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Posts Tagged ‘lakewood historical society’

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I’ve written before about the use of sleep as a euphemism for death. One of the most common iterations of this metaphor is the simple epitaph “asleep in Jesus” that I’ve found on a tombstone in nearly every cemetery I’ve visited. It is, I suppose, intended to add an additional layer of comfort – not only is your loved one not dead, but merely sleeping, but he or she is sleeping safely in the arms of the Christian savior and son of God.

Bates

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Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

Despite how famous of a biblical quote this is, this is the only time I have ever found it on a tombstone.

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Some of the most compelling epitaphs I read are the ones that seem to ignore the cemetery visitor entirely and speak directly to the dead.

The Scholls’ grief manifested itself into a message directly to their lost son in Lakeside Cemetery.
William Scholl

“We miss thee, Willie,” the stone reads.

It’s a little hard to read because of the angle, but the inscription above Jonathan Bates’ name is “How desolate our home, bereft of thee…” This stone is one of the six behind the Lakewood Historical Society in their herb garden, and I could not get closer without stepping on the plants.
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Lakewood Historical Society

Recently I took a side trip to the Lakewood Historical Society‘s herb garden. Seem like an odd place to go for a cemetery blogger? Not when you know that the herb garden has tombstones.

Herb garden
Bates

The six tombstones took a lengthy journey to end up here. (It looks like seven, but one monument has broken into two pieces.)

Whiteheads
Fanny and Betsey Impett

They started out in the Wagar family cemetery, chronicling the deaths of the early pioneers of East Rockport, now known as Lakewood. The first recorded burial on the Wagar property was in 1826; the last in 1894.

Hales
Howe
The cemetery was abandoned in the 1920s and suffered from years of neglect. Tombstones were destroyed or moved when families reburied their dead in newer plots.  Eighty-four persons remained there at the time the cemetery was dismantled.
Peter and James

The remains of the pioneers these markers memorialized were exhumed in the late 1950s and 1960s to make way for construction and reburied in Lakewood Park Cemetery, but the markers did not travel with them. The markers ended up in a local park behind a service garage, subject to vandalism.
Farrows
Finally, the local historical society acquired the tombstones and enshrined them in the herb garden behind the oldest stone house in the city, where they are at least more preserved and protected and can be studied.

Hall

Sarah Hall

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