Saturday, July 25, 2009
Westwood Baptist Memorial Cemetary Walkabout
For my walkabout I went to a small cemetery tucked between two buildings on Harrison Avenue in Cheviot (on the westside of town). Even though I had driven past it many times it never really stood out to me because no one ever seemed to be there or pay much attention to it. The fence to get in was caved in and did not open anymore so you literally had to jump the fence to get in. The nicest memorial was a new one placed right in front that had the name Westwood Baptist Memorial written on it. The cemetery is right in the middle of the heart of Cheviot yet, it seems unnoticed by the many busy people who drive and walk by it on a daily basis. It had no more than 35 graves and the majority of them were very small and worn away. The dates ranged in the early to late 1800's and most of the gravestones were simple without much iconography. I was able to see four large memorials with some symbols that I was able to make out such as the rose, a hand of a man and a woman holding each other, a cherub with wings and an urn with a veil draped over it. After doing some research I was able to find out that most of the people buried there were some of the first pioneers to come to Cheviot from many other parts of the country and abroad. The founder of Cheviot was a man by the name of John Craig and his wife Jennet. They founded Cheviot in 1818 and named it after the hills in their homeland of Edinburgh, Scotland. It used to be the biggest cemetery in Cheviot until Harrison Avenue was built right through the center of it causing some of the stones to be lost. Even after the original damage the cemetery was left there however, it was then split into two different cemeteries facing each other. It remained this was until the population grew and the other half of the cemetery was turned into a parking lot and the remains of those who once lied there were reintered and moved to Bridgetown Protestant Cemetery a few blocks down the road. The remains of the Craigs are still located at the original site along with their two sons who both lost their lives at the very young ages of 15 & 17 to a freak lightening accident and their daughter Jennet who was married to a Lewis and died at the young age of 19. It seems both parents outlived all their children as Jennet lived to be 59 and John lived to be 77. When looking through some of the records I found online most of the people buried there could somehow be connected to one another. It was like a puzzle trying to figure out their ties. The grass still seems to be getting cut and it appears that Cheviot itself is responsible for the up keeping however, several of the gravestones had been broken and knocked over yet, left in this manner. While I was there several kids came out and asked if I was taking pictures because I was going to buy the lot. I could not find out any information as to why they thought this but, after researching online it seems that there may be the possibility that the remainder of the original cemetery may also be moved. It is definitely no longer an active cemetery and may soon no longer even remain in it's original location. It was kind of sad to think that the original cemetery in Cheviot may no longer be there anymore and that those who first founded the little town were in a way being moved out. There were no flowers on any graves or anything that gave me the vibe that there were living family members still visiting past generations of their relatives. All in all, I found the experience rather interesting yet sad. It showed me that sometimes no matter how important you once were or the memory you want to leave behind one day, you will still be forgotten. It made me think of the Kansas song "Dust in the Wind" and left me pondering the more philosophical view of death and the after-life. Who do we become when all those who once cared for us are no longer around either? Will we all one day be forgotten?