Thursday, April 17, 2014

Old Cemeteries And Good Intentions

You would hardly know from a casual look that this hilltop in rural Hamilton County is a cemetery.  The last burial that we find in records was in 1915, and it hasn't been too many years since it was wrecked.  The intentions were good.

Rawl's Cemetery had eastern red-cedars growing all over it, and someone had the idea that if they sold the trees, they would have money to take care of the cemetery.  The sale was done, the trees were cut, and the care was hiring someone to mow the cemetery with a  tractor and bush-hog.  The destruction began, and continued until the money was gone.

Stones were knocked down by the tractor and mower.  Some stones landed on the corresponding grave and were pressed down by the tractor, but most were broken and moved from where they belong.  The 
 good news is that the person mowing this cemetery didn't heave the stones into the adjoining woods, so 
many of the stones can still be located for record-keeping.

Graves can be found this time of year by the flowers planted generations ago at the headstones, and many of the graves are sunken, so the markers can be found, such as they are.

Little Dora Manchester is one that we have a photo of from the 1970's.  Her headstone was intact, and standing at her grave back then.  We found her again, but pieces are missing.  She died in 1863.  Daylilies have covered most of the cemetery now, and that seems to be keeping the ground fairly clear, except for oaks that are migrating out from the nearby timber.  We can beat the trees back with no impact to the stones but restoration of this cemetery will be difficult due to the heavy damage that occurred after the cedar trees were removed.  What a sad mess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sad indeed! Perhaps even criminal.