Time travel as close as your local cemetery.

Sunday’s Cemetery 6

March 29, 2015 / by davidwalton

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St. Theresa Cemetery, Rhodelia, KY

Cemeteries. Every city has one. They are mysterious, historic, haunting and, to me, fascinating. I developed a fondness for cemeteries as a boy.

Now whenever I’m out of town, I always make it a point to visit a cemetery. To me, they are better than any mountain range, skyline or other popular tourist attraction. They are hidden treasures containing a wealth of information about communities and the people who lived there.

Chances are you’ve visited one at some time in your life to pay your respects to a family member or friend, and perhaps you too appreciate the stories represented among the tombstones and monuments.

My travels take me to all over the South and Midwest, so I’ve decided to start documenting my cemetery visits with a series of photos in a new Sunday feature.

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Here I am standing in the older of two cemeteries in Rhodelia.

This week’s cemetery is St. Theresa in Rhodelia, KY.  Surrounded by the Kentucky communities of Cloverport, Irvington and Brandenburg – and Mauckport, IN to the north – you can’t get any more rural than Rhodelia.

It’s most notable landmark is St. Theresa Catholic Church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But St. Theresa Cemetery is just as worth of a visit. While fairly large in size for an older cemetery, you’re likely to miss it if you blink while driving on KY 144.

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According to the finger pointing upwards, 69-year-old Thomas McGill was bound for heaven.

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Was Hesachiah Livers a community outcast?

I should point out there are actually two St. Theresa cemeteries – the original on Barr Greenwell Road and the newer one on Rhodelia Road, both within view of the church.

My afternoon was spent entirely at the original site which is comprises of roughly 8. It’s probably one of the more orderly cemeteries I’ve ever visited with families clumped together in their own little sections. Names like Hardesty, Elder, Burch, Rhodes, Pike, Greenwell and Vessels.

As I strolled around snapping photos, a couple of headstones caught my attention. The first was Hesachiah Livers (b. July 4, 1865, d. July 22, 1887). His grave sat at the edge of some woods all by its lonesome. Did he commit a crime? Could this be why there’s quite a bit of distance between him and the next closest grave? I also found Thomas McGill’s (d. Aug. 6, 1865) headstone interesting because there’s no date of birth listed.

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The headstone belonging to Mary Vessels (above right) is one of several in St. Theresa Cemetery that have broken in two. Other headstones (below) have completely crumbled.

DSC06323It always breaks my heart when I see headstones that have given way to the outside elements. Someone had propped up the broken pieces against the base of the headstone in some instances while in others the broken pieces were untouched. I wish more could be done to restore these historic gems.

Until next time….

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