A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You Don't Want to Die in Fairbank

I saw this sign and decided to go look at the cemetary.
No where did anything say how far it was, and after walking for awhile I rounded a curve and saw there was still quite a ways to go. About now I am thinking you better have had some friends in Fairbank willing to carry your dead body all this way.
Finally at the end of that long lane a path led off to the right and climbed a hill along this rocky narrow trail.
Imagine carrying a casket or pine box up this.
Now I am thinking those had better been really good friends.
The trail curved around and eventually ended at the top of the hill at the cemetary itself.
It is hard to tell from the photo but this is the top of a hill. To the right of the path on the right the ground drops away, covered with thick brush. To the left of the left trail is a little brush then drops off down to the trail we just came up. So really, about the only flat ground there was to bury someone is right in front of you.
What graves I saw were in very sad condition.
Some I could barely make out to be a grave.
I walked around and did a count, coming up with around 30 graves. I was surprised to later learn that 119 people were buried in the Fairbank Cemetary.
As I looked around the surrounding countryside I realized why this faraway site was selected for their cemetary. It was the closest hill to town. Despite the popular belief that hilltop cemetary sites were chosen for the view, a more important reason was that you were buried closer to heaven.
This, besides the two broken crosses, is the only tombstone I found, such as it is,
with words etched into wet cement.
None of the crosses had any writing on them. Either the writing had long since weathered away or there wasn't any to begin with.
Even the richest person in town was without a grave marker.
No doubt the hardest job in Fairbank had to be the grave digger's. This ground was like they say "rock hard" and full of the rock you see scattered about and covering the graves.

7 comments:

  1. oh wow! that's a pretty remote and rocky looking cemetary! i liked your title. so true!

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  2. I love all the old crosses and engraved stones. Re: in regards to building codes, there aren't any with the exception of height for businesses. You can build what you want but you will stand out and you might have a hard time selling since most people want Pueblo style homes.

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  3. what a lovely series of photos. the second one of the bare tree shadows is magical. I wonder how many people actually take the time to walk up there and spend time. it would be interesting to position a video cam someplace discreet and have a look, hey? oh, maybe not. great post.

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  4. Perhaps there was a road going up to the hilltop once.
    Old cemeteries are so interesting. Looks like you spent some time exploring. Nice photos of your adventure.

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  5. Comments are nice to receive. Thanks everyone.
    Normally, these days I do not venture into cemetaries like I use to. I get to looking at the dates, do the math, and discover I am nearly that old! Cemetaries have become much too scary for me.

    Randy: thanks for the answer to my question.

    Janie: There were no roads. The long path would accommodate a wagon, but most defintely coffins had to be hand-carried up to the top of the hill.

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  6. Cool shots! I had a six year old with me so I never made it this far!

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  7. I love old cemeteries! You captured the feel of the place. I have some really old rose bushes that I started from cuttings taken from a bush in an old cemetery near here that is no longer maintained, some of the tombstones are from the mid 1800s.

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