This may be the most cryptic confession I have ever given, but here it goes anyway. I really enjoy taking pictures of old churches, which may be unique, but is not exactly bizarre. The weird part is that most of the time I do not stop with examining the intricate craftsmanship of church architecture, but often allow my exploring to take me behind the churches into their graveyards. Like I said, kind of creepy.
The other day I drove by Union Hill Cemetery, and took note that it is an important local burial site. I had my camera with me, and decided to go see what history I could find there. That is when I came across this tombstone:
Several things came to mind afterwards. I wondered what Elizabeth experienced as someone who lived (and died) in the era of the civil war. I thought about how society has greatly changed the way we view women since this tombstones inscription. I also examined my own life, and reflected on what am I doing today that is going to matter 150 years from now.
It also begin to sink in, that I take a lot of pictures of graveyards and tombstones. I know that’s not normal, but I am not really ashamed of the fact that I like to take walking tours in graveyard gardens. In fact, I thought I would share some of my favorite tombstone photos with you.
Boston has plenty of history buried all across the city.
Here is my friend Michael looking over a graveyard in the Boston Common.
Captain Daniel Malcolm was a vocal patriot who died just before the Battle of Bunker Hill. He asked to be buried in a stone grave 10 ft. deep to prevent British soldier from unearthing him. This is explained in detailed on the tombstone, but what is really interesting is the fact that you can still see the marks from where British soldiers used his headstone for target practice before the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Boston’s most favorite son’s original and “upgraded” tombstones.
This was near John Hancock’s tomb. Death doesn’t look like he’s taking his job too seriously.
Lone Oak Cemetery in Carville, Louisiana, is where you will find the gravesite of 50 inmates from the Louisiana prison system. Their name, dates, and Department of Correction’s number is all that is listed on the tombstones.
I found these behind St. Gabriel Church, the Oldest Church in the Mississippi Valley.
This leper graveyard in Carville is one of the most tragic. People chose to be buried under an alias to protect their families from embarrassment and harm.
Grace Episcopal in St. Francisville has many civil war veterans buried there, and has the second oldest Episcopalian graveyard in the Louisiana.
While I know graveyards have their stigmas the history that they hold invite me to explore and appreciate anyway. There are unique perspectives and interesting stories waiting behind, or should I say underneath, every tombstone.
If all this talk about death and graveyards has you down, then maybe this video of Amy and me searching for Al Capone’s grave in Chicago will cheer you up!