Thursday, March 02, 2023

Gone Wanderin' -

My friend Martha knows exactly what to do when she hears me say "Oooh! Stop!"

It happens quite often when we are rambling around the countryside - exploring this "never been on" road or that one - just to see what is there.

And this is what we came upon on Tuesday after making the great escape having completed the bed making at Quiltville Inn and just feeling a hankering for a "Get Out of Dodge" kind of day.

Kimberlin Lutheran Church & Cemetery, outside of Rural Retreat, Virginia - founded 1777.

When I see dates like this it's as if time just stops and I try to imagine just what this countryside was like back in 1777.

This is Virginia after all - and 1776 was just the year prior.  We are approximately where the red dot is.

In 1777 Virginia also included West Virginia.  In fact it looked like this:

The shadowed orange areas to the right of the colonies are where the states would eventually grow to include. (You didn't know you were getting a history lesson today - this is a quilting blog, right? Well - I love history just as much!)

The colony of Virginia was established in 1607 as a proprietary colony and then chartered as a royal colony in 1624.

Trying as hard as I might through many online searches, I didn't find out much information -

But what I did find states that "The land for Kimberling (sometimes spelled Kimberlin) Lutheran Church was donated by Martin Kimberling in 1797. However, the oldest date in the church's baptismal book is October 17, 1779 so they were likely meeting somewhere before the building was constructed." [source]


The Kimberlin Lutheran Church is one of the oldest churches in Wythe County, Virginia. Records for this church dates back to the late 1700's. While many of the early grave markers have weathered and are not legible, church records indicate at some of the earliest burials took place in the early 1800’s. The cemetery also is the final resting place for a number of Confederate Veterans. [source]

I step lightly -

Cemeteries always feel like hallowed ground to me.

Many (most) of the oldest stones are barely legible if at all - but there are interesting details to be seen in the shapes of the stones, and some of the detail work.

Try as I might - I can't decipher it all.

But someone was 86 years old when they passed.

This was an interesting one!

I love that all of the Ns are backwards.

Jacob Dobler was born in 1764!

Catherine was born in 1796.

This is just such a precious place.

1780 - 1850

I'm thinking of how beautiful this hill will be when grass turns green -

Sweet little heart detail -

Must have been a child.

Historical Marker

Definitely of Germanic origin!

This one is 1866 so we are getting to the "newer" section.


The child's markers are the hardest on my heart.

How many of these were from childhood diseases due to no vaccinations, or from infections (like strep) that could have easily been handled with simple antibiotics?  

This hillside holds the lives and memories of so many people.

And yes, those are cows grazing on the next hill over!

Also of interest to me were these bare scraggly gnarly trees. I don't know enough about trees to know what kind this one is, or how long it has stood here, but I'm guessing a good long while.

If only the trees could talk!

We had a wonderful leisurely visit on this sunny afternoon - no one would guess that it was the last day of February with that sunshine and sky and warm spring temperatures.

Still working on greens!

Some progress was made yesterday as I awaited the arrival of the March Quiltvillians!

Promptly at 4pm a caravan of cars pulled into the drive beeping and waving - let the fun begin!

Today's fun will be a bit interrupted for me - Today is the day I drive the van, Sticker of Shame and all, to the automotive place to have the rear brakes replaced and get a passing sticker so I'm good for the next year!

Really - I'm GRATEFUL for these inspections.  I want to drive a safe vehicle.  I want others to be driving safe vehicles so their break down doesn't have an impact on other drivers on the road.

Wouldn't you want to know if there was something wrong with your car?

Don't you want to trust that other cars around you are also safe while you are out driving?

My only real grumble is at myself for pushing my inspection to the end of the month not giving myself time to get any issues fixed before my inspection sticker expired.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Blossom at your own pace!

And allow others the same privilege!

Have a terrific Thursday, everyone!



  1. Anonymous9:05 AM EST

    Bonnie, whenever you go to these old cemeteries take a flashlight with you or your phone and hold it to the side of the stone and light across, and it reads easier. Also they read easier in a photo. Youtube has some great cemetery video's. Faces of the Forgotten, Sidesteps Adventures, Arthur Dark has some of the very most interesting cemetery visits - have no idea why someone hasn't grabbed him up for a tv show.

  2. Cats Whitcher9:08 AM EST

    Thanks, Bonnie, your brakes issue is a good reminder to me to get that appt. w/the DMV for license renewal well before expiration date!...

  3. Anonymous9:10 AM EST

    I really enjoyed your history lesson.

  4. I would like to roam around and clean off gravestones like that just to give them new life and make them beautiful again. Wouldn't that be interesting? Quilt on! Marilyn Marks

    1. Anonymous1:37 AM EST

      going back that far I am sure there is no family to be upset with you cleaning the stones BUT newer ones there might be. Just saying with experience.

    2. Stacy in NC8:24 AM EST

      That’s a lovely thought. If you decide to do so, be thorough when you research your cleaning method. Some ways of cleaning the stones make them more legible but do damage to the stone in the long run. My local small town has a cleaning crew that does this safely, though, so I know there’s a way!

  5. The church is in nice shape- is it still in use? You are right- the child tombstones are always so sad. I'm glad for vaccines and antibiotics!

  6. Anonymous9:52 AM EST

    Absolutely loved your visit through the old Cematery grounds, just wish I could have been there with you. I have only once been in one that old and it was much smaller, I also love to wander through and speculate on the lives of all the residents. Ahh safe driving for sure and back home to visit with all your new guests.

  7. Anonymous9:56 AM EST

    Does the church still hold services. Love old country churches and cemeteries - so much history. Thanks for sharing.

  8. My second favorite after quilting too! My great grandfather donated acerage to the township for a cemetery in rural Michigan and we spent our summers on the original farm. Mom was the seamstress of the family and I am so thankful for her heritage.
    I took my brownie troop to a local cemetery for gravestone sket too!ching 40 some years ago and we made quilted pillows

  9. Anonymous10:17 AM EST

    Fascinating! I am a genealogist, as well as quilter and also love early American history. FindAGrave has a Kimberling Cemetery at Rural Retreat Wythe County, VA. Is this the same place?
    I searched for Jacob Dobler (your 1st tombstone), and he isn’t on FindAGrave. I will happily memorialize him and others that are legible - with your permission to use your photos.

  10. Anonymous10:21 AM EST

    Thank you for the pictures of the cemetary and the history lesson. Fascinating and the child markers do tug at the heart!

  11. Also, try darkening the photo of the marker. Sometimes it increases the shadows and makes more legible.

  12. Anonymous10:36 AM EST

    Via Ancestry searches:
    Jacob Dobler, Jr. (26 May 1764-7 Feb 1820) married Mary Reush on 27 Nov 1798 in Wythe County. He names several children in his Will (Margaret, Anna, Sally, Easther, Susanna, Betsy, Jacob and Rachel and son-in-law Michael Cassell.
    AND I found him on FimdAGrave (with photo) with name spelled Tobler, an alternate spelling.

  13. That is a beautiful church. I have roots just over the border in Wirt Co. WV and now I know why the scenery around you looks so familiar. I so enjoy your wanderings. The quilt in your quote - was this your inspiration for Sugar Top? Love that quilt!

  14. Anonymous11:14 AM EST

    If you have paper and a charcoal pencil, you can do a rubbing of the gravestone to read what it says.

    1. Anonymous1:45 AM EST

      We did that in my Girl Scout Troop. Amazing how much easier they are to read.

    2. I was going to suggest the rubbing technique. In school I was amazed at what could be read from an almost smooth grave stone!

    3. Anonymous10:49 AM EST

      Please, please don’t do rubbings! I can create lots of damage!

  15. Anonymous11:46 AM EST

    amazing history lesson. thank you so much. patti in florida

  16. Anonymous12:12 PM EST

    I wonder if a black and white photo would work better or how about a pencil and paper tracing? Haha, you never know.

  17. Bonnie: Please don't think that having your state inspection done earlier in the month would have avoided the "sticker of shame " rejection sticker. In Virginia, as soon as they start the inspection process the assessor removes the current sticker. If there's an issue and you don't pass you still get a rejection and the standard number of days to get it corrected. The only thing getting the inspection done earlier in the month accomplishes is that you don't have the long lines of "last minute people". How do I know? I live in Virginia too and I live in a heavily populated area where the lines get really long the last few days of the month.

  18. Fascinating, Bonnie! I often wish I could snap my fingers and go back 100 years or 500 years or whenever, just to see what things were like back then.

  19. I always love it when you share your ramblings with us. It breaks up the monotony (for me ) a little bit. Yes, the child graves are always the hardest for me to see. So glad you enjoyed your outing. Have a good time with the new group!

  20. Hi, Bonnie. Thank you for sharing your recent adventure with us. I love going on similar adventures. Recently, I discovered a phone app called Picture This that allows me to scan an image of a plant/tree, and it identifies it. So cool! I love trees.

  21. Hubby and I love wandering in old cemeteries - and we're fortunate to have 2 within walking distance. Also, he's a woodworker, and guesses that the trees might be walnuts....

  22. Love when you and Martha go a wandering. interesting stuff -that History found on the grave stones even. Happy March!


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