This is the first thing I noticed when I parked my car at Rocky Hill Baptist Cemetery. I couldn’t decide whether it was the church attempting to disown the cemetery or the folks who run the cemetery disowning the church. For sure, it’s an emphatic sign. And I suspect there’s a story here. Because up until 1991, the church across the street DID own this cemetery, which they then sold to the Rocky Hill Cemetery Association.
The cemetery was originally in the churchyard, as was customary, or perhaps I should say the church was originally in the graveyard, since it’s the church that has since moved across Northshore Drive. The church was founded in 1888 and the land for the cemetery donated in 1891. It’s still very much in use today.
Before our house burned down we drove past this cemetery multiple times every day and I often thought of stopping there. It doesn’t look that big from the road and I figured I could look at every stone. But looks are deceptive. This is actually a good-sized cemetery.
In my (admittedly limited) experience, foundations or associations are not usually responsible for active cemeteries. Typically they take over when the church is gone. the congregation dispersed. It’s a lot of work to maintain a cemetery, and not cheap either, and this one was in need of some attention the day I visited.
(Note to self: never get a flat gravestone. They get covered up way too easily and then you aren’t even a memory anymore.)
The need for landscaping here is in painful contrast to the adjoining property now occupied by a development called (pretentiously) The Summit at Rocky Hill.
Here, for $800,000 or so, one can have a home with a commanding view that includes the cemetery below.
Something else about this cemetery, perhaps because it is run by an association instead of a church or a corporation–there don’t seem to be the usual rules about how graves can be decorated. Maybe that’s part of the charm for those who choose to be buried here? It’s certainly a colorful place.
When this graveyard first opened, “The graves could be “sold only to white persons of good moral standing.” It would appear the standards have changed a bit, judging by this:
That’s the only dog headstone I found, but as always there were many babies and small children, some especially poignant:
The Cottrell, Ellis, Currier, and Peters families are well-represented here.
A few final things that caught my eye:
Update: This post has been edited and pictures removed because one of my readers objected to the inclusion of her father’s grave and misunderstood some of what was written here. No disrespect was intended, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’d say more–and perhaps later I will–but I have a kid to get ready for school right now.
November 5, 2014