When you start paying attention, cemeteries start popping up EVERYWHERE. Seriously, just take one day to pay attention to how many of them you drive by. You know how it is, when you see something every day you sort of stop seeing it at all. So last Saturday I decided to visit two cemeteries that I pass on a regular basis.
First stop was Grassy Valley Baptist Church Cemetery, which is located at the church of the same name at the corner of Lovell Road and Kingston Pike.
This isn’t your secluded, peaceful location, as you see above, though I suppose it was way out in the country when it was founded in the late 1880s. Here’s the original sign:
You know what they say about East Tennessee–there’s a church on every corner. And most of them look more or less like this one:
This is a nicely kept cemetery, especially given its proximity to a major road and businesses. It’s trash-free, the grass was mowed, and the broken stones were minimal, although there’s always room for improvement:
This cemetery is full of Kirbys and Llewellyns. Wow, there were a lot of them. Which made sense when I looked it up afterwards and found that the Kirbys donated the land for the cemetery and the Llewellyns donated the land for the church.
Woody, Gray, and Grady were other common names. The church was founded in 1880, and I think 1890 was the earliest burial I saw, with the latest being in 2003. That one was the spouse of someone who had died a long time ago, though.
I saw no evidence that this is an active cemetery. Most of the burials took place from the 1890s through the 1940s. But people are still visiting the graves:
Every graveyard I’ve visited has baby graves. Every graveyard is the final resting place for people who lived long and happy lives and people who met with tragic and early ends. I wonder about the stories behind some of the stones I saw in this one, and feel so bad for parents who lost their children:
Also notable here are ornate stones with long and unusual inscriptions. I wish I had been able to decipher them all.
Grassy Valley Baptist Cemetery is a pleasant and beautiful oasis in the commercialized ugliness of Kingston Pike, a reminder of what this area must have been like in earlier (and not that much earlier) times.