Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Graveyard Stew

I am always researching for more sites to add on Graveyard Stew. I keep collecting stories about old and abandoned graves. It is so sad to read about these forgotten graves.

Here is one example. A story from Wake County, GA: Developers keep finding unexpected graves as they move into more rural areas. In the past many cemeteries were on the family farm land, land that has been broken up and sold many times over. There is no longer a marker, but the builders still need the land. These were real people once, great grandparents of someone, maybe me or you. Did you ever wonder why you couldn’t find GGGrandpa’s grave?

When the developers find a grave they have three choices. They can try and contact the surviving family, they can preserve it, or they can move it to another spot. Another option occured to me, but is not part of this story. What if the developers simple don’t say anything, and keep on working? Who would know? After centuries there isn’t much evidence left.

Another story from Charleston: They are moving dozens of old unmarked graves that are over 200 years old. On the sacred ground they are going to build affordable housing.

Now I have been around the historical community long enough to know that everything cannot be saved. I do not have a degree in Cemetery History (is there such a thing? If there is I want to learn all about it.) But something needs to be done! I have thought and thought. The only thing I know is to keep alert, keep posting grave sites on line, and keep the level of awareness going in any way you can.

One more story, one that belongs to me. It is a research problem of a great grandpa, Abel White in Indiana. In his will he requested that a portion of his land is set aside as a family cemetery. He asked to have an appropriate marble headstone to mark his grave. But I cannot find it anywhere. I won’t give up the search, even if he and his family are under a modern building, I want to know.

Excuse me, but I have to run over to my own cemetery and make sure it is still there!!

1 comment:

Linda in Lancaster said...

. . . and that is precisely why I do what I do!! When I see headstones bulldozed and cemeteries abandoned, it scares me, infuriates me and perplexes me, all at the same time!! Why has our society treated this so casually???
Thanks for posting this, Diane!

A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits