Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

It’s hard to believe that until two weeks ago, I had only been to my paternal grandparents’ grave twice. The first time was when my grandmother was interred and the second time was when Aunt Martha was interred.

Unlike the maternal side of my family, when I was growing up, my paternal side never pushed visiting the gravesite of my grandparents and uncle, which now also includes my aunt. Through the years, for as often as we were back in dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s hometown, I don’t ever remember anyone saying, let’s go by the gravesite, and while I’ve always wanted to go by the old home site, I don’t ever remember requesting a visit to the cemetery.

Lately though, I’ve felt a need almost a beckoning if you will to go visit the gravesite of my paternal grandparents, aunt, and uncle. So, on Friday, March 16th, having a gorgeous afternoon free, I decided to make the little over an hour drive, from work, to Winston-Salem, NC for a long overdue visit.

I had located the address of the cemetery before I left and plugged it into my trusty GPS unit. While enroute, I called my cousin Valerie, who lives in the Triad area of NC, hoping that she would meet me at the cemetery because even though I had a picture of the tombstone in my mind, I had no clue where in the cemetery the gravesite was located. But Valerie and Cousin Denise, her daughter, both had other plans for the day. After I hung up, I realized that I had forgotten to ask Valerie exactly where in the cemetery our grandparents’ graves were located. As she was in a hurry to get to her destination, I didn’t call back.

Arriving into town, I got off at the exist that usually takes us to dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s alma mater, Winston-Salem State, but instead of heading to the left as I’ve done on so many previous trips, I turned right. Before long, I arrived at Walkertown Road, the street the cemetery is located on. I made a right onto Walkertown and was at the cemetery in little or no time. This amazed me as through the years, I had always imagined that Evergreen cemetery, where my grandparents, aunt and uncle are interred, was way out. Why didn’t we ever visit seeing how close it was to the alma mater?

As I turned into the cemetery, I stopped at the front gate and took a picture. If the words gorgeous and beautiful could be used to describe a cemetery, Evergreen, definitely fits the bill. From this point on, it was truly my Ancestors’ guidance that lead me to their graves as I wasn’t seeing any tombstones that matched that picture in my head and of course there were lots of Joneses. I had made almost a complete circle through the cemetery when suddenly I decided to pull over and get out. I parked right beside a Jones family plot that I knew wasn’t it but checked anyway. I then proceeded on to the last row of graves in this section and started walking when suddenly I stopped and looked to my right. Yes, it was their graves. How amazing was that?

I took pictures of the headstone and footstones, and I talked to them, telling them I was sorry that I hadn’t been before now. I promised my grandmother that next time I would bring flowers since I knew how much they had meant to her.

Prior to leaving Winston-Salem, I of course went by the lot one more time where the old ancestral home once stood because no visit is quite complete until I do that.

As I made the journey back home, I would venture by the gravesite of other relatives, those being on my maternal side, and which I will discuss on a future post at Georgia Black Crackers.

Uncle Thomas Langston Jones

As you can see, my grandparents stressed education and were so proud of the accomplishments of their first born, whom preceded them in death, that they had his degrees awarded engraved on his tombstone.

Aunt Martha Jones


All pictures are from the personal collection of the owner of this blog.


  1. Mavis, I love when that happens, it is as if our ancestors are calling to our souls, right to their final resting places. Love that education data on their stones! Wish all stones had more "goodies" like that. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mavis,

    What a wonderful discovery. As you know, I recently found the brial place of my Brewer and Lawrence ancestors in Greene County, GA, so I know exactly what you were feeling when you found your Jones ancestors. You were guided by your ancestors, no doubt about that. Congrats!!


  3. Nice post, Mavis. I don't believe I've ever seen headstones with educational data on them like that. I can just feel the love and pride that went into memorializing your ancestors.


  4. Mavis, I enjoyed your post. I share with you that feeling of needing to visit gravesites. Perhaps its because, especially for those we never had the chance to meet, it is in some cases the only tangible reminder we have of them. I also feel a sense of wanting to honor and spend time remembering them.

    I think it is awesome that your grandparent's stressed education and that it is reflected in the gravestones.

    Your experience was very touching. --Laura

  5. I'm catching up on posts today...this was so nice to read. Its funny how you can just get a feeling one day and just need to go. I enjoyed looking at your headstone pictures.


Comments posted on Conversations with My Ancestors are moderated and will be approved only if they are on-topic and not abusive.