Monday, September 9, 2013

A Memorable Finale To Cemetery Season 2013

     The days are getting shorter here in upstate NY, not to mention cloudier and colder.  Sunday was fairly warm so I decided it would be a good idea to get in one last cemetery search.  My husband and I set out for the extreme rural part of Wayne County in search of Sandhill Cemetery in Butler, New York.

     The grave we were seeking was that of Hattie B. Moore Galloway, a third great grandmother on my mother's side who was born about 1812.  She married Russell Galloway in 1829 in Wolcott, New York.  Hattie's parents were Abijah Moore and Phoebe Benham, both from Connecticut.  Sometimes I wish my New England relatives had just stayed put until 1881 when New York began keeping vital records.  Those New England states kept exemplary records commencing in the 1700's, many of which are available in searchable book form at Google Books.

     I knew where to look for Hattie because the Wayne County Genweb site has tombstone readings from Sandhill Cemetery that were taken in 1965, nearly 50 years ago.  At that time the inscription on Hattie's stone read:
"Harriet B. Galloway, wife of Russell died Feb 5, 1877, 66 years 
1 month  23 days, Gone but not forgotten."
There was also this: 

"Selecta H. Galloway, daughter of R. & H.B. died Jun 20, 1857, 21 years 2 months 10 days."  
So I knew exactly what we were looking for.

     After leaving the main highway we drove for quite awhile down back roads before coming upon the cemetery which was now part of a
farmer's field, but conveniently located right near the road.  The photo is sort of deceptive, while it looks like a populated area,  that is just a cow barn on the left side.  We didn't see a single person out there, and the bank is steeper than it appears.  Sandhill is a  small  cemetery as you can see, so we decided to split up to search.  It soon became apparent that actual cows had recently been wandering among the graves too, "watch the cow flops", (that's the technical term for cow doo-doo), I called to my husband."  Oops too late.

     After cleaning off his shoe we resumed our search but found no trace of Hattie or Selecta, though we did find several Moores whose names I recognized, including my fourth great grandparents Abijah and Phoebe.  Some of the stones were badly weathered, cracking and splintering, while others were knocked over and broken; probably by some teenage cows.

     The conditions of some of those stones made me pensive.  Someone went to such trouble and expense to erect them for a loved one, and now they were just fading away uncared for and unnoticed, soon to be gone from living memory like their owners.  It happens all too often.  Look at King Richard III, they just found him under a municipal parking lot somewhere in Leicester.   

     We went through several more times, but it was clear we weren't going to find Hattie, thank goodness someone took the time to inventory the cemetery back in '65. The sun was starting to set, so we made our way back to the car.  Darkness falls pretty fast this time of year, and by the time we again neared the main highway, it was almost total.  Suddenly, my husband braked for something in the road.  "What the French toast is that?"  Something was half sitting, half lying there.  As we got closer it looked at us, got up, and loped into the woods.
"A fox with mange", my husband said.
 "I don't think so.  It looks like a cross between an opossum 
  and an anteater, only bigger."
 "It's just a mangy fox", he said.
 "OMG! I know what that was!  It was chupacabra!
 "Chupacabra, they live in the desert southwest and drink goat's blood, one  must have migrated north."
 "Have you been drinking?"

     When we got home I ran to the computer and pulled up a picture.  "Tell me that doesn't look like what we just saw."  He grudgingly admitted that it did, but added, "you do know they don't really exist, don't you?"
A Texas Chupacabra

"How do you know", I asked.  That earned me one of those, you must be crazy looks.   
"Fine, have it your way", I said.

     But between you and me, I know what I saw in those headlights.

No comments:

Post a Comment