A recent PBS documentary on death and the Civil War was very interesting although rather depressing. Before the war there were no national cemeteries for soldiers and no provision for identifying or burying the dead. Death was more a natural cycle of life and local communities and families were able to take care of their own. The Civil War changed all that when thousands died all at once and there weren’t enough people to identify and bury, much less return them to their homes. There had been no plan for the dead. The program pointed out that it is the obligation of the living to care for the dead. So true.
It seems less odd to me now saying that my grandfather owned a cemetery. It had always seemed rather morbid to me that of all the things he would feel compelled to do in his later life would be to make a cemetery. ( Do you make a cemetery? Found one? Build one? I’m not sure what the correct term is. ) He wasn’t happy with the fact that most cemeteries were overgrown with weeds and in disrepair. So he decided to create a perpetual care cemetery. Perpetual care means that the cemetery is privately owned and will always be looked after. Part of the purchase price of the burial plot is put into a financial fund and used for the maintenance of the cemetery. He bought several acres outside of town, created the plan, and developed the area. He set aside a central area for family. Unfortunately, he was one of the first to be buried there.
We’ll make a trip over there one day soon and I’ll tell you more about our family's cemetery. But for now, here are a few photos from the cemetery down the road.