Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cemetery at Yosemite

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 I know some people think cemeteries are creepy, scary places but I love strolling through the old ones! So much history!!!  I still remember when I was a little girl my mom telling me that she loved old cemeteries and I think that's probably why I like them now.


When my guy and I were at Yosemite a couple weeks ago, we were riding our bikes and came upon this cemetery! I've been to Yosemite a lot as a child and never saw this! I know my mom would have came here every year we visited if she knew it existed!  

I was really drawn to this bench...I took photos of it from every angle! I could just picture people coming here through the years and sitting. I'm not sure how long the bench has been here but the cemetery has been here since the 1800s!


My guy and I have been seeing each other for 6 months so we are still finding our new things about each other.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that he also likes to walk through old cemeteries!  I should have known this...he's a huge history buff and he stops at every historical landmark sign we come across! Sometimes this involves crazy, abrupt stops while driving down the road! At least now I know when he slams on the brakes and pulls over what's going on!


I love this one above!  It was carved wood and the letters were raised. Poor Effie Maud was just 14 years old.  It says "She faltered by the wayside and the angels took her home". Anyone know what "faltered by the wayside" means? Maybe it just means she passed away?


There were a lot of these wooden headstones with very little information.


Most of the headstones here where very modest, nothing huge or extravagant.


John Anderson's headstone says he was killed by a horse. He was 55 years old.


After I took these photos of the cemetery we continued on our bike ride through the park.  I came  upon this sign below in another part of the park and remembered that I had taken a photo of James Hutchings
headstone earlier.  He and his wife were inn keepers at Yosemite in the 1800s.



This must be his daughter that is buried next to him...





This one below was one of the largest in the cemetery. It was so beautiful with the tree changing colors...


This (below) is a close up but it's still hard to read. Many of these are so old and weathered that they are almost impossible to read any longer. So sad!



This wasn't a traditional cemetery with the headstones all lined up in a row, as you can see in the photo below, they are all spread out...





Sadie drowned in the rapids and her headstone was erected by her companions.




It really was a wonderful experience to visit the Yosemite cemetery.  You could just feel the history around you!

For more about my trip to Yosemite, click here: Yosemite 

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43 comments:

Our Country Bungalow said...

I love old cemeteries too. These are great pictures. I love that they are all spread out, almost encouraging visitors to wander. Looks like a beautiful place. I wonder what trees were there when this cemetery was established?
~cathy

mudderbear said...

I have enjoyed your ride through the cemetary very much. Thank you so much.

Esther said...

Me gustaron las fotos, están increibles, Thanks!!!

The Tablescaper said...

So interesting. It does make you want to know more about each and every one of those people.

- The Tablescaper

Vicki said...

Well, Cindy, I thought as a fellow Cali-gal that I knew a whole, whole lot about beloved Yosemite but since you've had these two posts about it, you've also taught me a couple of new things and more, so thanks for that! I think, especially as a young family maybe trying to concentrate on fun things to do for kids, my parents must have purposely left the cemetery out of the planning. I have never, ever heard of it! But it certainly makes sense, that for employees of the park who might have lived a large part of their life there, they'd want to have their final resting place be in the same beautiful setting.

I live in a very small SoCal town and our cemetery has some really ancient tombstones. My impression from walking thru that section of the cemetery, with the oldest graves, is one of sadness and hardship, to see families having lost so many children, no doubt to childhood diseases which of course, in our time, have been eradicated. Also here, a fair share of stones whose writings can now not be read, something I discovered when "tracing my roots" in ancient cemeteries elsewhere in the U.S. Not everything can be saved. Not everyone can be remembered.

In this day and age, it seems something of us will live on in infinity by way of the internet and what's preserved in cyberspace whereas, in another century if, say, the Family Bible or a lone tintype was lost or destroyed, so did the family's "story" except for what was passed verbally to a successive generation. I guess I've just learned to accept that not all things last.

When we renovated our nearly 90-year-old bungalow, we only had so much money and couldn't restore, but we tried to be true to its bones and save what we could, honor its era even if was knock-off light fixtures. The windows were so shot, there was no way to even make anything out of them; we tried to remove the glass and just broke it in the process. I had a big cry over it and then just had to let it all go. But we found an artist's easel under the house, sanded and painted it (white, of course), and it makes a great piece in which to stand in a corner and display a nice, framed photo or painting. We had to tear out delightful cupboards for inside laundry but we kept the decorative wood trim from them and reinstalled it. You do what you can.

Must be the same way at the old cemeteries; probably no way to stop the deterioration of old stone and wood from nature's elements. At least for maybe a hundred years, loved ones closest to the deceased could still "visit" the graves and derive some comfort. For the rest of us all the years later, we can still appreciate these quiet, tranquil spaces of rest and reflection.

Cindy said...

Thank you Vicki, I loved reading your comment! It's sad but true, we can't save everything!

Debbie said...

Those are awesome photos of the cemetary!! I, too, love to go to cemetaries for the historical aspect. One of the best ones we've been to is in Columbia, behind the old schoolhouse. You should check it out sometime. It's nice that you and your sweetie enjoyed this together. :)

Cindy said...

Debbie, we went to Columbia on our way home!!! I didn't see the cemetery though!

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

I love this post, Cindy. I could have spent hours with you looking through the cemetery and reading so much history.

I spent a lot of time with my great grandparents and grandparents and they passed on stories while we walked through Oak Hill Cemetery... I'm sure you've been there! There are so many old sections there. We used to have picnics there when I was a kid and when my dad passed away, we would spend time there doing the same in the summer. You brought back some lovely memories, although that may sound strange to some people.

Love this, did a post about cemeteries a while back and what the symbols on the tombstones mean, was fun.

Cindy said...

Tracie, I was at Oak Hill Cemetery with my mom when she told me she loves walking through old cemeteries! I want to go walk through there now...well not right now but maybe this weekend! It's beautiful there!

Really Rainey said...

Cindy, what a terrific post! Great photos too. I love wandering in old cemeteries too. So peaceful... Except Boot Hill in Tombstone at night! Scared the be-jeze outta me.
Rainey

Nelly said...

Falling by the wayside? Maybe a family traveling over the country and died while on the road?
Loved this post being a lover of history and someone who also likes to read gravestones tho havent done it for many years.

Lori said...

I wonder how those wooden ones have held up so long. I always wonder old cemeteries when I get the chance. Walking among history and memories and saints.

Victoria said...

Oh how beautiful the cemetary is! I wonder if that's a Bible verse on the young girls grave? I know faltered means stumbled and wayside is a path so maybe it means she stumbled during her walk through life. There's a really spooky, very old cemetary out by the Grand Canyon in AZ. I wanted to go in it but nobody was willing to go in with me and I was too spooked to go in alone!

Jacqui said...

What a wonderful post. I was immobilised by the cross which just said 'A Boy'.

Curtains In My Tree said...

I love reading the old tomestones.
My Uncle in the late 1960's had to dig up a cementary for the builing of Interstae I-70 through Missouri around St Louis Mo. There were people who was in charge of finding family members letting them know the cementary was being removed and moved. There was an entire section of unlocated families so my Uncle took all the stones to his new house and made a back patio out of all the grave stones reading dates back to 1700-1800's.

I remember as a child walking on them and reading them.
My cousin still lives in that house in st Louis Mo

Cemetaries are all history

Pamela Gordon said...

I enjoyed this post very much as I also love old cemeteries because of the history written on each tombstone. I have some photos ready to do a post on cemeteries soon. I like the casual layout of this Yosemite cemetery amongst the old trees. Thanks for sharing! Pamela

violetlady said...

I have always loved old cemeteries, but have not wandered through any for a long time. Thanks for reminding me of something I loved to do. Your photos and commentary are wonderful. I am surprised the old wood markers are still in good shape. Wondering how it is determined who can get buried there? "Faltered by the wayside" - I have heard that before and think I have seen it before on gravestones. I think it means she had been sick. It might have been from an old poem.

Rose H (UK) said...

Your post is fascinating! I love old cemeteries too, but I've never seen one as interesting as that one - thanks for sharing Cindy :o)

violetlady said...

"'Tis the picture of our mother,
Farther on she could not roam,
So she faltered by the wayside;
And the angels took her home.
Often now her voice seems calling
From the dim and distant shore,
And methinks I hear an angel
Softly treading heaven's floor."

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Oh that is a beautiful cemetary Cindy. I think they are lovely places to visit. Full of history and meaning.

Elsie said...

Oooo Cindy that is one awesome old cemetery. That is like WOW!!! I love to go to old cemeteries and read the headstones. That is so awesome they put on the headstones how they died. So much history and
I love history. That is so funny Cindy about your guy stopping abruptly to read the markers. I am
glad it is working out for you.

Dana @ Cooking At Cafe D said...

Sadie, the one who drowned - it looks like there's a touching epitaph on the bottom of the stone.

"Ah, that beautious head,
if it did go down
carried sunshine into the Rapids."

Sounds like her companions loved her.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Lesley said...

Do you have any idea why some had fake flowers and who put them there?? Loved this post.

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www.anyonecandecorate.blogspot.com

Blessings,
Diana

The Knotty Spinster said...

Thanks for the great pictures of the old cemetery. Loved it.

Laurie said...

Just loved the visit to the old cemetery. We found a child's grave hiking down out of an area in the Colorado Rockies. Very interesting, but yet sad.

Vicki said...

Everyone's comments on this post of yours, Cindy, are so interesting. I came back today to read more.

I'm childless but come from a big 'ol family tree where the branches have extended from the 1700s with lots and lots of family in the Carolinas. My parents went "roots hunting" about 25 years ago and found one of "our" cemeteries in the woods (actually has our surname as its title on the old, arched, rusty-iron entrance gate, which feels a bit creepy!) but my mom was too scared to enter; it was so dark and overgrown. Dad could barely make out any of the names and dates on the tombstones. (Didn't I read somewhere that they'd often put some kind of whitewash on the stone markers, which further deteriorated them due to some composition in the wash itself?)

Makes one wonder how many old family and vanished-town cemeteries are covered over and/or abandoned here in the U.S. My father came from one of those towns which disappeared as everyone left for the bigger cities. It was in Texas. At first, the Dust Bowl in the 30s was the issue; it made farming impossible. Farming is so hard anyway; my grandfather actually gave up, after too many hailstorms decimated his crops. Later, many small towns lost their economy when the old Route 66 was replaced by the interstate highway system; they were literally passed by.

On a few visits to Texas in my youth, Dad was able to show me the cemetery in what was left of his old hometown. It seemed to alternate over the years we went back there from being an untended cemetery, to tended again, then ultimately forgotten, perhaps as lingering farm family's oldest members died off, with youngest ones long-since having moved away.

Dad's little sister is buried in this small cemetery of maybe 30 graves. She died in childbirth; they buried her in one of her other sisters' small doll trunk. No brother or sister in the family forgot this; it had a big impact on them as children. (Like many tiny towns scattered across the plains, this one wasn't full-service; they had no mortuary or hospital or church, although traveling "preachers" would visit and assist.) There is no grave marker for Baby Sarah, but Dad remembered clearly where she lay in rest.

In these early visits, a few "landmarks" still remained in the town, like the schoolhouse (which served as a community center), teacher's house, post office and hotel, barns, a few grain silos, train tracks...although everything was completely abandoned except for, at first, my aunt's house, although she later left as she aged. Only a couple of active farms remained. I traveled there many years later, in my adulthood and none of these structures were left except my aunt's collapsed house (snow caved in the roof). The cemetery was almost covered by wild grasses. I'm sure if I went there today, not only could I not find the location of the town (one of my older cousins might figure it out), I doubt I'd be able to unearth the cemetery. No large monuments or statues mark the location although it had been fenced in.

It was one of the oddest experiences of my life to have my father point out to me where neighbors and childhood chums had lived, his own lively childhood home (which he could only find once he stumbled on the old root cellar next to a cottonwood tree he'd climb as a boy), the railroad station; stories of quilting bees, Christmas pageants (no one had Christmas trees on the prairie; only one tree for the town, set up in the schoolhouse for the whole community). If it was odd for me, I can't imagine what it felt like to my dad. I think he found it desolate and depressing but he could be a man of few words about such things. We just stood there, that last time at the small, forlorn cemetery, the two of us looking out over the vast land where earth meets sky with nothing in beween for as far as the eye can see, not a sound but the prairie wind.

Fishtail Cottage said...

My grandfather would call these headstones the "forgotten ones" - oh, how he'd worry that he'd become one! Thanks for honoring them just by mentioning them in your blog post! Hugs! tracie

Vicki Again said...

Very nice of your blogger violetlady for solving the mystery of "faltering by the wayside;" so poignant.

I found myself thinking of the woman who must have fallen in the river. How did she slip? Did a wagon get stuck as they were trying to cross? The mind goes viral.

Nice that curtainsinmytree's relative found a way to save the unclaimed gravestones. A town near to me encountered something like this when it was decided to turn the cemetery into a community park. I don't remember what they did with all the gravestones/markers.

Reminds me of old black & white "snapshots" with no identification on the backs of them; no idea who the people are. My mom has a full box of them from various relatives who left them behind; I suppose I'll have to just throw them away when she passes on, which kills me, but if Mom and Dad didn't know who the people were, how can I? Seems very unsacred to toss them. I know a guy who loves antiquities and he'll buy up lovingly-compiled family albums/scrapbooks and loose photos; apparently can't stand to see such treasures like these at swap meets or in antique stores.

It happens...you can be the last of your family tree, and there's nobody after you to care about your story and the "stuff" of your life. Hard for people who are part of a bigger family to understand what that's like, with nobody to pass your stuff onto when your time comes.

I guess it's same for an old gravesite, coming across a falling-apart marker, thinking to oneself, "where's the family, that they don't try to preserve these historical things" but descendents, if any, are probably widespread. It's left to the rest of us to respect, wonder and honor the history.

Jenna E said...

I love old cemeteries, I always wonder how hard their lives were back then. It's so sad when you see a bunch of young ones because you know it must have been from a plague.

NeereAnDear said...

Hi Cindy ... found this post so fascinating ... amazing piece of history ...

Thought this might help ... you had me pondering what it meant ....

To falter means to lose strength .. or become unsteady ... so to speak

To fall by the wayside means to "give up or fail before the end of something" ...

so basically she faltered or gave up and the angels took her home before her time ...

Jo

Rachelle @ Adventures in Creating said...

Oh wow! We used to go to Yosemite as a when I was young as well; its one of my favorite places. I've never seen this though- thanks for sharing it!

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Love old cemeteries too. I find them peaceful and so interesting. This is particularly so.

Vicki for the last time said...

Cindy, I have to tell you one more thing as this popular post of yours winds up. Talking of old cemeteries got me thinking about my dad and his ghost town, so I messed around tonight, did some googling. I just can't believe what I found. The cemetery where his baby sister was buried in the 1920s is no longer forlorn, but has been organized and is now a state historical marker. I'd thought it only had about 30 graves but it's more like 100 because I guess it encompassed some pasture land I didn't know about or Dad had forgotten about. There were some kind of burial/deed records and his sister is on it. Gosh, I wish so, so much I could have shown him this before he died four years ago. I could just kick myself for not looking into it a few years earlier. I never thought I'd go back there again; I have no real reason to as no relatives remain in that neck 'o the woods but I feel galvanized to make one more trip because I want to see all this for myself. You probably had no idea when you posted about Yosemite's cemetery what this would lead to, at least for me, so thanks a lot. Wow. You just never know...

Cindy said...

Vicki! I loved reading about that and I'm so thrilled for you! You are so right...I would have never thought that posting pics about a cemetery could turn into such a wonderful story for someone else! This made my day!!! Thank you so much for sharing it here! ...you can come back anytime and leave updates!

Well, I just thought it was the last time... said...

my final, final update.....

I am now in touch with the cemetery association's (they have an Association!!!) president's son and have sent in a memorial donation in my father's name; had the bank draw up the check yesterday, looking forward to hearing back from them after sharing some tidbits from the "life story" Dad put on his computer a couple of years before he died. I'm mulling the idea of buying a marker for Dad's baby sister's grave. I'm comforted that she wasn't swallowed up by prairie grass. I have flown on this, dropping everything else. In fantasy, I like to think my dad knows and has a glad heart about it.

Then yesterday, I heard from a school friend I haven't seen or talked to in 35 years and we reminisced about eating cream of chicken soup at her house before the next high school class after lunch. I never thought when I started the week that, by the end of it, I'd be rolling on such a huge wave of nostalgia. My mom's having a hard time after a stroke and I've been so preoccupied; this has been a real boost.

Thanks, Cindy. I am completely addicted to your blog. Have a fun Halloween!

Cemetery-Obsessed VICKI said...

That last post was from me, Vicki, for like 'way too many times. Thanks for indulging all my comments; didn't mean to hog up the thread!

Kathryn Ferguson Griffin said...

I love old cemeteries as well. Such history and beauty combined. Thanks for sharing a bit of your trip. Hope you're having a grand Sunday! Toodles, Kathryn

Anonymous said...

Cindy, I am a "silent" follower of your blog for the past couple of years. I'm from Missouri and I too love old cemetaries. If you take shaving cream and a squeegee you can apply the shaving cream to the letters and squeegee if off and the old letters just "pop" so you can read the tombstones! Works like a dream. Try it!

Cindy said...

I love old cemeteries! I've been to Yosemite a couple of times, but didn't even know there was a cemetery there! Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Cindy

Kathie Truitt said...

How beautiful were the words on Sadie's headstone: "if her head did go down she put sunshine into the rapids". How sweet.

Anonymous said...

Grate photos!