I don’t know if it’s common outside the South, but like many folks around here, we have a burial plot in the front yard. When we first moved out here, my wife and I were describing our place to a bartender who was incredulous that such a thing existed. “Doesn’t it creep you out?” I lied to him, “Nah. You guys don’t do that where you come from?”….. “No.”

One of our earliest visitors, a brickmason who’d come to do some work on one of the chimneys, asked us, “Ain’t y’all worried about haints?” By that time we’d become used to our deceased, and we were able to honestly answer no. It did take a little getting used to. I have a pretty morbid imagination, and for awhile I was afraid I’d stumble on some evanescent child in the parlor, or have someone tap me on the shoulder, and I’d turn to see that Joycean grandmother in her rotten graveclothes , with her breath of ashes, asking why are you in my house? But it didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet, even when I’m awful with drink.

Our friends in the graveyard cover a huge span of time. There are a number of unmarked early graves, some suggesting a slave burial, and some reputed to be graves from an earlier Native occupation ( I doubt this, because I’ve read that the Occanechi favored mound burial). Out of twenty-four interments, there are just a few stones.

 the cemetery, facing east

the cemetery, facing east

The guy who sold us the place erected some bollards around a portion of it, effectively excluding the unmarked graves from the club. It’s my intention to put a stone wall around it one day, perhaps when advancing age leaves me with nothing better to do with my frail body than lug around a wheelbarrow full of fieldstone. I probably ought to start that project by digging a hole for myself.

Here’s a few of the more interesting stones, with what little I can tell you about them. First, Ambrose Jones.

 Ambrose Jones, b. Apr 11, 1775 d. Mar 11, 1858

Ambrose Jones, b. Apr 11, 1775 d. Mar 11, 1858

Ambrose is the oldest marked stone here. He was an early settler in Texas, where his wife Mary Foard died of typhus. He returned here, farmed, gave some land to the church, and missed the civil war: Unlike –

who was captured at age eighteen at the battle of Fort Stedman. The Daughters of the Confederacy were more interested in his part of the conflict than he was, and provided this marker. He apparently flatly refused to speak about it.

And finally:

 Robert H. Spencer, aka Mr. Popular

Robert H. Spencer, aka Mr. Popular

This fellow went years without a stone, despite being the builder of the local Christian church. When his grandson decided to have one made for him in the 1950’s he had to call people to verify the year of birth. They all asked him why he wanted to drop a bunch of cash on a stone for such a jerk (This is the story his granddaughters told us). My wife added the Gargoyle last year.

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