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Bethany Cemetery

November 16, 2010

 

Front Gate of Bethany Cemetery

Bethany Cemetery is located in Red River Parish on Parish Road 353/Bethany Presbyterian Church Road.  It was the first site I visited that had someone else there at the time, and I was lucky enough that he was the head of the cemetery association.  He told me that the first burial took place when a member of a wagon train died and was laid to rest here.

The cemetery association has rules regarding the period of time family members have to mark a grave, and the association head was waiting on someone to come mark a spot.

 

Rules at Bethany Cemetery

 

A rule that is unique among all those I have seen posted at area cemeteries:  “No inscriptions or designs that are offensive to Christian beliefs”

To the left of the entrance is a lightly wooded area with many graves sitting under the shade of trees.  This is the most tree-heavy section (northeast quadrant) of the cemetery.  Some of these trees could be trouble at some point if they topple over, drop limbs or extend their roots into markers.  One tree situation I did like is this one, a slender tree set back from the grave:

 

A straight up tree that does not branch out or extend invasive roots

 

There are some family sections that can be identified by copings or other types of ground-level borders, but no family section is as clearly defined as that of the Cason family.

 

Entryway to the Cason section of the cemetery

 

During my research for my master’s thesis, I came across several references to funeral and burial motifs.  Angels symbolize this, lambs that, urns this, hands that.  Nothing in the literature I read said anything about squirrels.

 

Statuette of a squirrel

The opposite side of this part of the grave shows a squirrel inscribed on the stone. The deceased has left "peanuts" behind for the squirrel's enjoyment

 

This was also my first time seeing a raccoon as a grave decoration:

 

This grave has several decorations, including a raccoon on top left

 

Of the messages left behind by the dead to the living, this was my favorite at this site:

 

"I'll Meet You at the River"

 

Of all the times for the batteries in my camera to die out, it happened when I was at the following grave:

 

Grave decorated with flowers, statues, gravel, inscriptions

 

The grave has several different kinds of decorations.  The marker itself has a picture of the deceased, carvings that indicate his interests, hobbies and accomplishments, and writings on the front and back telling what loved ones thought of him.

 

One of the engravings on the headstone -- "Ropin' for Jesus"

Baseball announcers sometimes say, “If you watch enough games, you might see something that you’ve never seen before.”  I’m starting to feel that way about cemeteries.  These stone “stumps” — I can think of no better term at the moment — are arranged in rows, and some have first initials and last names engraved on top.

 

Stone "stumps"

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One Comment
  1. I wish to visit this Bethany Cemetery because so good to see that our relatives who pass away that lay in this kind of place.

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