Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday - 4 New Cemeteries and 1 Surprise one!

Sorry that I haven't written in a few days, I have been out and about in this Oklahoma heat. The heat index was 105F yesterday and a cool 103F today! What is it I have been up to you ask? Well, let me tell you the story!

My friend, Andrea, Ward I call her, had me set out a list of old (1800-1900) cemeteries, cemeteries known to have internment's that old, and ones known to have Native American burials (MY FAVS). So, list in hand (I won't get too far into the I didn't write down directions bit HA), needless to say my trusty Side-kick Ward was on the other end of the phone messaging me directions!

Well, I set out to look for an old cemetery known to have Native American burial(s), it is/was called Knothole Cemetery. Yes, here in Oklahoma we are a simple folk and are not bothered with fancy pants names as the city slickers (I jest). I went to the general direction I believed it to be and nothing! UGH! Ward then directed me with the correct directions and I ended back in the same spot, a cemetery called Greenhill. Oh well, I say, there are graves and LOTS of them, so off I trod. Now, I do indeed find a few Native American burials, along with a few hundred from the era I was seeking. Unbeknownst to me Ward has deduced, and rightly so, that the Greenhill upon which I was now standing and photographing, was in fact formerly named Knothole! EEEEK!

She informs me of this on my drive back to the office, ha, and I am giddy! I can't explain it, but as she says, I am like a kid with a new toy with all this! So, upon much brow raising from Ward, I actually set down directions to these places and alternative names so as not to catch me unawares again!

The next day as I am looking for Royal Oak, 5 miles down a dirt road I didn't know existed, up over a hill a sign catches my eye and I hit the brakes! French Cemetery! WOOOHOO I reach what is an old cattle gate! No lock, so I unlatch it and go in to literally find a few hundred stones with white paint atop them as not to mistake them for just plain old rocks! about 50 had some type of inscription, or actual stone. What do my eyes behold when panning this amazing find? Native American Burial number 4 in 2 days! WHAT! WHAT!!!! Oh, my gracious, yep kid with a new toy about explains it!

Today found me in the first Choctaw Indian Burial site at what was once Skullyville, the check in place for the Mississippi Choctaws as they came off the Trail of Tears. (That's a WHOLE other blog post). It was absolutely fascinating, I was captivated, enamored, everything excited inside me was welling up! I think I was giving a play by play to Ward on the phone as I was taking all this in. Family names I have found researching, some of my own as well, (BONUS)!

Next to this well kept, well marked, amazing cemetery, was a fence separating it from another cemetery. There is no gate to connect them, only a fence covered in ivy. I got into my vehicle and tried to find an entrance, a dirt road, unmarked, next to a not so pleasant smelling, chicken farm. Broken stones by the dozens, many bumps and lumps we cemetery enthusiasts know to be burials, littered the ground, but not many stones. Maybe 30 stones now liter the 2-3 acres, knowing full well many, many more were laid to rest there. What is this place you ask? Well these are the early Freedmen (and women) and the more recent few burials, their children. The Freedmen were the African-American slaves to the Choctaw people before the Civil War (Another blog post). I was saddened and actually disgusted that nothing marked this place, no sign, no nothing but two dark posts in the front to keep the local chicken trucks from hitting the front few gravesites. So sad.....

My last trip of the day was to the Spiro Mounds! OH MY!!! If you don't know anything about this, read up, it is absolutely fascinating! They are from 450-1450 A.D. dwellers of this area, Native American peoples. I visited the museum, saw relics, marveled at this amazing place! I walked the two mile track around the mounds, took the interpretive book and my camera and 2 bottles of water! Again, the kid in the toy store!

So, as you can see, my few days have been FILLED with some amazing adventures! I will enclose a few pictures for your enjoyment. Thank you for stopping by!

Happy Hunting~

What I am thankful for is a few things, one is my trusty side-kick, turned map reader extraordinaire, Ward. Second is finding a passion in something that has meaning, isn't frivolous, and matters. Third, is the opportunity to share what 'gift' I have for this with others through our Genealogy work!

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