Monday, June 22, 2009

How We are Remembered

Sometimes it is not what we remember but how we are remembered that is important. Gravestones quietly weathering time illustrates this point better than any words I could string together. The symbolism in carvings. The words etched in marble. And the placement within family bonds that even death can not fully break.

These symbols of our devotion and sorrow tell a story of a person, a family, a place, and a time. With a little knowledge of the regional history one can imagine a more personal view of the life and events that might have shaped them. I like to imagine. I like to try to connect historical events to the dates on the gravestones.

William E. Parker
Sept 5, 1855
May 13, 1884
He dwelleth in heaven,
yet deep in our hearts
His image is graven
and never departs;
And while we yet linger,
we watch and we wait
Till death, who has parted,
again shall unite
Gone but not forgotten
This stone is elaborate and thoughtful. What must this man have been like? What did he do in his short 29 years of life that warranted the love and devotion that this stone reveals? Did his wife of 6 years remarry. Did he have any children? Was he kind? The urn and cloth at the top of his gravestone is represented on other gravestones within the cemetery. Does it have meaning? If so what?

Sacred to the Memory
George W. Glasscock
Born in Kentucky April 11, 1810
Emigrated to Texas in the
Spring of 1831
Died in Texas February 28the, 1868
He was a soldier in the Ic.......the independence of Texas
A hundred and forty one years have passed. The craving has started to wear. Lichen has slowly taken hold. What an adventurer he was. I wonder why he chose to leave his home at 21 to make his way to wilderness that has Texas. Was he following his brother Joe or did they venture to Texas on their own? Six years later he married Cynthia Knight. He later became a very prominent Texan.

Sacred to the Memory
Cynthia Glasscock
in Tennesse, July 30th, 1815
Emigrated to Texas 1835
November 7th, 1866
Blessed are they who die in the land.
How did she find her way to Texas? Did she follow family? Texas in 1835 was a violent place. Mexico and Texas were waging war with each other. How did this touch her life? She married 2 years after moving to Texas. She gave birth to 6 children. It would be five years before her first child was born. Did she suffer through miscarriages or the monthly pain of not conceiving. Was her life harder then it could have been? George and Cynthia are placed together, with family all around. Their head stones are connected by a lovely pediment as they were in life. Did their children place their stones this way because of the example that George and Cynthia set?

This is not a headstone. The Travis county Historic Commission provided a marker. Sometimes those that need to most be remembered finally are.

This post should have been written for Memorial Day but I think we spend a lot of our year not remembering those that made the history of our lives. We are here because of men and women who were brave or not, stalwart or not, and devoted or not. r maybe I'm just a major history nerd.



  1. This is a lovely post. HB and I love to wander, and wonder, through a cemetery too.

    I did think it was interesting that the Glasscock couple 'emigrated' to Texas. I don't know a lot about American history - when were all the states united into one country?

  2. Beautiful post. Whenever I visit a cemetery (which admittedly, isn't enough) I pray for the plots where weeds have overgrown. Maybe their families are gone, maybe they just can't make it over the hill. But I pray that the deceased is remembered and the family is blessed.
    Again, a wonderful, thought-provoking post... hugs.

  3. Very thoughful and thought provoking post!!!

  4. I love to wander cemeteries, and even do family photos for those who contact me in our local cemetery. My grandson in Alabama says one of his best memories of me is "Can we stop at this cemetery"? Which is every mile or so down there.

    Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this very, very much!


  5. The history behind the headstones constantly go through my mind when I'm around them. Who were they? What were they like? How did they touch life?
    Very thoughtful.

  6. I love old cemeteries. They tell so many great stories. I also like the old names. I've actually seen stones with the names "Beloved," and "Thankful," and I wonder what those babies were like and how long they were wished for.

  7. Thanks for posting those beautiful pictures, m'dear! Cemeteries surrounded by big leafy trees and green grass somehow don't seem so lonely and forlorn like the ones out here in the gravelly, treeless desert. Possible future sketch and/or painting inspiration??

  8. Great shots. I love cemetaries, my Grandma is buried in a beautiful one on top of a hill overlooking the Hudson River. I'm being cremated though, go figure.

  9. I have done that too, walked around a graveyard. There are so many stories. I loved this post. YOu and I definitely have one thing in common

  10. I love old headstones. Living in New England, we have some of the oldest in the country. I love wandering around them and thinking about those that I buried there. I ask myself the same questions you did.

  11. I'm going to go ahead and be incendiary:

    Anyone who doesn't donate their bodies post-mortem is both one-dimensionally sentimental and - if they have any empathy at all for the rest of the human race - impossibly cruel.

    By all means, erect the prehistoric and vain headstones. Their existence makes for good fodder for zombie movies. But by not donating your body, you doom others to unnecessary pain, premature death, and making it more difficult and expensive to train qualified physicians.