26 December 2013

Merritt Cofer's Shakespearean Epitaph

Merritt Jones Cofer rests at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Hall County, Georgia. He was born in 1838, and according to volume twelve of Historical Southern Families, a son of Merritt Cofer and Cynthia Ward Bennett.

Merritt's tombstone provides a good bit of information about the man it was placed to memorialize. He was a Methodist Preacher for thirty-six years. He was described as a "Christian - Gentleman - Patriot - Friend," as well as "A Devoted Husband And Father." It is also noted that Merritt was a member of Company C of the 14th Georgia Regiment from 1861 to 1865.

Based on a small amount of research, I can add that it appears Rev. Cofer began preaching about a decade after the Civil War. And according to his Confederate service file available for viewing at Fold3, the latter part of the war was not altogether kind to Merritt. The May-June 1864 company muster roll states he was disabled from wounds and detailed by order of Gen. Lee in Georgia. The Sept-Oct 1864 roll lists Merritt as present, but sick. And the Jan-Feb 1865 roll states he was assigned to conscript duty in Georgia by reason of Surgeon's certificate.

Back to Merritt's tombstone.  Maybe it's because I don't see them often. Quotations from literature, that is. Bible verses (should I consider that literature?) are the usual writings on a tombstone in my neck of the woods. And I would expect to find another one on a memorial dedicated to a deceased preacher, I might add. But whatever the reason, I was made to stop and pause by the last lines of the epitaph for Merritt Jones Cofer, who died in 1912. They are from William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:

His life was gentle, and the elements;
So mix'd in him that Nature may stand up
And say to all the world, "This was a man."

Merritt Jones Cofer
1838 - 1912

Photo © 2013 S. Lincecum

06 December 2013

Smile for the Camera, Grandpa! (A Personal Flashback Friday)

(From December 2008)This post was generated for Smile for the Camera - A Carnival of Images. The word prompt is "Stocking Stuffer."

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.

I would stuff the stockings of my grandfather and two of his daughters with this photo. Grandpa loves hearing stories I find about his and my family history. He doesn't do the genealogy directly, but loves to pour over anything pertaining to it. Every now and again he finds something "old" around the house and shares it with me. Recently, he typed up stories of his childhood for all of us. You can imagine how much I treasure that. Two of his daughters would enjoy the photo as well. It would spark a nice memory for Mom, and my aunt loves all photos -- especially those of family.

There are only a couple of my close family members that really enjoy history, and Grandpa is one of them. (I'm working on a couple of others, and they're starting to get into it - I think). I appreciate the attentive ear, interest, and support he gives me whenever I tell a tale of my travels through time. I love you, Grandpa! Merry Christmas!

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