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Bitter Veils of Solemnity

Monument to the Rindge family in Cortland Rural Cemetery, 110 Tompkins Street, Cortland, Cortland County, New York. Four open books and four headstones mark the final resting place of Celeste (1840-1919), Henry D. (1839-1908), Lena (1870-1918), and Stella B. (1867-1936) Rindge. It looks like something was written in each book, but the lettering was unfortunately faded beyond comprehension. This is among the neatest family plots I’ve ever seen.

Cortland Rural Cemetery was established in 1853 and contains the remains of over 18,000 departed residents. Its drive is lined with wonderfully informative interpretive signs with information about prominent burials, interesting monuments, and the materials from which those monuments were made.

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Letting Go of Tonight

Headstones for Charles (1849-1909) and Alida S. (1853-1935) Edmondston and their son in Bonaventure Cemetery, 330 Bonaventure Road, Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia. Their son, Charles (1880–1914), died at the age of 33.

John Mullryne’s plantation, with its tree-lined avenues, once occupied this 160-acre site. Mullryne was an English colonel who was granted the land in the 1760s. He named it “Bonaventure,” which is Italian for “good fortune.” Peter Wiltberger purchased Bonaventure in 1846 and his son William turned it into Evergreen Cemetery 22 years later. The haunting, picturesque scenery led one statue, called “Bird Girl,” to appear on the cover of John Berendt’s novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994).

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Angel Below

Headstone for an infant named Wilkes (1965-1965) in Girls School Cemetery on Fox Run Drive, Geneva, Kane County, Illinois. This tiny cemetery is all that remains of the Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva, which for 84 years housed adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 16 who had been convicted of offenses punishable by law.

Inevitably, deaths from illness and suicide occurred at the facility. Girls without families, or who had been disowned, were buried in a cemetery on the property. Several dozen infants were buried there as well, and today the cemetery contains 51 graves. After the institution closed and was torn down, a plaque was erected at the cemetery that reads:

Beginning in 1894, this land was used by various government agencies as a center for ‘wayward girls’. The colonial-style cottages, service buildings and fences are gone, but these 51 graves remain. These markers are a testimony that they are no longer wayward but home with their Creator. My God’s peace be with their souls.

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Requiem

Abandoned gatekeeper’s office and house in Oakwood Cemetery, 940 Comstock Avenue, next to Syracuse University, in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York. There is very little information online about this building, however, I’ve read it was designed by H. Q. French and Co. and built circa 1927.

Oakwood Cemetery was designed by landscape architect Howard Daniels and opened in 1859. It is a secular Victorian “rural” or “garden” style cemetery where over 60,000 people are interred in 160 wooded acres.

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When the Sun Sleeps

Bacon family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery, 330 Bonaventure Road, Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia. There are at least eight members of the Bacon family interred here, including Albert Sumner Bacon (1844-1920) and his wife Ruby Williams (1845-1929). Albert S. Bacon served in B Co., 8th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War. The 8th Georgia was in Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood’s Division in Longstreet’s Corps. Albert was severely wounded in the face on July 2, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg, but survived the war and lived to be 76.

John Mullryne’s plantation, with its tree-lined avenues, once occupied this 160-acre site. Mullryne was an English colonel who was granted the land in the 1760s. He named it “Bonaventure,” which is Italian for “good fortune.” Peter Wiltberger purchased Bonaventure in 1846 and his son William turned it into Evergreen Cemetery 22 years later. The haunting, picturesque scenery led one statue, called “Bird Girl,” to appear on the cover of John Berendt’s novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994).

References

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And I Dreamt of You

Grave of an infant named Cronin (1904-1904) in Fairbank Cemetery off the San Pedro Trail, Fairbank, Cochise County, Arizona. The old graveyard is located about a half mile up a trail and is heavily vandalized. Only a few of the original graves remain, marked by piles of stones, wooden crosses, and iron fencing. Unfortunately, the cemetery has been a victim of grave robbery and vandalism over the years.

At one time, Fairbank was a hub of activity along the San Pedro River. Children came from all around to attend its one room schoolhouse. It was never a large town, having only 100 residents at its peak. The town began to die in the early 20th Century, and by 1970 only a small gas station remained.

In 1986, the Bureau of Land Management purchased hundreds of acres of land around the town and created the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Today, the remains of Fairbank have benefited from tourist activity and a few of the original buildings have been preserved. The Bureau of Land Management maintains a small store and museum in the old schoolhouse.

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