Today is Confederate Memorial Day in the state of Georgia so I thought I would share some photos of a beautiful little cemetery I stumbled upon last weekend. While Chris was working, I loaded up the car and spent the morning at the new house. As I was headed back late that afternoon I decided I would stop at a gorgeous old cemetery on an old road in Cassville - just outside of Cartersville.
Here's a random fact about me: I absolutely adore cemeteries. Y'all might think that is creepy but let me explain - One of my favorite ways to spend a beautiful afternoon is to explore an old cemetery while working on my family's genealogy. I've been working on one branch for the past five years and recently started working on another with a new found group of family-friends. It seems like I have been to every cemetery in Rabun County! My dad and I have visited too many to count and those are memories with him I will always cherish.
One of my favorite classes I took at UGA was an upper level History course called Material Culture. My Dad and Sister get the biggest kick out of this because we all refer to it as the time I took that "Stuff Class." As you know, I'm a self-proclaimed hoarder! This class was literally a history for hoarders! We learned how particular items tell about a culture. It was something I had never thought about before and it only made my hoarding tendencies worse! We studied items from Colonial America to the present. Everything from Daguerrotypes to corsets to canned food. It was one of the hardest classes I took at UGA but I loved every second and made an A that I was so proud of!
Anyway, in that class we discussed the history of cemeteries and even took "field trips" to some local Athens cemeteries. What I learned was that cemeteries were created as the first public spaces. There were very few public places in cities so cemeteries were a place people could visit, relax, and enjoy time with their family; a public park space if you will. They were meant to be a place of celebration and reverence, not sadness and depression. Doesn't that sound so much more pleasant? That's how I like to envision cemeteries and that's how my Dad and I always viewed them.
One particular style of cemetery is the "Rural Cemetery," and no this doesn't mean out in the middle of no where! It is typically built upon a hill with varied terraces and beautiful views. There are usually walls that encompass the cemetery and meandering paths throughout. These are the cemeteries I am most attracted to - they are so much more beautiful that the cemeteries we have today. That's the type of cemetery I stumbled upon last weekend. Here are some photos I took on my iPhone. I definitely want to take my camera back to get some better ones.
There are about 300 Confederate graves in this cemetery. The vast majority of them are unknown soldiers that were wounded and hospitalized in one of several Confederate hospitals in Cassville. The town was burned when Sherman marched to Atlanta and was never rebuilt. The day I stopped it was cool and windy. I parked my car and walked to the top of the hill and just listened. I got chill bumps on my arms and almost teared up - not that unusual for me. I can never express my gratitude for these men and every other man and woman that has ever served our country, no matter how big or how small. I plan to be a regular visitor to this beautiful cemetery to pay my respects. I encourage you to stop at an old cemetery off the beaten path sometime. Sit. Listen. Learn. Be still. Be thankful.