Monday, June 14, 2010

The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls

The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls sounds ugly, but the cemetery that is connected with this home is in a pretty park, plush green grass and shady trees. The history of the place is a sample of what life could be at the turn of the century.

The cemetery is located on the campus of UTA (University of Texas at Arlington), but is hidden at the north edge of Doug Russell Park. The names that are on the stones are Infant No, 1, Infant No. 2 and so on. There are some stones that list only the first names of the child, George, Emma or Mary. You see, the babies are mostly the result of unwed mothers living at the home. Some graves are of mothers that died in childbirth.

Rev. James Tony Upchurch founded this home to save these wild girls (how about the boys?). He believed that mother and child should not be separated so he saw to it that the girls learned a trade such as sewing or nursing. After they acquired a trade they could leave and start their lives. They could also stay if they wanted as there was plenty to do at the home. The school had 67 acres, 10 buildings, its own hospital, barn and chapel.

According to some documents the girls were happy. They found meaningful work and everyone there understood their circumstances.
After all Berachah is Hebrew for blessing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Travels to Texas

Texas is a great place to roam cemeteries: there are so many old ones.

Today I went to see the Smithfield Cemetery, North Richland Hills, Texas. Judy from Cemeteries with Texas Ties wrote a story about it a year ago. She did all the research and I just had to visit. There are many interesting graves as these pictures show.
The one on the left is handpainted. Beautiful job. The chickens appear to be folk art, cut out of wood and tole-painted. These are for two different families. What do they mean? Did the people like pigs and chickens? Or were they farmers? Or it has a meaning that only the families knows.

A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits