You may wonder why I am interested in cemeteries. (Or not. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many people I know also like cemeteries. Of course, you may also simply not care!)
For one thing, cemeteries are great photography subjects. Between the artwork of the headstones, and the stories told in the inscriptions, I continue to take hundreds of pictures every time I visit one.
I know I said I’d soon be posting pictures of Hargadine Cemetery, but first I’m posting some photos of an earlier walk through Ashland Cemetery. Sorry if that disappoints you for some reason.
One of the things I find interesting is how the headstones often suggest attitudes about death, the afterlife, and even grieving.
The shapes and markings on the headstones symbolize certain things. For example, an arch may signify passage to heaven, or being reunited in heaven. Or, it might simply mean the person buried there thought arches were cool.
Though it may be impossible to read in this photo, the arched headstone on the left marks the graves of what I’m guessing were two brothers, Freddie and Ossie Caniard. They died in 1883 within a few weeks of each other; one was fifteen, the other sixteen. Talk about harsh.
As I was taking that picture, I was listening to a mourning dove calling from the trees in the background.
Here’s a close-up of the headstone on the right in the picture above. I suppose the gazebo-thingie (I’m pretty sure that’s the correct term) on top might be arch-like in meaning, or it may refer to heaven, or maybe that the dead body we leave behind is a house left by the spirit that occupied it.
“There have been many changes in those we loved.
Some have changed from old friends to the new.
But we feel in the depths of our hearts,
There never was any change in you.”
— Your old playmates
I’m not sure I understand what the old playmates were trying to say. How do you change from an old friend to a new one?
“To the dear little mound
Among the hills, foliage crowned.
Where happy songsters trill their lay,
With thee my heart will always stay,
For thee my thoughts will oft return,
For thee my inmost soul will yearn.”
— V.S.C. Mickelson
Here’s a bit of history. The inscription itself tells a little bit about the man, Capt. Thomas Smith, and about the times. It turns out the inscription was etched into the marble in 1890 — before Capt. Smith was actually dead. His wife, Margaret, however, had already been buried there nearly sixteen years.
I found a transcription of an article* from the Ashland Daily Tidings dated Friday May 23, 1890 that talks about this very headstone:
For example: Pliny R. Strange
Just one more:
It’s interesting to me that this man died in 1875, yet I read that Ashland Cemetery wasn’t established until 1880. What gives?
The National Register of Historic Places site says, “Burial dates in Ashland Cemetery range from 1860 (predating the official graveyard platting in 1880) to the present.”
So, there you go.
So do you have a cemetery you have particularly liked?
* I want to credit the source of the article on “A Beautiful Monument.” Oddly, it’s part of a scanned document whose pages have the following footer: