Monday, August 11, 2014

A visit to the Conder Cemetery

Yesterday I visited the Conder Cemetery once again. It was the 130th anniversary of the Cane Creek Massacre. I have heard it said that we can never take the same trip more than once, for even if the journey is exactly the same, and the location has not changed, we most definitely will never be the same person we were before.

Today's visit achieved a trifecta in its uniqueness. August 10th perhaps allows us to simulate the weather on that fateful day; humid and sunny. The cemetery had seen some great work. The dead tree threatening to fall on the very next person to walk through the gate had been removed. There were no weeds, no overgrown bushes. Even the grass, what little there was, had been neatly trimmed.

There was some inevitable entropy. Just last week I wrote about how  (Malinda's 1st husband) J R Hudson's grave stone has the same inscription as that of W J Conder (her second husband), and that the stones were practically identical in design and material. The biggest difference was the name and the date, and that the second had broken in half. Well, now Hudson's stone has broken, nearly in the same way as the other, albeit a little lower than the first. This time the inscription was completely above the break.

Other than that I noticed things I had not remembered before. I saw the older stones for the graves of Eli  and Barby Talley, right next to the new ones. It was like I never saw the old ones until that day. Were they invisible? Memory is a tricky thing. (I'll save those photos for later)

I also noted the foot stones for the two boys killed at the massacre: William Martin Conder & John Riley Hudson. It made me wonder. Whatever happened to the original stone markers? The story about the placement of the current marker in the 30's never hints. There were three foot stones all about the same (and the same as Jim Conder's foot stone at Trace Creek.)  And that they had foot stones leads me to believe they had headstones, and likely they each had their own. (Did Malinda order four headstones and foot stones at the same time?) You can see the foot stones for William Martin Conder, his half brother John Riley Hudson, and Riley's father J R Hudson in the fore ground. Martin's foot stone in leaning up against a moss covered cinder block since it too had broken off at its base. There were still the remains of rubber cement someone used to try and repair it.

Of course every time I visit I see different things. Repairs someone else has done, repairs that need to be done. And like any kind of research, it creates more questions than answers.

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