I have family buried at Black Oak Cemetery in Dekalb County, and I was there last week to take pictures and get good dates for my genealogy projects.
Besides the usual markers….marble, granite…were these wonderful hand-made markers. This first one below is for John L.A. Brown – he was born September 19, 1800 and died October 19, 1818 (Alabama wasn’t even a state until 1819). His marker as well as some of the others feature this tree motif. What else this particular one includes is heart shapes, and a hand pointing up.
I have a friend whose relative passed away (just a couple of years ago), and their family members dug the grave themselves, with shovels, not machinery – not because they couldn’t afford to hire someone else to do it, but because they wanted to – as a kind of service in itself. I’m pretty sure you couldn’t do that at a big city cemetery, but this was beside a small country church.
The family members who made these monuments below decorated the gravestones by hand either because they couldn’t afford a professional stone, there was noone nearby to do the job, or because they felt it was their duty. In whatever case, these stones in particular seem so much more *real*.