Friday, October 23, 2009

The Jackson's Mill Cemetery

Across the road from Jackson's Mill is a small cemetery. The stones told me this burial place had been here for some time. Although I've visited Jackson's Mill many times in the past 12 years, I had not taken the time to visit the small plot and pay respects to those sleeping there.

One of the first things I saw was this young sassafras growing on a woman's grave. It was obvious that the family who tended the grave had purposely left the seedling in place and let it grow. Perhaps their relative had like sassafras tea? I would like such a tree near my grave, I think, with its strong flavorful aroma and rich colored roots and autumn leaves. Yes, definitely a good plant to have nearby.

An older grave decorated a small flag in one corner of the graveyard attracted my attention.

This was an old grave indeed, for a soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War. He must have
been a very young man at the time--he would have been 17 in 1776. And passed away on Christmas Day. What must that have been like for his family? He did not live to see, however, the fame and tragedy of his young grandson--

Stonewall Jackson, the Confederate general renowned for his bravery, tactics and eccentric ways.
This pair of gravestones were beautiful. I did not note the names on the stones, but the verse on the smaller says "Asleep in Jesus, Blessed sleep, From which none, Ever wake to weep." Touching and pretty much to the point.
On another stone, I found the following verse:
I hope someone has strewn the lilies for this lady. How beautiful a sentiment.
As I left the cemetery, I noticed the stone steps still solid and strong after so many years in place, even if a bit worn. My shadow stretched long across them.
In this place of eternal sleepers, a tiny fern or two find a footing in the old stone. Life continues as nature goes its way of planting new growth in the most unlikely places.



Lovely photographs and words. And the pictures bring back memories of the times I photographed this very graveyard when we came to Jackson Mill for the WV Storytelling Festival. Its a timeless place. Glad you found it.

Granny Sue said...

I had always meant to go over there, Ellouise, but never found the right moment. This trip I had some quiet time and the leaves and light were so lovely.

I had also never been down to the historic area, oddly enough. we were always so busy during our time at the festival.

I took an early morning walk down there this week so I have some good photos of that area too. Of course the mill wasn't running, but maybe one day I'll be there at the right time for that. Something to look forward to.

Rowan said...

What a fascinating place, graveyards are always full of interest and history - and how interesting to find the grave of Stonewall Jackson's grandfather. Odd though it may seem, one of my husband's ancestors had Stonewall as his second given name - he was born in 1864 the year after Stonewall Jackson died. I've often wondered why a very ordinary English family gave their son that name.

Granny Sue said...

Rowan, that is so interesting. I wonder what prompted their choice of his name? Perhaps even then Stonewall was considered a romantic or heroic figure?

Many of Jackson's relatives are buried in the cemetery, but I do not know enough of his family history and names to recognize them. Before I go again I want to find out more information so I will know what graves are those of his relatives.

Matthew Burns said...

I'm kin to most of the people buried in this cemetery. Pretty much all of the older families in that area have some connection to the Bennett family, which originated in Pendleton County. Stonewall Jackson was something like a 2nd cousin to my great-so-many grandfather. Also of note from that same area, Joseph McCally Bennett, who was later the Auditor for the State of Virginia (Confederacy), his picture is on the $5 Virginia Note. He would have been a 2nd cousin to "Stonewall" as well.

Also of interest, Lemuel Chenoweth, (I'm sure you know that name, Granny Sue) was from this same family.

I find it of great interest the old stories and connections. I've always wondered if the progenitor of the widespread Bennett family didn't locate the land around Jackson's Mill when he travelled from Pendleton County to the Clarksburg area to sell wolf hides to the French. He travelled all that way because the french paid better prices than the British at Fort Cumberland in Cumberland, MD (which was quite a bit closer to Pendleton County). Later in life, he (and several family members) moved to the Weston area, and he is buried near there.


Granny Sue said...

Interesting, Matthew! It's like my husband's family in southern WV--because they've been there so long, he's kin to almost everyone who had family there prior to 1850--and to a lot who came after that.

Lemuel Chenoweth was the covered bridge builder, wasn't he? His work was certainly durable as many of his bridges still stand today.

The valleys in this part of WV are wide and fertile, so I can see why settlers would be attracted. The weather is more reasonable than in the eastern mountains and the terrain easier to travel than that of the more western regions so it must have been very attractive to settlers. Some of Larry's folks passed through there too, if I remember right.

laoi gaul~williams said...

lovely! one of the places i go here is an old church upon a hill overlooking the village which is in the domesday book~some of the graves are so old and weathered they can no longer be read but i love the feeling of history that exists. even more interesting is that the site is actually within an earthwork and a yew that has been dated to over 1000 years old~i am sure it was once a bronze age site.

Susan at Stony River said...

How beautiful, and poignant, and even more of each with the autumn colours.

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