27 June 2013

For George Walton and Lyman Hall: Another Monumental Tombstone

I've written about monuments as tombstones in this space before (here and here). Last week I took a drive to visit another example -- The Signer's Monument in Augusta, Georgia.

Signer's Monument
Augusta, Richmond County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

The monument which stands in the middle of Greene Street and Monument Street is dedicated to the signers of the Declaration of Independence from the state of Georgia. It's also a tombstone for two of them, per the historical marker standing beside it:
Dedicated July 4, 1848, in honor of the signers of the Declaration of Independence for Georgia: George Walton, Lyman Hall and Button Gwinnett. The first two lie buried in crypts beneath this shaft. The burial place of Gwinnett, whose body was to have been reinterred here, has never been found.

26 June 2013

Meet Me in Heaven (Wordless Wednesday)

© 2013 S. Lincecum

25 June 2013

His and Hers Park (Tombstones Tuesday)

Anna Poullain Park (Nov 4, 1856 - Feb 18, 1936)

James Billingslea Park (Feb 28, 1854 - Apr 10, 1943)

HIS:  Judge of the Ocmulgee Circuit 1911 to 1939
He filled with fidelity and courtesy other offices of trust
Sincere Friend
Polished Gentleman
Learned Lawyer
Courageous and Able Jurist

HERS:  Her life was as beautiful as the flowers she loved

Greensboro City Cemetery
Greene County, Georgia

Photos © 2013 S. Lincecum

22 June 2013

And Then, Ah Then, We'll Understand (Today's Epitaph)

Edward Young
Born in Lexington, GA June 26, 1860
Died in Greensboro, GA May 26, 1898
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Sleep on Dear Darling!
May Angels guard they sweet repose!

We'll catch the broken threads again,
And finish what we here began!
Heaven will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah then, we'll understand.

Peace to his sacred ashes.

Greensboro City Cemetery
Greene County, Georgia
Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

The third part of Edward's epitaph is from a hymn written in 1891, Some Time We'll Understand:

Not now, but in the coming years,
It may be in the better land,
We’ll read the meaning of our tears,
And there, some time, we’ll understand.

We’ll catch the broken thread again,
And finish what we here began;
Heav’n will the mysteries explain,
And then, ah then, we’ll understand.

We’ll know why clouds instead of sun
Were over many a cherished plan;
Why song has ceased when scarce begun;
’Tis there, some time, we’ll understand.

God knows the way, He holds the key,
He guides us with unerring hand;
Some time with tearless eyes we’ll see;
Yes, there, up there, we’ll understand.

Then trust in God through all the days;
Fear not, for He doth hold thy hand;
Though dark thy way, still sing and praise,
Some time, some time we’ll understand.

21 June 2013

William C. Dawson, Grand Master of Masons in Georgia

William Crosby Dawson
via Wikipedia
I headed out before the sun came up one morning several days ago to visit a few cities with roots in early Georgia history. My first stop was Greensboro, the seat of Greene County. It was first chartered in 1786, and later incorporated in 1803. I parked in front of the courthouse with every intention of walking around the back to take a peek at the old jail. Even though it was raining, I was sidetracked by a marker in front of the courthouse detailing the life of William C. Dawson. After reading it, I snapped a picture and moved on. Little did I know, I would visit Mr. Dawson again a bit later...in the cemetery, of course!

William C. Dawson marker in front of
Greene County's 1849 courthouse.
Marker reads: William C. Dawson (1798-1856), Statesman -- Soldier -- Jurist -- Freemason: "A native of Greene County, then on Georgia's Indian frontier, he was educated in the law and admitted to the bar in 1818. The remainder of his exemplary life was spent in the public service as Legislator, Captain of Volunteers in the Indian War of 1836 in Florida, Judge of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit, Congressman, and U.S. Senator from Georgia from 1849 to 1855.

A member and officer of historic San Marino Lodge No. 34, F & A. M. Greensboro, GA, first chartered in 1821 and which lodge has had its quarters atop the Greene County courthouse here since 1849, Brother Dawson served as Grand Master of Masons in Georgia from 1843 until his death in Greensboro on 6 May 1856. Two cities and one county in Georgia are named for him. Also named in his honor are two Masonic lodges: Dawson No. 68, F & A. M. Social Circle, GA, and Dawson No. 16, F. A. A. M. at Washington, D.C.

One of the most beloved, respected and distinguished grand masters in Georgia's long Masonic history his honored remains lie in the city cemetery near this spot. His entire life was a testimonial to his devotion to his fellowman, his country and to the sublime precepts of Freemasonry. His name will always be revered by the Freemasons of Georgia."

A short time later I was in Greensboro City cemetery, and even though I wasn't purposefully looking for it, visiting the grave of William Crosby Dawson.

was born on the 4th day of January, 1798,
and died on the 6th day of May, 1856.
Bred to the Bar, he entered upon his profession in
1818, and prosecuted it successfully until his death.

an eloquent Advocate, and an upright Judge.  Cautious, practical
and independent, as a Statesman; he commanded confidence by the
frankness of his manners, the purity of his motives, and the wisdom
of his counsels.

for his fidelity to her numerous trusts.
it because he was kind and liberal to them,
it because as Husband, Parent and Master, he was
affectionate, considerate, gentle and true.

Upon his death, obituaries appeared in newspapers all over the country. I read several from up and down the east coast, including Maryland and New York. The following is an example of the opening paragraph found in many. This one from South Carolina's Charleston Courier (8 May 1856, pg. 2):

"We are called on to announce the decease of one of Georgia's most honored citizens of public station and renown, and one who had worn fitly and faithfully the highest honors of the State. The Hon. William Crosby Dawson expired at an early hour on Tuesday, the 6th inst., at his residence in Greensboro, Ga., of an attack of bilious cholic."

All photos, sans the one credited to Wikipedia, are © 2013 S. Lincecum.

08 June 2013

His Name was Cut on a Tree

I don't do this often enough, but from time to time I'm prompted to check the new and updated databases page at Ancestry. U.S. Burial Registers, Military Posts and National Cemeteries, 1862-1960 was updated less than three weeks ago, so I decided to give it a browse.

First, here is a description of the database:
Many veterans of the U.S. armed services are buried in cemeteries established or maintained by the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) or the U.S. Army. The NCA maintains 131 national cemeteries and other smaller burial grounds. The Department of the Army is responsible for Arlington and the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. These records also include burial details for soldiers who were disinterred and moved to military cemeteries sometime after their death.
Essentially, if you choose to browse, you are reading a burial register.

It's fascinating, yet heart wrenching at the same time. These soldiers died and were buried far from home, most likely without a single loved one in sight. In many cases, it was luck that their bodies were even found to be moved and given a more proper, fitting burial. I wasn't but a few pages in when Sgt. Marvin M. Chapin caught my eye. He was listed in a grouping of five names. These soldiers were all hastily buried near or on the property of a Mr. Stewart 3 miles north of Adairsville, GA: 2 in a cemetery, 2 in a field, and 1 in a garden. All died on 17 May 1864 during the Battle of Adairsville.

3 miles N of Adairsville near Mr. Stewarts in a cemetery 2 graves:
Pvt. Sylvester Fish - Co D, 44th Ill & Sgt. Marvin M. Chapin - Co I, 88th Ill
In a field at Mr. Stewarts 2 graves:
Pvt. George Trout - 88th Ill & Pvt. Henry Grenable - Co A, 44th Ill
In Mr. Stewarts garden 1 grave:
1st Lieut. Thos. T. Keith - Co D, 24th Wis Infy

What was it about Sgt. Marvin M. Chapin that jumped out at me? A note beside his name reads, "His name was cut on a tree."

What a touching act of respect. Someone, maybe a fellow soldier and friend, took the time to make sure this individual would be found and remembered.

All five of these soldiers were moved to a National Cemetery. I found Pvt. Fish, Sgt. Chapin, and 1st Lieut. Keith in Marietta National Cemetery at Cobb County, Georgia. Though I could not find information on the other two, I presume that is where their remains were relocated to, as well.

Marietta National Cemetery
Photo © 2011-2013 S. Lincecum

01 June 2013

Saturday Soldier: Sgt. Ezekiel Absher (It's Sorta Personal)

Photo by Gary Sizemore via FindAGrave
Ezekiel Absher was born in Tennessee February of 1838. He joined up with Company E of the 43rd Tennessee Infantry in November 1861. (Note: this was a mounted infantry between December 1863 and May 1865.) Shortly after his enlistment, Pvt. Absher was absent from roll due to sickness. Upon returning in January 1862, it seems he remained present for the duration of his service.

Ezekiel was elected 3rd Corporal in May of 1862. In November, he was noted as a brigade teamster. By the summer of 1863, Ezekiel was listed as a 4th Sergeant when he was captured at Vicksburg, Mississippi on the 4th of July. After signing an Oath of Allegiance, he was paroled five days later.

The "allegiance" didn't stick, however. A year later, on 2 September 1864, Ezekiel was again captured by the Union Army. This time near Martinsburg, Virginia. He was sent to Fort Delaware, and was confined there for 8 months. Release came May of 1865.

Ezekiel's Compiled Service Record online at Fold3, where the above information was found, contained two cards that held physical descriptions. He was listed as 5 1/2 feet tall, with dark hair and blue/grey eyes.

Ezekiel was first married only months before his enlistment, on 11 March 1861 to Eliza Jane Alvis. They had at least five children. Ezekiel later married Susan Helton in 1876, and they had at least six kids.

Ezekiel died in 1912 and was buried at Ward Cemetery in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

Why this is "sorta" personal.

I guess it's a bit more proof that I enjoy the research even when it's not my direct line. Let's just say you might find a few tangents in my personal genealogy data. According to Family Tree Maker 2012, this is my "official" relationship to Ezekiel Absher:
Paternal grandfather of wife of brother-in-law of wife of husband of 1st great grand aunt of Stephanie Lincecum.
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