Graveyards and cemeteries have always fascinated me. There is just a lot of history and interesting facts that can be gathered from taking a leisurely walk through a place where many go to remember a loved one. When I was in college I often went to the cemetery outside of town to study. Weird, maybe, but no one bothered me there.
When our boys were little we tried to teach them to respect places like cemeteries which many people hold as sacred spots. Our oldest, Micah, called them “little towns” and yes—-if you looked upon the headstones when you were three years old you might think that they were little towns, also.
When we were in Bermuda earlier this year one of my favorite spots was St. Peter’s church in St. George’s. I wrote a post about it earlier this year. It is a marvelous structure with so much history ensconced in it’s walls.
One of the other fascinating things about this piece of history is the ability to walk throughout the churchyard and see that there are two distinct graveyards. One walled area to the west of the church was designated for black slaves while the one to the east was reserved for whites.
Graves of many prominent Bermudians are located on this piece of ground including Governor Sir Richad Sharples who was assassinated in 1973. Another noteworthy grave is that of Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale who was an 20 year old American soldier who was the last victim of the War of 1812. The people of St. George’s took care of him until his death in 1815.
As blacks became Christians they were “entitled” to Christian burials. Seems a bit odd to me to think that not everyone would have those rights but this was when slavery was commonplace and slaves had no rights. In the latter 1600’s the separate graveyard was created by extending the existing one to the west to accommodate the separate area for the black Christians that were to be buried in the cemetery.
Do cemeteries hold you captive or do you avoid them? Everyone has a different experience when they go to a historic place like this. For me the cemetery at St. Peter’s in St. George’s had me wondering about all of those folks who had walked on the grounds before me and those who have yet to visit.
Another very interesting post about of all things–a circus cemetery—is featured over at The Task at Hand. Click here to go check it out and show her some bloggy love.