Thursday, February 3, 2011

Going Nowhere

Sometimes I like to show you things because most of you don't live in this part of the country, and I think it's fun to give you a taste of my corner of the world. This taste is a little unusual. You will find it either intriguing or creepy. I think it's kind of cool, but I'm weird that way.

You have to understand that cemeteries fascinate me. I think how people treat their dead says a lot about them. I love to wander around in old cemeteries, read the oldest tombstones and speculate on how people ended up there or why a particular stone was chosen for that person. I'm really intrigued by the homemade markers, fences and vaults you sometimes find in those small graveyards that are tucked away next to churches or on a country hillside. Ironically, I do not spend much time standing at the graves of loved ones. That doesn't really comfort me in my grief. Go figure.

There are a lot of really old, interesting cemeteries around here, and one of the most unusual graves is in a cemetery about thirty minutes from my house. It's in the city of Mayfield, a small town that you could call quaint. Quick bit of trivia. Mayfield is where the Bruce Willis movie In Country was filmed in the late1980's. Bruce and Demi lived in this region that summer, and it was a game for locals to try to spot them at a local restaurant or Wal-mart. Demi had her baby, Rumer, at our local hospital that summer. Keep that tucked under your hat in case you're ever on Jeopardy.

Immediately inside the gates of the Mayfield's biggest cemetery is the Wooldridge Monuments. Horse trader Henry Wooldridge apparently wanted to be surrounded by his family for eternity, and I guess he didn't trust all of them to make it to heaven with him because before his death in 1899 he commissioned statues of several of his family members to be placed at his grave. Eighteen statues of his mother, sisters, brothers and two nieces are all lined up around him. The bird on the Colonel's head was an extra the day I was there.

They're all lined up like little soldiers on a march to nowhere.His favorite dogs and horse are also depicted, along with a fox and a deer. The Colonel was big into hunting. The Colonel is the only person entombed there. An Italian marble monument bears his likeness.

Along with a replica of him riding his horse.

The plot was almost lost during the ice storm of 2009. A large oak tree fell on it and destroyed the fence and all but the three statues of his sisters and one of the dogs, but they cobbled together enough money to restore everything and rededicated it this past October.

Courtesy of Lexington Herald Leader

I love the detail in each of the statues.

Although a couple are a little weird.

I noticed he didn't include his father in the plot. What's up with that I wonder? There's no wife in there either, because he was a lifelong bachelor. Perhaps, that's why he never married. He didn't want to take his mother in law with him.


The Girl Next Door said...

This is very cool. If you are ever in New Orleans, take Bloody Mary's Graveyard tour. Very informative and only a little spooky. It's not "hoaxy" - I think she's the real deal!!

oreneta said...

Then there's the crypts in Paris, and there are some AMAZING tombs in Barcelona.

Trailboss said...

That is one of the most facinating cemetaries in this area. My best friend is buried there so I have been there several times. I was glad to hear that all of the statues were redone after that horrible I.S. (I didn't want to say the "I" word...hee hee)

Jan n Jer said...

Wow...very interesting...this man must of had tons of money...can you imagine how much it cost for all those statues. Guess he wanted to show people that he loved his family. Great pics

The Church Lady said...

I don't think I have ever seen a cemetery quite like this one. Very unique. I was recently visiting Baltimore when I walked passed Edgar Allen Poe's grave site. Wished I had my camera. Dang it.

alphawoman said...

I love cemeteries too. The Lexington Cemetery is a fabulous place. Aboslutely breath taking. Better than Cave Hill. I would love to see this. Since I am in C-ville and have friends in Murray I just may make the trip later this spring.

J.G. said...

Older cemeteries are great places to visit, I think. It's fun to speculate on the history behind the names and dates. This guy left a lot of clues!