name and date almost obliterated with time

A few days ago, I stopped by the Old County Cemetery, also known as Pauper‘s Cemetery, here in Crescent City.

One of the few headstones that is made of actual stone, is shown above.  My gut told me that the left part of the stone was missing.  Later, I checked and found that someone had photographed this and all the grave markers in this cemetery in 2009. The information which was once clear on the headstone is recorded with full clarity on the website.

This is where Edward West was laid to rest.  He was born July 2, 1866 and died November 12, 1902.  His father was born in Massachusetts and was married to a woman from Ireland, according to a census record.

Behind Edward are rows of poor people, who are known only by their names, death dates.  Some are completely unknown, on all accounts.  The span of time runs from the 1930’s to the 1950’s.

In the rows of redwood markers, is one individual, whose family found him.

As they laid him to rest, he was unknown to the world, in every way.

Original grave marker, with later addition in front.

This wrenched at my heart, imagining how it would feel to find one’s father here, in an unmarked, unknown grave.

Message for Dad

Just reading it now, chokes me up.  For me, it proves that we are all one, all connected.

Dad, identified.  Fagan Estes King

I wonder how so many people can be lost.  Perhaps a name misspelled,

a loner, a person seeking fortune, a wilderness lover, an Indian, an illness – the possibilities limitless.

I lived.

I existed.

I walked on this earth, as you do.

They called me Charlie!

I was born to a woman, and died alone.

Most of the grave markers are at one end of the Cemetery.

  There is a large area in front of Edward West, and only one stone marker.

One of two Keelings in this graveyard, both with first initials.

On this visit, I notice something new –

two of the UNKNOWN markers had new names primitively scratched on to them.

Is this K Booth? How would someone know?

Did the same person who found K Booth, find me?

I hope this isn’t an act of vandalism or a joke.

The fact that someone took the time to scratch out the word UNKNOWN in both cases,

leads me to believe that it is not a hoax.

Regardless, it does not diminish the fact that there are people in the world who die alone, unknown.

Keeling, with Edward West midway, and the poor folk behind.

I have to wonder if there aren’t more people here, without grave markers.

Perhaps I will research further.

The cemetery is on a knoll, with scraggly old conifers.

Time waits for no one.