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Monday, May 25, 2009

Decoration Day Visits

My husband is working this weekend and next, so two of my sons and I visited a couple of cemeteries today.

Our first visit was to our old family cemetery up Tupper's Creek. My son, Andrew, constructed this sign a few years ago. Gr Grandma Emily (Edens) McMillion and Gr Grandpa Elijah McMillion are buried here.

My grandparents, some of my aunts and uncles and a few cousins are also resting here. I visited this cemetery every year with Mom, Grandma and my aunts to decorate the graves when I was a kid. This is the place where every year I would get my first outbreak of poison ivy. The poison ivy is still there and so are many, many unmarked graves. I walked on the hillside to the right to see if I could find any more unmarked graves that I had not found before.

Here is a rock which looks to be a headstone surrounded with this ground cover which covers every inch of the un-mowed area. I heard that in the old days they would plant ground cover at cemeteries so weed control would be easier. Have any of you heard of this? Do you know what this ground cover is called?

Here is a close up picture. . .

Many graves are down this row, marked only by stones and sunken areas in the ground. Off to the right - - in the weeds, poison ivy, trees and ground cover, I believe there to be more graves.

This plant is growing to the right, they look like some sort of daffodils gone wild that was planted years ago. I need to go up there in early spring, so I can see what they look like then.

There used to be a dirt path going straight through the upper section of the cemetery where four wheelers drove. I'm thinking these rocks were removed from graves and piled at the base of this poison ivy covered tree. It's a shame that some people don't have more respect for cemeteries.

Here is a stone wedged between the limbs of this tree.

Here is a picture taken from the lower end of the grave sites. This is where we entered the cemetery when I was a child. There was no road and we climbed straight up the hill from below.

Before leaving, I had David take a picture of me, my cousin Vera of Intouchwith, and my sister Shirley of Mama's Place standing in front of our grandmother's grave.

Here is the view driving back down the old winding road leaving the cemetery.

We followed my cousin, Vera, up Buzzard Rock to her family cemetery. Here is a picture I snapped out the back of our truck of the rock for which the road was named after. It is much smaller now, it used to jut out over the road much more and was cave like underneath.

We passed by this wonderful old log cabin. There used to be an old country store beside of it. I mention this store in my historical fiction book Lucy of Tupper's Hollow. You all need to ask my cousin Vera to post about the old log house. I would just love to have this on my land. I would fill it up with all my old vintage thingies and sit and reminisce about the old days of my ancestors.

And here we are following my cousin, Vera, on the road leading to the other cemetery.

My son and another man spent a long time with pencil and paper rubbing an old headstone. It was of an infant girl named Henrietta who died Dec 3, 1878 aged 11 mo 21 days. It said at the bottom. . .

budded on earth to
bloom in heaven

I had never heard of that saying before, I thought it was so sweet and sad.

We still have other cemeteries to visit. But today we had an enjoyable time visiting two of them and remembering gone, but not forgotten, family members.


  1. Good for you out visiting the graves of your ancesters!
    An easier way to read the stones is to put aluminum foil over and rub but I can't remember which side go next to the stonte. I think you put the dull side against the stone. Turn it over and read it!

  2. Janet,

    How nice that you went to the cemeteries where your ancestors are buried. What a lovely spot. That old country road brings back many memories.

    The ground cover in the cemetery is perriwinkles. In early spring they have a purple flower. I have them in my yard.

    Thanks for the photo of the poison ivy. I have a weed in the back of my house and wondered what it was. It looks very similar. I'm getting it out of there asap.

    Enjoyed visiting with you.

  3. Nice post, Jan...but you should have just cropped me out of that picture....oh my goodness...I need to lose another 30 lbs. times two..
    I'm working on it. I remember so well climbing that hill to the cemetary with she is buried in it.

  4. Janet, what a great post about your ancestors. Loved the pic of you all together. Thanks for showing what poison ivy actually looks like as I never knew. I get poison ivy and oak every year I try to go out in the woods. It's like it just finds me. Everything looks so lush and your pictures turned out lovely. Thanks for sharing. xxoo

  5. Beautiful trip down memory lane. I can only imagine the memories of you and your Grandmother you have as she told you about the people buried there.

  6. Yep that sure does look like my homestate.
    Thanks for the picture.
    Pamela Mt Pleasant MI
    born and grew up in Clarksburg WV

  7. Thanks, Mary. I just did a little research and periwinkles was a favorite ground cover for old cemeteries. In fact, they say if you find a vast planting of periwinkles in the woods there's a good chance that there's an old cemetery nearby. It was very interesting to read about and know that those were planted for a reason years ago by my ancestors.I bet it's pretty in the spring when they are all in bloom.

  8. I'm thinking like Shirley, you should have cropped me out of the picture also.

    I didn't think to tell you that Mom and Dad were married at that Log cabin and that I had spent several nights in that cabin when I was a young girl,spending the night with my cousins.

  9. Janet, the vine as you have already learned is called periwinkle; it's a vinca related to the annual flower that is often planted in flowerbeds. My neighbors call it "graveyard vine" for obvious reasons. I love its pretty blue-violet flower.

    I enjoyed reading about your day, and seeing the photo of you with your cousins. What a good time you must have had!

    Larry and I didn't get to the graveyards this Memorial Day weekend, but we'll go later. His sister did the flowers this year.

    My family never had this tradition and I think its sad. My grandfather and great-grandfather were buried in Arlington
    Cemetery but we never visited those graves. I think it teaches children to honor their heritage and remember the past. For some reason my parents never thought it was important. Now that they are gone, my siblings and I visit their graves in Culpeper, VA whenever we can. It's important to us to honor their memory. I wish they'd done this for us because only now are we finding out where our family is buried and it's taken a lot of research to get this information.

    Thank you for another lovely post.

  10. This brings back memories. We still visit all the graves on Memorial Day. I am sad to say that My dad's and Brother are buried way up on a hillside in Clay Co Ky and it is almost impossible to get to them. My mother refused to be buried on that hill and was buried at the local memorial gardens. Beautiful pics. Thanks for the memories

  11. I love looking at your photos. I get so homesick for West Virgina. I plan to visit my brothers and sisters there in July. My stay is never long enough.
    Mom and Dad always called Memorial Day, Decoration Day. Years ago, Mom would make little roses from crepe paper and give them to us children to place on graves of our loved ones on Decoration Day.
    You know, I like to visit cemeteries. I hope that doesn't sound morbid, but I like to imagine the lives of those who are no longer with us.
    When I lived in Oklahoma, we discovered a very old prairie cemetery. I could just imagine, people on a wagon train.

  12. Hi Janet,

    I just happened upon your blog today. Wanted to let you know (but I'm not the 1st) about the Periwinkle ground cover... some garden shops call it Evergreen Vinca. But I like Periwinkle.

    I do believe that the oldsters used to plant such ground covers to cut back on weeds and upkeep, since many cemetaries only got attention at Memorial time.

    A friend of mine had a probe her son made for her that she used when doing genological research in cemetaries to find those fallen headstones. They get buried in the weeds and then dirt and dabree cover and hide them. But they are rarely more than an inch or two underground.

    My bad for not going to the graves of my parents, grand & great grandparents. I try to do that since that was how I was brought up. Don't know who will once I'm gone. :(

    Loved your virtual tour. I love the Tennessee valley areas.

    Good luck with your writing.

  13. Loved the cabin. Makes me, once again, to move to Tenn... or just build me a little cabin.

  14. Wish I could have come along-very neat visit! I love to look at the old graves and wonder about the folks who are buried in the them.


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