For somebody with no intention of ending up in one, I certainly have an affinity for cemeteries. After exploring a stretch of the Cullasaja Valley where Silas McDowell unearthed mysterious clay sepulchres of the ancients, I decided to roll on into Franklin and revisit Mr. McDowell's burial place.
There on a hill above the First United Methodist Church, I remembered how much I like cemeteries, and the older the better. This cemetery contains the grave of at least one Revolutionary War veteran, which is something you don’t see very often in these Western North Carolina graveyards.
I found the grave of Silas McDowell, and it got me to wondering why his wife and the rest of his family weren’t buried there along with him. Add that to my long list of things to investigate.
Anyhow, I sat down and had a little talk with Silas. We go back a long ways and never run out of things to be amazed at. I talked about how these mountains have changed. And I talked about how they’ve stayed the same - more so than most people realize. And he was glad to hear it.
Leaving Silas, I ambled through the cemetery in search of other stories. On the stone marking the grave of James Robinson, I read "If the actions of a good man can endear his memory, this stone will be often visited."
Nearby, a matched pair of stones told the story of yet another damnable war. In a span of less than four months, John and Mary Siler lost two sons to the Civil War. James Wimer Siler died April 8, 1862 in Petersburg, Virginia. William Theodore Siler died July 24, 1862 in Richmond, Virginia. Enough said.
A cemetery is a good place to be, alright, especially if you’re above ground rather than under. I know I’m not alone in my enjoyment of cemeteries. Once again, no matter your field of interest, the web will hook you up with like-minded souls.
Take, for instance, the Cemetery Club Blog, by the editor of Epitaphs Magazine. After a quick review of this site, I find that my enthusiasm for cemeteries pales in comparison to that of the dedicated taphophiles of the world.
Or check out the Cemetery Lovers Headquarters:
The group for anyone who loves cemeteries! Whether your hobby is headstone rubbing, genealogy, family history, cemetery photography, cemetery preservation, or any aspect of cemeteries, this is the place to be!
Cemetery Lovers provides a link to a collection of odd gravestone epitaphs, including this one, seen in a London cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann
Dec. 8, 1767
Who says cemeteries can’t be fun?
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