Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family History with a Twist

On Saturday morning I rolled out of the house to run some errands. On my way I dropped Secret Agent Man off along the side of a winding country road. Standard pathways out in our end of the county. When I arrived back home Secret Agent Man was waiting for me....told me to hurry up....he had something to show me. 

 Now, before I begin this tale, you should know that he relayed this same line to me a few years ago and drove me out to dig a rusty, old milk can out of a ditch. Yes, I still have the milk can. 

So, I hopped into our Suburban and off we drove, to a hillside about five minutes away from our house and the grave site of one of my ancestors.  You see, I am lucky enough to have an archaeologist as a relative.  A retired archaeologist who devotes his time to not only researching/writing books on our family history, but literally digging it up as well.  Mr. P, (the archaeologist), wrote a book about James Monay/Money Sr., and located his grave in our county.  James Monay had his last name, "Americanized", and locally it is spelled/pronounced, "Money". 


In his quest to provide a proper grave site for James Monay/Money Sr., he accidentally unearthed a collection of children's graves.  While out running my husband saw Mr. P working up on the hill and went over to have a chat. 





And, what a chat it turned out to be.  It seems there was a yellow fever outbreak in our county in the early fall of 1822.  Documented only  in our state capital city of Frankfort, it is a relatively unknown piece of history locally. 










 Each grave has been measured and marked by Mr. P.  He has identified that some graves have as many as three children buried side by side.  He took the time to explain about the different levels of soil, how he measured the graves, and how he determined the number of  children that were in each.  He also explained that during such an outbreak of disease, that coffins would not have been utilized, thus the narrow graves. 





He also discussed how he has been out at different times during the solstice/seasons to measure how the graves are pointing in reference to direction. 

I left in awe and truthfully a bit speechless.  So much history literally at my backdoor.  



30 comments:

  1. I am fascinated by old graveyards- This is just awesome. Secret Agent Man done good!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is some interesting discovery and a sad piece of local history.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh this is exciting I love local history and to have someone that can explain it all is awesome.
    It must have been so hard to live back then and have no control of your lives and the lives of you children.
    Thanks for sharing this it is very exciting and fascinating. B

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very Cool! I love history and with my mothers help, we have explored our family tree back to the American Revolution.

    ReplyDelete
  5. this is my kind of post. i love genealogy...how lucky for you to have an archaeologist in the family. i always thought that would be pretty cool to do. now one of my twins talks about becoming one, after he retires from his nfl career ;)
    what a sad time in your counties history...so much loss and pain...

    ReplyDelete
  6. So neat. And sad. I feel for the parents that lost so many children so many years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Michelle, this is amazing. I love stuff like this. How wonderful that he is preserving the site.

    Hugs,
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is fun! I love history. I adore family history. i am amazed by people who can dig in the dirt and "read"it, I mean, I'd have likely just destroyed the entire site by pure accident and ignorance.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm so glad you shared that with us...I love history...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, that's a wonderful story. A wander through the cemetery is always humbling...you go back a few generations and suddenly there are so many people who died young--but it's even sadder that these graves were unmarked. I poked through some old school board records once and was surprised at how often life stopped because of an epidemic. We're lucky to live today.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What an interesting post. Looking at those graves makes me sad, but reading the inscription by Mr. Money's grave has my imagination running away with me. What a long and interesting life he must have led.

    ReplyDelete
  12. wow. a sad little plot to discover, but fascinating history, too.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Amazing. I wish I had a similar relative

    ReplyDelete
  14. I do hope that he will share the documentation with the Kentucky Historical Society, the University of Kentucky Archives and Special Collections, and the Green County Historical Society. One of the doctoral candidates in the history program with me at UK wrote his dissertation on the cholera epidemics, and Bronze John was common as well.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What an amazing find. Nice shots too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is simply fascinating.

    Sometimes amazing history is unearthed where you least expect it. A few years back, the city of Quimper in the west of France (yes, my screen name!) did some road works. Archeological digs are mandatory before anything can be done and lo and behold, they found a medieval graveyard. Everything was inspected and left where it was... But now we know it's there!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like the words in your blog about being in a small town. I too live in a small town. My town however is the North. Enjoyed your blog, very interesting with beautiful photos.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What an adventure. Wonderful that the place is now well taken care of.

    Please have you all a good Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
  19. So sad and fascinating at the same time. You are so lucky to have this history....Great post

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love genealogy and local history... how fortunate you are to learn so much and be able to see it too!

    ReplyDelete
  21. So fascinating that archaeologists can determine so much from so little. I love learning about the past, especially if there's a connection with ancestors. History is right at your doorstep!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This must have been a thrilling discovery for you. I predict many future visits to the graveyard and excavations.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, you are so lucky to have someone in your family that keeps track of the genealogy. My sister is that one in our family and she did all the paperwork to join DAR. Those poor children and poor families to lose their babies in such numbers.
    ((hugs)), Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  24. We are so fortunate to live in the 21st century when such terrible losses are rare, at least in North America. How exciting to have an archeologist in the family to help you discover your family's past.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is absolutely fascinating! I would have LOVED hearing what all your archeologist/relative had to say. In my house, we are big history buffs!

    P.S. I went to school with a Money family (3 girls) who were from Kentucky. Their mom, Anita, was killed in an automobile accident around 1990ish and taken back to Ky for burial.

    ReplyDelete