Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cedar Hill Cemetery

 I walked through the oldest part of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Vicksburg Saturday morning and the recurring theme as I gazed around was the number of fallen tombstones that were being slowly consumed by the earth. I figured I better take photos of them while I could before they are completely covered up by grass and then by the dirt itself. From my walk, it seems like quite a number of tombstones had already been reclaimed by the earth in the historic cemetery.

 This is the oldest date I have ever found on a tombstone in the cemetery.  As shown below, it is of the Rev. James Gwin, who was born in 1769 and died in 1841. It was humbling to look down on the grave of a man who was born seven years before this country was even founded. May he rest in peace as his entire plot slowly sinks into the earth.

Update on Jan. 26: For the rest of the story on the above tombstone, visit my friend Rachel at http://lawntea.blogspot.com/. She has researched this tombstone and her findings are extraordinary!

 One of the tombstones on this grave has toppled over and has already sunk down about two inches. The hillside on its right side has slowly pushed down the hill and is knocking it off-kilter. Another grave in the same location is below.  It's fighting being buried.

I don't know what it is about this grave that I like. The broken planter calls out to me with some message, but I have yet to grasp it.


  1. Very interesting Marty...never thought of taken pictures of broken tombstones but glad you did for us. Thanks for sharing. I too like the broken planter...

  2. Life is like a vessel.
    We fill it up
    With things:
    Memories, objects, hopes, dreams.
    The weight of it
    Cracks it--neither good nor bad--
    But it empties out all the same.
    Pouring gifts, or,
    Losing hope.
    The message depends on where we are
    When we hear it.

    Let them who have ears to hear, hear.
    Those who have eyes to see, see.

  3. Marty, I looked at these a long time last night, and somehow, your lens has captured such depth that the withered grass just leapt forward around the stones, as if I could touch the rough strands around the cool marble.

    And I do believe you've captured another little mystery---a lover of the theater (or perhaps an ardent admirer of the diva of that day) has placed a stone in "affectionate" memory of the Methuas, whose resting places are perhaps not in that cemetery.

    I wonder if perhaps Guido and Marie are buried in another place, since their world travels might have taken them anywhere, and only their fame and great talents brought this memorial to be.

    Wouldn't it be lovely to think that an ardent fan of that time was so moved by the work of this pair that he memorialized their art in such a way?

    Another little item on the "mystery" list.

    And I'll try not to think of the two little children, and what might have taken them so young, so close together. Daddy's two older brothers died in the Flu Epidemic of 1918, before he was born.

  4. Marty,

    You know how your pictures captivate my imagination. Perhaps it's all the snow surrounding us and the wan light of the days, but I've just been delving and searching into whatever I could find of the Methua family, and I've found what I was looking for.

    Days of scrambling through little snippets in poorly-written books of theater doings and settlements and travels, translating a lot of it from the German, and following a teensy clue here and there which led to hours of scroll-downs in some self-published typo-laden treatises, just searching for the names in the volumes with no dates, etc.

    I've found enough after these three days to put together the story of their years here, and their sad fates when they fled Memphis for Vicksburg, with the Yellow Fever already on their trail.

    I'd thought at first that the "tablet" might be merely a memorial, especially since the cemetery lists 0 Interments for the three. But it's real, and I grieve these strangers of a century-and-a-third ago as if I'd been a friend, or at least a follower of their talents.

    I'll put something together next week or so, and hope to use the picture of the broken stone as the header---you always inspire me in some way, whether it be fallen leaves, a statue in the glow of sunset, or a gravestone being consumed by the hungry roots of a tree.

    Right now, I have to go put on some music and dance these dishes done. I need sunshine and merry moments, for I've been searching amongst the dead for much too long.

    As always---thank you for your great artistry and all the inspiration.


  5. There you are, Marty---a project finally done. The little Epilogue will appear tomorrow morning, and then I've gotta get out from under all the dark searching and into the BRIGHT of a new February.

    I don't know why I get so absorbed in things which catch my interest, but you seem to post the most interesting snippets.

    Someday when you're in the same apot, could you get a picture of the little stone placed for the little girl? Ada Belle Cooper is listed with the Methua family in their plot.

    I don't want to take this any farther, ever---but I'd like to see her resting place.

    I've dwelt on this quite enough.

  6. enjoyed these pictures...i too wander around in cemeteries taking pictures....reading the epitaphs