• Tag Archives headstones
  • Grave Discoveries: Old Masonic Cemetery aka St. James Cemetery

     

     

    The Old Masonic Cemetery aka St. James Cemetery is located in St. James, Missouri and has a beautiful entrance/exit. This is from the exit side. There are approximately 4,211 interments here. It’s quite massive. The oldest part, near the road and entrance. has some very interesting stones.IMG_7032 (1024x768) There are several stone foundation family plots in St. James Cemetery.  I couldn’t find any reason for this online other than to mark the actual plot boundaries.IMG_7030 (1024x768)

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    IMG_6997 (768x1024)It’s difficult to tell here but I think those are angel wings at the top?IMG_7029 (768x1024) A Mason’s grave.IMG_7028 (768x1024) Again, this stone is interesting but I can’t make out the design anymore. Thoughts?IMG_7027 (768x1024)

    A nautical theme here with the anchor.IMG_7026 (768x1024) IMG_7025 (768x1024) IMG_7024 (1024x768) A hand pointing to Heaven.IMG_7023 (768x1024) IMG_7022 (768x1024) I guess this was the winner of the coveted Death Cup.IMG_7021 (768x1024) IMG_7019 (768x1024) I love the gnarly old trees here in the oldest part of the cemetery.IMG_7018 (768x1024) Hand pointing to the Crown of Heaven. IMG_7016 (768x1024) IMG_7015 (768x1024) I love the patina on this stone and the floral design of the engraving. IMG_7014 (768x1024) These stones were tucked away on a shady edge of the cemetery, nearly overtaken.IMG_7013 (768x1024) IMG_7012 (768x1024) Nice patina and handshake engravings on these stones.IMG_7011 (768x1024) IMG_6998 (768x1024)Dove engraving.IMG_7010 (768x1024) I’ve found at least one Woodmen of the World stone in every graveyard I’ve visited so far in my travels. IMG_7009 (768x1024)  IMG_7007 (1024x768) IMG_7006 (768x1024) IMG_7005 (1024x768)   IMG_6996 (1024x768) IMG_6995 (768x1024) IMG_6994 (768x1024)Want to know where the bodies are buried? Check out FIND A GRAVE and you can see for yourself.

    Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

    Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

    AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

    Reap & Repent blurb

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

     


  • Grave Discoveries: Ben Franklin’s Grave and Christ Church Burial Ground

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    One of the highlights of our NYC/Philadelphia trip this summer was getting to visit the very historic Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia.

    It’s a Colonial and Revolutionary-era cemetery with more than 1,300 markers and nearly 4,000 burials on two acres! It’s jam-packed with grave goodness.

    Of course the highlight is Ben Franklin’s grave, which was actually the least architecturally interesting in the entire cemetery to me. It was just a large slab. The pennies were cool. I didn’t know it but the American tradition of leaving pennies on graves actually began with Ben Franklin’s funeral. Folks came from across the country to ‘pay their respects’. Ironic that Abe Lincoln’s face is on the coin now. Guess these visitors didn’t want to leave hundred dollar bills 😀

    IMG_6618 (800x600)I think this is an early example of a Woodmen of the World marker. It was first officially founded in 1883 so I’m not sure but it fits the style.

    IMG_6646 (600x800)These pedestal and table-style markers are really interesting and unusual. This is the first I’ve seen of these in my travels.

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    IMG_6628 (800x600)I like the juxtaposition of the very old history and the modern skyline behind it.

    IIMG_6644 (600x800)These marker/planters are ingenious! Way to multi-task!IMG_6645 (600x800)IMG_6648 (600x800)

    These pyramid style markers seem Masonic to me but I didn’t find any proof of that. They are, however, very unique and this first one is elaborate.

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    IMG_6641 (800x600)Lots of windy little gravel paths meandered through the grounds. You can see they were packed in like sardines.IMG_6651 (800x600) IMG_6653 (800x600)

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    IMG_6654 (800x600)I really dig these old cross markers.

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    IMG_6656 (800x600)Want to know where who lies here? You can download a cool map here. 

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    Well, that’s it for this week. Next week I’ll show you Fox Crossing Cemetery in Pulaski County, Missouri.

    Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts from the Grave Discoveries series.

    Speaking of cemeteries. Did you know that reapers travel from consecrated ground to consecrated ground through and invisible network called the consecrated subway? It’s true. Just one of the amazing details of the the Reaper Series.

    Want to know more? There’s still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available now at all ebook retailers. 

    AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

    Reap & Repent blurb

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.


  • Grave Discoveries: Happy Home Cemetery

     

    20140506_131145279_iOSHappy Home Cumberland Presbyterian Cemetery  is very near my home. I drive by it several times a week and it was one of the first places that captured my attention for a potential book setting.

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    I love its rural and secluded setting. Click here if you’d like to know who’s buried at Happy Home. The earliest birthdate I could find was 1821.

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    This marker made me wonder what the point of marking a grave at all was if it was only one lone, unpretentious rock that could have just randomly cropped up out of the ground on its own.

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    That led me to this site http://thefuneralsource.org/mar01.html which had a nice history of grave marking.

    Here are some of the more interesting markers from Happy Home:

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    This one belonged to a member of The Woodmen of the World. Which of course led to another Google search.  The Woodmen of the World was primarily an insurance company based in Omaha, Nebraska.

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    As for these two tombstones in the Happy Home Cemetery, this is what I learned:

    “One enduring physical legacy of the organization is distinctive headstones in the shape of a tree stump. This was an early benefit of Woodmen of the World membership, and they are found in cemeteries nationwide. This program was abandoned in the late 1920s as it was too costly.

    Typically the headstones would include a depiction of the WOW relics and symbols of the organization. These include most notably a stump or felled tree (inscribed into a more generic monument in some cases, rather than the more noticeable instances of the entire monument being in the shape of the log or tree-stump); the maul and wedge; an axe; and often a Dove of Peace with an olive branch. As Woodmen “do not lie”, a common inscription was “Here rests a Woodman of the World”.

    Cool, yes?

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    Yucca plants are a popular and sturdy cemetery addition. I figured it was because they were hardy and didn’t need much looking after. A little internet digging found this at http://ethnobiology.org/sword-plants-and-spirits-african-and-american-graveyards

    “Spanish bayonet) and lilies as grave markers in 19th-20th century cemeteries. The phrase “pushing up yucca” has been coined to describe these graveyards, and there was a Gullah belief that spiny plants restricted the movement of the spirits of the dead.” 

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    Peonies are also a popular choice. Here’s what I found out about those thanks to The University of Nebraska-LIncoln.:

    “Peonies, Paeonia lactiflora or Paeonia officinalis, are a favorite plant around Memorial Day. Many people use peony flowers to decorate the graves of their lost loved ones. This is a great flower to use because they typically bloom just prior to Memorial Day. They are wonderful additions to cemeteries because they come in so many colors and combinations of colors. Peony flowers may be single or double, which add a lot of variety to the many graves.”

    People are so clever.

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    This handshake symbol is one I’ve come across a lot. Here is what it means according to Cemeteries & Cemetery Symbols :

    “A handshake symbol on a tombstone usually signifies a welcome into the heavenly world. Sometimes you may see this as a symbol of matrimony on the grave marker of a married couple. If it’s a marriage symbol you may notice that one cuff will look masculine and the other, feminine.”

    I also found this neat site called Grave Addiction with lots more symbol explanations.

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    This one was very plain with only the initials. Unless there is an actual elf buried there.

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    And finally, this resident wasn’t exactly pushing up daisies, but those flowers were damn close.

    I’ll keep prowling graveyards and bringing you interesting bits from The Reaper Series if you’ll keep visiting.

    In the meantime…

    Sign up to receive post updates in your inbox at the top right of this page so you don’t miss out on future posts!

    Still plenty of time to read book one and join in on the fun. Reap & Repent is available for pre-order. Order now and it will magically appear on your ereader June 2. 

    Reap & Repent 

    Reap & Repent final revised (647x1024)They see death. Can they share a life?

    Ruth Scott can read the energy of every person she meets. Then she meets Deacon Walker. She can see his ice-blue eyes, his black hair, and his gorgeous face. But this beautiful stranger has no aura.

    Deacon is just as unsettled by Ruth—and, having spent more than two hundred years ushering souls to Purgatory, Deacon is seldom shocked by anything. As he helps Ruth to understand her true nature, she awakens desires that he decided long ago a Reaper can’t afford.

    A demon invasion forces Deacon to confront the darkness in his own past even as he fights to save the human souls he’s charged to protect. When he’s taken captive, his first concern is for Ruth. But Ruth just might be able to save herself—and the Reaper she can’t live without—if she can learn to wield her newfound powers.

    AMAZON | B&N  | KOBO 

     


  • Five Real-Life Cemeteries That Inspired The Reaper Series

    Cemeteries are integral to the characters of Reap & Repent who spend a lot of time traveling to, from, and through them. All of the cemeteries of The Reaper Series were inspired by real-life cemeteries near my own hometown. Here are a few fictionalized places you’ll be visiting in The Reaper Series. Want to visit the real places? Click the links below and see where the bodies are buried.

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    Good Springs Cemetery-  outside Huntsbury – rural cemetery two miles from Ruth’s home.

    Excerpt from Reap & Repent

    He lingered longer than necessary in the window and for a second, she thought he was going to kiss her again. After a moment’s hesitation, he turned and walked through the Good Springs archway. He didn’t even look back as he grabbed hold of the first headstone he came to and swirled and shimmered in a mini tornado until poof, he was gone. Just like that.

    Ruth rolled up her window and locked the doors. All of them. She was not ashamed to admit that she was more than a little scared. As far as she could tell at the moment, there wasn’t anything to actually be scared of in her immediate vicinity.

    It’s the things you can’t see.

    She backed her big-ass car out of the cemetery and headed into town with the radio blasting so that she couldn’t think too much.

     

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    Meridian National Cemetery downtown Meridian

    Excerpt from Reap & Repent

    She felt the pull, and in a few seconds they were in the middle of Meridian National Cemetery. The cemetery was situated along two very busy main roads in town. They landed in the middle of the grounds under a gazebo.

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    Panther Valley Cemetery – where Ruth’s parents are buried.

    Excerpt from Reap & Repent

    Panther Valley Cemetery is an old and rural cemetery in Steele County, Arkansas. Hundreds of similar cemeteries dotted the state. Since it was a week before Memorial Day, the grounds were neat and clipped. The headstones had been trimmed by the volunteer caretaker. The grounds were empty as they pulled up and through the gate. The entire area was bucolic with the rolling green hills, waist deep with the first growth of fescue of the year. A lush green line of trees demarked Panther Creek as it trickled through the bottom land.

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    East Lawn Cemetery, Meridian: – outskirts of Meridian

    Excerpt from Reap & Repent

    East Lawn Cemetery was another one of the larger cemeteries in town but at least it was off the main streets. The cemetery covered more than eight acres. The street lights were far enough away that the numerous trees made it almost impossible to navigate until their eyes adjusted. One by one, the white headstones appeared out of the darkness like blooming moon flowers.

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    Maple Park Cemetery, Meridian – near downtown neighborhood.

    Excerpt from Reap & Repent

    They landed in Maple Park Cemetery next, which was tiny in comparison but much darker. With no visible street traffic, they had about zero chance of being spotted as they made their way through the grounds, which was a relief. The entire cemetery covered a couple of wooded acres. It didn’t take long to find the next candidate: Evelyn Opal Carson, aged eighty-seven.  

    Want to read more? Reap & Repent, from Harlequin E, now available at all e-book retailers.

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