They call this place Northview. They have been calling it Northview for now on 111 years. Some wanted to give it romantic names like " Necropolis," "Mistletoe Bower" or "Weeping Willow." Still others wanted to call it "Sawyer Place" for Jonathan Sawyer the founder of the City of Dublin some century before, while others wanted to dub it "Orrville" or "Orr Field" in honor of E.R. Orr, chairman of the city council committee on cemeteries. It is place where the members of the Dublin Rotary Club, took the suggestion of Mary Barbee and with the generous contributions from members of our community, put a facelift to the cemetery where our friends and loved ones rest in eternal peace.
It is a warm - no hot - quiet Sunday morning. Puffy cumulus clouds race to the west, spinning off a tropical storm approaching from the east. The perfume of the so, so sweet magnolias permeates the air. Mockingbirds engage in aerial combat. Off in the distance, the mourning dove coos her melancholy dirge of death.
Over there is a six-trunk, non-native spruce tree. It is draped with a coat of Spanish Moss, a relative of the pineapple plant, you know.
This is where it all began in 1902. On a sad, sad April day, the six-month-0ld, infant body of Joseph Dewitt Carter (left) was laid to eternal rest on the crest of this hill, now shaded by the ancient oaks planted here nearly a century ago.
"How much of light, how much of you is buried with this darling boy?" That's what his grieving parents implored.
Down the hill, yellow dandelion flowers volunteer over the grave of Sgt. Oliver W. Wester, 4th AAAF Fighter Group, who was killed on July 14, 1943.
Here lies 2nd Lt. Rrobert Andrew Beall. Beall was there in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania leading his Gibson Guards of Wright's Brigade toward "The Angle" on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg. It was toward the end of the second day of the epic battle when Beall and his brigade were "Masters of the Field" as they were the first and only Confederate brigade to break the Union lines at the High Water Mark of the Confederacy. When the Georgia boys in butternut failed to get support on their flanks, they were surrounded by reserve Federal units. More men were lost to death and capture on their retreat than on the arduous advance to the stone-walled salient. Lt. Beall was wounded, captured and taken to prison at Point Lookout, Maryland. After an early release, Lt. Beall stood with the last shattered remnants of his company at Appomattox Court House when the killing finally and mercifully came to an end.
And then there are the dough boys of World War I. Sgt. Syl P. Hodges, who immediately enlisted in the Signal Corps, 4th Division upon the declaration of war and who had just been transferred to the front when he was accidentally killed in a rest billet.
Corporal Clarence D. Fordham, joined Co. C of the 151st Machine Gun Battalion, just after graduating high school. Fordham went to Mexico with the boys from Georgia in 1916 and was one of the Yanks who went over there in 1918 with the Rainbow Division. Fordham was wounded on July 25, 1918 and lingered for six days before he died. He was only 17 years old.
"Nobly he fell while fighting for liberty. Eternal rest grant him oh Lord. And let perpetual light shine on him," is how this hero's granite epitaph reads.
Descendants of Leonard and Ellen Braddy still place flags by the graves of sons, Cary and Braddy. The Braddys lost two of their sons in World War II. Lt. Cary H. Braddy died on April 21, 1945 somewhere in the not so sunny, South Pacific. Sgt. Palmer fell on the frozen fields of Belgium some 14 weeks earlier. No parents should suffer like that.
Just another pace or two away lies the mortal remains of Judge Felton Perry - his given name as he was not a jurist - who died on the frozen fields of Europe on the 9th day of January, 1945.
Confederate and American flags adorn the grave of Capt. Hardy B. Smith almost as if they were never raised against each other.
There are Hatfields and McCoys here too, although there has nary a feud between these Laurens County clans.
Right in the middle of the cemetery is the Mausoleum. It took about two years and $30,000.00 to build this distinguished ossuary of concrete and marble. First National Bank President Frank Corker, the man who built Dublin's skyscraper, led the effort to construct the masonry mansion for up to two hundred souls. It is the immortal home of families like the Pages, Garretts, Phillips, Robinsons, Adams, Powels, Brantleys, and more, the people who made their fortunes when cotton was king and railroads carried us from town to town and wondrous places around the country.
Advance units of the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts have already canvassed the area, marking the grave of all of those who have served our nation and our fallen heroes.
Twenty years after his death, the citizens of Dublin dedicated a ledger to the memory of Mayor Lucien Quincy Stubbs, who made many improvements to the city he so dearly loved. Stubbs would have gladly surrendered these posthumous accolades to resurrect the lives of his beloved Clara, John, and Ella who died all too young.
John M. Stubbs, Jr.
Grieving parents, Lucien and Lula, placed concrete angels, now spattered with pale green lichens. John prays to the heavens, one of his broken wings loving placed back on it pedestal. Lula, her tiny, dainty fingers crumbling, spreads flowers of joy and good cheer.
Here lie sinners, saints, quarterbacks, and poker players. Passing through this graveyard you will finds Kings, Princes, Knights, Lords, loads of lovely ladies and way too many little princesses.
There is at least one Diamond buried here, but don't go digging up Mrs. Mary Claire just yet.
For those of you who are superstitious, there are Boneys, Slaughters, Hooks, Roaches, Tingles, Webbs, Vines, Leaches, Chivers, Clouds and Stranges. And for those who really are afraid of being here, the Adams family lies over there. There are even Graves in some of these graves. And, if you walk over in Section C, Row 17, you will find Mr. and Mrs. Coffin (Shubert and Lollie.) Cross my heart and hope to join these folks, I am not lying!
Green and blue funeral home tents keep the scarce rains from washing away the recent tears of grieving loved ones dropped on the yellow sandy loam.
Back in the early days, infants were indiscriminately snatched away from excited parents. Emma Dora Arnau's final crib is adorned with a mourning dove lying beside a short stump signifying a life cut all to short in 1902. An unnamed, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Lord died at the age of one day in 1904. His parents paid quite handsomely for a stone cutter to carve an image of their most beloved little boy. Another, unadorned stone simply says "Tommy."
Dozens and dozens of unmarked slabs, their occupant's identities unknown to all but God, still confound ancestor seeking visitors.
Kinchen Walker, a soldier of the South and a devout Methodist, was a good man. He helped to rid the city of demon rum, or so he thought.
J.W. Holland sleeps as a brilliant red cardinal glides over his eternal bed.
I think I'll stop now. The cool shade isn't so cool anymore. It's time to take a break, drink some sweet tea and rest until next week when my ramble through Northview continues.
I'm back and ready to resume my journey through the eternal homes of people we once knew and loved.
Over here among the members of the Felder family, is the grave of Thomas Brailsford Felder, Jr., a political nova, drawn into the black hole of the not so heavenly world of politics. He had all the promise of success in the world, but it was relationships with the evil ones of the Warren Harding administration who seduced him to the Gates of Hades. Look there, one end of his slab seems to be rising out of the ground. It's election time and ol' Tom Felder must be rising up for one more political fight. You can't keep a good man down.
Major T. D. Smith, the grand master of barbeque, assembles his comrades in Gray, some sixty strong. Not a single "Billy Yank" lies here, at least not one who will proclaim it.
Mr. Mockingbird, my constant and faithful tour guide, returns - dancing from stone to stone. He leads me to a Georgia Bulldog, complete with his red sweater and telling all of us that this man loved them Dawgs.
Rainbows of summer flowers, some natural and some plastic, decorate the rolling landscape. It doesn't take Miss Swallowtail long to figure out the difference.
I see the graves of teachers, plumbers and fighter aces. Faithful friends, beloved daddies, and Woodmen of the World are here too. There are Elks and Mooses, but not the antlered kind. Over there are orphans, unsurpassed mothers, and memories.
People who knew Mr. Cy Dozier knew that he was a Christian from the cradle to the
grave. His epitaph reminds us of that wonderful trait.
Many of us ate her delicious home style food, but how many of you know that the lady they called "Ma," was in fact Fannie Bell Keen Hawkins. Over here is "Bud" Barron, one of those flyboys, who flew more air miles than almost any other pilot in World War II.
Slumbering here is the infant son of Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Claxton. Even the John Hopkins taught medical skills of his physician father couldn't save his momentary life.
April 1944 wasn't a good month for the Bidgood family. Robert Bidgood, the handsome, beloved son of Grover and Henrietta Bidgood, went missing over New Guinea. There was no Happy New Year in the Zetterower family in the cold European winter of 1945 either. Frank Zetterower, Jr. earned a Silver Star by giving his life to save the life of a fellow soldier in the village of Gambsheim, France.
Other young boys, who fought the war started by men, gave the last true measure of devotion in the service of our country. Their mothers cried. Their strong fathers crumbled under weight of agony and despair. Willie T. Holmes was killed in Okinawa. The blood of recent school boys, Randall Robertson and James B. Hutchinson, stained the white -grained sands and rocky, igneous hills of Iwo Jima. And, there are army officers like Lt. Peter Fred Larsen was killed by his own men - a villainous trick of his captors who hauled him and others around in the crammed, filthy holds of cargo ships which fell in the sights of American fighter pilots. By my feet lies Wex Jordan, the "Fiddling Fullback," a football star and an All-American boy, faces the heavens, where he lost his life in a training accident in the skies off San Diego.
A single simplistic column marks the graves of a decade of the members of the Baum and Dreyer families. Sons and daughters of Israel, public service was their fundamental creed. Louisa Kohn Baum was there on that seemingly happy, mid-April evening, when John Wilkes Booth put a gun to the head of Abraham Lincoln and nearly finished killing off a badly wounded nation.
It is all together fitting and proper that George and Patricia Tanner lie in wait next to Alice Patterson over in the edge the woods by the frilly pink mimosas. They wait for the Birdman, Tommy Patterson, who's watching and waiting for that one more angelic winged creature to carry him home to the Green Acres neighborhood where they lived as neighbors and loved life on the banks of the Hunger and Hardship Creek. Son Hunter Patterson has just come back with precious artifacts from the swampy creek, where he discovered and thrilled in the natural beauty of our world.
There are broken markers, broken hearts and broken dreams. Ancient cedars spread their short, scaly needles casting shadows of death and despair, while a duo of mourning doves dart and dash among the oaks and myrtles. Brown thrashers, wrens and sparrows scan the surface for a seed or tasty insect for Sunday brunch.
Elllison Pritchett lies here. Way back during the days of the Great Depression, he built an airplane for the world's richest man, but had to keep on building planes to pay his bills.
I see the grave of little Jimmy Rogers, a sweet child of his parents love whom God called home to the bright mansions above. Just below Mary's little lamb, the stone mason carved the day he flew home with the angels, September 24, 1901 - a date which predates the city's purchase of the original 25-acre cemetery from Celestia Smith by three months and two days.
Cemeteries to some are terrifying places. Others are superstitious when they come here. "Don't step on the graves," they say. Some hold their breath as they motor by, just to keep the spirits from taking it away. Others, like me, see cemeteries as wonderlands, wonderlands of beauty, family, heritage, sacrifice, service, and most of all, love.
Besides, in my position as President of the Laurens County Historical Society, it is my solemn duty to know where all the bodies are buried.
Before I go, I think I will walk over to the far left side of the cemetery right along the tree line near the back. I recommend that the next time you go to this place that you follow my footsteps.
Back in October, Gavin had Jack-O-Lanterns to fill with Halloween candy. In April, the Easter Bunny left a trio of Spiderman eggs in a Spiderman pail. At one end of the box there is a short cross to remind him that Jesus is there by his side. He knows his loving family is always there for they always bring him new toys to play with.
Gavin plays from the early dawn until the last glow of evening twilight. And, when the Sun goes down, his family put out some solar powered lights, just so he won't be alone in the dark. No child was ever loved more.