Monday, February 20, 2012

Dabbs Cemetery at Trace Creek

I'm really a bit surprised at myself. I have been researching the Cane Creek Massacre for almost 4 years, and although I have been to the Conder Cemetery and seen the marker placed for Riley and Martin, I still had not visited the graves of the family members who survived: Jim, Malinda, Rachel and Vicie.

About four months ago I decided to fix that oversight. It wasn't hard to learn where they were buried. Several independent records confirm that they were buried at Dabbs Cemetery on Trace Creek. That made sense. The family lived along Trace Creek after returning to Lewis County in about 1897. That year Vicie married Will Haley, whose family had lived along Trace Creek for many years.

The cemetery itself, however, was harder to find than I expected. I found Dabbs Cemetery Road, and where it intersected with Trace Creek Road. Thinking that the cemetery was probably at the far end of the road, I drove out to find it. Sadly, the road ended and there was no cemetery to be found. It was getting dark and I was running out of time, but no one was home at the only nearby house I could find. My search would have to wait until next time.

On my next visit months later I finally found the cemetery. Turns out that the road used to continue on to Dabbs Cemetery, but that the bridge had been destroyed and the bulk of the road had been reclaimed by the woods. There was another road from the opposite direction that was still being used: Kro Hollow. My second attempt was successful.
Jim died in 1911. His grave stone was made professionally. But it has sustained the most damage, broken clean in half. Besides his name, and dates, there is a quote which I unfortunately could not read.
Malinda died in 1916. Her stone was not made professionally, and is more difficult to read. But the stone itself is in better condition than her husband's. This low resolution version of the photo does not do it justice, but the script letters of Malinda's stone are thin and appear to have been made by the repeated tracing of a metal stylus. Weather has nearly eroded the name completely from view.
Rachel died in 1955. Her stone is noticeably more modern than the others. Though it has begun to tilt forward as the ground under the marker settles. I had to stand at an odd angle to get this shot.
Vicie died in 1958. I don't know when the current stone was added, but it includes her husband who died in 1964. The stone may have been purchased in 1958 and Will's name added when it was time.

The weather actually cooperated with me. It had been raining and snowing all morning. But I think the lower light gave me better results. The last cemetery trip I took was on a sunny day. The light coming through the trees created too much contrast against the shadows making it hard the photograph anything. The overcast light of early afternoon worked much better.

Although the condition of some of the grave stones is sad, I don't really have a relationship with the deceased. Legally I can't fix this. My only options are to see if some descendents are willing to approve efforts at repairs. Most of them, however, want nothing to do with Mormons.


Amy T said...

Wow. What an adventure! That took some real effort. Thanks for posting the photos; they show some real change in grave marker technology and probably say something about the circumstances of the family at the time of their deaths.

Ardis said...

Thanks for your persistence and for this post. Somehow, pictures of these stones, as far removed as they are from that Sunday morning, makes it feel more tangible.

BruceAllen said...

Thanks to both of you. I only wish I had done this earlier.