Sunday, June 28, 2009

History through Cemeteries

On my way home from high school, I generally walked the shortest route--straight through the cemetery. The cemetery had (readable) graves from the 1700s, and many of the early prominent families were represented. In fact, there was a smaller, single-family cemetery just on the other side of the brook, and sometimes I would take a detour and visit that one too. Morbid? Scary? Not to me. To me the cemetery felt comfortable, and I was curious about the lives of the people who were buried there.

The other night, when I was at Beach Middle School in Chelsea for a kid's baseball game, I noticed--and wandered through--a very cool older cemetery--Oak Grove Cemetery. There is a Civil War memorial there, and the oldest grave I could read had an 1848 date.

One of the best places to learn about and understand local history and culture is in the nearest cemetery. I hope that some of those middle school teachers are using that cemetery as a teaching resource. Come to think of it, though, I don't think any of my kids has ever gone to a cemetery with a public school class. Have yours?

Maybe it is time for some grave history. Find your local cemetery, here.


  1. There's been some very entertaining and enlightening discussion on the "Dusty Diary" weblog with discussions of Ypsilanti history interspersed with visits to and accounts of the lives of people buried in Highland Cemetery there.

  2. And in fact, we can visit a Revolutionary War soldier's grave in the area. See

    (Visit Judd Cemetery, York Township)