Friday, June 12, 2009

When even the bad can do some good...

A friend of mine sent this link to me:  Rich History in One Jackson Cemetery.  It's a video produced by WAPT in Jackson about damage to Greenwood Cemetery in Jackson and the attention that's been brought to the cemetery as a result.  This cemetery contains the grave of several former governors, luminaries such as Eudora Welty, and many others.  It seems a large tree fell in the cemetery, causing damage to several markers including one photographed by Eudora Welty (who was a photographer for the Works Progress Administration prior to taking up a pen).  The damage is unfortunate, but a positive side effect has been increased publicity for the cemetery.  It's a an interesting video, they chose to follow a geneologer through the cemetery and record some of his thoughts. 

If you're reading this blog, odds are you in interested in some facet of cemeteries - either as geneological resources, historic sites, or cultural phenomena.  There's an old adage that "any coverage is good coverage", and while you can certainly debate the truth of that, keep it in mind whenever you're working with old cemeteries - even an event such as a tree falling can be used to bring publicity (and hopefully much-needed preservation funds). 

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

British Cemetery

The updates have been slow in coming, I know.  The thesis is still consuming most of my time.  I did take a day off this past Saturday to drive to Ocracoke.   I wanted to check out some of the lighthouses and, of course, cemeteries along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It was a nice trip, certainly worth the time!  While I was in Ocracoke I stopped by the British Cemetery.

The cemetery is both a cemetery, containing the remains of 4 British sailors, and a memorial to the crew of the HMT Bedfordshire. 

The Bedfordshire was an anti-submarine trawler on loan to the United States and tasked with patrolling the coast in order to stop submarine attacks.  She was sunk by a German submarine off Ocracoke Island.  4 bodies washed ashore and were recovered by the residents of the island.  Two bodies were identified, the other two remain unidentified to this day.  They were buried in a small plot of land.  In honor of their sacrifice, a lease for the plot was given to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission so the sailors would be in a British Cemetery.  The cemetery was originally maintained by the people of Ocracoke Village, and is now maintained by the US Coast Guard Ocracoke Station.  A small plaque on the site bears a few lines from a poem by British poet Rupert Brooke:

If I should die think only this of me
that there's some corner of a foreign field
that is forever England

If you are in the area, pay the cemetery a visit.  It’s located off a side street, and there is a small parking lot.  There are a few more photos on flickr.  It’s past Memorial Day, but check out the memorials and cemeteries in your area.  These sites not only memorialize the fallen, they also reveal how those who erected the monuments wanted the dead to be remembered. 

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