Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pet Cemetery

  A few miles south of Gainesville, Fl is the "Garden of Love" pet cemetery. It is a couple of acres amongst a beautiful oak grove. It is well maintained and landscaped. There appears to be at least several dozen graves there, each with it's own headstone. I think it has been in business for about 20 years.
  It makes you wonder what it would be like if humans were treated as pets in that your loved ones had a choice of putting you in a nice cemetery or wrapping you in a old sheet and burying you in the back yard.

Entrance to "Garden of Love".

One of several areas in cemetery.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

  This past weekend I visited Americus, Ga. which is the location of Oak Grove Cemetery, the oldest active cemetery in Georgia. It is a beautiful place and is the final resting place of many famous Georgians. It is also the first cemetery I've seen that is laid out as it is. Almost all of the graves are within family plots which are marked off by either brick walls or wrought iron fences.It is obviously well tended but apparently this was not always the case. Up until 2003 the cemetery was largely ignored but then a state senator started a drive to clean up and renovate it. In 2007 a large tornado again heavily damaged the graves and grounds and another renovation was done.
  The main reason I visited though was to see my great-great grandfather's grave. A small part of Oak Grove is a Confederate section containing the graves of 129 CSA soldiers who were guards and who had died of diseases at the infamous Andersonville Prison which is 10 miles away. They were originally buried at the prison camp but in 1880 a local ladies society had them transferred to Oak Grove.
  The Andersonville National Historic Site also includes the American Prisoners of War Museum and a national cemetery where most of the Union prisoners who died there were buried. Like any national cemetery other military persons are also buried there.

(top to bottom) Confederate Cemetery, S.C.Carlton, 4th Ga Res., Andersonville National Cemetery, Union Prisoners section.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

GCRabbit's Internet Immortality Project

    As I wander through these old graveyards, I am always aware of how many graves there are of young children. In most cases, the grave markers are the only record of their lives. I thought it would be nice if  I could place their names into the vast electronic world of the internet to give them a little bit of immortality. Who knows, maybe some day someone will be searching for a long lost ancestor and happen upon their name here. I will do this as often as possible.
         Armetta P. Cook
         daughter of
          A.W. & M.J. Cook
          Born March 5, 1851
          Died Nov. 19, 1858
   From the Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Oak Ridge Cemetery, Rochelle, Fl.

  Oak Ridge is the final resting place of Madison Starke Perry, his wife Martha and his son Madison Jr. Madison Sr. was the last governor of Florida before the Civil War. At the start of the war he was made a colonel of the Seventh Fla. Regiment of the CSA. However, he had to quit the army two years later due to an illness. He died about two years later and was buried on a plot of land he had already donated to the community for a cemetery. Madison Jr. was also in the cavalry of the CSA. He was only 15 when the war started.

  Perry owned a large plantation in the area of what is now Rochelle. Some years after his passing, his wife started the Martha Perry Institute for girls in Rochelle. It was in use until 1935 and is now on the National Historic Registry under the name of The Rochelle School.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

  (Disclaimer: this is not an ad nor endorsement for However, if they should decide to slip me a few bucks, I probably would not turn it down.)
  Since I have had access to the internet I have been trying to find info. on my grandfather and his ancestors since I knew next to nothing other than we have the same name. My father was 43 yrs. older than me and by the time I wanted to explore our family, he was gone. I soon found that free information was a rare thing whereas most searches led me to commercial sites. After months of resistance I finally bit the bullet and signed up with Ancestry. com.
  I did find a lot of details on several generations on my father's side including the names and burial sites of my great & great-great grandfathers. I also found that my great-great grandfather, Stephen Carlton, was a CSA soldier who was sent to the infamous Andersonville prison as a guard and died within a few months of measles and jaundice. He left a wife and several children behind. I think it is very ironic in that he did not enter the army until 1864 and was probably never in a shooting battle.
  So, I guess the few dollars we have to spend on these sites is a good investment after all.

The graves of 4 children. A reminder of the difficulty of living back then. (Antioch)

A Cedar tree growing in the middle of a grave of an 8 year old boy who passed in 1903.

Antioch Cemetery, Island Grove, Fl.

  I just revisited the Antioch Cemetery, which is located in a very rural area and is only a couple of miles from Carlton Cemetery. This cemetery has apparently been here since the late 1800's and is well maintained. It's main claim to fame is that Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her last husband are buried there. She was a famous author back in the 1930's to 1950's. She was best known for "The Yearling" and "Cross Creek". She lived in Cross Creek which is a few miles away. Her house and property are now part of  the Florida State Park system.
  Also buried there is Zelma Cason, a neighbor of her's who sued her for libel in 1943 because of how she was depicted in the book "Cross Creek". It is said that they made up after a short period.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Graveyard Spider, Micanopy, Fl.

Carlton Cemetery, Island Grove, Fl.

  On at least two occasions I think I received some "guidance" to help me locate graves. In 1986 I entered a photo competition in Berea Ky. Each photographer had 24 hrs. to shoot photos within a 10 mile radius in three categories. I was driving down a country road on a foggy morning looking for a possible subject. As I passed a narrow dirt road to my left, I happened to glance down it and saw an old cemetery. I took several photos of old graves with a foggy background. One of them subsequently won best in show at the competition. When I showed an enlargement to my late wife the next day, she realized that the closest grave to the camera was her great grandmother. The same one she and her father had been trying to locate a couple of years earlier.

  Several months ago I was driving slowly down an old highway near Island Grove, Fl when I happened to notice another dirt road to my left. I had a feeling that I needed to explore it. After driving about 300 yards, I came upon a small overgrown cemetery in the woods with a short chain link fence around it. Upon exploring I found several graves of persons with my last name. Two of them, a father and son, were CSA soldiers serving in Forida. The son, who was in the cavalry, was 12 years old when the Civil War started.
  I have found that a lot of settlers in the 1800's in Florida were from north Georgia and NW South Carolina which is where my family is from. I have also found that all Carltons in America are descended from an Edward Carlton who came from England in the 1600's with other Puritans to settle in Massachusetts.

Colonial Park Cemetery Savannah, Georgia

  In downtown Savannah, Ga. there is Colonial Park Cemetery. It has been there since the 1700's. There is a brick wall on the east side that has numerous gravestones bolted to it. Apparently, when Sherman occupied Savannah during his march to the sea, his soldiers destroyed and disfigured many of the gravestones when they set up camp there. After the Union Army left, the city fathers could not replace the stones in their proper places since no burial records were kept except for the more important persons. Subsequently, they bolted all the stones to the wall. One of the things that the soldiers also did was change dates on the stones,  which would explain why one ladies inscription had her dying before she was born.
  Because of the soldier's actions their are many more people buried there than the stones indicate. Which also means that you will walk over many graves no matter how hard you try not to.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Unidentified graves overtaken by oak tree roots in Micanopy, Fl.

  Howdy. Welcome to my very first blog. I never considered creating one until I happened upon the Graveyard Rabbit site. I have been exploring old cemeteries for years because of the history, both personal and public that is contained within them. As a lifelong photographer cemeteries have always been one of my favorite subjects.

  I have explored cemeteries in north Florida and south Georgia. I have even discovered one in the woods that contained the graves of some distant relatives.
  Anyway, since I am just starting, I will wait until I am more comfortable at doing this to start relating my experiences.