Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - (New) Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery

This past weekend, I bravely visited the New Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Louisburg, NC.  This off-road, remotely-located cemetery is the sacred ground in which numerous 19th Century-born blacks and their descendants are buried.  Among the departed rest some of my Dunstan ancestors - free blacks who are lived in Franklin County, NC.  Although I was not able to locate any of their graves, I know that they are there, thanks to the death certificates that I have for a few of them.

This is the second time I've visited this cemetery, but both times my stay has been short due to the eerie, unsafe feeling I've had while there.  This fear is not at all of the ancestors, who rest peacefully in this hidden abode.  Instead, it is of the WORLD that we live in now.  Perhaps one day I'll be able to return to this cemetery accompanied by at least one other person who can "watch my back" while I look around for my folks, but until then, it's just enough for me to quickly (and courageously) spend a few minutes in the presence of their spirits, and let them know that I know where they lay.

The cemetery has a mixture of modern-day headstones (burials still take place there), and graves which are marked only by a large stone, or in many cases, a stick or a rock.  I took several individual shots of headstones that were near me, and will upload them to Find-A-Grave.


Barbara Poole said...

Lucky you, no snow on the ground (I am in Mass.) You were brave to go there, esp. with all the trees. I am so scared of the unknowns, esp. at a cemetery. Glad you survived! Very nice piece.

Mavis said...

Glad that you were able to make it there. I know that wierd feeling that comes not from those that are interred but of those living that may be watching.

Joan said...

If we weren't separate by the breadth of the continent, I would happily watch your back --- and join with you on your search. However, you & I would be well advised to have my four-footed shepherd friend close by -- he certainly would give second thoughts to untoward persons.

Renate said...

I knew my genea-pals would understand. What a shame that we live in a world in which we must feel this type of fear. I wanted to put a pic from Google Earth on there, but for some reason I can't even see the little dirt road or the cemetery on zoom.

@Joan, thanks for the sentiment. You're the bestest! :)


jodi @ Pleasant Home said...

I wish I lived closer, I'd go with you too! ;o)

Anonymous said...

I, too visited the New Liberty Church Cemetery in Franklin, Co. N.C. in Feb. 2010 and again in May, 2010. My ancestors buried there are the Cookes. Funny I did not experience the sensation that you described. Of course, my daughter was with me. I really felt that I was spiritually and physically in the presence of my ancestors.

Deanna said...

Hi. Visited church site many times but just found your blog. I am visiting NC soon and planned a visit to cemetry to locate grandparents graves. My family surname is Neal. Hoped to find my paternal grandmother's name. That is the last missing piece to finding my father's family. Was going with my best friend. We are not brave so based on your observation, I'll not be going. I believe my "angel" sent you to me. Good luck in your search.

Renate said...

Hi Deanna,
Please don't let my experience deter you from visiting this cemetery! I'm sure you will be perfectly fine, especially since you won't be going alone. Perhaps, if you're really uncomfortable, you could even contact the church to see if someone might accompany you. The "eerieness" for me was certainly just a result of the fact that I was alone no one knew where I was.
I hope you will go, and I'd love to hear from you after your trip!


PS.... I don't know how much of my blog you've read, but you mentioned that you have Neal ancestry. This is a family that I've researched, due to a probable connection through my great-grandfather. I'd love to know more about your ancestors. Please email me at yarsan@aol.com.