Re: [genpcncfir] WILLLIAMS CEMETERY ARTICLE
- Dear Jewelle,
Thank you for sharing this delightful and touching
article on the Williams Family Cemetery. The feature
in the e-mail allowing readers to view the family
members at the cemetery was priceless. I also thought
the family had come up with a practical plan for the
up-keep of the cemetery by assigning different
branches of the family to be responsible for the
cemetery for specific years. In this manner, no family
member would have total responsibility for perpetual
care of the cemetery. Having the family members
themselves care for the cemetery also saved them from
having to pay outsiders for the care. Another
advantage is that nobody has more of a vested interest
in a family cemetery than the family itself, and
actually taking personal responsibility for the
cemetery keeps family members connected. It's a
wonderful way to promote family history as well. As
Mrs. Curl herself pointed out, the cemetery is itself
a book of family history.
It's really sad that even today cemeteries are
being lost to development and thatgraves are being
moved to new locations. It's also sad that some of us
still cannot find burial grounds mentioned in death
certificates of relatives dying within the last
century--like the Carney Family Burial Ground, for
example, where some of my McGowan relatives were
buried. Perhaps the story of the Williams Family
Cemetery will inspire others to treasure their own
family cemeteries and to take the younger generations
to visit them and to cherish them in their turn. Carol
--- Jewelle Baker <jewellebaker@...> wrote:
> Hello Group.....***************************************************************************
> Interesting article for your perusal in
> today's Kinston, N.C. FreePress.... If you want to
> view photos, click here: http://www.kinston.com
> read on:
> Williams cemetery keeps scattered family close to
> May 08,2006
> MICHAEL ABERNETHY
> STAFF WRITER
> WOODINGTON Edna Williams Curl doesnt mind making
> the drive from her home in Fayetteville to a small,
> grassy plot of land her ancestry calls home.
> I come here whenever I can. But if somebody wants
> me to come here, they have to die, get married or
> invite me, Curl said with a grin Sunday afternoon.
> At 93, Curl is the eldest living descendent of Col.
> John Williams, who set apart a hillside on U.S. 258
> in the Woodington area as a burial ground for his
> family and descendents before he died in 1850. Today
> there are 52 markers of family members that crop the
> On Sunday, Curl and four other family members
> Melvin Fordham, George Fordham, M.R. Williams and
> Lester Croom left the annual James Williams family
> reunion at Shady Grove United Methodist Church to
> visit five generations of their past.
> Through more than 150 years, the family has taken
> pride in its ancestry and historical birthplace.
> Even on a dismal rainy day like Sunday, members
> dont miss the chance to visit on their home turf.
> We used to clean off the cemetery by having all the
> family members come out one time each year, Curl
> said. That was nice, because you got to meet all
> your kin.
> Though the family ended the annual clearing in 1978,
> theyve raffled out months of the year in which each
> branch will look after the plots.
> Some family members will tell you that M.R. Williams
> is the default caretaker, but he shrugs that title
> off. Curl is the matriarch and when shes around,
> shes in charge.
> We have to respect her and do what she says do,
> Melvin Fordham ribbed as the five strolled through
> the gravesites.
> I dont know about that, but age does carry its
> advantages, Curl retorted.
> Curl, a former teacher, has written that, a
> cemetery is like a history lesson and should be
> respected as such, reflecting the names, styles,
> culture, etc. of the past.
> The quaintness of the Williams cemetery derives from
> its seemingly casual placement of graves. Until a
> survey in 2004, family members were buried there
> with no particular placement in mind. This lends the
> area an inviting appeal amongst the green rolling
> hills and homes that surround it.
> The Williams cemetery is also unique in that older
> stones face away from the highway toward what was
> once an old road. Newer markers now face U.S. 258.
> The plot is often called the Fordham-Williams
> Cemetery, but Curl disputes that, pointing that the
> Fordham familys cemetery lies in Jones County.
> Curl has traveled and lived around the country,
> teaching public school and music 20 year in North
> Carolina and 21 years in Seattle, Wash. Now retired,
> shes busier than ever living back in Fayetteville,
> where she spent 10 years as a teacher before she
> moved west. She fills time visiting with friends and
> family, her favorite hobby.
> But more than anything, she loves to come home and
> feel the history in her blood.
> We all share a lot of pride and respect for the
> place, Curl said as she turned to leave. Its a
> beautiful place.
> Michael Abernethy can be reached at (252) 527-3191,
> Ext. 232, or at mabernethy@....
> Researching: (Main Capitalized)
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