Thursday, March 10, 2011

In an Old Cemetery

I have passed this church and cemetery many times on my journeys to West Virginia's northern panhandle and have always wanted to stop. Last Sunday, even though it was snowing lightly, I decided it was time.

I supposed I had not realized that the curch is no longer in use. I could find nothing to tell me either the name of the church or the name of the cemetery. It was located between Friendly and Ben's Run, so perhaps someone from the area can identify it for me.

Details like the wodden adjustable shutters and the textured glass in the windows testify to the care that once was spent on this old building.


The mausoleum is showing need of attention. The keystone has fallen from the top of the arch and lays in front of the entrance.


I posted this photo on Facebook earlier this week. It haunts me, the story of a man's life etched in stone. He came from Wales, and died of the cholera in 1833, far from his homeland.


On this stone, the carver had to move down a line to get all his words in place. Spelling was a bit of an issue too 9"depated") but how lovely the lettering is. And to think that she was born only months after the Decelaration of Independence when America was still in the midst of the war with England. The verse reads:

There anchored safe my weary soul
Shall find eternal rest
Nor storm shall beat nor billows roll
Across my peaceful breast.

Soul and roll had to be moved below the rest of the line for lack of space.
 
Peace and quiet, in a place of snow and remembrance.

A hand-lettered stone is almost illegible today. It looks like it reads, 'Mary, wife of James Morris died...years." That's all I can make out.


A row of little children none living long enough to go to school.


Old stones, the road, railroad, power lines and behind the trees a barge passes on the Ohio River--testimony to the passing of time?


My footprints leave a lonely path through the snow and back to my car.

18 comments:

Steve Ferendo said...

I love old country cemeteries. If you are ever in the Center Point area check out the Center Point Christian Church Cemetery. Lots of history and scenery there.

The Gingerbread House7 said...

A chilling experience visiting a cemetery remembering those resting from life's experience and an awareness of ones own fate.

Susie Swanson said...

Oh I love old cemeterys and old buildings such as churches, barns, and houses. They carry so much history. We have a lot of old cemeterys in my neck of the woods and I love visiting them.

JJM said...

Those are lovely photographs! I am very fond of old cemeteries, as was my mother -- we used to wander about in them for hours ...

Hard to tell on the "Mary Morris" tombstone with the faded lettering how helpful this might be, but -- it's often a matter of the angle of the light as well as the camera. Sometimes, hard-to-read letters stand out better if the shadows fall just right and the camera isn't pointed head-on to the inscription. I used this trick several times when I was photographing ancient inscriptions for my dissertation research in Greece.
--Mario

Granny Sue said...

I might try to manipulate the photo, Mario so the letters stand out more. There was another stone I took a picture of that had lost most of its face--it was the same type as the slate stones, and the writing had literally fallen off. Such a loss of history.

Granny Sue said...

Steve, I go to Center point about once a year. I will look for that cemetery. Thanks!

I know, Susie. I wish I could put into words the feeling that comes over me when I am in a cemetery. Not morbid, or sad--maybe reverential is the right word.

JJM said...

Manipulation might work, but I was thinking of the light directed more across than onto the plane of the inscription, and taking the picture not straight-on towards the inscription but more slantwise from the side. It does actually work, but you need to get it just right ...

Aesthetically, however, your photos are great! I was speaking as an erstwhile archaeologist wannabe ... [wry grin]
--Mario

Mama-Bug said...

I love walking through old cemeteries; it's like walking into the past. Always makes me wonder what those folks were like when they were still alive.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Granny Sue -- Wow -- great post. The setting -- the snow -- the mystery of the departed -- your footsteps -- all gather the feeling of restful peace. -- barbara

Granny Sue said...

Barbara, you had a post recently about hand-lettered gravestones so I thought of you when I saw this one. What was it you called them? I can't remember.

Granny Kate said...

I have such mixed feelings in a cemetery. Somehow they are life-affirming. The ones who loved them carried on and kept their stories alive, sometimes passing them down through generations. I see, not only the scene that had to be there, of the grieving at the graveside, but the rejoicing that must have come when those who left these ones here went on as well, and met their loved ones once again.

I love the greeting "Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again..." for just this reason.

Granny Sue said...

That future meeting is the goal of this life, isn't it?

Nance said...

I did enjoy this post and all the comments too. I am drawn to old cemeteries -- to walk the aisles and read the names and the ages. I have used butcher paper and chalk or crayon to trace the faces of the stones. Saddest, are the little children. Some times 3 or 4 from one family.

Garden Forum said...

That's so freaky! I can't imagine living nearby a cemetery co'z I'm very very scared. But I still want to try it but with accompany.^^

Janet, said...

I love old cemeteries, too. My dad has lots in Teays Hill Cemetery in St. Albans. It is a very old cemetery, when we were kids I remember walking around and seeing if we could find the oldest tombstone there. (I still do)

Granny Sue said...

I look for the oldest ones too, Janet; I guess because it tells me how long ago people lived in an area?

Angel said...

Thank you so for sharing these pictures. Made me wish to be there with you, investigating.

Twisted Fencepost said...

I love visiting old cemeteries.
There is one that my dad and I used to visit in Pinch, WV, that I long to go back to (if I can find it) and take some pics. Who knows, maybe someone somewhere is looking for it.

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