Posts Tagged ‘south dakota’

I did not grow up in a cemetery-visiting family.  I remember one trip to my Great Uncle Lou’s burial where I actually entered a cemetery as a child.  Even though I know we drove by them often enough, my grandmother never took me to visit her parents’ graves.  Some of my family chose an alternative to burial or even cremation with a marker in a memorial garden.  So the idea of walking into a cemetery, let alone with a camera, was foreign to me.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I had the unique opportunity to take a road trip course on the History of the American West.  For approximately 3 1/2 weeks, the professor and students traveled in two university vans in a loop around a significant swath of the western states and visited places that were significant in history.  And in the course of that trip, we visited famous graves.

At that time, I wasn’t quite sure it was “ok” to photograph tombstones, which explains the dearth of photographs in this post.  We visited Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, which includes a pioneer cemetery with the grave of Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. I bought a postcard with a professional photograph of her tombstone – something I never imagined existed – but I felt a little embarrassed and strange about buying it. The postcard is now lost. The closest thing to a tombstone photo is a picture of the metal marker across from the visitors’ center.
Lincoln Boyhood Home marker

A bit later in the trip, we ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Mount Moriah Cemetery. I could kick myself now for all the photographs I didn’t take. Mount Moriah’s most famous residents are “Wild Bill” Hickock and “Calamity Jane” Martha Cannary Burke. The only photos I have from this historic site is one of David clowning around with the sign pointing to the “David” section…
…and one of the sign indicating the location of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane’s graves. But not the graves themselves. I could go back and smack my 20 year old self.
Mt. Moriah Cemetery - Deadwood, South Dakota

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