Showing 11 - 14 of 14 posts found matching keyword: cemetery

One month ago today, my mother sprung into my room at the crack of noon and announced, "wake up! we're going someplace I've wanted to visit for years: Oakland Cemetery!" You can only imagine my delight.

I can see my house from here!

An hour later we were standing in Atlanta's historic Oakland Cemetery, surrounded by dead people. The woman working the welcome center was wearing a sea foam green, Victorian-era crinoline dress as she discussed Civil War battlefields with a uniformed Atlanta police officer. It was a little surreal, like walking through a Tim Burton movie. I wasn't entirely sure I wasn't still dreaming.

The South will rise again just after a little nap.

Mom and I entertained ourselves with the $4 self-guided walking tour map. I initially made an effort to seek out all of the numbered "points of interest" on the map, but I soon discovered that the highlights on the map were easily noticeable without referencing the pamphlet. For example, the Confederate Obelisk, once the highest structure in the city, hardly needs to be on a map for it to be noticed.

Here be dead people.

The cemetery is chock full of interesting monuments in a stunningly diverse mixture of styles. I've been in a lot of cemeteries, but few are populated with so many distinctly unique monuments. Below is the Jewish section of the cemetery, where to no one's surprise, they don't waste much space. That's my mother, pondering whether the oldest graves are near the middle. We both hope so.

Jews. Am I right?

In some ways the cemetery feels more like a sculpture garden than a field full of corpses. These dead people had great taste, and I doubt that many people alive today would design such good looking final resting places. Certainly none of these statues were wearing wife-beaters and flip flops.

Neal before Zod!

I should mention that shortly after we entered the cemetery, mother and I were passing the plot of former Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown when we encountered an aged, well-dressed mourner. The polite man had traveled from Scotland to lay flowers at the grave of his wife who had passed away a year earlier. He and my mother struck up a conversation about her family's Scottish ancestry (clan Napier) and accidentally discovered that one of my mother's relatives from Newnan had delivered the eulogy at the woman's funeral. Even without the internet, it's a small world after all.

If you become a Georgia Governor, a Georgia Superior Court Judge, and a United States Senator, you, too, can have an impressive monument.

Besides Governor Brown, the cemetery holds the remains of many notables, including Bobby Jones, Margaret Mitchell, and Maynard Jackson, among many others. But you don't have to have been famous to be buried here. In the South, we're so gracious we'll let in whoever wants in....

Can you take me high enough?

Even those damn Yankeys.

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Most tombstones show the date of death. Many tombstones record the date of birth. But there aren't too many tombstones showing a third date.

Multiple choice tombstones?

This tombstone for Jennie Hardaway McBride, found in Newnan's historic Oak Hill cemetery, demanded a little research. And not because there are no oaks or hills anywhere in sight.

It turns out that "Jennie" isn't even Mrs. McBride's real name. Before she was Mrs. "Jennie" McBride, wife of Newnan merchant and Scotch-Irish society member William Cardwell McBride, she was Virgina Rebecca Hardaway, daughter of Isora Burch. In 1903, Isora Burch organized the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, named in honor of her great-grandmother, Sarah Dickinson Simms. Jennie would eventually succeed her mother as regent for the DAR Sarah Dickinson chapter. But that doesn't solve the question of why she has three dates on her tombstone.

The death certificate for "Mrs. W. C. McBride" of 14 Robinson Street in Newnan, Ga, lists the cause of death at age 50 as "acute uremia." The internet tells me that uremia is typically caused by kidney failure. In this case it wasn't a surprise to anyone when she died; the certificate notes that she was diagnosed with "uremia" six months before it killed her. However, that still doesn't account for the third date on the tombstone.

The father of Mrs. McBride was Robert Henry Hardaway, descendant of a boy "kidnapped" onto a ship bound for America in 1685. It turns out that daddy also has 3 unusual dates on his grave: "December Twelfth, 1837, - 1869, February 11, 1905." Robert Hardaway was born in 1837 and died in 1905. So what did he do between those two dates? He stayed busy. For one thing, Hardaway was a Confederate States Army soldier in Company B of the 1st Georgia Calvary. For a time afterwards, he was a member of the Georgia State General Assembly. And he was also a partner in the merchant firm Hardaway & Hunter in Newnan where he met Isora Burch and was married on December 12, 1869! Ah, ha!

The historical record states that Jennie R. Hardaway was married on April 18, 1894. Mystery solved. At least two generations of the Hardaway family of Newnan liked to put their wedding dates on their tombstones. Who knows why, exactly, but if I had to guess, I'd suppose they died a little those days. They don't call spouses "balls and chains" for nothing. Marriage: it's a life sentence.

Sources (in case you're interested):

1. Allen, Alice. "Coweta County GaArchives History - Books .....Introductory Information 1928." Coweta County Chronicles. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011. .

2. "Capt. Robert Henry Hardaway." Dickinson-Tree.net. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

3. "Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System." National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

4.Georgia's Virtual Vault : Death Certificate Mrs. W. C. McBride. Digital image. Georgia's Virtual Vault : Home. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

5. Hubert, Sarah Donelson. Thomas Hardaway of Chesterfield County, Virginia, and His Descendants. Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shiperson, 1906, p. 19.

6. Scotch-Irish in America, The; Proceedings and Addressess of the Sixth Congress at Des Moines, IA, June 7-10, 1894. Nashville, TN: Barbee & Smith, 1894, p. 317.

7. "Spend-the-Day Parties." Atlanta Georgian and News, Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.

8. Statutes of Georgia Passed by the General Assembly of 1884-85. Atlanta, GA: JAS. P. Harrison & Co, 1885. p 245.

9. "uremia." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

10. "With Line and Ribbon." Weekly Constitution (Atlanta), Jun. 6, 1882, p. 5.

11. Wood, Dianne. "Georgia: Coweta County: LINEAGE BOOK." The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Vol. 106. 66. Free Genealogy and Family History Online - The USGenWeb Project. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

12. Wood, Dianne. "1827-1900 Coweta County Georgia, Marriages by Groom L-Z." Georgia Genealogy. 2002. Web. 18 Apr. 2011.

[For the record, Jennie Hardaway McBride shares a common ancestor with my mother. Sarah Dickinson Simms, Mrs. McBride's 2nd great-grandmother, was my mother's 4th great-grandmother, making her my 5th great-grandmother. What can I say? Newnan's kind of a small town.]

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North meets South

Victoria was taken aback on a recent walk through the cemetery when she noticed this Confederate flag and marker for Dr. North. "Dr. North working for the South? Preposterous!" Ah, poodles. Will they never cease being amazed by the peculiar foibles of humanity?

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Following my last post which revealed that the rainbow ends in disappointment, I present the two inevitabilities in life: death and poodles.

The grim reaper is a lot furrier than most people would suspect. (Though the dog breath is no surprise.)

July looks very jaunty in this image, no? I think perhaps I need to start taking pictures of July in front of other bleak subjects and see if she can't liven them up a bit. House fires and auto accidents, here we come.

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To be continued...

 

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