Sunday, January 31, 2016

Altom Cemetery


Natchez Trace State Park contains a great many small cemeteries. I'm not sure how so many graveyards ended up so close together, but there they are. We stopped at this one -Altom Cemetery- to get a closer look. It was surrounded by a wooden fence and was well cared for. We didn't see markings on any of the grave stones.


The most notable aspect for me was that someone had put offerings for the dead on the stones.


It looked like each of the stones had had a rock placed on top but that some of the rocks had fallen off.


I replaced the ones I could find.

10 comments:

  1. I once visited the cemetary at Montparnasse in Paris, and on the graves people seek out because of the famous people buried there, a common offering seemed to be the ticket to the bus or metro that they rode there. Sylvia Plath had many pens on her grave. I googled the practice of putting stones on pebbles on graves and it seems to be a Jewish practice, signifying a bond between the living and the dead: "I remember you still, you live in my heart" or something like that. Apparently, the word for pebble and bond is the same in Hebrew. All the stones in this graveyard looks exactly the same size; were they? Seems to indicate a very homogenous society.

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    1. All the stones are unmarked and similar in every way. As far as I can tell, the cemetery was long out of use before the 1920s. I wonder if it was a Jewish cemetery. Or perhaps it was visited by Jewish folks who, like us, stopped by on vacation. I was touched by the remembrances.

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  2. For one of my undergraduate independent studies, I researched cemeteries. It's amazing how they have evolved and what we Americans brought with us to the new world. The Victorians actually had picnics in cemeteries and spent much time there, so their loved ones' final resting places were monuments to their life (and death). I know there are cemeteries without grave markers, but I never knew about a cemetery where NONE of the graves were unmarked. Now I can add that to my knowledge of them. So glad you shared this today.

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  3. Wow, that should have read NONE of the graves were marked, OR ALL of the graves were unmarked. I should have reread what I wrote before I hit publish.

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    1. I knew what you meant :) They still have picnics in some of the cemeteries. Or did not long ago. I've been to church homecoming celebrations where the cemetery is adjacent to the church. They sometimes have an annual Decoration Day. Dinner on the grounds is a big part of the festivities. On this vacation we saw a cemetery on a minor highway where there was a picnic pavilion on the grounds. Maybe it's a southern "thing"?

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    2. I once saw a documentary about Cairo´s City of the Dead, a cemetery where some half a million people actually live!

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    3. googling Cairo´s City of the Dead..... fascinating!

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  4. I wonder why the stones aren't marked and why there are offerings left on the top? Cemeteries can be really interesting, and this one is interesting for more than the stones found in it.

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  5. I wonder why the stones aren't marked and why there are offerings left on the top? Cemeteries can be really interesting, and this one is interesting for more than the stones found in it.

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    1. It is a curious thing. I expect to see carved markers, but I guess maybe in that community stone carving wasn't a possibility, maybe?

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