The historic plaque at Greenwood.
After reading a few poems at the downtown Dunkin' Doughnuts and meeting a man from Gujarat who longed to return to the bright colors and unanxious life of his Indian homeland, we wandered over to the Greenwood Cemetery. According to the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society:
Greenwood is one of the oldest cemeteries in Tuscaloosa County, having been laid out shortly after the first survey of the city of Tuscaloosa in 1821. In it are the graves of many of early Tuscaloosa’s most prominent citizens. Among those is Dr. John Drish, a famed doctor and landowner, and Solomon Perteat, a prominent free, black craftsman who lived in Tuscaloosa prior to the Civil War.
Only grass covers many of the older plots of African and Native Americans and white settlers.
Greenwood is the final resting place of five veterans of the American Revolution as well as more than 2,500 other individuals in marked and unmarked graves.
The bitter cold left us prey to a sun with teeth. Prophet, Gnome, and the Eldest wandered through the cemetery looking for their favorite gravestone. It was intriguing to see the difference in their preferences.
Prophet liked the "big ones with entire families." She said there was something "kind" about being buried side by side with parents and uncles and aunts. She also got very upset when she found "baby gravestones" tiny as cereal boxes. I read the dates- one of which went back to 1867- and showed her the mother's grave nearby. Both the baby and the mother had been buried on the same day.
She wanted to know why. I told her about the influenza pandemics and how mothers sometimes died during or after childbirth when midwives were unable to attend their labors. Winter babies were especially vulnerable. The Eldest walked around to check the months on the baby graves
The Eldest said this one was his favorite for the fabric draping.
Gnome was busy pouting and declined to select a favorite. But this one was cool.
Pick a gravestone writing assigment.
The Eldest had a creative writing assignment. He was responsible for selecting a grave, writing down the name and date and significant details, and then creating a story about the person's life based on historic context- historical records of what happened during that time in Alabama history. The historic context would include wars, epidemics, fires, economic development, environmental hazards, legislation, etc.
I can't wait for him to share the imagined history of Permelia S. Weger with us later this afternoon.
Other interesting historical gravestones at Greenwood include:
Solomon Perteet (1789-1863)
George Whitfield Crabb (1804-1846)
Confederate General Phillip Dale Roddey (1826-1897)
Marmaduke Williams (1774-1850)
John Mason Martin (1837-1898)
The Leland Family
Sallie Ann Swope
Jack and Jerry Winn
Dr. William Banks (d. 1877)
Richard C. McLester and family
James and Thomas Maxwell
Captain Benjamin T. Eddins