Friday, November 4, 2011

Lagniappe at Cedar Hill

A realtor showed our house a couple of days ago, and I had to leave for a while, so I grabbed my cameras and headed to one of my favorite places in Vicksburg — Cedar Hill Cemetery. Some of you may think it's strange that a cemetery is one of my favorite places to visit, but I never fail to find lagniappe there in some form or another, the greatest of which is a feeling of peace and tranquility as I walk among the beautiful old monuments and tombstones.

One of the first things I noticed as I drove into the cemetery that day was this old Eastern Red Cedar tree whose branches were so loaded with blue berries that the whole tree had a bluish cast to it, even from a distance.

I found it interesting that from one direction it appeared to be standing straight and tall, but from the side, it looked as if it could topple over any minute. It makes you wonder how it came to be leaning like that.

As I got closer, I was amazed by its beautiful fruit. Its branches were bending from the weight of the clusters of blue berries.

There was lagniappe all around me that afternoon. I couldn't help but notice the bleached-white trunk and limbs of this huge Sycamore tree on top of a kudzu-covered hill overlooking the cemetery ...

And I almost stepped on this little bit of lagniappe — a clump of tiny purple wildflowers.

I'm so glad I didn't step on them ...

Just a few feet away from the cedar tree, I discovered these little bells gracing a gravesite, which I thought was nice ...

I'm always curious about the lives of the ones who lie beneath the stones, and I'm always amazed by the information you can gather just by doing a little research on the Internet. The inscription on this headstone prompted me to try to find out more about this Confederate soldier who was born in Louisiana.

I discovered that William Whitmell Martin was born at Albemarle Plantation, near Napoleonville, Louisiana, in 1846. At the beginning of the Civil war he enlisted in the Phoenix Guards ... which became a part of the 8th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, CSA. Some time later he was "invalided" and returned home ... When he had sufficiently recovered his health, on Jan. 1, 1863, he was elected captain of a new company raised in the vicinity of his home, which later became Co. C, of the 26th Louisiana Volunteer Infantry. A short time later, Capt. Martin was promoted to the rank of major. He was in the reserve at the great battles of Manassas and Bull Run. He took part, also in the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, and was killed June 21, 1863, during the Siege of Vicksburg.

The ornate iron fence, or what's left of it, beckoned me to get a closer look at this headstone.

The inscription reads: Dr. Thos. B. Benedect, Assistant Surgeon C.S.A., Died in Vicksburg, Miss., June 1st, 1863. Aged 52 years. He died at his Post. Dying for a land and cause that he Loved more than life, and he Died in faith, falling asleep in JESUS.

I couldn't find additional information about Dr. Benedect (unusual spelling), or about this young man who "gave his life that another might live."

I would love to know the rest of his story.

I enjoyed my time at Cedar Hill, but, unfortunately, the realtor didn't sell our house while I was gone. We're still waiting (not so patiently, now) for the right people to come along and buy it, but God hasn't led them to us yet. Perhaps He is waiting until after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I think January would be a great time to move, don't you!


Dorothy said...

Beauty is where you find it, even in a cemetery. The Cedar 'berries' will be good food for the the birds, especially the Cedar Waxwings.

C. M. Designs said...

Hi Janie, I find the wording on the tombstone of Wm. W. Martin to be very interesting.. He sure did do some traveling, bless his heart.. It's great that you found more information about him.. Manassas is a very interesting town and Bull Run is not too far from my home.
When Hurricane Agnes went through in 1972 Bull Run flooded and the water caused a lot of damage to many homes along it's banks.
I hope you'll have good luck soon with the sale of your home.. I know you are excited about your new one that you're planning.
Have a great weekend. Charlotte

Sue said...

I love the photos you have taken at Cedar Hill, Janie. How interesting that you can go and research. I like to read head stones too.Thanks for sharing.

Jenni said...

I so enjoyed visiting you, today, Janie, but then, I always love to sotp by for some of your "lagniappe"! I thought those cedar berries were so pretty against the dark green, they look almost like blue berries....

And I was fascinated by the history you shared and the pictures of the graves...

Take care!

Beverly said...

I love your blog - the photos are wonderful and I share your affection for cemeteries and Vicksburg.

Tonja said...

Hi, my friend,
When I was just a little girl, we went to an older church out in the country. And, the cemetary was across the road. The church was about 12 miles from our house, so we didn't make any more trips than necessary. On Sunday, Mom had choir practice at 4, so we all went at the same time. That gave Pop, Joy and I an hour to kill before church. We loved to go over and walk through the cemetary or grave yard as we used to call it. Pop would make up stories about the people who were buried there....and we soon began to know some of those who resided there. I recall those times as so peaceful. We were taught respect and I can remember my Daddy really getting on to me for stepping right in the middle of one of the graves.

Thanks for bringing this memory to mind. I love the old iron fence. Such a shame part of it is gone.

Beautiful post!