Thursday, December 06, 2007
Chasefield Plantation Cemetery
On any trip -- or hike -- into Ft. Pickens, I've always stopped for a moment at the Chasefield Plantation Gravestones which were relocated to the island from NAS in 1957.
As you can see, the gravestones have not fared well. The stone above is that of Clarissa Francis Golay, daughter of Albert and Rebecca Golay, who died on August 8, 1842 at the age of one year and five days. Her small gravestone was shattered into five pieces during one of the hurricanes. Most of the stones are similarly damaged.
The gravestone of Sabra Lanear Williams, surrounded by chain link, gravel, and sandburs, is barely legible now. It may be years, if ever, before someone comes to restore this tiny cemetery.
Several years ago I copied the inscription and tucked it behind a photograph I took of her stone. It read:
Born Sept 25, 1774
Died May 25, 1846
Kind angels watch this sleeping dust
Till Jesus comes to raise the just
Then may she wake with sweet surprise
And in her savior's image rise.
Farewell, my husband, my life is past.
My love for you through life did last.
Grieve not for me nor sorrow take,
But love my children for my sake.
My interest of this particular stone was captured by the inscription. The last verse switches to first person, which I found curious. If only we knew the story behind it. Still, most who stop to pay their respects and try to read the inscription will be touched by the final cryptic verse.