Posts Tagged ‘open book’

I grew up on a rural cul-de-sac, surrounded by farmland. If you leave my father’s house, the first main road you come to is called Old Stonehouse Road. I don’t claim to know which of the aging gray stone farmhouses along its length gave the road its name, but you see enough of them to understand how it might have come about. Old Stonehouse winds down past an alpaca farm, plenty of fields, and the Bricker farm on the corner where my mother used to pick strawberries in the early summer. If you head south, through the tiny village of Allen (better known as Churchtown) that is little more than a crossroads, you come back out into more farm land. Just as Old Stonehouse intersects with State Route 74, on the left hand corner, there is a tall set of trees with a row of tombstones in front of them. The sign says that it’s Bethel Cemetery.

Bethel Cemetery (2)


The years have not been kind to Bethel Cemetery. All of the remaining stones were at some point reset onto a single, long concrete pad. It’s a jumble of headstones and footstones, many re-broken since being set on the concrete. Some of them are barely readable and others are only recognizable as grave markers because of their location.

Bethel Cemetery (3)

Bethel Cemetery (13)

Bethel Cemetery (10)

Rachel (2)

Bethel Cemetery (5)

There are 5 intact, still standing headstones.



Genzel (2)

Hockley (2)


I suspect it is the cemetery’s relative isolation and proximity to the road that has contributed to its deterioration. There is no fence, no wall, and no house close enough to it to keep an eye on it. It’s right along the road, a convenient target for would-be vandals. It clearly hasn’t had a lot of maintenance work done in a long time. But someone cares, as evidenced by the four or five scattered GAR markers and bouquet of flowers that adorned the central marker when I visited.

Bethel Cemetery


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A small number of monuments have two statues upon them. On the Cooper family monument, the seated female statue seems to be comforting (or perhaps educating) the younger kneeling figure.

Cooper monument

The Chamberlain monument has an even more striking representation of the older hopeful woman comforting the kneeling figure. In this one, the seated woman gazes into the skies, but keeps her hand on the figure who has buried grieving sobs in the folds of her dress.

Chamberlain Monument

The statues atop the Morris monument seem to have blended aspects of many other individual statues – one stares upward into the heavens while the other casts her eyes down in grief. The one looking up holds an open book, while the one with downcast eyes holds a closed book, often symbolizing a life ended, along with a memorial wreath.


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