25 July 2009

Favorite Southern Graves

The prompt for the latest Graveyard Rabbit Carnival is "favorite cemetery-related photo," and the one above would certainly be one for me. I actually used it in my very first carnival post, Smile for the Camera, Grandpa, more than seven months ago.

A quote from that post: "The photo above features my handsome grandfather atop a PEAVY gravestone. My mother and I took him some time ago to pay respects to some cousins at their final resting places. These graves were approximately 10 miles from his home, and he was not aware of them. I was so happy to show him these and other spots related to his cousins around town. Pa had stopped to take a breather while Mom and I were a short distance away documenting some other stones. I saw him, handed Mom the camera, and asked her to snap a photo. I think she got a great one."

Picking a favorite cemetery-related photo wasn't exactly easy. I enjoy visiting cemeteries so much, and I more often than not have a favorite photo from each cemetery versus a favorite photo overall. So I decided to leave you with a slideshow featuring some of my favorite southern graves:

24 July 2009

Follow Friday: Gravestone Photo Project

I will highlight a website I was just introduced to for this Follow Friday. It is the Gravestone Photo Project. Per the homepage, "The Gravestone Photo Project (GPP) is a PHP software project that was designed to provide a web-based archive of aging gravestone images."

Actually, the software is no longer available for download. But! Several states (23) did so before it was taken off the market. The following southern states are included, and I encourage you to check them out and add them to your research bookmarks:

- Arkansas Gravestones (over 205,200 records)
- Florida Gravestones (over 12,300 records)
- Louisiana Gravestones (over 1,700 records)
- Virginia Gravestones (over 14,900 records)

Flickr Friday, Short & Sweet

Uploaded photos from Hillcrest Cemetery in Reynolds, Georgia to Flickr. A few of them tie into my personal family history. View photostream.

23 July 2009

Burr Oak Cemetery Opening Online Records Database

I have not commented on the Burr Oak Cemetery (Cook County, Illinois) story to date, and do not plan a diatribe here. Suffice it to say, the situation is awful and horrifying, to say the least.

I do want to pass along some information I first saw on the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog:

"Authorities plan to give the public access to a searchable online database of nearly 100,000 graves at the historic black cemetery...

The Cook County sheriff's office says the database will likely be available later this week."

You can read more at Olive Tree Genealogy Blog and Huffington Post.

If you have not heard about the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal, a Google search will provide you with more information than you can probably stand. You might also want to visit the cemetery page on FindAGrave. They have almost 1,000 interments listed.

Under the Covering of Earth and Stone: In Memoriam of Sarah Paris

Sarah C.
Wife of F. F. Paris
Died May 15, 1902
Safely Anchored In The Haven Of Eternal Rest

Hillcrest Cemetery; Reynolds, Taylor County, Georgia

Sarah was the wife of Fletcher F. Paris. Fletcher, a veteran of the Civil War, was the son of Dollie Lewis and Dr. J. R. Paris. When searching for an obituary for Sarah, I came across this touching tribute to her by Mrs. Chas. Hugh Neisler of Reynolds, Ga:

8 June 1902
Macon Weekly Telegraph, Georgia
Mrs. Fletcher F. Paris, Died May 15, 1902

Her memory is with us, fresh and sweet,
A flower to bloom within our hearts alway, --
Altho' the early path that knew her feet
Is dreary for her sake; and incomplete
Are all the days for sake of yesterday,

God knows, (who in His wisdom willed it so)
If it be best that we should walk alone --
Without the tenderness that used to flow
Unceasing from her heart, that now lies low
Under the covering of earth and stone.

And yet, not so -- the earth and marble lie
Above but dust returned to dust, while she
Lives on in that infinitude of sky
Above us arched in splendor, broad and high,
Where sun and stars watch o'er eternity,

So we should think of her as deified, --
For she was good as goodness, true as truth;
And even to the hapless day she died,
Flowers and children smiled her couch beside,
Sharing with her their sweetness and their youth.

Her hand was ever gently reached to save;
Her voice was ever given forth for good;
In suffering and sorrow she was brave;
And the unmatched example that she gave
Shines with the light of perfect womanhood.

Justice, it was her motto; love, her creed;
And even to the last hour, when she lay
Unnerved and weak, -- with heavenly love indeed,
She smiled upon us in our human need,
Then, left us thus, alone -- to wait and pray.

22 July 2009

Today's Epitaph: Lucy Paris was an Angel Spirit

Wife Of
Henry A. Paris
Mar 3, 1890
Within this consecrated tomb
An Angel spirit sleeps,
But when the trump of God shall sound
She'll rise and glory reap.
- Her Husband

Hillcrest Cemetery; Reynolds, Georgia
Photo © 2008, 2009 S. Lincecum

18 July 2009

Today's Epitaph: Lizzie Brown was Too Good

Lizzie B.
Wife of
A. J. Brown
Sept 14, 1878
Jan 23, 1914
She was too good,
and too gentle to
dwell in this cold

Family Cemetery; Meriwether County, Georgia
Photo © 2009 S. Lincecum

17 July 2009

Flickr Friday #2

Recent uploads include photos from Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia; photos from our trip to Tennessee in 2006; and photos from the Cove Baptist Church Cemetery in Meriwether County, Georgia. I also added some photos from my personal family history. View photostream.

16 July 2009

Cove Baptist Church Cemetery Online

A portion of the Cove Baptist Church Cemetery is now online at the Southern Graves site. Transcriptions and photos can be found concerning individuals with the BROWN surname. I've also uploaded this information to FindAGrave and Flickr.

15 July 2009

How Soon Fades the Tender Flower (Wordless Wednesday)

14 July 2009

H T W S S T K S -- Huh? (Tombstone Tuesday)

The above photo is from the gravestone of Frank Augustus Coburn (1861-1908) and can be found in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Georgia. It is of an open book with a cross through a crown inside a circle. Below the circle is ECCLES. XII 1-7. If you look closely, you might be able to make out a series of letters going around the circle. Starting at the top, they are H T W S S T K S.

Quite a lot of symbolism going on here. For that, I always turn to the works of Douglas Keister. Using two of his books, Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography and Forever Dixie: A Field Guide to Southern Cemeteries & Their Residents, we can decipher what some of it might mean. I use the word might because we can rarely be sure of what was going on in the mind of the individual who made the decisions as to what was to be put on any particular stone. We must always remember that.

The open book, says Keister: "In its purest form an open book can be compared to the human heart, its thoughts and feelings open to the world and to God." In this instance, the open book may more literally represent the Bible, since the scripture chapter and verses are engraved within.

In respect to the cross with a crown, it "is a Christian symbol of the sovereignty of the Lord. When the crown is combined with a cross, the crown means victory and the cross means Christianity. The cross with a crown also denotes a member of the York Rite Masons. As with all types of crowns used by the Masons, it symbolizes the power and authority to lead or command."

Next are the letters. According to Keister, they stand for "Hiram The Widow's Son Sent To King Solomon," and it is associated with the Masonic fraternity.

I tried to do a little reading to really understand what that line means, but I must admit I am not really any better off than I was before. The best I can do right now is point you to an "Old South Burial" mailing list entry by Mr. Tom Kunesh. He explains and links to further reading here --> HTWSSTKS.

Now for the scripture: Ecclesiastes 12, verses 1-7 (from a King James Version Bible)
1Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them:
2While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
3In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
4And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;
5Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go above the streets:
6Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
7Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

11 July 2009

Shocked, Sad, Dumbfounded, & Don't Know What to Say

Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County Mississippi alerted many of us to this story. I'm passing it along with very few words to add. I simply cannot believe how greedy, disrespectful, and callous all persons involved in the decision-making process for this destruction of local, state, regional and cultural history can be. As Terry said, "Read it and weep."

Oxford, Alabama Destroying A 1500-Year-Old Indian Mound To Build A Sam's Club

10 July 2009

My Very Own Follow Friday

If you are in any way familiar with Twitter, you are probably aware of "Follow Friday." In case you don't know, that's the day of the week that everyone posts names of people they follow. It is a way of bringing attention to the people that the people you follow, follow. Get it? Think of it as a chance to meet some people you might not have otherwise met.

I have decided that, on occasion, I might just very well have my own "Follow Friday." I will share with you some people and blogs I follow. They might be on Twitter, they might not. You might have already heard of them and know how great they are, or you might not.

In this inaugural edition, I would like to introduce you to The Daily Undertaker. This blog is described as "a funeral and memorial service journal." The author is Mr. Patrick McNally. In his profile, he states: "Funeral service is an opportunity to serve families and help them through a very difficult time. We need to listen carefully and ask the right questions in order to meet the different needs of different families. Families place their trust in us to care for them and for their loved ones. We must provide families with compassion and the best possible service."

His blog is a fascinating look into funerals and memorials. I first visited because I was intrigued by the name. The first post I read was Clown Funeral. It is not a joke, nor is it some lighthearted look at funerals. It is all about how the tradition and rituals of funerals are fine and somewhat expected, but the personalization of the funeral is what makes it a true memorial to the deceased. At the bottom of that post are links to other examples of this. I visited every entry, and I encourage you to do the same.

This blog has a lot to offer if you are interested in the topic. He has articles on embalming, "ask the undertaker," mourning attire of the past and present, what to say to the grieving, roadside memorials, and more. Some other interesting topics include Victorian mourning jewelry, memorial tattoos, "ghost bikes," promession, and much more.

Visit The Daily Undertaker.

07 July 2009

Frances Wicks Memorial: Jesus on the Cross (Tombstone Tuesday)

Frances Adelia Wickes
Born 1832
Died 1908
May She Rest In Peace

St. Joseph's Catholic Church Section
Rose Hill Cemetery
Macon, Bibb County, Georgia

The memorial dedicated to Mrs. Frances Adelia Wicks is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I almost always stop by and visit it during my trips to Rose Hill Cemetery. Mrs. Wicks is described in an obituary as "profoundly religious." I'm sure she is very pleased with this magnificent sculpture...

8 August 1908
Macon Weekly Telegraph
Deaths and Funerals

The news of the death of Mrs. Frances Adelia Wicks was received in Macon during the wee and caused profound regret amongst the many friends of the deceased here. The end came at the home of her daughter, Mrs. L. L. Dempsey at Ridgefield, Conn.

A native of Connecticut, Mrs. Wicks made her home in Macon many years ago and while here endeared herself to all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

To a refined and gentle nature she added a keen intellect, a well stored mind and a gentle and affectionate heart. Though of a retiring disposition her life was an active one. Profoundly religious, she devoted her time and talent to the alleviation of every kind of distress. The poor, the afflicted, the weak and the way-ward found in her a sympathetic friend. She was one of those who
"Do good by stealth and blush to find it fame."

A devoted wife, an affectionate but prudent mother, she was an ornament to her home, and it was not surprising that she retained undiminished to the end of affection, the respect and the obedience of her children.

Though for many years a prey to disease she bore her infirmities with heroic fortitude and Christian resignation, and when it became evident that her malady would not yield to the greatest medical skill and the most intelligent nursing she calmly and patiently awaited the end.

Her loss will be keenly felt not only by her immediate family but also by a host of friends as well as the poor who looked upon her as their earthly Providence.

The funeral, which took place on Friday from St. Mary's Church, was largely attended, testifying the high esteem in which she was held. Rev. Father Winkleried, former pastor of St. Joseph's Church here, officiated.

Mrs. Wicks leaves three daughters to deplore her loss: Mrs. Marian David, Mrs. Lillian Loomis Dempsey and Miss Theresa Wicks. These ladies have the warmest sympathy of their many friend in Macon in their sad bereavement.

03 July 2009

Flickr Friday!

I actually created an account at flickr some time ago, and I am finally starting to use it. I am not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, but every now and again I get a good shot or two. Those occasions might be shared with a few groups I've joined. Plus, I hope this is a good application for keeping my cemetery photos organized. I'm only using the free version, for now. We'll see how it goes.

My first few uploads are photos from the Russellville Baptist Church and Cemetery (link goes to blog post about my trip). I added this photo to the Southern Cemeteries group.

So! If you're on flickr and want to find me, I'm southerngraves.
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