31 December 2011

Aldridge Partin Cemetery

The Aldridge Partin Cemetery is located in Wake County, NC. It is actually an overgrown family burial ground that now sits smack in the middle of someone's cow pasture. Seriously.

Now, I can completely understand why decades ago, people often requested to be buried on their own land. In some cases, this was likely because of financial constraints; in others, it was probably because of a sincere love of the land that was owned, farmed, and worked on everyday of people's lives.

What strikes me as unbelievably sad is the reality that many family cemeteries have become annihilated by the "development" of our society. At what point did we stop having respect for the dead and decide that demolishing grave sites was the right thing to do?

In the case of the Aldridge Partin Cemetery, the graves haven't been demolished, but they have been shamefully neglected to the point that most of them are now only marked by unreadable small stones. I visited this cemetery a few days ago while looking for the graves of two of my 2nd great grandparents: Harriett Eleanor Johnson Temple and William Bennett Temple.

The land is owned by an elderly gentleman who works his farm by himself. He was kind enough to allow my husband and I to visit the remains of the cemetery. He drove us to the site (it's the only way to access it since his property is fenced in). He told me that he bought the land from someone named Temple (he remembered that name being on his deed), so it's likely that the land was passed down from William Bennett Temple to his children and grandchildren for a couple of generations before it was sold to the man who now owns it.

Because the cemetery sits on someone's private property, I didn't feel comfortable taking a lot of pictures. I only took photos of my 2nd great grandparents' graves.




I was very excited to find their graves, but at the same time I couldn't help feeling sad at the sight of so many other graves that are now only marked by unreadable stones. My best guess is that there are approximately 40-50 graves at that site, but it's quite likely that there are many more graves that are no longer marked at all.

I can't completely fault the man who now owns the land for doing with it what he pleases, but I do wish that people (in general) would have more respect and compassion for the dead. If someone purchases land in which people have been buried, have the decency to preserve the grave site rather than destroying it or allowing it to become overgrown and vandalized by cows. Over the past few months, I've encountered several cemeteries that have been overrun by a thoughtless society.

In my opinion, grave sites are sacred and should not be destroyed because of the whims of people. They should be preserved not only out of respect for those who have passed, but for the historical value they provide to us all.

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