31 October 2008

A Beautiful Epitaph

An "epitaph," a Greek word literally meaning on the gravestone, is a short text honoring a deceased person. I've seen many beautiful ones, some of which I will begin to share with you. I believe the epitaphs found on gravestones are also somewhat regional. This, of course, does not always apply. An in-depth study of epitaphs is another post. *Sigh* -- please forgive my ramble. :-)

I would like to share a particularly beautiful epitaph from Sardis Cemetery. It can be found on the tombstone for Mr. J. A. Hammock:

A precious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.

God in His wisdom has recalled
The boon His love has given
And though the body slumbers here,
The soul is safe in Heaven.

I have seen the first portion many times in the cemeteries I have visited, but the second portion is not as common. It is quite beautiful, I think.

Southern Graves Home

The Posting of Sardis Cemetery has Begun

The posting of Sardis Cemetery has begun! I want to emphasize begun because I estimate there to be over 300 burials, and it will take some time for me to get them all online.

Sardis Cemetery is located on Sardis Church Road in Bibb County, Georgia. You may view it here. You may also link to it from Southern Graves and the Bibb County, GA American History & Genealogy Project.

On a side note, Southern Graves is now easier to find! Simply type www.southerngraves.net into your web browser. No more long, weird address. :-) Please be patient, though. Some of the links will need to be repaired and updated. Of course, the old address of southerngraves.i-found-it.net will continue to work until everything is transferred and in proper working order. Hope to see you soon at whichever address you choose to visit!

30 October 2008

Bartlett, Tennessee Cemeteries Designated as Landmarks

"Bartlett Cemeteries Designated as Landmarks
Dedications Part of Effort to Preserve Historical Integrity

By Clay Bailey, Memphis Commercial Appeal

Bartlett dedicated two cemeteries as its latest historical landmarks this week.

Markers were unveiled at the Bartlett-Ellendale Cemetery and Fullview Cemetery next to Fullview Missionary Baptist Church near Memphis-Arlington Road and Oak Road." READ MORE

Southern Graves Home

26 October 2008

The Association of Graveyard Rabbits

My nickname in high school was "squirrel," but it turns out I am really a rabbit. A Graveyard Rabbit, that is.

If you haven't noticed the new statement in the heading, I am a charter member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. This group was founded by Terry Thornton, and he writes all about the name at his new The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hill Country blog. The short of it is the name came from a poem entitled The Graveyard Rabbit by Frank Lebby Stanton. My favorite lines of the poem are in the very beginning.

In the white moonlight, where the willow waves,
He halfway gallops among the graves --
A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam,
Content to dwell where the dead men dream...

This definitely describes my passion for cemeteries and the histories they share. Let's break it down:

"In the white moonlight, where the willow waves"
I don't visit cemeteries at night too much, only because it's hard to read the stones and take pictures then! However, there are often live willows waving when I visit, as well as many stone willows standing tall.

"He halfway gallops among the graves"
At the risk of sounding silly, if I'm at a cemetery I've never visited before, I often do the same thing! I go from stone to stone, in no kind of pattern, just to get a feel of the place. Plus, an interesting monument from afar gets my interest and I must check it out. I have to make myself at some point stop and systematically go through the graves for proper transcription, photographs, and to begin to get the full history of the cemetery and those interred.

"A tiny ghost in the gloom and gleam"
Me and my visit are but a tiny speck of the whole history of most cemeteries. Especially those that have been around for hundreds of years. There have been many visitors before me, and there will be many after me.

"Content to dwell where the dead men dream"
That statement is a simple fact that applies to me. I am very content walking among the headstones, reading them, photographing them, and learning from them.

Terry also describes The Association of Graveyard Rabbits in his post I mentioned above. He says it so well, this is almost an exact quote: We are a group of bloggers devoted to cemeteries, grave markers, burial customs, and more. We join in hopes of promoting the study of cemeteries, the preservation of cemeteries, and the transcription of genealogical and historical information that is written in cemeteries.

If you are a blogger that would like to devote your writing time to the topic of cemeteries, please consider joining us. If you are not ready to devote a blog to cemeteries, but do enjoy visiting them, please don't hide your passion! Spread it around and get others involved in those visits. Awareness goes a long way in the preservation of the stories of these cemeteries, the communities in which they lay, and the individuals interred therein.

I hope you will continue to join me on my journey through the cemeteries of the southern United States at the Southern Graves site and this Southern Graves blog.

25 October 2008

Honoring Fallen 14 with "Quiet Strength"

Mark Berman at the Washington Post wrote a nice article about a tribute paid to fourteen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

"Arlington National Cemetery: Honoring Fallen 14 with 'Quiet Strength'
Four Black Hawk helicopters skimmed overhead against the backdrop of a gray, cloudy sky. Below, more than 150 people brought together by tragedy and united in grief gathered yesterday to pay tribute to 14 soldiers honored at Arlington National Cemetery..."

The soldiers were killed August 2007 in Iraq. They were between the ages of 20 and 30 and represented 11 states.

I am proud of all these soldiers, I thank them for their service and sacrifice, and I pray for all their families. For the purpose of this blog, I will point out the soldiers that represent the southern states.

- Capt. Corry P. Tyler, age 29, of Woodbine, GA;
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul J. Flynn, age 28, of Whitsett, NC;
- Spec. Tyler R. Seideman, age 20, of Lincoln, Ark.;
- Spec. Rickey L. Bell, age 21, of Caruthersville, MO;
- Sgt. Garrett I. McLead, age 23, of Rockport, TX;
- Cpl. Jessy G. Pollard, age 22, of Springfield, MO

Read the entire article here.

Southern Graves Home

20 October 2008

Village Cemetery; Edgefield County, South Carolina

The Historical Marker Database site recently uploaded a page for the First Baptist Church and Village Cemetery in Edgefield County, South Carolina. This cemetery is the burial place of three SC Governors: F. W. Pickens (1807-1869), J. C. Sheppard (1850-1931), and John G. Evans (1863-1942). The page has lots of information and photos.

Southern Graves Home

13 October 2008

McGavock Confederate Cemetery; Tennessee

The Widow of the South, a best-selling novel by Robert Hicks, is about the Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, a plantation house used as a field hospital, and the woman who buried the Confederate dead.

Carnton Historic Plantation's website well describes the battle and how the cemetery came about. McGavock Confederate Cemetery is the final resting place for nearly 1,500 Confederate soldiers, as well as the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation.

Coker Cemetery; Bexar County, Texas

"The Coker Cemetery was established in 1857 from part of John Coker’s Land Grant of 1836. John received land bounties for fighting at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836. John Coker never married and invited his brother Joseph to join him. This cemetery is governed by the Coker Cemetery Association, which is a non-profit corporation chartered under State of Texas Laws. No space in the cemetery has or can be sold and is reserved solely for the descendants of the Coker Family and early church leaders. While adjoining the land of the Coker Methodist Church, the Coker Cemetery today is a separate organization. The first burials could have been around 1854. There are more than twenty unmarked graves, most of which cannot be identified.

All of the Coker surname burials are direct descendants of Joseph Coker and Malinda Brown who were originally from Laurens Co. SC. Malinda died 1853 in Cherokee Co TX and is buried there in the Jacksonville Cemetery. Many other surnames are also Coker descendants."

This information was provided by Bob Battaglia, Coker Cemetery Association Secretary and Historian.

Coker Cemetery has a website here - www.cokercemetery.com. It has lots of great photos and several obituaries. For a listing of burials, click here.

Southern Graves Home

Bexar County, Texas
American History & Genealogy Project

12 October 2008

Tennessee Death Records are Available Online

"Genealogy: Tennessee death records are available online
By Tamie Dehler
Special to the Tribune-Star

Death records for the state of Tennessee are available online in three separate indexes. Tennessee began recording death records in 1908. For the first few years, recording was erratic. The Tennessee State Archives and Library features a searchable index to their death records for 1908-1912 at www.tennessee.gov/tsla/history/vital/death2.htm. This index contains almost 98,000 listings. The search results give the decedent's name, year of death, county of death, and certificate number. This information can be used to order the complete death record." Read More

Tennessee Death Records Online

Southern Graves Home

Unmarked Cemetery Paved Over in Stafford, Virginia

So sad.

"Unmarked cemetery in Falmouth is paved over by new property owner
By Jonas Beals

Rumor has it that sometime between 1900 and 1909, Charles W. Roberson was struck by lightning and killed in the backyard of his Falmouth home. He was buried alongside his wife, Mary, in that backyard.

As far as anyone can tell, they are still there, now covered by a few inches of blacktop.

The parcel at the northeast corner of U.S. 1 and Forbes Street was purchased by Access Eye Centers in 2002. The company owns the adjacent property, and expanded its parking lot more than a year ago. In the process, it inadvertently covered the 16- by 32-foot unmarked cemetery parcel that had been carved out of the Robersons' lot." READ MORE

Southern Graves Home

11 October 2008

Jackson County, MO Cemeteries are Rich in History and Lore

I do not live near this area and have never been to any of these cemeteries. This is a good article about their local, historical cemeteries.

"Jackson County [Missouri] Cemeteries are Rich in History and Lore
By Sheila Davis
The Examiner

Jackson County — For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to give our loved ones the kind of burials that our ancestors did.

A spare slab with an even sparer inscription says, “Yes, I love you dear. I’ll be back on Memorial Day.” But some of the grand old markers and monuments make total strangers stop and wonder, “Hey, who is this person? What’s their story?”

Here, with advice from John Mark Lambertson, director of the National Frontier Trails Museum, and Gary Toms, reference assistant at the Midwest Genealogy Center, are The Examiner’s Top 10 best Jackson County cemeteries to visit to appreciate the art of the tombstone as well as some local history." READ MORE

Southern Graves Home

10 October 2008

Forest Cemetery Leaves a Living Legacy

Very cool idea.

"Forest Cemetery Leaves a Living Legacy
By Gregg MacDonald
Loudoun Times Mirror

When Middleburg resident Rick Dawson was asked by Centreville business owner Jack Lowe to turn part of a Methodist adventure camp into a forest cemetery where trees serve as living memorials, he thought he was going crazy." READ MORE
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