Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Prescott's IOOF Cemetery

Elks. Moose. Eagles. Masons. Modern Woodmen. Knights of Pythias. Odd Fellows. Today one seldom hears mention of these fraternal orders, remnants of a different past, when many people in American towns small and large joined together voluntarily to solve problems -- and enjoy one another's society. deToqueville wrote about it in the 19th century; most recently, a pop sociologist produced another book on the great change away from social bonding, Bowling Alone.

A quick check of the local yellow pages showed that the Elks, Eagles, Moose and Odd Fellows are still in business as well as the Masons, though one seldom hears mention. Certainly the heritage remains: the great silvery elk atop the old opera house ... the recently refurbished Knights of Pythias building, one of the oldest in town ... the IOOF cemetery, as well.

Larger than I had expected, it's located in the hills at the foot of Virginia Street and still accepts burials. None of the famous Prescottonians are interred here, though there is one "friend" of Billy the Kid, John William Young Kinney, a cattle rustler.

Monuments range from the oversized memorial dedicated to the Rebekah women's lodge above to a simple wooden cross erected in 2003.

A profusion of color is evidence that this continues as an active burial ground.

Above -- a child's grave; below, the tragic story of one family's loss. Visit an old cemetery to be reminded the high death rate of youngsters a century ago.

Guy was Honest. Brave. True. What about Hannie, his wife?

Another simple, homemade cross.

Is this, perhaps, a shovel -- symbolizing a life spent in the mines? Below, a flagstone memorial.

More information about this grave marker will be found among this group of photos.

Here, a freshly dug grave.

And the raven who presides over it all.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Quoth the Raven,

"Nevermore!"

~Anon in AV.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

A timely reminder of one's short tour on this mortal coil.

Cheers,

Hermano

Jarart said...

My husband has a great uncle and aunt interred in that cemetary. And last year we attended the funeral of one of his childhood friends there.
The burial grounds in eastern states are so different than ours here in the dry southwest. Some of the ones in my home town in Illinois look like lush green parks to me.
The Raven at the end of the story was a nice touch.

Steve said...

I may have hear of the IOOF, but the organization doesn't ring a bell.

Meggie said...

I did enjoy this tour of cemetary reminders of our fleeting lives. I love old cemetaries, and feel it is rather a shame we have chosen cremation, so our ashes will not have memorials for others to view.

Steve said...

Thanks for giving me a name for the new squirrel.

Boonie said...

Yes, I remember skimming the book "Bowling Alone." Should have read it, for real. The title was remarkably well chosen.

Granny J said...

anon av -- surely the raven could come up with something more original!

bro -- what a downbeat sentiment!

jarart -- the most interesting are those above-the-ground cemeteries in boggy places like Louisiana.

steve -- it's one of many fraternal orders and actually found in countries around the world.

meggie -- the memorials that people (or their survivors) choose can be fascinating -- and certainly reflect the times in which the people lived and died.

steve -- it seemed appropriate for the pretty little girl squirrel!

boonie -- a great title -- and an interesting observation on our times.

 
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