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Since my cousin, Joe, and I made the trip to Memphis to mark our 3rd great grandfather's grave.

I remember how happy we both were to get the photos and how satisfying it was to finally be able to mark his resting place.
dee_burris: (Default)
Last spring, my dad called me and said there was going to be a tour of the old McCarley family cemetery on Saturday, March 27. The cemetery is abandoned now - I think the last grave dug in there was before 1900. The first one I know of was in 1847, when Moses McCarley's wife, Elizabeth P Griffin, died. As the crow flies, the cemetery is less than 3 miles from Dad's house.

There are at least 50 (mostly unmarked) graves. Some of our ancestors who came to Arkansas from Lawrence County, TN in 1838 are buried there, including my g-g-g-grandfather. I've been bugging Dad for years to tell me how to get down there, but it would have meant getting mixed up in a family feud.

The land where the cemetery is located now belongs to a third cousin-in-law of mine, and he has most of it fenced. We have a healthy respect for the symbolism of fences in the south, and honorable people ask if they can cross to the other side.

In my cousin-in-law's case, that means asking to open (and close behind you) a lot of gates.

And then, there was that matter of the feud...they are serious stuff down here.  )

Because they have stories. And we are the story-tellers.
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Two years ago, my youngest sister asked me if I knew about the graves on the side of the road. She and her son had seen them as they drove down Arkansas Highway 5 to run errands in a growing town that has almost swallowed up the countryside.

I went to go check them out.  )

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Dee Burris Blakley

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