Old area gravesites are special places to ponder

by Larry Chowning

A decorative iron fence provides a striking foreground for the graves within the Vaughan Family Graveyard at Providence. A two-gate entrance allowed room for pallbearers to carry the casket to the gravesite. Photo by Larry Chowning
For more heritage feature stories, see the Bay Heritage tabloid in this week’s issue of the Rappahannock Record.

The fields and woods of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula are filled with graves of past generations. Some folks have stone monuments erected to their lives, while others are marked only by God’s monuments—covered in periwinkle, ivy and grass, resting anonymously in peace.

The family graveyards in the corner of the yard, or out yonder in the field, or beneath a grove of ancient cedar and oak trees, are often the final resting place of those with lifelong ties to the land.

Their life dates are etched in stone with a mysterious space in-between as to what went on between the dates. A stroll through any graveyard leaves one to pause—and to reflect on their own life and on the lives of others.

 

 

Northumberland family graveyards often require a trek
by Larry Chowning

After 15 years of research, Prosser Crowther Jr. of Reedville published a book in 2009 on family graveyards of Northumberland County named Rocks of Ages.

Crowther combed the woods and fields of Northumberland County and chronicled 247 family graveyards in his book. He said in a 2011 interview with the Rappahannock Record that to locate gravesites, one has to think like people thought 200 and 300 years ago.

Past generations worked the land and wanted their farmland and fields to remain clear for the growing seasons. “So people were buried near the water,” he said.

Several family graveyards…

 

Vaughan Family Graveyard

The colonial home of Providence on the Piankatank River near Deltaville has a decorative iron-fence around the Vaughan family graveyard. The family owned and lived at Providence during post- and pre-Civil War periods and had four sons who fought for the South in the war.

The main monument inside the fence…

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