26 October 2013

The Symbolic Sphere

In the very basic sense, a sphere is a 3-D circle. And in tombstone iconography, the circle usually represents the unending circle of life; eternity. Earlier today I came across a quote attributed to Joseph Campbell, author of The Power of Myth, that I think truly explains the symbolism of the circle -- even those in 3-D.
The circle on the other hand, represents totality. Everything within a circle is one thing, which is encircled, enframed. That would be the spatial aspect. But the temporal aspect of the circle is that you leave, go somewhere, and always come back. God is the alpha and the omega, the source and the end. The circle suggests immediately a completed totality, whether in time or in space.
The totality of one's life. The totality of death... Totality and eternity. Yep, that's it exactly.

[Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum. Taken at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia.]

25 October 2013

Baby Land at Magnolia Park Cemetery (Flashback Friday)

Back in the early 1950's my grandparents lost a set of twin girls shortly after their birth. Plots were purchased, and the twins were buried in Magnolia Park Cemetery at Warner Robins, Houston County, Georgia. One day, my grandparents will be laid to rest next to them.

For 50+ years my grandmother has tended the twins' grave, and there have been many times when Grandpa and I were with her. On more than one occasion, Pa would mention that the twins were buried not long before "they started baby land." He would always point in a general direction, but I never noticed any obvious special section for infants.

On a recent visit to Magnolia Park, I stumbled across this "baby land" section. It is located in the central section behind the oldest graves, which are behind the main sign for the cemetery. All the markers are tiny and flat, and there are quite a few. If you are not careful, you will be stepping on one before you know it. I'm sure there are even rows, but I believe some of the markers may already be lost for whatever reason (maybe some graves never had them). This is a very well maintained cemetery, but the markers I saw are in too much of a scattered pattern for me to think what we see today is all there ever were.

Here are a couple of photos of the types of markers found in "baby land."

Now I Lay me Down to Sleep
I Pray The Lord My Soul to Keep
Christopher Elkins
Nov 1, 1962 - Nov 2, 1962

18 October 2013

Edward Rutledge, Esq. (Flashback Friday)

(From January 2009) It's been almost 209 years since the death of Edward Rutledge, Esq. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of the state of South Carolina. Mr. Rutledge was buried in St. Philip's Church Cemetery at Charleston, South Carolina. Such an important figure in American history surely has an awesome tombstone, right? Not exactly. The gravestone of Mr. Rutledge is not much to look at. A simple slab he shares with his wife. However, the words inscribed on this stone certainly describe the importance of this man, at least to those who made sure those words were put there.

Beneath the Stone
are deposited the remains of
his excellency
Edward Rutledge, Esq.
Late governor of this state
whom it pleased the Almighty
to take from this life Jany 23rd, 1800
at the age of fifty years
and two months.
The virtues of this eminent citizen
require not the aid of an inscription here
to recall them to our recollection,
it is believed that they are engraven
on the hearts, and will long live
in the remembrance of his

11 October 2013

Gravestones and the Google Translator (Flashback Friday)

(From January 2009) The great United States of America is a melting pot of people born in this country, as well as individuals from different countries and cultures. Many of those individuals speak different languages in addition to English. Those different languages can sometimes carry over into the cemeteries which hold their gravestones.

I am fluent in one language - English. I took Spanish in high school, so I can pick out words here and there. Also, I lived in Germany for a few years when I was a child, so I can pick out a few words of that language. That's it. So when I come across gravestones inscribed in a language other than English, I'm pretty much lost.

You might not think that would be a problem when visiting local cemeteries, but you'd be surprised. A huge cemetery in Macon, GA named Rose Hill has several hundred tombstones on which the Hebrew language is dominant. A cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina named Bethany is the final resting place of many German immigrants. Their native tongue is found on their tombstones. And even in little Bonaire, GA I came across the German language inscribed on a stone. That's just a few examples of some Southern Graves not in English.

So are we graveyard rabbits supposed to just say, "Oh, well. I don't know what that says," and move on to the next stone or cemetery? Absolutely not! First, we make sure we take great pictures and transcriptions. Then all we have to do is visit a website all of us have visited many, many times before -- Google. From their homepage, click on Language Tools. You will be taken to a page that lets you input the text and with the click of a button, it is translated for you. You can also go directly to translate.google.com.

Here are some examples of text from gravestones from Bethany Cemetery (mentioned above) I was able to translate from German to English.

Hier Ruhen In Gott [Here Rest in God]
Claus Diedrich
12 Oct 1873
18 May 1886
Anna M. C. A.
2 Nov 1885
19 May 1886
Kinder von [children of] H. F. Bittesohn and Meta Geb Meyers

Below this angel atop the tombstone for Henry & Elizabeth Knee is the phrase "Zur Erinnerung An." This translates to "As a Reminder to."

Darius Gray Ornston, Jr., M.D.
September 13, 1934
November 19, 2003
Die erde hat mich wieder! [The Earth has me again!]

Hier Ruhet In Frieden [Here Rest in Peace]
Meine Geliebte Gattin [My Beloved Wife]
Meta C. Hastedt
17 Oct 1820
Wulsdorf, Hannover
17 Nov 1880
Charleston, SC

Here is transcription of a stone from Bonaire Cemetery:

Franziska S. Kunz
May 11, 1907
Jan 23, 2003
Hier Ruht Unsere Liebe Mutter [Here Rests Our Dear Mother]

04 October 2013

Hudson Family (Flashback Friday)

(From November 2008) Two beautiful tombstones at Sardis Cemetery; Bibb County, Georgia caught my eye recently. I liked them so much I wondered who made them. I'll have to start looking more closely at stones in the future for any signatures. The first gravestone is for Martha A. and B. F. Hudson. Martha A. was born Dec 19, 1849 and died Mar 4, 1919. Benjamin Franklin Hudson was born June 29, 1843 and died Feb 6, 1924:

The second stone was identical in design. This one was for two sons of Martha A. and B. F. Hudson. Otis M. Hudson was born July 15, 1882 and died Feb 11, 1916. William Havis Hudson was born Feb 2, 1886 and died Feb 7, 1919:

My enjoyment of the stones of course got me doing some research on this family...

Benjamin Franklin Hudson was the son of William "Buck" Hudson and Mary B. Moore. This family was in Jones County, Georgia in 1850 and 1860.

According to the 1850 Jones County, Georgia census, Benjamin's siblings were as follows: Matilda, John, William, Sarah, Camilla, Amelia, David B., Mary, and Louisa. According to an 1867 will abstract for William "Buck" Hudson from Book E, Jones County wills, these were his children: John W. Hudson, William Hudson, David B. Hudson, Benjamin Franklin Hudson, Barnwell R. Hudson, Matilda Lipsey, Sarah Rice, Louisa Hudson, and Mary Felts.

A search of a great website for Jones County, Georgia cemeteries -- www.friendsofcems.org/Jones -- lead me to the Hudson / Felts Cemetery. It is located off of Fawn Court near Gray. This cemetery contains many of Benjamin Franklin Hudson's immediate family, including his parents:

William "Buck" Hudson [father] (1800-1867);
Mary B. Moore Hudson [mother] (1810-1870);
Mary S. Felts [sister] (1845-1905);
Robert L. Felts [brother-in-law] (1841-1898) *Co A 54th GA;
David B. Hudson [brother] (1840-1900) *Co A 54th GA;
Pvt. John W. Hudson [brother] (1841-1900) *Co A 54th Inf GA;
Sarah E. Rice [sister] (1835-1895);
Sgt. James M. Rice [brother-in-law] (1834-1862) *Co F 38th Tenn Inf;
Pvt. William J. Lipsey [possible brother-in-law] (1834-1864) *Co F 45th GA.

Interestingly enough, I did not find out for sure if Benjamin was a soldier during the Civil War.

Benjamin Franklin Hudson married Martha A. before 1880. I found them in Jones County, Georgia then as well as in 1900. Their children listed in 1900 were William H., Andrew L., Ora B, and Otis M.

I did not find out any more about Otis M., but I did find his brother William's World War I draft registration:

William was living in Walden, Bibb County, Georgia at the time of registration in 1918. He was farming for his father B. F. Hudson, and he was listed as having blue eyes and dark hair.

Martha A. Hudson died 4 March 1919, less than one month after she buried her son William Havis Hudson. Her funeral notice from the Macon Telegraph:
Mrs. Martha Hudson
The funeral services of Mrs. Martha Hudson, wife of Frank Hudson, were held from Sardis Church yesterday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Elder Walter Heard conducted the services, and the interment was in Sardis cemetery. Mrs. Hudson lived at Rutland and was ill several weeks. She died at 3 o'clock Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. Benjamin Franklin Hudson lived less than five more years before being laid to rest next to his wife.

Sources inlcude the following:
- Tombstone Inscriptions
- US Federal Census Records
- World War I Draft Registration Card
- Will Abstract
- Tombstone Transcriptions
- Funeral Notice

01 October 2013

Schoolmates Almost Idolized Her (Tombstone Tuesday)

Mary's Angel
© 2013 S. Lincecum


Miss Mary Octavia, the fourteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. M. Weaver, passed away at the City Hospital, at 2:30 o'clock yesterday morning, after an illness of about ten days.

The announcement of the death was heralded throughout the city yesterday and caused hundreds of her schoolmates and elder friends, who almost idolized her, to bow down their heads and weep in sorrow. The death is made doubly sad by the fact that her beautiful young life was just blossoming into young womanhood.

The funeral services were held at the residence Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, Rev. T. D. Ellis officiating.

The body was carried to Greensboro, Ga., leaving Macon this morning at 2:30 o'clock, via the Georgia Railroad. The interment will occur this afternoon in the family lot at Greensboro. [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 12 November 1906, pg. 2]

Mary Octavia
Nov 14, 1892
Nov 11, 1906

Daughter of W. H. M. & Anna S. Weaver

Of Such Is The Kingdom Of Heaven

How Many Fond Hopes Lie Buried Here

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

An item in the same newspaper, published 10 November 1906 -- likely just hours before Mary passed away, gives the illness from which she had been suffering:
Miss Mary Weaver Ill
Miss Mary Weaver, the 14-year-old daughter of W. H. Weaver, manager of the local Bell Telephone Exchange, is reported as being critically ill at the City Hospital with peritonitis. A large number of both young and old friends wish her a speedy recovery.
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