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30 October 2009

Back Issues of Markers & the Bussey Family Cemetery

I just received my Association for Gravestone Studies newsletter and am delighted to find out that all back issues of the Markers journal have been digitized and put online. Here's the blurb from the newsletter:

"Back issues of Markers available online
As part of AGS's partnership with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to house the AGS Archives, the University has digitized all back issues of Markers and made them available online. Here is the link:

http://www.library.umass.edu/spcoll/umarmot/?p=991"

Also wanted to let you know I am working on getting the Bussey Family Cemetery online. This cemetery is located in Talbot County, Georgia. Here's a direct link to the work in progress -- Bussey Family Cemetery. A transcription is also available in the USGenWeb Archives. It was recorded in 1972. My transcriptions were completed last year, so some new burials are included.


26 October 2009

Memento Mori

Last week, I went on a trip with my Mom and Aunt to Asheville, North Carolina. While there, we took a short drive to Black Mountain to visit the Swannanoa Valley Museum. This museum is located in the old Black Mountain Fire House. According to the museum website, the fire house was designed and built in 1921 by Richard Sharp Smith, supervising architect at the Biltmore Estate. There is no charge to go through the museum, and donations are gladly accepted. There are a lot of neat things to see, and there is a wealth of information about local families and their histories in the area. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it.

This mourning brooch was one item on display. Here is the information that went with it:

Memento Mori
"Memento Mori" is a Latin phrase that may be freely translated as "remember that you are mortal," and is a theme that threads throughout history and art, literature, and funeral customs.

Mourning jewelry became popular after the death of Queen Victoria's beloved Prince Albert, and elaborate mourning rings, brooches, and other personal items were embellished with hair from the deceased loved one. Many were made of jet or onyx stones.

This jewelry mirrored the lives and times of the people who wore it, a souvenir to remember a loved one, and a reminder to the living of the inevitability of death.

The mourning brooch displayed here was donated to the Swannanoa Valley Museum by Elizabeth Lynn."

The collecting of mourning jewelry goes on today. A Google search will result in lots of links to visit and images to view, if you are interested in learning more.

13 October 2009

Interesting & Lovely Little Girl (Tombstone Tuesday)



Sacred to the Memory of
Floretta Virginia Delony
Second daughter of Edward & [Piannah?] Delony
who was born on the 3rd of May, 1833
and died the 2nd of Oct, 1835
aged 2 years & 3 months.
---------------------------
Edward Delony
was born in Mecklenburg Co, VA &
emigrated to Georgia in 1825. His wife
formerly [Piannah?] Shephard was
born in Morgan Co, GA where she was
married to him in Oct 1828.
-----------------------------
Floretta Virginia
The interesting and lovely little girl to whose memory
these lines are inscribed was a dear sweet littl
child with the most tender and affectionate heart, she
was the fondest sympathies of her doting parents,
and oft she would run to her mother to renew her
soft kisses and tender little embrace, but she has gone
from this cold heartless world and now dwells in a
Paradise of Angels, a bright little cherub
chanting songs of praise to our eternal God.

This tombstone can be found in Oak Hill Cemetery; Talbot County, Georgia.

12 October 2009

Rocks, Rocks, and More Rocks

Why do people put rocks on grave stones? Some time ago, I learned that the rocks signified a visitor. That is true enough, but I decided to learn a little more about the custom and share my findings with you.

Putting rocks on tombstones is most often described as a Jewish custom. There are many "Ask a Rabbi" columns out there, but I did not find one that knew for sure where the custom originated. They all agreed, however, that a rock symbolized a visitor and when put on a tombstone said, "I remember you." I also read that some people pick up a rock wherever they are when they think of a person that has passed. Then, the next time they visit the grave, they place the rock to say, "I wish you were here."

Rabbi Shraga Simmons offers a deeper meaning: "We are taught that it is an act of ultimate kindness and respect to bury someone and place a marker at the site. After a person is buried, of course, we can no longer participate in burying them. However, even if a tombstone has been erected, we can participate in the mitzvah of making a marker at a grave, by adding to the stone. Therefore, customarily, we place stones on top of a gravestone whenever we visit to indicate our participation in the mitzvah of erecting a tombstone, even if only in a more symbolic way."

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef says this, "In former days one did not mark a grave with marble or granite with a fancy inscription, but one made a cairn of stones over it. Each mourner coming and adding a stone was effectively taking part in the Mitzvah of matzevah ("setting a stone") as well as or instead of levayat ha-meyt ("accompany the dead"). Of course, the dead were often buried where they had fallen, before urbanization and specialization of planning-use demanded formal cemeteries...Therefore in our day one tends to stick a pebble on top of the tombstone as a relic of this ancient custom, and it is still clear that the more stones a grave has, the more the deceased is being visited and is therefore being honored. Each small pebble adds to the cairn - a nice moral message. This has become slightly spoiled by the cemetery authorities clearing accumulated pebbles off when they wash down the gravestones and cut the grass."

Finally, Rabbi Andrew Straus offers the following: "Ritual is a way of expressing our emotions and spiritual needs. We need physical acts to express these things for us, to make them concrete. Placing a stone on a grave does just that...(1) It is a sign to others who come to the grave when I am not there that they and I are not the only ones who remember. The stones I see on the grave when I come are a reminder to me that others have come to visit the grave. My loved one is remembered by many others and his/her life continues to have an impact on others, even if I do not see them. (2) When I pick up the stone it sends a message to me. I can still feel my loved one. I can still touch and be touched by him/her. I can still feel the impact that has been made on my life. Their life, love, teachings, values, and morals still make an impression on me. When I put the stone down, it is a reminder to me that I can no longer take this person with me physically. I can only take him/her with me in my heart and my mind and the actions I do because he/she taught me to do them. Their values, morals, ideals live on and continue to impress me - just as the stone has made an impression on my hands - so too their life has made an impression on me that continues."

So do all these explanations mean placing a rock on a tombstone is only a Jewish custom? While I would consider it likely when visiting a gravestone with rocks placed on it, it may not always be the case.

Cemetery symbolism author Douglas Keister reminds us, "In Christian lore, rocks are a powerful symbol of the Lord." There are many places in the Old Testament Bible that compare God to a rock. One being Psalm 18:2 -- "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."

So the placing of a rock on a tombstone could represent a belief that the deceased is with God.

Keister further states, "In almost all cultures, rocks represent permanence, stability, reliability, and strength."

All in all, placing and finding rocks on a tombstone is a nice tradition. Whatever the culture or religious faith, the rocks represent an honorable memory of the deceased.

Note: the photo above (© 2009 S. Lincecum) is of the gravestone for Robert H. Sanders (28 Apr 1920 - 8 July 1998) & Mary A. Sanders (24 July 1919 - 14 Jan 2006) at Roberta City Cemetery in Crawford County, Georgia.

One last item; a little link love. When researching this article, I came across a website that offers paintings on river rocks to be placed on the gravestones of loved ones. I thought it was a neat idea, so here's a link to Judaic Stones.

10 October 2009

A Wealth of Walker & Nottingham Information

I absolutely love to find tombstones like these. Of course, I've never come across one that pertains to my family. Nonetheless, seeing an individual's lineage inscribed in granite is a genealogist's dream. Too bad there are no attached sources! :-)

I felt compelled to type it all here, hoping someone interested may stumble upon it.

Caroline Walker Nottingham (July 21, 1882 ~ Sept 8, 1963), a daughter of the Confederacy, was laid to rest next to her husband Eliot Theodore Nottingham (Sept 12, 1871 ~ Jan 4, 1961) in Roberta City Cemetery; Crawford County, Georgia. On the back of the granite family stone, the names and dates of 5 generations of Walkers and Nottinghams were inscribed:

Eliot T. Nottingham - Married Caroline Walker Nov 16, 1904 - Of This Union Was Born William Marshall Nottingham
----------------------------
Caroline W. Nottingham
Daughter of William J. Walker (1851-1911) & Annie R. Walker (1860-1932)
Granddaughter of Charles H. Walker (1812-1896) & Caroline E. Jones (1815-1880)
Great Granddaughter of William Walker (1762-1818) & Elizabeth Bostick (1770-1835)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eliot T. Nottingham
Son of Theodore E. Nottingham (1846-1872) & Arabella T. Nottingham (1851-1910)
Grandson of Dr. Custis Bell Nottingham (1818-1876) & Rebecca V. Thompson Nottingham
Great Grandson of Jacob Nottingham & Sara Jarvis Bell Nottingham of Nothampton County, Virginia

Nearby is Caroline's grandfather and tie to the Confederacy, Pvt. Charles H. Walker, Sr.

Co A
8 GA Militia
CSA
Feb 15, 1812
Aug 24, 1896
Born Jefferson Co, GA
Died Crawford Co, GA

09 October 2009

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen


Clarence Moseley Peel
Nov 8, 1897
Oct 8, 1955

Roberta City Cemetery; Crawford County, Georgia

Below the dates on Clarence's marble gravestone is the insignia for the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. This union was founded in 1883 in Oneonta, New York when eight brakemen met in a caboose in the yards of the Delaware and Hudson Railroad to form a benevolent organization. By the time of its merger with three other railroad labor unions to form the United Transportation Union in 1969, it had the greatest membership of any of the operating railroad brotherhoods.

Once a protective organization and an insurance society, the Brotherhood services its members on the collective bargaining and grievance front as well as in legislative, political, and fraternal activities. The Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (BRT) was established to represent members' interests in obtaining a satisfactory contract with management.

The rail service members of the BRT included conductors and their assistants, dining car stewards, ticket collectors, train baggagemen, brakemen, and train flagmen. The yard service members of the BRT included yardmasters, yard conductors, switchtenders, foremen, flagmen, brakemen, switchmen, car tenders, operators, hump riders, and car operators. In 1933, the BRT organized interstate bus operators, and included them under BRT contracts held with U.S. bus companies.

Records of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen (1883-1973) are housed at the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.

08 October 2009

When She had Passed, it Seemed Like the Ceasing of Exquisite Music

Georgia Anna Sharman
Wife of Zackery Taylor Harris
Mar 13, 1851
Sept 13, 1938

Homeward serenely she walked with God's benediction upon her;
When she had passed, it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music.


Mrs. Harris was laid to rest beneath this granite tombstone in Roberta City Cemetery; Crawford County, Georgia.

Today's beautiful epitaph is from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem Evangeline (canto I, part the first).

According to research from the Family History Files of Rozine Britt-Bickel, Georgia was the daughter of Owens Carroll Sharman and Georgia Anna Miller. An obituary1 for Mrs. Harris reads, "Oldest Hotel Operator in United States Succumbs to Heart Attack at the age
of 88 Years
." The 13 September 1938 item goes on to state, "Mrs. Georgianna Sharman Harris, 87, known throughout the nation as the oldest hotel keeper, died at her home here in Roberta today. Mrs. Harris and her husband have been active in Georgia hotel business since they began in Knoxville in 1879. Mr. Harris died several years ago and Mrs. Harris was stricken with a heart attack last Monday."

Footnote
(1) Source given at the Family History Files of Rozine Britt-Bickel: taken from "Crawford County Sesquicentennial (1822-1972)," Roberta, Georgia, November 16-19, 1972, page 44. Which took it from the "Georgia Boniface," a paper devoted to hotel interests in Georgia.

07 October 2009

Riverside Cemetery a Finalist in "This Place Matters" Contest!

Only a couple days left to vote!

Sarah, a Twitter friend, alerted me to the finalists for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Places that Matter Contest. Riverside Cemetery in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia is on the list! At this moment, the cemetery is in 3rd place.

Other finalists include the following:

- The Bradley-Boggs House in Pickens, South Carolina
- Spokane Preservation Advocates "Unveiling" in Spokane, Washington
- Plum Island Boathouse in Door County, Wisconsin
- St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club in St. Petersburg, Florida
- The Star Hotel in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania
- Morris Avenue in Bronx, New York
- Miller's Grocery in Christiana, Tennessee
- Humble Oil in San Antonio, Texas
- Hapa Trail in Kaua'i, Hawaii
- Alaska Founders Monument in Seward, Alaska
- Tuxedo Junction in Birmingham, Alabama

See all the finalists and vote for your favorite today! You can vote once a day between now and 12PM eastern, October 9th.

If you joined a little late, like me, you can still view all the photos from the campaign on a flickr slideshow, join the trust on Facebook, and submit your photos from This Place Matters homepage.

In addition, I also found out today that the Atlanta Central Library has earned a spot on the endangered building list. Read about it at the Creative Loafing blog.

06 October 2009

Here Lies All the Family (Tombstone Tuesday)

Here Lies All the Family
Husband, Wife, and two Sons.
Also
Mrs. Elizabeth Armstrong
mother of
Mrs. Keziah Ford
-----------------
To the Memory of
Hezekiah Ford
who departed this life
Nov 11th, 1838
In his 43rd year.
He left a wife and two
children to mourn their loss.
The two children
are now resting with th
blessed and good.

------------------
To the Memory of
Mrs. Keziah Ford
who departed this life
July 3rd, 1868
In her 73rd year.
She leaves many friends
and relatives to mourn her
loss, but her memory will ever
live in the hearts of those who
loved her dearly.

------------------
It was God that called, and
changed the storm of life to
endless peace. Farewell thou
loved one though thy dust
sleeps silent till the resurrection
morn, yet lives thy memory
with the one alone.

05 October 2009

Welborn Smith Gave His Life for His Country


Welborn Hill Smith
June 7, 1924
Gave His Life for His Country
June 21, 1944

Welborn was a member of the United States Army Air Forces. He was killed in action during World War II, and his name is on the WWII Honor List of Dead. Welborn was laid to rest in the Roberta City Cemetery in Crawford County, Georgia.


Photos © 2009 S. Lincecum

03 October 2009

The Old Man's Funeral

Today's epitaph is inscribed on a marble ledger marker found at Oak Hill Cemetery in Talbotton, Georgia.

My Husband
Allen F. Matthews
Born Aug 18, 1851
Intered into rest Feb 27, 1901
Bravely he gave his being up and went,
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.

The last lines match closely with a couple of lines from a poem written by William Cullen Bryant, The Old Man's Funeral.  Here is the poem in its entirety:

I saw an aged man upon his bier,
His hair was thin and white, and on his brow
A record of the cares of many a year;--
Cares that were ended and forgotten now.
And there was sadness round, and faces bowed,
And woman's tears fell fast, and children wailed aloud.

Then rose another hoary man and said,
In faltering accents, to that weeping train,
"Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead?
Ye are not sad to see the gathered grain,
Nor when their mellow fruit the orchards cast,
Nor when the yellow woods shake down the ripened mast.

"Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,
His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky,
In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,
Sinks where his islands of refreshment lie,
And leaves the smile of his departure, spread
O'er the warm-coloured heaven and ruddy mountain head.

"Why weep ye then for him, who, having won
The bound of man's appointed years, at last,
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labours done,
Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues, yet,
Lingers like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set?

"His youth was innocent; his riper age
Marked with some act of goodness every day;
And watched by eyes that loved him, calm, and sage,
Faded his late declining years away.
Cheerful he gave his being up, and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.

"That life was happy; every day he gave
Thanks for the fair existence that was his;
For a sick fancy made him not her slave,
To mock him with her phantom miseries.
No chronic tortures racked his aged limb,
For luxury and sloth had nourished none for him.

"And I am glad that he has lived thus long,
And glad that he has gone to his reward;
Nor can I deem that nature did him wrong,
Softly to disengage the vital cord.
For when his hand grew palsied, and his eye
Dark with the mists of age, it was his time to die."

02 October 2009

An Update on Nellie's Epitaph

Yesterday I shared with you a tombstone and epitaph placed in Oak Hill Cemetery for Nellie B. Jackson. I've since learned the phrase "To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die" is a quote from Thomas Campbell's poem Hallowed Ground.

It is quite a long poem; I'm not going to post it here. (I already have one scheduled for you tomorrow.) I did include Hallowed Ground in my new Southern Epitaphs blog / database, if you're interested and would like to read it there --> To Live in Hearts We Leave Behind...

Mrs. Electra Francena Leonard



Mrs. Electra Francena Leonard
Born Nov 28, 1832
Died March 26, 1868

She was laid to rest in Oak Hill Cemetery; Talbotton, Georgia
Photo © 2009 S. Lincecum

I have nothing more to add, I'm afraid.  I simply love her name!

By the way, this is my 300th post! A warm hug and thanks to all my wonderful visitors and faithful readers.
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