


Old early cemeteries such as this one in Northern Kentucky always intrigue me. The arrangement of the gravestones on the land, the shapes of the gravestones themselves, and the care being given to the cemetery as a whole. This one in Mason County was beautifully maintained and full of information about the area. By full of information I mean by reading the stones one can get a feeling for those that lived there long ago. They reveal the wars that some fought, their occupations through the symbols carved on the gravestones, their economic/social status by the gravestone placed on their grave, and the ages of the persons when they died. Some living long lives -- some short. Walk around long enough in an old cemetery and you can begin to put together a bit of history about the folks that lived in the area.

27 comments:

  1. Oh yes, Barb...I am thinking I need to go find some of our old cemeteries around here. I haven't walked one in a few years, and I do like "talking to the ancestors" as I get to know them and appreciate their lives, not that different from ours!

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    1. Barb -- I got interested in cemeteries years ago when a friend told me that she would go and have picnics in her town's cemeteries. She said it calmed her and gave company to some of her ancestors. I guess her picnic served something akin to you talking to the ancestors. I like to visit the old cemeteries the best -- thanks -- barbara P.S. here is a book on a NC historic cemetery that you might find in your library -- Greensboro's First Presbyterian Cemetery (NC) (Images of America)

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  2. alking in the old cemetery by my Mammaw's house in Mississippi was one of the things me and my cousins would always do when we would visit as kids. The old cemeteries are the best. Now, the gravestones are all marble and just don't have the same feel. Have a good day. Tammy

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    1. Tammy -- You have traveled a long way from Mississippi to Kuwait. I'm sure you have seen many cemeteries with your background of travel. If you are ever in Mississippi visit the cemetery again to see if it is the same. I bet it is (hopefully). Have a good day too. thanks -- barbara

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  3. I look through old cemeteries for the same bits of history. I appreciate a well cared for cemetery. I cried in an eastern Tennessee cemetery for the cinder blocks marking infant and child graves, with neatly tended plots and little bits of flowers or toys, even years later.

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    1. Joanne -- cinder blocks marking children in an old cemetery -- never have seen this. I find this marking of their grave-sites especially loving. Even though the family did not have the money for a "fancy" gravestone they put a cinder block as a marker -- in essence so they never would be forgotten. Thanks -- your comment was very interesting -- barbara

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  4. Yes, history, & for those of us who are not "historically inclinced" there is the imagining of the person & his or her life...makes an indivudual life seem to concrete & real...I learn history through historical fiction & fictionalized films...and of course: oral history & anecdotes. For some reason, I never had the head to the big, especially war, events & the dates...Thanks for bringing this history to us, Barbara...

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    1. Rita -- Sounds like social history is your interest rather than military or political history. I like social history too. My life in high school did not wear well with me when it came time to attend my history class -- all filled with dates, events, and people that were placed as the only thing important in our society. I soon found out that it is the undertow of society that gives a society strength. thanks for your comment -- barbara

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    2. Oh, Barbara, the hours wasted in jr. high school history...Shernan's march to the sea...I think he spent the whole year on that...Where were the women & children & men who weren't on that march? Come to think of it, I don't think he ever considered the actual men ON the march, their humaness, their feelings, their experiences...it was all numbers & dates...And then: what about the reason they were fighting? Thel ives of the slaves? I recently had the privilege of studying a bit of Civil War history through children's literature with a discussion group I co-lead...I resisted it, but perhaps it was a bit of making up for those old school history classes...Thanks for letting me share....Thanks for your blog, as always, Rita

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  5. We have an old cemetery adjoining our farm -- so many great stories there. And all the sad little stones of the babies that died

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    1. Vicki -- Your cemetery is fortunate to have you as a neighbor -- one that can realize the importance of caring for it. I have read where so many of these family cemeteries are being lost as there is no longer any family left to care for them. thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  6. All that and more. Bad weeds seem to take over cemetery's here. Very hard to keep ahead of. It's interesting these places. I do believe though that when a gravestone is viewed that persons spirit continues to live.

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    1. One Fly -- Like you I also believe that viewing a gravestone keeps the person's spirit alive. It seems that the rural cemeteries are the ones that I often see that are full of weeds. Could be old family cemeteries that no longer have nearby family to care. -- thanks -- barbara

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  7. I admit that I love wandering around old cemeteries.

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    1. I feel the same as you. The peacefulness and beauty of cemeteries can calm oneself down immediately. -- barbara

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  8. I don't walk through cemeteries very often although those here in New England have centuries of history. There are three large ones I drive past often and I just saw a small one right in the middle of town a few days ago, almost hidden behind commercial buildings. They are available historical sites that I somehow prefer to "let lie" as in the phrase about sleeping dogs.

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    1. June -- Ahh -- understand what you feel about cemeteries -- not at all uncommon among folks that I know. I do imagine that the cemeteries in your area certainly reflect its history. thanks for your comment -- barbara

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  9. Indeed. The settlement here "only" goes back to the 1850's so nothing like to the east but still....:)

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    1. troutbirder -- 1850 is a long way back to my way of thinking -- in the U.S. that is. I imagine you would have some interesting cemeteries around your neck of the woods. -- thanks -- barbara.

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  10. In addition, the level of maintenance will tell you a lot about how the present families feel about their ancestors.

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    1. RuneE -- Good point -- one of the problems in KY was the low maintenance of family cemeteries -- those located on the family's land. Eventually the land is sold to other than family and care becomes "zero." Eventually even the location becomes unknown. thanks -- barbara

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  11. We have some fascinating cemeteries here. I should take my camera out & photograph them sometime. One of them is just a couple of minutes' drive from here.

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    1. Hattie -- Good idea to take your camera and get some nice photos. Would enjoy looking at how cemeteries are presented in Hawaii. thanks -- barbara

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  12. I think you're right, Barbara. We had a chance to do this today ourselves.

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    1. Melissa -- Military cemeteries carry such sadness. Yes, we can figure out a bit about the persons buried there but how do we get past the idea of was it worth it to those that are left behind. thanks -- barbara

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  13. One place that can't be gentfriied.

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    1. Ken Mac -- Never thought of this but you are absolutely right! -- barbara

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