YOKLEY CEMETERY, (Hwy 245
& Smith Hollow Rd) GILES COUNTY TENNESSEE.
This is a fictional story of the death of a Johnnie in 1893 explaining an example of fieldstones in Graveyards:
"This year (1893) we had a poor harvest because of the weather. Pa says our savings are low. Last year 1892 Grandpa died and the cost of his headstone was high, but we managed it somehow. He has one of those new pretty gray granite kind and it is supposed to last thousands of years. This year our 11 year old, fourth son, Johnnie died from the croup. We marked his grave with simple stones until the tombstone salesman comes to our neighborhood. Also we can save up for a pretty little memorial stone. After all everyone in the family knows Johnnie is buried two graves over the other side from Grandpa and his new stone."
The traveling memorial stone salesman came to their area and left and as the years counted by it became a little easier to ignore the two unmarked stones at the head & foot of Johnnie's grave. Other priorities continued to loom. They kept on with their busy lives & putting it off. Soon that generation matured and passed and the next generation who had vaguely been made aware of the omission at the graveyard concerning Uncle Johnnie's grave was into full season. However, they too had other priorities. Soon they passed on too and the third generation was not told about the fieldstone that marked then Great Uncle Johnnie's grave. This was also complicated by the sudden death of members of the second & third generation who intended on telling each generation about the unmarked grave and adding a headstone for Johnnie, but they died before that happened.
Well, now along came (us) the graveyard researchers asking this question: Whose grave is this? We know it is a grave because we see the head of the grave is marked with a stone, buried standing on its edge, facing east, and another (foot) stone at the east end of the grave also buried standing on its edge, facing east. There is enough space between the two stones for an adult grave. However, there is no name to be found and no answer is possible as to who this mystery person that died long ago may be. Three generations have now passed and we are into the fourth one & no one in this generation can remember any discussion of who is buried under this fieldstone. This was Great Grandma & Great Grand Paw's generation. Gr-Gr-Uncle Johnnie our subject under the fieldstones was born in 1882 and died in 1893. There was no surviving census from 1890 to tell us who all the children were in this family, so there is no record of his birth or death exist in commonly found places. Death certificates were not yet invented either at least in the south.
We can find one consolation in all of this. Gods records are complete, but he is not telling us earthly inhabitant. He does leave many clues for us to ponder and occasionally figure out who may be buried under that common rock in the old ancestral burial ground.
Fieldstone #1, The photographer progressed from the east side of the cemetery toward the west side, so the photos at the top of this page were made further east up the slope than the ones at the bottom of the page.
Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #2 Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #3 Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #4 Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #5 in the Wright lots - grave area. Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #5 above in its environment adjacent to the Wright Memorials. The wright memorials have formal footstones so these and other fieldstones in that area are for unknown graves. The white patch in the upper right area of the photo is the Wright memorial. Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #6 - Headstone. Info and Photo by Wayne Austin 21 Dec 2009.
Fieldstone #6 - Headstone & footstone. This photo shows a head and footstone made with the use of common fieldstones. same grave as #6 above.
Fieldstone #7 & #8 beside (this side of) the fallen tomb of Mrs. Mary C. Echols Rainey. Her husband is believed to be buried here but his inscription may be on the side of the memorial next to the ground. Fieldstone #8 can be seen in the lower middle area of the photo sticking up among the weeds.
Now I would be the first to admit that these two fieldstones may mark the Rianey's graves and a short number of years later someone set their memorial on the north end of their graves and left the fieldstones to mark the head of their graves. Plausible, but, I don't know the truth. I have seen many graveyard researcher make a simple case of scenarios such as the above to keep it simple for the public. It is not simple and anything is possible. They make statements such as 25 fieldstone marked graves as if it were the perfect truth that there were twenty five more unknown graves. It is never that simple, mainly because fieldstones become dislodged in time and become scattered around the cemetery.
This photographer made a reasonable attempt to gather the fieldstones in the photography session, but may have missed some. They are hard to see in the weeds, being small and next the ground.
Info by Wayne Austin 21 Jan 2010. Photo by Terina Boyd 10 Oct 2009.