Friday, October 17, 2014

Southport Part Three, The Old Smithville Burying Ground

Hi everyone!  Thanks for all your wonderful comments on the tour of Southport.  I always appreciate that you take the time to leave a comment.  :)

This year, I finally got to look around the old cemetery in Southport for the first time in all the years we've visited the town.

 I think old cemeteries are fascinating, probably because anything to do with history fascinates me.  I'm not a morbid person, but I just think it's so interesting to see the different stones and monuments.  I also like to read the names and dates, because even though there may not be a lot written there, I still think they have stories to tell us.

I've never, ever seen a gravestone like this before.  In the picture below, you can see a carved, leafy vine twining up the tree trunk.

 I Googled "Woodmen of the World" when writing this post, and found some interesting information.  "Woodmen of the World" and "Woodmen of America" are actually fraternal organizations.  You can read about them Here.  Apparently these tree stone grave markers are not all that rare in cemeteries across the country.

I think this stone is pretty with the flower garland and the shield-shaped plaque for the name and dates.  My husband commented that he thought this cemetery was unusual because there were no monuments in the shape of angels, which we often see in cemeteries.  We decided that maybe graveyard monuments and tombstones are sort of a local thing, and especially for the old cemeteries, it would have depended on the style of the local stone cutter.

I don't often see Celtic crosses in our local cemeteries, do you?

These are probably the two most famous men buried here.  Colonel Benjamin Smith of the Continental Army, served as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War and also served as 16th governor of North Carolina.  The town of Smithville (later Southport) was named after Benjamin Smith.

Major General Robert Howe, Continental Line, Revolutionary War.  I thought it was interesting that both men's wives were named Sarah.

This burial ground and the plots within were defined by many different types of fences.

Never the less, it was laid out in a rather higgledy-piggledy manner.  I tried to be careful, but I worried that I was stepping on people's actual graves, and I didn't want to be disrespectful.

This really does look very old, doesn't it?

My husband captured a ray of sun lighting this tombstone.  We were there very late in the day, and the sun was starting to fade.

We saw these U.S. War Veteran markers on several of the graves.

A soldier of the Confederate Army --

and here too, perhaps?

 We saw several stones decorated with the Freemason's badge.

And given that this is a port town, fishermen would be found here as well.

I wonder if this is a battleship since there's an American flag next to the monument.

This person was born just a year after the town was founded.

I think the trefoil design on this marker has an old-world look about it.  This stone is hard to read, but I was finally able to make out that the person died less than a year after birth.  That always makes me sad.

Thanks so much for taking the Southport tour with me -- you can see some of the historic houses in Southport Here and Here.  I appreciate your visit and have a wonderful weekend!



  1. Nice photos. Would love to read each gravestone. My dad dragged us to old cemeteries as we were growing up when he would work on the family genealogy. He'd pay us for every new relative we found but he had usually found them all before. :-) Was fun though and helped develop a love for old cemeteries. Have a nice weekend!

  2. Cemeteries do tell a town's history. Where my parents are buried in a huge cemetery in a Denver suburb the graves are marked with flat plates, no grand gravesstones in that part of the cemetery. And now with cremation so popular how will those stories be told? Here as we drive about the on the old prairie, we see small abandoned cemeteries, representing the lives lost in the settling of the great frontier. To see Revolutionary War veterans' graves must be very special. These last 3 posts of your have been a treat to see a part of the country that I may never visit.

  3. Interesting post. So much to learn from cemeteries about our past.

    I am behind visiting your posts.Looking forward to catching up.

  4. Hi Denise,
    I especially liked seeing the marker with the Celtic symbols. You and your hubby sure take some interesting trips together and great photos.

  5. I love visiting graveyards too. There is a lot of history to be learned from reading the tombstones. Your photos are beautiful with the waning light.



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