Friday, October 26, 2012

Small Town Cemetery and Pieces of History

There is a tiny old cemetery just down the road from our house. I have a thing for cemeteries. They've never scared me, instead there is a sense of sacredness, of history. They represent lives, real people with stories. Graceland cemetery in Chicago was an amazing place to visit, and so were the cemeteries of Boston, both full of people that are just legends to us now.

There's also history here, in a small town Texas cemetery. The stones show burials beginning in the mid-1800's, around the time a rail line was built through the area. One website said the earliest burials were of two boys killed in an Indian raid. The cemetery is a bit overgrown, but some of the gravestones are remarkably clear.

There's the sad innocence portrayed in the graves of children.

"I was but a flower too good for earth, Transplanted into heaven."

A one year old little girl named Rosie:
"Weep not, Papa and Mama, for me, for I am waiting in heaven for thee."

And then I actually found a stone with the inscription that I put in a high school lit class quote file because it fascinated me so much when I found it online. It must have been a common one back in the day, but can you say creepy?

Stranger stop and cast an eye,
as you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
Prepare for death and follow me.

I did some google work on the cemetery and was struck by one family, the Andersons. A man and his wife. One website said he gave the land for the cemetery, and it's the only record of his name on the internet outside of the listing of names on gravestones. He was ten years older than her. Who knows when they moved there or from where, but their first child died as as a newborn when the mother was 20.  Then, three years later, a girl, but she died when she was three. It's seven more years before another infant died. Two babies lost, and a daughter, and the mother was left with empty arms. The mother was 40 when her last child was born, another boy. Did she parent with joy, or fear? The child was only two when the mother passed away. Was she sick?  What was life like for them, this small household of men? They lived that way for 17 years, and then the boy died at 19. Mr. Anderson was 68, he'd lost a son and a daughter, two infants (stillborn?), and his wife. Was he alone then? Did people care for him? Was he bitter, or simply sad?

The Anderson family plot, pictured below.

I have no conclusions, no point to make. Just wanted to share that little bit of someone's life, perhaps not told anywhere else.


Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about cemeteries! Todd and I just stumbled upon an old one the other day and wandered around taking pictures. He tells me he is going to blog about it as his first blog post. So stay tuned. ;-)

Kacie said...

Yay! Tell me when he posts!

CatharineKariana said...

Love this post. I like cemeteries too. If you're ever in Rome you should check out the cemetery at the Piramide metro stop. It's really beautiful and interesting

Kacie said...

Old cemeteries in ROME?? I might die. :)

Actually there was a beatiful old cemetery that Rachel walked me through in London, and there's another I'd like to see eventually. I think called Bunhill Fields or something like thaat.