Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a safe, spooky Halloween! It is the day of the year where those who have passed before us are closest to us. Remember them, and all the lessons they can teach us, if we stay silent and listen to the tombstones...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Gaspee Affair

Let me set the stage: It's 1772, and tensions are running high between the American colonies and Great Britain. The colonists have grow tired of the strict trade regulations that have been put in place by Great Britain. These laws exist solely to keep Americans from conducting business with other countries; if Great Britain no longer holds a trade monopoly in the colonies, then the colonies are no longer a profitable venture, and The Crown needs the colonies for profit and for raw materials. This angers colonists a great deal because they are inhibited in matters of trade and must pay a great deal in taxes, neither of which they have a say in because the colonies are not represented in Parliament. All of this strain and struggle led to the burning of the HMS Gaspee. The ship was located off the coast of Rhode Island, and the ship was causing great strife for the local merchants, who were obviously not following the rules that had been put in place for colonial trade. A group of the Sons of Liberty rowed out to meet the ship, and the rest is history. Essentially, this was one of the events that sparked further rebellion against The Crown and led to the American Revolution. 

A man named Benjamin Page, who took part in setting the Gaspee ablaze, moved from Rhode Island to Ohio, and his remains rest here. The histories and personal stories that lie in cemeteries are numerous, and just waiting to be discovered. 

More information on the Gaspee Affair and Benjamin Page:

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Rural Cemetery and Louis Bromfield

Small cemeteries on the rolling prairie are where most of our American ancestors were laid to rest. Many of these tiny cemeteries have been lost to the ages as they are reclaimed by nature. This particular cemetery is the final resting place for many of the early founders of the area, as well as famed author Louis Bromfield. He died in the 20th century, well past the peak of the pioneer cemetery. Cemeteries were not small affairs by this time; as America grew more industrialized, populated, and wealthy, cemeteries reflected this shift in the size and grandeur of its tombstones and monuments. Burials no longer took place on the small farm-parcels of land were set aside for the specific purpose of burial, far away from homes and farms. However, Bromfield celebrated rural America, and felt that organic farming techniques would help conserve the land and resources we had. Bromfield bought a large tract of land, which he called Malabar Farm, and this cemetery was a part of that farm. This was well over 60 years ago, and we are just now beginning to see how imperative it is that we preserve our natural resources and use more sustainable, nature friendly ways of farming. It is fitting that Bromfield and his family are buried alongside these resourceful pioneers who lived off of the land. It would have been uncharacteristic for Bromfield and his family to have been buried far away from the land they farmed and wished to stand as an example for future generations of the importance of a lifestyle in harmony with the natural world. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall colors

Everything about fall makes a visit to the cemetery that much more beautiful, even more visceral. The crunch of the leaves under your feet during a crisp, cool morning walk in the cemetery can really give you a peaceful, transcendental feeling, even if just for a few minutes. Days like today really make me wonder how some people find cemeteries to be such morbid, scary places. 

Happy fall, everyone! Get out and enjoy it while you can. These colors and temperatures won't last for long...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Halloween Mood

When the crypt doors creak
and the tombstones quake,
spooks come out for a swingin' wake

Happy haunts materialize
and begin to vocalize

Grim grinnin' ghosts come out to socialize

-"Grim Grinning Ghosts (Haunted Mansion theme)"

It's officially October, and I don't know about anyone else, but I'm full of Halloween spirit! Yes, cemeteries are repositories of history, but they are also home to the suffering and turmoil that its permanent human guests endured in life. As summer color fades, the falling leaves and cool weather give cemeteries an eerie feel they just don't have in summer. An overcast, rainy fall day can make you feel as though you're not alone, or that a zombie may shuffle out of the shadows at any minute. 

Here are some Ohio ghost stories to get you in the Halloween spirit if you aren't already feeling it: