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Hickory Grove Cemetery

November 6, 2010

The back of Hickory Grove Cemetery displays a hill, tall trees and old graves

Google Maps labels the site as the Foshee Cemetery, and there are indeed many graves showing this name.  After turning left onto Craig Loop from Highway 478 W, two signs will direct you to Hickory Grove Cemetery.

One of many Foshee graves at the site

We like to believe that we live in a super-connected world.  We have aircraft that can fly around the globe or drop you on top of a mountain.  Electronic messages reach people thousands of miles away seemingly instantly.  If we don’t know somebody, we may know somebody who knows somebody.

In spite of all this, when I found myself at Hickory Grove Cemetery thoughts like “you can’t get there from here” and “some places you just can’t find by accident” went through my head.  I had only found it because a friend drew me a map a day or two before.  I had passed houses along the way, but once there things were almost completely silent.  If the wind had not been blowing through the trees, there would have been no sound at all except the grass crunching beneath my feet.

(In spite of never hearing or seeing one, I was also pretty sure a bear was going to jump the fence and chase after me at any moment)

The cemetery consists of a raised area up front, a dip in the middle, and a hill in the rear with a couple of tall trees and some much older graves than what are found in the front part.  The view of the hill from the front of the cemetery–seen in this post’s first photo–is an extremely pleasant one.

 

This grave dates back to 1886

The graves face east, and almost all of them consist of a vertical headstone ,or twin headstones for husband and wife, with grass in front of them.  The grave below and its strong horse theme is a notable exception.

Horse statues at the foot of the Ronald and Beth Holland plot

I heard someone say years ago that when authors can’t think of any new names to use in their writing, they go to cemeteries for inspiration.  Names that were used in earlier times may have lost popularity, and some may have been unique even then.  What I have seen the last several days helps me understand how much help this tactic could be for an author.

Freeborn Holland

I often tell people that I believe that cemeteries can serve as sources of various types of information.  Demography, biography, gender relations, economics and migration patterns are all things we may learn depending on what we find.  At times we can narrow things down to a more individual level, or at least see something that leads us to ask questions we would not have thought of before.

Consider the following two photographs.  I recommend clicking on them to get a larger image:

Grave of Charles and Opal Penrod

Military marker for Charles Penrod

Before I started Williams Grave Cleaning, I had intended to use this website as a means of sharing people’s stories from around Natchitoches Parish.  Cemeteries and their contents are one way of learning what stories are out there, even if they don’t tell us the whole story.  Seeing the combination that Mr. Penrod was a World War II veteran and that he and his wife were married on June 7, 1944–the day after D-day–makes me think that there’s a story there.  I wonder if he and his then-girlfriend/fiancée, upon hearing the news of the Normandy invasion, looked at each other and thought, “We’d better get married now.”

I don’t know that for sure, of course.  It might just be coincidence.  But I bet it would be part of a great story.

See more photos of this cemetery on my flickr page.

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