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 have visited a cemetery 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 have decided to start documenting my cemetery visits with a series of photos in a new Sunday feature.
This week’s cemetery is Maplewood Cemetery in Mayfield, KY. The cemetery is best known for the historic Wooldridge Monuments build for Colonel Henry G. Wooldridge to commemorate his family members and other loved ones. Woodbridge, who died in May 1899, is the only one buried at the site.
The monuments are contained in a 17 x 33 foot space with the most prominent being life size 6-foot-tall Italian marble statue of Col. Wooldridge. The 14 additional statues made from limestone were created by statue makers in Mayfield and Paducah, KY.
The plaque posted at the monument reads as follows:
This rare statuary, a memorial to loved ones, was conceived by Colonel Henry Wooldridge, whose central marble image was carved in Italy. Devoted to the memory of his family and his life. Animal lover, famous fox hunter and member of the Masonic order, only he is entombed here. Details at Chamber of Commerce.
Those enshrined here are Keziah Nichols, mother of Col. Henry Wooldridge; his brothers, W.F., Alfred, Josiah and John; his sisters, Narcissa, Minerva and Susan; small statues of great nieces, Maud and Minnie. His favorite hunting dogs, Tow-Head and Bob, a deer and fox along with Henry, himself, astride his favorite horse, Fop.
According to Wikipedia, Wooldridge purchased the lot in Maplewood Cemetery following the death of his last sister in 1892. He was a lifelong bachelor with no immediate living family. Even before his death, the monuments garnered national attention when in Nov. 1897 Republic magazine reported that the Minnie statue was actually that of Wooldridge’s childhood sweetheart who was killed in a horse riding accident. Her early death caused him to remain a bachelor for life.
Now that’s true love!
It’s also been reported Wooldridge was a such miser he made sure his fortune was buried with him.
And that’s what you call stingy beyond belief!!
Until next time….