Thursday, May 22, 2014

A fun project

I spent the afternoon working on a project with our friend Gene Gravlee. He's a local historian that has documented the location of 344 cemeteries in the county in which we live.
He has been doing genealogy and local history for so long that he has thousands of stories. We usually see Gene at the funeral home when a mutual friend has passed away. I kept telling him that we should get together and document some of the stories for future generations.
In years past we kept promising each other that we'd make it happened but it never did. I had a little spare time on my calendar the past week so on a whim, I dialed him up to see if he could meet me at a local cemetery. It happens that he did, have some time and last Friday he met me at Davis Cemetery where I was doing cleanup duty.
We found a shade under a huge sweetgum tree and mapped out a rough plan. We were standing within a few feet of the grave of William Penn Sargent. William was a Confederate soldier who was with Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy when he was captured by Union forces at the end of the Civil War.
I pulled the iPhone from my pocket and video'd him telling William Penn Sargent's story.  I recorded several more which I posted on the website and also on website which are two sites that I maintain.
We've gotten a lot of positive feedback on our work. Gene is actually kin to Jilda and he's documented one branch of her ancestry back to the Revolutionary War.
Gene has sat in on historical committees, ancestry meetings, and think tank groups which spent a great deal of time talking about how to preserve history, but we both agree that talking doesn't get it done.
Those meetings are necessary to plan out strategies, but you also have to get some mud on your shoes traipsing through old graveyards. To me, that's the fun part.


  1. I love to visit cemeteries. They are beautiful and so full of stories. Thank you for sharing this.

  2. Genealogy can be so interesting... the church that I belong to is huge on doing your own so that you know the stories of you ancestors ... my mom did a lot of work when she was alive, I would have loved to have a copy of it...

  3. Very interesting...I love learning about the history behind the people! It never ceases to amaze me what I find out when I start digging into background information. It's like finding hidden treasure.

  4. There are few places so soothing and yet so interesting as an old cemetery. You just never know who you may meet there. have a good one.


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