26 May 2016

Emma's Life was Craved (Today's Epitaph)


Emma Lenora
Wife of J. L. Burnett
Nov 29, 1898
Dec 3, 1922

In love she lived,
In peace she died.
Her life was craved,
But God denied.

Trinity Church Cemetery
Gwinnett County, Georgia

24 May 2016

Cicero P. and Julia F. (Langley) Brannon -- Tombstone Tuesday

It's been more than four years since I visited Trinity Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  But I remember the day well.  There was a crispness in the air that is usually present in early November and, even though the sky was clear, I discovered the cemetery surrounded by trees tall enough to block out the sun in several places.  While not the best lighting for picture taking, it was awesome weather for taking my time.  I was in no hurry.  When that happens, I usually have enough photos to "connect the dots" when I finally sit down to dig a little deeper into the silent city.


The photo above is of the tombstone placed for Julia F. and Cicero P. Brannon.  My "dot connecting" deals with Julia's side of the family, but let's start with Cicero.

100_1179Cicero P. Brannon was born 26 July 1847 in Forsyth County, Georgia to William R. and Mahala / Mahalya (Pool) Brannon.  C. P. served in the 2nd Georgia Cavalry of the Confederate States Army for about the last year of the Civil War.  After returning home, Cicero married Julia F. Langley 15 November 1877 in Gwinnett County.  By the year 1900, the couple had given birth to eight children.  Cicero supported his family by farming.

Julia F. (Langley) Brannon died 30 April 1922.  The tombstone she shares with her husband remembers her this way:  She was a loyal friend, a noble daughter and a devoted wife and mother.

Cicero P. Brannon left this world four years later.  I was a little shocked when first viewing his death certificate.  The cause of Cicero's death was noted as, "Infected traumatic lacerated left hand.  (Secondary) Toxemia, arterosclerosis, Senility, Ch. Myocarditis." The document also showed Mr. Brannon had three operations prior to his death, one in October and two in November.  Finally, the date of death given is 30 November 1926.  The death date on the Brannon tombstone is 14 November 1926.  One of those that creates just as many questions (or more) as answers.

Cicero was eulogized as a Kind father of love.

Within Julia's family is where I was able to connect a few dots.  In viewing her death certificate, I found her parents to be William and Malinda Langley.  This leads me to believe she was sister to J. W. Langley, the Civil War veteran recently profiled here, and buried in the same cemetery.

J. W. was married twice.  His second wife was Maggie Craft, whom he married about 1881.  For the 1900 U.S. Federal census of the Goodwin District of Gwinnett County, Georgia, there is a Margrett E. Langley listed as a boarder in Cicero P. Brannon's household.  This single lady is a dressmaker.  Putting the "single" part aside, could this be Julia's sister-in-law?


22 May 2016

J. W. Langley and the Steiner Cancer Clinic

James W. Langley, son of William and Malinda, was born 31 August 1846 in Georgia.  J. W. served as a private with Co. E, 8 GA Infantry during the Civil War.  He married his second wife, Maggie R. Craft, about 1881, and they had at least five children.  Maggie died in the year 1928.  In 1930, the widowed James was staying with his daughter Lemma and son-in-law on Bacon School Road in the Vickery Creek area (near Cumming) of Forsyth County, Georgia.  James died, while residing in the same area, 3 July 1933 at the age of 86 years.  He was laid to rest at Trinity Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County near Maggie.

Trinity United Methodist Church Cemetery

AUG 31, 1846
JULY 3, 1933

I located James W. Langley's death certificate at FamilySearch.org, and was heartbroken with what I found.  Though he might have lived a full life in number of years, reading the cause of death saddened me so.

Malignant Cancer of the Eyes and fase [sic] put out both Eyes.

James appears to have possibly suffered with this disease for at least two years.

There was another notation on the document that led to more history.  The question, "What test confirmed diagnosis?" was answered with "Stiner [sic] Clinic." From AtlantaGa.gov:

Funds from the estate of Albert Steiner allowed Grady Memorial Hospital to add this structure in 1922. The Steiner Clinic was dedicated to the research, study and special treatment of cancer and other allied diseases.

This building, located at 62 Butler Street (now Jesse Hill Jr. Drive), was designated historic in 1989.  On the Google Map image below, you can still see Albert Steiner's name.

GeorgiaEncyclopedia.org calls the Steiner Clinic, when it was established, "the world's first and largest comprehensive cancer center… It lasted for about twenty-five years and was a model for future cancer centers throughout the country."

20 May 2016

The Corpse Gate

100_0085Most people 'round me call an entrance to a cemetery just that.  An entrance.  Entryway.  Gate or gateway.  Maybe archway, if that applies.  If trying to be more specific, the term lichgate might be used.  Also spelled lychgate, or even as two separate words (lych gate), the first part is an Old English word for corpse.

The humble gate, by itself, has Christian funerary typology.  Douglas Keister, in his book Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, writes:

…gates represent the passage from one realm to the next.  In scenes of the Last Judgement, gates are always central in the picture.  Often Christ is seen breaking through these dividing barriers between the damned and the righteous.

John Firth [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsA "true" lichgate (example pictured at right) is defined as "a roofed gateway to a churchyard, formerly used during burials for sheltering a coffin until the clergyman's arrival." It also covered pall-bearers waiting on the bier.  A bier being "a movable frame on which a coffin or a corpse is placed before burial or cremation or on which it is carried to the grave." Dating back to the Middle Ages, when individuals were buried in little more than shrouds, the lichgate could also provide shelter over the bier itself before it was ready to be carried along the lych way (the path used to carry a corpse to burial).

According to Wikipedia, most lichgates were built from the 15th century forward, though some do date earlier.  The lichgate of St. George's churchyard in Beckenham, London is said to be the oldest in England, dating back to the 13th century.

Though I don't think these structures are all that common today in their "traditional" form, especially in the southern United States, marked entryways into cemeteries do still exist.  From the seemingly simple to a bit more elaborate.  Here are a few that are fairly local to me.





Now here is a Georgia lichgate that could possibly pass as being patterned in the old style.  Whether that was the intention or not, I don't know.



The dedication / memorial plaque near the structure calls the pathway through the gate a "prayer path." I say these could easily pass for a lichgate and lych way.

18 May 2016

Rondall Peevy (Wednesday's Child)

According to his death certificate at FamilySearch.org, Rondell Peevy lived 1 year, 1 month, and 4 days.  That calculation results from birth and death dates of 23 January 1929 and 27 February 1930.

This differs from the dates found on his lamb topped tombstone.  According to it, Rondall E. Peevy was born 31 January 1929, and died 28 February 1930.

This little Peevy was a son of Hubert and Nema (Roebuck) Peevy.  He died from "meningitis resulting from influenza." Rondall rests at Hopewell Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County, Georgia. From mother's arms to the arms of Jesus.


17 May 2016

When the Heart Stops: the Deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Crow

100_1159Ervin R. Crow was born 10 February 1851 in Georgia to William and Syntha (Hudgins) Crow.  For his work life, Ervin was a farmer.  He married about 1871, and went on to have ten children.  Only six were still living by the 1900 census.

Ervin died 19 June 1919 in Suwanee, Gwinnett County, Georgia.  Cause of death was Pericarditis with effusion.  Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart).  A pericardial effusion is an abnormal amount of fluid between the heart and the pericardium.  It's worth noting a secondary factor listed on Ervin's death certificate:  nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).

Ervin's epitaph reads, in part:

Farewell my wife and children all,
From you a father Christ doth call.

Ervin's wife lived almost ten years more after his death.  I must admit, her name is a bit confusing.  She seems to have been noted as Caroline most often, yet her tombstone proclaims her as Carlyone Parriett Crow.

According to her death certificate, Mrs. Parza Caroline Crow was born 25 January 1851 in Georgia to Roberson and Jane Young, both of North Carolina.

Mrs. Crow died at an early morning hour 14 December 1928.  Cause of death was Myocarditis.  This disease causes inflammation and damage to the heart muscle, with chronic heart failure being a long term major complication.  Since her death certificate suggests she was afflicted for 3 days, I wonder if Mrs. Crow had a heart attack resulting in this damage.

Mr. and Mrs. Crow rest at Hopewell Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Gone to a bright home, Where grief can not come.


16 May 2016

Hubert P. Peevy & Bona Allen, Inc.

100_1156Hubert Preston Peevy was born 5 March 1909 in Gwinnett County, Georgia to Grover C. and Mattie (Jones) Peevy.  A month before reaching his 26th birthday, Hubert died.  This last life event took place in the early morning of 11 February 1935 in the Sugar Hill area of Gwinnett County.  Less than two weeks prior to his death, Hubert had been at work.  He was employed by Bona Allen, Inc., and had been so for fifteen years.  If the source -- his death certificate via FamilySearch.org -- is accurate, Hubert began working for the company about the age of 21.

Since I had no idea this company existed (and I lived in Gwinnett County for about four years), it was interesting to discover Bona Allen, Inc. opened in 1873 in Buford, Georgia.  The company was owned by Bonaparte Allen, and was the largest tannery in the nation.  According to Wikipedia, "…the company made horse collars and saddles, postal bags, cowboy boots, shoes and more."  The small map below shows that Sugar Hill, where Hubert likely lived, is not far from Buford.

Turning back to his death certificate, we see Hubert's job at the company was Shoe Maker.  Bona Allen, Inc. had expanded into shoes and boots around 1918.  The Great Depression caused them to slow production, and the shoe and boot product line ceased in 1941 officially due to work force issues.  A contract with the U.S. military restarted production, but only for World War II.

Bona Allen Tanners and Manufacturers buildingOn the flip side, the Depression era was actually a boon for overall business at Bona Allen, Inc.:

The nation's farmers could no longer afford to operate their tractors, so they had to return to using horses. This, in turn, created a demand for saddles and collars, as well as all other horse related equipment.  [Wikipedia]

Thus, Hubert Peevy was working at Bona Allen, Inc. at a time in their history when they had the highest number of employees.

Jumping ahead in the story of Bona Allen, Inc., the company was sold in 1968.  It operated under the Bona Allen name until a fire too devastating to come back from closed the tannery for good in 1981.  The main tannery building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.  Unfortunately, another fire occurred just last year and the building was allowed to "burn itself out" because Gwinnett County officials were concerned about leftover chemicals.  For more information about this company's history, go to the Wikipedia article.

Hubert Peevy rests at Hopewell Church Cemetery in Gwinnett County.  Grover C. and Mattie J. Peevy are there, too.

Hopewell Church & Cemetery

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