The gravestones are like rows of books bearing the names of those whose names have been blotted from the pages of life; who have been forgotten elsewhere but are remembered here.
~Dean Koontz from Fear Nothing
Last time my sister and I went on an adventure we found a four times great-grandfather (one of 34, if no relatives marry one another, which can really throw one for a loop). He was buried in a cemetery not far from us. I enthusiastically shared that he was "up near (our friends) Dan and Marta." My sister responded with, "I had no idea that they had passed." They haven't. My communication skills need honing.
This time, I found his (the 4x great-grandfather's)
parents — both father and
mother — and even some siblings buried together in a quaint church yard about 45 minutes from here. The odd connection this time? John's sister lives right around the block!
This meant that John would go along for the ride, get dropped off to visit his sister, and we would return to fetch him after we had found the ancestors in a graveyard where over 700 people are buried. It seemed a daunting task.
And indeed I felt pretty overwhelmed at first glance.
~standing at the main gate~
Rebecca and Payne are siblings resting here with their parents. Thing is Rebecca and Payne are also their grandparents' names (they are buried in Gloucester, Massachusetts) and also their mother's brother and sister. Those particular names were recycled three times that we know of! It gets crazy.
This 5x great-grandfather (one of 64) is the son of the Revolutionary soldier. As far as I know, this man did not serve in any war, though his grave is marked with a G.A.R. star. (A veterans' group meaning Grand Army of the Republic). We must investigate this further. This means that I must. My sister wishes to go along for the ride without doing the research. That she leaves to me. I have to tell her stories to get her to understand the significance of what we are doing...something like this:
Nan(a) was born in 1909. Just two years before, her great-grandmother Nancy died in Gloucester and was buried there. She was a Civil War widow and had been widowed for forty years. Nancy's father is buried in the forest hill cemetery we found in July. We are visiting her paternal grandparents today.
This seems to work. Ha!
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful old cemetery well cared for, those white stones gleamed in the sun. There are beautiful daylilies blooming in that row and the church is beyond charming. They (the 5x great-grandparents) helped to found it. I have learned that this grandfather was an "old-time Baptist" until he became persuaded that Universalism was the way to go. This means that he thought God so loving that He could not banish anyone to hell and that, one day, all humanity will be saved.
There is something inscribed on the grandmother's stone, which we can not quite see. Initially, we thought it said, "She hath endured all she could," which makes for a strange engraving. But passing away at 91 in that time may account for such a message. More investigating must be done. We tried a light rubbing and that did not work. Next we'll try a mirror or something.
If we continue back, we must go to New Hampshire, Gloucester, Mass and Haverhill, Mass. After that, it's a trip across the sea to England where the lines dry up at about the year 1400. Ha!
After a little over an hour of wandering about, taking photos and finding many more relatives, we retrieved John and visited with his sis for a short while. Then we went straight out to lunch and afterward home in thunderstorms. It was a very pleasant day!