Monday, October 31, 2011

Stories from Bovina's Cemeteries - Prepare to Die and Follow Me

Seems appropriate on Halloween to start a new monthly feature of this blog, telling stories from Bovina’s cemeteries.  This stems from a presentation I did on October 29 called "I See Dead People-Stories from Bovina Cemeteries" (it was supposed to be a walking tour, but the weird late October weather put the kibosh on that!).  See the September 23, 2011 blog entry for information about that presentation - and the fact that thanks to Ed and Dick Davidson I can tell these stories in the first place.

Some of the stories are simply based on who the people were.  Buried in the cemetery are pretty much all the owners of what is now Russell’s Store, including Thomas Hastings, who owned it from at least the 1870s to 1893, A.T. Doig, who bought it from Hastings and sold it to Cecil Russell in 1919, and, of course, the Russell family themselves – Cecil, his wife Isabell Irvine Russell, and their daughter Marjorie, who owned the store until her death on New Year’s Day 2000.

Some of the stories grow from the graves and monuments themselves.  The first installment in November will be the Cathels family.  My interest in that story began simply from noting that several members of the family died within two weeks of each other.  There are some other such stories – the Stott family lost two children just as the Civil War started – and would later lose a son in the conflict (see the blog entry for April 12, 2011 about the Stotts).

Then there are the interesting stones themselves, a sample of which are below.

Solomon Coulter (above) and William Stott (below).  Two fatalities in the Civil War.  These stones are similar but not identical.  These are memorial stones - Coulter was buried in South Carolina; Stott's body was never recovered.

Mary Baillie (above) and her husband William below.  Note that the last name is spelled differently on these stones.
There are a number of these stones with a lamb on top  - these are found on the graves of children.  This is Thomas Lee Bryden, who died at age 11.

Hugh Clark (1774-1839) in the Associate Presbyterian Church Cemetery.  One of the older headstones in Bovina.
These three stones use a weeping willow.  This is 16 year old Thomas Archibald (1840-1856).

Betsey Cairns Thompson (1809-1846) from the Associate Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
Catherine Shaw Raitt (1788-1854)
And there are interesting epitaphs.  My ancestor, Francis Coulter (1771-1846) has on his stone "There the wicked cease from trembling and there the weary be at rest."  The quote is a slight paraphrase from John Wesley.  I close this entry with a poetic epitaph from the grave of Francis' son David Coulter (1813-1877).  The epitaph is a standard one used often on tombstones from this period.   

Remember me as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you will be
Prepare to die and follow me.

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