Sunday, November 30, 2008

If a tombstone falls

If a tombstone falls in the woods does it make a sound?

I located the marker for my great grandfather about eight years ago in a small cemetery in Madison County Florida.

Andrew Jackson Green died in 1911 and after his funeral his family moved about 50 miles to the southern part of Taylor County Florida. In 1911, 50 miles would have been like 500 today.

After I found the marker, on an online census for the Concord Missionary Baptist Church cemetery, I asked a cousin, Auley Rowell, who lives in the area to go by and take a photo of it. He mailed me pictures and then in 2002 when I was taking my daughter to college in Tallahassee, Florida I decided to drive over and see it in person. I discovered the marker, which had stood for 91 years had been knocked over, apparently by a lawn tractor.

I was about 10 miles from the closest town, 600 miles from home and the only tools I had were a couple screwdrivers in the tire change bag in my car. I took photos of the broken marker and went back home to Memphis. I decided to get it fixed but didn’t have any idea how to do it.

I emailed the pictures to several cemetery preservation organizations to try and get a diagnosis and cure. They gave me some good advice on how do the repair myself.

About a year later I made another trip to Florida. I took the tools, cement, adhesive and other stuff they recommended and found the old marker just as I had left it. Working in the very hot and humid August sun of Florida, I took the marker apart, created a level surface under it and then reassembled it as recommended. Thankfully none of the stones were broken and I was able to secure them with the adhesives.

The final work looked good and hopefully will stand for another 90 years. I am pretty sure I was the first family member in at least 50 years and maybe since he was buried to see the marker. I may never go back out there since it is so far out of the way, but I’m glad I made the effort to find it.


Taneya said...

that is wonderful that you took the time to do this!

Mark Green said...

Thanks, it was interesting to learn how to do it.