I have always enjoyed going out “Cemetery Hunting”. I love the out of doors,
the history, the art, the poetry, and helping others in their search for roots.
Early in the summer of 2010, I received an email from a person in Richmond that
was looking for photos of tombstones in several remote cemeteries in Marion and
Randolph Counties. I had visited all but two on the list and gladly volunteered
to see what I could do to obtain the necessary photographs for the person. My
Randolph County photos were accomplished on a visit to family in the Pickens
area one weekend.
The Marion County photos I saved for a day off - July 5th. The day was
beautiful but very hot. Bunner's Ridge cemetery was easy to find since it sits
in the middle of Bunner's Ridge Park.
The Malone cemetery
is one of those old “in the corner of the old Hayfield
family cemeteries.” The gentleman that I was trying to help had sent me driving
directions so a friend and I started out on our quest for the last of the
The road that turned off the main road was dirt and gravel - which I expected.
We went UP fairly quickly to the top of the ridge and followed the road for a
couple miles. Then we went DOWN a very, very steep hill that I remember thinking
at time "I hope my car will make it back up this when we come back out". As we
approached what I anticipated as the gate into the field, I reviewed the
instructions that said, park at the gate, walk through the field to the top of
the hill, look off to your left and you will see the cemetery in the distance.
Being a quazi-country girl, I knew about hot summers, tall hayfield grass and
snakes. I actually said a prayer asking for help with the last two items. High
grass triggers my asthma and snakes are at the top of my least favorite animals
As we neared what looked like the gate on the one lane country road a big pickup
truck pulling an empty hay wagon crested the rise in the road heading straight
towards us. Thankfully he immediately turned into the field through an open
gate. After my initial shock of seeing a truck appear that quickly over the
rise, I followed it into a freshly mown hayfield. I pulled along side and asked
the follow if he knew where the cemetery was.
A nicer man I have not often encountered. He said that he did indeed know where
the cemetery was and if we would follow him around to where he had this tractor
parked, he would lead us to it. He was nice enough to show us where to cross
over the old heavily rutted road that crossed the field and even took the hinges
off the gate when we found that the lock was securely fastened.
To my surprise the cemetery was recently mowed and the head stones, oh the
headstones. There are less than a dozen graves in the small cemetery, the most
recent from the 1960's. The two in particular that I was looking for belong to
two Revolutionary War Soldier brothers. Someone had made sure that all the
markers were in good condition, even going as far as having brass plates made
and attaching them to the back of the more worn markers. The two brothers had
new markers with their names, dates and regiments clearly visible. Our guide
said that a couple from near Pittsburgh had adopted the cemetery, he didn't know
if they were related to anyone in it or not. They travel to Marion County every
couple of months, mow the cemetery and care for the graves. All I could think
was “wow - what amazing people.”
We snapped lots of photos to make sure that we had at least several good ones to
send on to our friends in Richmond and headed back to the main road.
When we started back up the steep graveled hill, my little car simply would not
pull the hill. After several attempts and thinking that we might have to call
for a tow truck - if we had cell service, we thought “wait a minute, the fellow
with the big truck pulling a full hay wagon likely couldn't pull this hill
either.” So, we turned around and went the way that the gentleman had come
from. In a very short while we ended up in the village of Catawba on the
Monongahela River with an easy trip back to our way home. We would have never
found the cemetery if we had been directed in from Catawba.
The point of my story is that when you do good things for others, good things
happen to you. We met a true good Samaritan in the gentleman that helped us,
the field was mowed and no snakes were seen. Our road home was smooth and easy.
The family in Richmond was trilled with the photos and I now know for a fact
that prayers are answered.