a sense of peace
a touch of sadness
Those feelings washed over me as I wandered around three cemeteries I recently found.
Cemeteries fascinate me...their beauty, their uniqueness, and their history. I'm drawn to the older sections where names and dates and little bits of information cause me to wonder who they were and imagine what life must have been like for them.
The first cemetery I found was Old Soldier's Cemetery located in a larger modern memorial garden. This section was started as a soldier’s cemetery in the early 1900’s. When and where did these soldiers serve?
I walked up the steps, through the opening in the stone wall and discovered many graves all marked with the same stones...UNKNOWN. How sad.
Most of the few markers showed no evidence of any writing.
Then I found this marker. Here was the clue I needed to find more information about these soldiers. I discovered that the 113th U. S. C. I. stands for the 113th United States Colored Infantry, organized June 25, 1864. They were activated for post and garrison duty at Little Rock, AR during the Civil War. According to a magazine article I found there are 85 graves on this half acre site. The unknown graves were thought to be of Union soldiers.
In the surrounding modern cemetery near the children's garden is this beautiful sculpture. I wish I knew who the artist was, but was unable to find out.
The next cemetery I discovered was the Payeatt-Mason 1818 graveyard. In 1812 the Payeatts settled in this area and began running a ferry across the Arkansas River. Members of the family are buried in this historical plot. There are also some of the Mason family buried here, but no information has been uncovered about them.
The graves are covered with rocks and the words on the markers are barely legible.
It was very hard to take pictures in the dappled shade and through the wrought iron fence. This marker says:
b May 29, 1813
d January 23, 1863
She was the daughter of James and Catherine Pyeatt the first settlers.
The last cemetery was the saddest of all. I had to wade through some high grass to reach it. Thankfully I didn't encounter any snakes, chiggers, or ticks. The Swinton Cemetery seems to be neglected and forgotten. The markers, which are cracked and leaning, range from 1886 to 1965. The double marker below reads...
b. Aug. 15, 1818
d June 26, 1910
84 grand and
b. March 15, 1814
d. Nov. 3, 1889
(below that is a Freemason symbol)
gone but not forgotten
Numerous crosses, made of rebar and painted white, were placed at the unknown graves. I was fascinated by this old pitcher near this marker. I wonder if it was used to hold flowers.
a touch of sadness
Those are the feelings I had when my wandering came to an end.
I'm linking this to Helen's Weekend Walk at A Flash Of Inspiration.