Monday, January 19, 2015

For Children without Names--

I pulled into the parking lot of the Hampton Inn in Cornelia, Georgia around 5pm.

It took me 8 hours to get here, when it should have taken me 5 simply because I like to stop and wander and break up the trip.  Stretch my legs.  Get something to eat.  Shop a bit, poke around an antique mall, stop at IKEA, and oh yes, Mary Jo’s in Gastonia, but that post will come later.  ((Big hello to the ladies who stopped me to let me know they follow the blog!  I now know some quilters from Ashe County, NC, not far from the cabin!))

I couldn’t believe my eyes when the temp climbed and climbed the further southwest I got. According to the digital readout on my dash board I hit 66 as the high!  Last year this time was when Atlanta came to a several day standstill due to treacherous ice and we had that snowy episode where we couldn’t get up the mountain road at the cabin it was that slick.

66 degrees.  Mid January.  Oh yes, thank you please, and keep it coming!

I also love that it is so much lighter now at 5pm than it has been, but evening was still coming on fast, and if I am going to keep to goal.  Okay—get BACK to goal, I just wanted to walk.  I wanted to reach my 10,000 steps.

I chose a country road around the corner from the hotel and just started walking.  There was no traffic on this road, the only businesses being a VFW hall, a crematorium, and a funeral home.

I walked up and down and back 3 times before I even noticed this sign:


Cemetery? Or Open Field?

I got curious.  I couldn’t really see much from this vantage point, but there was no gate, and I figured there wouldn’t be a sign if we weren’t meant to pay a visit, so I walked toward the back of the field.


And I saw it…blending in to the fallen leaves and wooded surroundings.


Hello, Matilda Warren, wife of BP Smith.

A quick google search provided the following on the Smith/Warren family:

From the Intersection of Historic 441 & 105, Willamette, go south onto 105 towards Cornelia. Turn right onto VFW Post Road. The Cemetery is all the way down, on the left, across from the VFW Post which is on the right. It is set back from the road.
This is a small family cemetery located across from the VFW in Cornelia. It is kept mowed and neatly kept up.
I compiled this on Nov 2004 from tombstone inscriptions when I walked the cemetery. This includes all known burials up to that date.
- Lynn McCollum  (source)

Martin, little Mary,
b. 2-12-1880, d. 2-19-1880, d/o J.M. & Matilda

Martin, Matilda Warren, b. ?, d. 7-22-1882, age 35yr, h/o J.M.


Warren, unnamed infant, b. 7-12-1890, d. 7-12-1890, child of M/M E. Warren
Warren, unnamed infant, b. 9-30-1891, d. 9-30-1891, child of M/M E. Warren 


Smith, unnamed infant, b. 11-2-1891, d. 11-2-1891, s/o M/M BP

Smith, unnamed infant, b. 1-2-1891, d. 1-2-1891, d/o M/M BP


Smith, unnamed infant, b. 5-4-1911, d. 5-4-1911, d/o M/M BP


Smith, unnamed infant, b. 6-11-1905, d. 6-11-1905, s/o M/M BP


Smith, unnamed infant, b. 8-20-1899, d. 8-20-1899, s/o M/M BP

My heart just aches for these young mothers – so many children lost.  So many children unnamed.

This wasn’t meant to be a downer post, and I hope it isn’t.  I am fascinated by those who lived before us.  I wish I could talk to them and find what made them happy.  The things they loved most, the lessons learned, the things they would want us to know.  And of course, the things we hold in common.

Having buried my daughter as a 17 day old infant, my mother's heart connects to these young mothers.  To these unnamed children.  God bless us, every one.

This little piece of Georgia history will stick with me, all because I stretched my legs and took a walk down an unknown country road.

Tonight – I sew!

Love from Georgia!


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  1. just wonder why they were not named. so sad.

  2. Seems so many died before even getting a chance.
    I too lost an infant at 5 months pregnant. We did name her and my other daughter considers her a sister.
    Definitely not a downer post either!!

  3. This post does tug at a mother's heart. My first grandchild was stillborn at 5 months. His name is John and I put flowers on his little grave every memorial day. He's my angel.

  4. I didn't know you had lost an infant daughter - how sad - my husband and i go through old cemetery's sometimes and it is always amazing how many infants and young mother's died out west were we do most of our exploring.

  5. This is not a downer post. It should be a source of hope that many children who wouldn't have survived in the past can today. Yes there are some that still cannot be saved, but I believe they are so special that they don't have to wait on earth. I can't think any other way.

  6. The loss of a child binds those left to mourn, remember, and cherish.

  7. Anonymous8:02 PM EST

    A very well kept family cemetery that old is a rare find. Sad for the babies and mothers.

  8. As someone else who finds it interesting to walk around in graveyards, this want a downer post. As I, too, have looked at different graves, it made me wonder about those people. Especially the young babies and kids. So, I did some research, and found that it was "normal" not to name the children, until they were at least 5 or 6, because of various types of diseases affecting them. It was considered "less painful" when the child died, if they didn't have a name. Up until sometime in the 1920's (?) it continued. Now, with vaccines, infant and child mortality rates have decreased. As a mom of 7 kids, 4 with us, 3 in Heaven, we love each one, as much and fully as we can. �� (I like doing Genealogy, and it's astounding to see my own family's children's deaths.)

  9. Bonnie, I am sorry to hear you lost a child at such a young moment in history. I can't say I have ever lost a child but I do know people who have. Old cemetery's have lots of history and just by taking a chance and walking can bring many memories. Thanks for sharing those memories.

  10. Anonymous8:37 PM EST

    Not a downer post. I am fascinated by history too. I have been blessed of not losing a child and this tugged at my heart so I can only imagine how it affected others. HUGS to all and thank you for sharing this piece of history.

  11. Yes, there are a lot of little children playing with their Heavenly Father Jesus.

  12. The family cemeteries scattered around the south are so unique. I was surprised when I moved to Georgia and saw so many of them. I often stop and wander through, to pay my respects to the people who lived before us. Sad they lost so many babies, I can't imagine that.

  13. I, too, was aware that children were sometimes not named as infants due to the high mortality rate - often due to diseases that we now have vaccines for. However, as a mother myself, I doubt that having an unnamed infant die is any less tragic or painful than if they had been named.

  14. I have searched through cemeteries like that one, looking for my ancestors. Happy to see they are still kept up. Unhappy to have difficulty reading the stones. Even more sadness for those that died too soon. Didn't know about your infant daughter. I lost my first when nearly 4 months pregnant. Never knew if it was a boy or girl. My son is certain it was his older brother.

  15. So precious that they left the markers to honor the memory.

  16. Bonnie, thank you for stopping to find out more and for sharing. It must have been hard for you to see. It surely makes my heart go out to you and to all mothers who have lost their children, then and now. My stepfather-in-law lost three of of his baby girls due to childhood diseases. I was so shocked when I learned that because it was just after World War II and in America.

  17. Heidi Pollard10:02 PM EST

    Very poignant. Giving witness to a loved baby never a downer. Thx for leaving a heart imprint. So glad you shared. I lost an infant daughter @ birth. I never forget love.

  18. Bonnie - several of the unnamed infants whose graves you visited died in 1891, which made me wonder if there was an epidemic of some sort. I did a search and found a Georgia law giving the mayor and city council the authority to impose quarantine against persons exposed to smallpox or yellow fever. Here's the link: http://carrollton-ga.eregulations.us/code/coor/coor_pti_apxid40851_apxid40852_secxxxviii/
    How helpless their parents must have felt! Thank you for sharing.

  19. Maree in NC :~D10:28 PM EST

    Most definitely not a downer post, but one filled with so much love! ♥ On this very night 44 years ago, I went into labor with my firstborn. She has forever been my angel here on Earth. ♥ Thank you and happy birthday, sweet J! ♥ Thank you very much, Bonnie, for sharing this fascinating find and treasure from along your life's journey! Take care and be safe! :-D And, beware, one of these days, I'm going to run into you at either IKEA or MJ's. :-P Not far at all from here, there's an old rock wall bordered family cemetery that I really want to visit. Want to come and go with me when you get back home to NC? ;-)

    my nana maree @ yahoo . com

  20. So many babies and Moms died because of the complications of homebirths. I had a couple Miscarriages and I have faith that in the hereafter I will be able to meet them and raise them. That is my FAITH. So glad you took time to rememeber these unnamed babies. Have fun in the warmth of Georgia this week.

  21. Makes my heart ache as well. I thank God for the two of my five that survived to adulthood. A mother's heart never forgets her lost babies. My boys will be reunited with me some day. Until then we treasure them in our hearts and love those we have.

  22. I don't know how they could have burried their babies un-named. My son and daughter have names , birt/death certificate and a picture. ... and my angels are never forgotten.

  23. We've hit 70 a couple of times this week!! WOOHOO! But I think Thurs. gonna be another cold one. I geocache and many are placed in cemetaries. So interesting walking around reading the headstones. There are people who document the graves in cemetaries and there's a website called 'Find-A-Grave' for those doing geneology.

  24. Thank you for this post. Being a genealogist along with a quilter, I am always interested in cemeteries. My family plans to add a headstone for some small children ancestors who passed away at the early part of the last century as they have none. If we don't do it, no one else will know where they are. I think cemeteries are very peaceful.

  25. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for all you share about your life.

  26. You are a trooper, driving all that way and then still walking! I wonder if those babies died due to RH factor incompatibility--there were so many in the same family. Not naming a dead child seems sad but they were obviously not forgotten and were laid to rest.

  27. Thank you for sharing this part of history with us. I am so sorry to hear of your lilttle daughter. What a precious little angel was added to Heaven that day.

  28. Bonnie: Thank You for sharing, this history and part of your life. I love to visit cemeteries, and read about the different people. I love visiting veteran cemeteries, also, and learning about the lives of our soldiers, sailors, marines and Airmen, and Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, from all the times of service. I needed a walk last week, and took a walk in the city cemetery, which is a short distance from my home, and my mail box.

    My former Mother In- Law lost five children. She has three live births for 8 pregnancies, so, so sad.

  29. How wonderful that the parents were able to mark their children’s graves so permanently. Probably a luxury but a sign of how important those lost children were to them. Such hard times for mother back then. We are so lucky now with care that ‘saves’ so many as a norm in comparison. Even the most difficult of births and untimely starts often have happy outcomes and the majority of mothers survive birth. Indeed it is a shock when one doesn’t. Historically it was an ‘accepted [?]’ hazard.
    A wonderful find, proving that graves and markers provide remembrances over hundreds of years…

  30. I wish I could have been with you. I love to wander through history and think about how folks lived their everyday lives. Keep up your inspiring stories.

  31. I too lost my first daughter at birth. I know the feeling. Thanks for this post.

  32. B--I have seen some of these cemetaries over the years exploring and the little ones have not been names as well.
    I lost a child a child and i was so distraught I don't think I names him either. I was 6 months pregnant but he did require to have a funeral home pick him up. This is in CaLifornia.

  33. This is a sad post, sad to know these little angels never had a chance to know the beautiful world we live in, but definitely not a downer. I love hearing of your historical explorations. (is that a word?) You really have so many adventures and I love hearing them all.

  34. Thanks for the post Bonnie! Not a downer post at all - I am sorry for your lost little girl. I also lost a little girl. I remember her on what was to be her birthday. I Love that in our day and age we do not lose babies or Mom's like in the olden days!

  35. Our little town is in the beginning phases of restoring an old cemetery. My husband and I are volunteering, thru these efforts I learned my great, great, great, grandmother is buried here with no marker. So we plan to have a marker erected for her. You don't know where you are going if you don't know where you came from.

  36. Thanks for sharing this touching post. Another hobby that I love along with quilting is genealogy. I'm a member of findagrave.com
    You can search for gravesites all over the world and it's free for everyone.

  37. Brenda Wilkinson, WL, BC3:03 PM EST

    Old graveyards are interesting. When we buried my father, my siblings and cousins went searching for other family members. On one marker, there was a Masonic symbol down in a corner. No one knew why. Curiouser and curiouser! So the search continues as to why it is there, why he is in a different graveyard, why are some dates different on headstones than what we have in our info, etc, etc, etc.Br

  38. Thank you for sharing this little cemetery. In a way they live on in memories.
    My mother was raised in Laos and she says it wasn't common to name a child until around their first birthday, unless you lived in the capital or big cities and had the baby at the hospital (then you had to have a name for the records-but changing the name was easily done as well). They would give the baby a pet name, and sometimes that nickname would last them their whole lives, but they would wait to name the child. She said this was so you could know their personality and give them a good, fitting name; but she said it was also superstitious, to not make the baby "special" so evil spirits wouldn't want to claim them, you would wait until the monks or elders helped you pick out a good, lucky name.

  39. Catching up on older posts.Much emotion in this post. Can feel the emotion from others in the comments. Many are still touched by too early deaths,sad. Knowing how our family still honors our angels my heart goes out to all. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. rjc2cam@gmail.com


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