Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

May 11, 2000

Betty Chapman, an invaluable genealogy library volunteer, also is
working as a volunteer in reading the tombstones in some cemeteries in
Heralds Prairie Township.

Recently she came up with a story about some cemeteries in North
Carolina which amazed me. Then she brought me a copy of the Daily News
from Washington, N.C., which carried an article on some of the historic
cemeteries located within the confines of Goose Creek State Park in
Beaufort County. There is a ranger there who conducts tours. This story
is gleaned from the Feb. 11, 2000 issue of the newspaper.

As in our local cemeteries, it is suspected that several more people
were buried in those cemeteries than the stones would lead one to
believe. Many graves were once marked with wooden crosses that have long
since vanished.

Spellings on the stones were varied, and the ranger explained that
during the 1800s, families had headstones made in northern towns such as
Philadelphia and New York, where names were often spelled differently
from the South.

Near the Live Oak Trail are buried the bodies of several people who died
from a contagious disease or fever and were brought across the river for
burial so the disease would not spread. According to local lore, people
were concerned about infection, so they would burn the belongings of
the deceased and bring the body to the other side of the river to he

Early graveyards were generally limited to one or two families. Later,
close association with members of the family, combined with isolation
from an organized church, gave rise to others being buried there, so it
was no longer a family cemetery.

Quoting from the newspaper article: "One common practice that is
evident at the graves at Goose Creek is the ritual of burying people
east to west, with the head toward the west. This comes from the
Christian belief that when Jesus returns, he will come from the east.
Therefore the dead in Christ will be able to greet him face to face...
If a person lived a shameful life, he was buried north to south as a
punishment for his sins."

Perhaps you readers are familiar with this practice; I'd never heard of
it before. Now, if you're out in some strange cemetery, searching for an
ancestor, and you come upon his tombstone with the grave going north and
south, you'll be aware of how his life was viewed by his neighbors!

In the 1920 Prairie Farmer's & Breeder's Directory, T. W. Hay
advertised lots in Glenwood Cemetery 1/2 mile west of Carmi, and
Prairie Annex Cemetery 1/2 mile south of Old Iron.

AUD: I was handed a note which I don't understand. It has to do with
info which may be found on the Internet on the AUD family. Those
interested may contact Kelly Bowles (382-7213) or [email protected]

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