Anyone have old cemetaries in their town?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by StephenA, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    There's a real old one in the old center of my town. Graves date back to the 1700's there, with some of the people fighting in the Revolutionary War. One person was born in 1699, though I'm not sure if there were others born in the 1600's. The only thing that upsets me is that there's a lot of head stones there that are broken, illegible, and unmarked or just have numbers. I think that the town should go in there and fix it up for at least the historical value.
     
  2. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Being in California, "old" means the 1800s. There's an old cementary somewhat near where I used to live, which is an unincorporated area of the county. It was fenced off by an iron fence, but the headstones can be seen with dates going back to the 1860s or so. The headstones were in disrepair but the county fixed the place up about 5 or 6 years ago.

    Kinda strange that a Target and a Baker's Square are right across the street from this cementary.
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    I don't have any old cemetaries where I live.. Old burials sites maybe but no official cemetary. NY/NJ are all scattered with them all over the place. In fact, the golf course next door where I work (a public county golf course) has a small cemetary right in the middle of it. I believe it is part of the Dey family which has a Mansion (the "Dey Mansion" [​IMG] ) next to it that dates back to the revolutionary times. I'm sure the whole northeast, has a lot of old cemetaries, in the traditional sense.

    I know some of the graves that date to the Civil War era have flags put on them on Memorial Day, but then it was fixed up by an Eagle Scout sometime ago so I think the Boy Scouts still maintain that.

    If you feel strong enough about the upkeep, suggest that to the boy scouts, they seem to fit well with these kind of projects or perhaps a historical society. Good luck!

    Jay
     
  4. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    we have quite a few here in northern va. In my ecology class several years ago we actually went to an old one and gathered the dates on the headstones then did some statistical stuff on the data.

    It was very interesting to see all those old dates from the 1700's.

    Jeff
     
  5. John Nelson

    John Nelson Stunt Coordinator

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    We have a number of cemeteries here in eastern Connecticut that date back to the late 1600's/early 1700's. Sadly, many of the markers have eroded so badly that they can't be read anymore. Overlooking the Long Island Sound I found a small plot with a number of family members of a sea captain appropriately named "Watrous."

    I used to rent a house in Old Lyme on a river along the coastline with a small cemetery located in the woods on the opposite bank. Found a poignant marker for a local boy, a 21 year old lieutenant in the Union army: "Fell at the bridge at Antietam. 'Tell my mother I did my duty.'" I've been meaning to go back and take a photo of that one.
     
  6. Devin U

    Devin U Second Unit

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    One of the coolest things I used to do when I lived in England was go to some of the old churches and find the oldest birth date. The oldest one I could read was from 1325.
     
  7. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i live in plymouth, ma, there is a cemetery that contains the graves of the pilgrims right in town here.

    CJ
     
  8. andrew markworthy

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    Though in fact there are relatively few old gravestones in Brit churchyards. Quite simply, over time, stones get weathered and cracked and crumble away. Not through vandalism or neglect, but simple passage of time. Plus, given that some of our older graveyards have been in use for centuries, in the past bodies have often been dug up and reburied more compactly to make room for the next generation of corpses, and headstones disposed of. If any of you are fans of John Donne's poetry, you'll know that one of his better-known poems is about him imagining his corpse being dug up to make way for another.

    The net result is that there are relatively few very old gravestones. E.g. the church I used to worship at had been in use since the early 13th century, but there were no extant gravestones before about 1700.
     
  9. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    In college, one of my favorite courses was a class called "History of Death & Dying" It's terrible the way we upkeep cemetaries.. but, whereas in the past, cemetaries had benches and trees for people to visit, far fewer people actually go to a cemetary ever any more.. except for a funeral.

    There are old (very old) cemetaries near my rural homes.. dating back to pre-civil war, and many are fairly well maintained. But there are others I've visited that look like virtual trashheeps. Kind of sad.
     
  10. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    Lot of old cemetaries here in the South, mostly from around the time of the War of Northern Aggression (as it was called back then).

    I know of a forgotten grave in the middle of some woods near Sardis reservoir that has a concrete headstone about 6 feet high, but the upper 4 feet is lying on the ground. IIRC, it's the grave of an old pastor from the 19th century. No other graves around it.
     
  11. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Most graveyards are not the property of the town they are in. Most are officially church property, or have their own "ownership organisation". Your best course of action would be to call your local church or funeral home, and find out who's in charge of the cemetary. Once you know who to talk to you can find-out if you might be able to start a restoration fund for the gravesites* The local funeral home should also be able to direct you towards a company or two that sells and/or repairs headstones.

    *Some graveyards do not allow restoration. It interferes with historical authenticity.

    If you're really, really bored you could perform archiological digs in the yards of old houses to check for forgotten graves. Alot of old houses around here have them from when they functioned as makeshift hospitals during the War of 1812.
     
  12. StephenA

    StephenA Screenwriter

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    I think my town might own this cemetary because it's right next to the town museum. There's no churches at all near it. I have no idea though. I can tell that some of the head stones have been fixed in years past. I'll have to look into it all.

    And strangely enough there's some new graves in there from the past 15 years, most notably some from the past 4 or 5 years with the newest being put there just this year. It kind of looks funny with all these old, crumbling head stones surrounding about 20 recent ones.
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    I assume you have a more relaxed attitude about such things in the USA. In the UK if I tried to dig up someone's garden to look for graves I can anticipate two things:
    (1) a car with a flashing light on the roof
    eventually followed by
    (2) a series of long chats with a psychiatrist
     
  14. hanson mat

    hanson mat Stunt Coordinator

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    Savannah has a crazy old cemetary. Union troops changed things on headstones, such as sex and birthdates to make people like 500 years old. So many headstones were moved, that they just re-hung all the misplaced stones on a wall. It's really creepy there.
     
  15. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    San Francisco dug up all the dead people in the 30s(?) and moved them down to Colma near the Southern Border.
    Buena Vista park near my house has pathways which use the old tombstones as borders...that's as close as it comes to old.
     
  16. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Yes and No ....but they would shoot you anyways
     
  17. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    Two of my best friends live across the street from that park and I see those whenever I walk their dog there when I visit. Pretty neat, if you ask me.
     
  18. Patrick_S

    Patrick_S Producer

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    Well there is still one old cemetery in the city of San Francisco and there is at least one columbaria.
     
  19. Patrick Nevin

    Patrick Nevin Stunt Coordinator

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    There is an old cemetery in my town. People either lived or died in the 1800's. The sad thing is there is no place to park if you wanted to go look at the headstones. It is located on a county road and if you go up the hill to park in the residential area there is a no parking sigh.
     
  20. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    In the late 1800's there was a huge water slide that started at the top of the park. Horse & buggys took the bathers to the top for the ride down. I have seen a few pictures of it and it looked pretty cool. Raging waters is not a new concept!

    Next time you are walking your friends dog check out the big apartment buildings across Haight street at Broderick.
    One is a stately building with a copper roof, bricks go up to the 1st floor.... the other is a ugly beige block house with awful fake stone.
    They started out identical....the ugly one was modernized!

    And if you come across a guy with 2 Scottie Dogs who follow him (walk is a misnomer); say Hi...that's me
     

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