Saturday, November 24, 2012

Monument Cemetery

I found the Monument Cemetery to be very sad.  There are many tombstones in great disrepair, and there were at least, say, 100 graves marked only with this "unknown" marker - which I guess is better than nothing at all, but left me feeling profoundly sad.  Like we've lost something important.  I know that is the way of history and pioneer towns in particular, but two of those 'unknown' graves might be my great-great-great-great grandparents Robert and Eliza Jane Jones who both died maybe in the Monument area in 1873, and is it is I'll probably never know what happened to them or where they are.  Maybe they are one of these!  There was a funeral going on as I arrived, someone with a military background and he was cremated but they buried his ashes.  Everyone wore black, which is not what my own family tends to do at funerals.  I wonder how everyone knows how to dress for funerals, since no one talks about it really yet some are very formal black wear and others are just normal clothes and others are dress clothes?  If I ever had lots of money, cemetery marker upkeep/repair is one cause I've thought about.  I think the first time I thought about it was when in a previous genealogy hunt I visited the grave of Ira G. Cummings, a great-great grandfather of mine in Evergreen Cemetery for Memorial Day.  But his grave is completely unmarked - he had no headstone, and an employee had to show us basically where it would be.  But most of these smaller cemeteries have no employees, they just sit lonely and empty and decaying all the time, and no one is even necessarily keeping records of who is buried in them.  Anyway, I was disappointed realizing I may not be able to find Robert and his wife even if they are here.  They are, I believe, my first ancestors to be buried in this county and state - 7 generations back.

The sadness of this cemetery fits the sadness of this day - Ashura, 10th Muharram.  Most of those victims also did not get well marked graves, but they are still remembered.  Why do I feel it is important that we remember those who came before?  It seems really important.

I saw a few headstones like this where they're broken and they've just sunk into the ground.  Many more were completely gone or there may never have been a stone marker. 

This Robert Jones is the son of the Robert Jones I was searching for.  He was the only Jones in the cemetery marked on a headstone.

An example of one where the names are now fully gone, but remnants of a marker are there.  Initials are still there.

Another one fading into the ground.  

A whole row of "unknowns".

This is the oldest marked burial I could find - it seems to say 1871 and so my relatives could be right by it.

An older one still in pretty good shape - probably fought in Indian wars.

This one may have been re-etched or a replacement stone, so maybe some families have done some upkeep?

These two are clearly replacement markers.  My family might be near them or might not be in a cemetery at all or somewhere else.  

I wonder the story behind this one..... I do know there were fights with Indians now and then in the 1870's in the area.  But also could've been a murder or an accident, but the choice of the word 'killed' make you ponder.


Zain said...

Gratitude is maybe what makes you feel to remember them. I have similar feelings. My great-great-great grand parents traveled across the Indian Subcontinent from Iran (back then Pakistan and India were not separate), and they were previously from the Arabian peninsula and had migrated from there (probably prosecuted being the progeny of Ahlulbayt - I happen to be a 'Syed'), and thinking that they carried me in them while traveling all this time connects me to them in a profound manner. I feel it is me who has traveled all these regions for so many years. There is some sort of gratitude that I find within me thinking of them. I find this verse very profound:
'Rabbir hamhuma kama rabbiyani sagheera', the verb "rabbiyani" (derived from the root "Rab" which is commonly used for God) being used for parents kind of strikes me big time.

It is ironic that due to partition, I have never been able to visit my grandfathers' graves as they are on the other side of the border, not easily accessible. The graves I have in my city are fairly recent. I feel a part of me is torn when I realize I don't know about my great grandfathers much or haven't visited their graves, which is why I have been looking for family trees since the age of 8...

We are a part of the human stream, and probably this realization urges us to know who came before us.

Diana Beatty said...

I relate to your feelings; most Americans our relatives are all over the globe and we can only go back a generation or two. That is true for some parts of my family and I just have trying to take as far back whatever branches I can. I am sorry you cannot get to see some of these graves. Like you, I feel like part of me was with them on their journeys and that something important is lost when those connections and stories are lost.