Friday, April 8, 2016

Photo Friday: New Castle Cemetery

One of the stranger pleasures of genealogical research is visiting cemeteries. Having spent so much time trying to understand a person’s life – or to even find out if a person existed or was related to you at all – it can be frustrating to not know a person’s final resting place. It’s like you’ve come so close to really truly finding them, but can’t! But when you do find them, you feel like you know them a little bit better. You’re often in their community, maybe seeing sights that were part of their daily life, and even in death, you’re learning more about them based on who is laid to rest near them.

All of which is what made it so cool that my newfound Evans cousin took me not only on a tour of one of the ancestral towns, New Castle, when I visited Alabama last month, but also to the cemetery there, where the family has a small plot. So for this Photo Friday, here are a few snaps from that day: 

Spruce Street leads up to New Castle Cemetery, a small community burial ground that is still in limited use today. 

Looking back towards the entrance of the cemetery, from the Evans Family plot.

A (somewhat wonky) partial panorama looking from the corner entrance of the cemetery. The family plot can be partially seen at the far right.

My great-grandfather Steve Evans / Theodore Johnson was apparently one of about 14 children. While he is laid to rest in West Virginia, several of his siblings rest here.

Janie Mae (Evans) Smith was, I've been told, the oldest of the Evans children. She is the one with whom Steve and his brother Henry were living in 1930, and it is with her descendants that I connected on my recent trip to Alabama. She shared family stories freely with her granddaughter, and it is thanks to them both that I am able to learn things that the documents themselves can't tell. 

Janie Mae had two children with her first husband, William Dyle. This is their daughter, Veola Dyle Rodgers.

A close-up of the photo from Veola's headstone. She was James and Laura Ann Evans' granddaughter, and my great-grandfather's niece.

Janie Mae and William Dyle's son, Coleman Dyle. Below "US ARMY," his headstone reads:

SEP   14   1923
JAN  13   1990

This is the marker for Sarah (Evans) Paymon, Steve and Janie Mae's sister. She and her husband Archie lived across the street from each other near a church at the top of a hill in New Castle.

Sarah's husband Archie Paymon rests nearby. They were married on November 18, 1923, according to Jefferson County, AL records. Several of their children eventually moved to Detroit, Michigan in search of better economic opportunities.

This is the headstone for Marshall Evans, another of the Evans siblings. Following in his father's footsteps, he became a minister, and was known to some of the family as "Uncle Bishop." He is one half of the "two brothers married two sisters" duo, my great-grandfather Steve being the other brother, Steve's wife, my great-grandmother Beatrice Harris, being one of the sisters, and Lillian Harris being the other. Though they did not stay together, Marshall and Lillian had a daughter together, and her descendants now live primarily in Illinois.

Visiting this cemetery may actually have been the best part of my trip to Alabama. I am so grateful to my cousin for making this happen, and I'm looking forward to hanging out with her again!

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