Sunday, June 6, 2010

From gravestones to folk songs

In 1973 the Army Corps of Engineers moved several cemeteries to make way for Alum Creek Reservoir outside of Columbus, Ohio. Old Cheshire Cemetery, Blockhouse Cemetery, and Townhouse Cemetery were moved to the new Cheshire Cemetery, my destination for this weekend’s Find A Grave photo request.

I quickly found the markers for Leon Nutt (b. 1900, d. 1929) and for his parents, Edward Nutt (b. 1859, d. 1928) and Susan Nutt (b. 1869, d. 1946)—not because of any great skill on my part, but because there is a detailed map with names of the grave sites at the entrance to the cemetery.

And what a beautiful cemetery!

At the very back, in the Blockhouse Cemetery section, the tall monument for Minerva Janes (d. 1848) with its obvious marks of repair caught my eye:

30, 1848,

At the bottom, I could make out only two lines of the epitaph:

Farewell ye friends whose tender care
Has long engaged my love

Then something something embrace I now exchange. What the heck were the last lines?

Now bear with me if you are familiar with this verse; I was not. So I googled it and discovered that what may have begun as a hymn in the 1800s is now considered a traditional folk song, Long Time Traveller, recently recorded by the Wailin’ Jennys.

Farewell ye friends whose tender care
Has long engaged my love
Your fond embrace I now exchange
For better friends above

Of course, my next stop was YouTube, and there were the Wailin’ Jennys, singing Minerva’s epitaph for all of us to hear.

Listen for Minerva’s epitaph beginning about 55 seconds into the video: Wailin’ Jennys sing Long Time Traveller.

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