Its like a walk in a park…

… if parks had a ton of dead people.

So Wednesday was an interesting day for me. My husband was working, and the girls were in school, but I was off thanks to working for a Canadian company; who are either very generous with their vacation policies or don’t know Americans don’t all get Veterans Day off. One of the two. So what was I going to do with a day to myself?

I drive by a historic graveyard on the west side of my town to get to my youngest’s pre-K, so I thought I could spend some time nosing around that after I dropped her off and also clean off any veteran graves I found. I expected it to be mostly Hispanic graves if I’m honest, just based on where in town it was located, but nope- all the graves (with one notable exception) were German. This small cemetery is in fact the first cemetery in the town!

Ya learn something every day.

It seems SO far away from where I imagined the settlers in town lived- but then I remember they all had land grants of 300-600 acres so their footprint was bigger than I originally imagined. (I just looked it up- a square acre takes 3 minutes at a brisk pace to walk across- so… horseback was the way to go. Also, bless Google.)

I actually thought it was an active graveyard because it had an absolute ton of open space in it.

yeah… that’s not open space.

Turns out the graveyard sold it’s last plot in 1946- all the open areas are either unmarked graves or mass graves from the multiple epidemics the colony faced! Rest assured it’s as creepy as it seems it would be to realize you just walked across a ton of cholera victims to get to the historic marker that explains that. So… yeah. I always wondered and now I know!

It had a good share of veteran graves, so those all got brushed off.

Thanks, George.

And there were quite a few Confederate veterans as well… couldn’t bring myself to brush those off. Though it turns out the German settlers from New Braunfels signed a petition against slavery and many of the ones who served in the Confederacy did so quite conflicted… so that’s good to know but still, I couldn’t. I’m a blue coat through and through, after all.

All the veteran graves (at least that I could see) were these flat bronze plates. They’re quite different from my husband’s grandfather’s government issued gravestone (he served in the Korean War), so I wonder what the story is for the difference. Time of issue maybe? Bears looking into.

There were some really unique gravestones, as well as what you see often here in central Texas: seashell covered graves.

You can see a few broken remnants of actual seashells on the grave above. These shells were filled with concrete and then affixed to the grave- when they break off they leave the form of the shell behind.
One of the prettiest stones I’ve seen
One of the prettiest clasped hands symbols I’ve seen. I especially love that you can see the hands are intended as a woman and a man’s hands.The surround of fruit and leaves is also really lovely.

Many of the stones had broken or fallen. These were reset in a slab on concrete flat on the ground above the grave- a great way to preserve these pieces, I think. The one above was set flat like that.

Here is a better example of what that looks like:

Here rests in God E. L. Karl Richter born February 28th, 1817 in Prenzlau (town in Germany). Died February 15th (the break obscures the death date line.) New Braunfels. (What follows is the translation of the rest, as best I and Google translate can tell before it becomes illegible) So rest, God has thought of you and made everything well. Your body sleeps softly here in the night of the grave, His proof is in the sleep of the sufferer here, We close… (boy do I wish I could read what the rest says!)
Lot of stars on German graves from a certain time period in this cemetery (Those Germans sure did love putting stars on stuff, no?) So if it is a 5 pointed star it could symbolize the wounds of Christ, but a six sided star that is not the star of David is supposed to symbolize the six attributes of God: power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy and justice.

There were only two of my very favorite things: porcelain grave pictures.

Hermann Schneider, January 21 1872, died Dec. 21 1934
Alwina (Reilly) Schnieder Nov. 29th, 1878, died November 21st 1955

The inscription at the bottom of their headstones says: “God’s greatest gift returned to God: our parents.” Something about the difference in style of the pictures of Hermann and Alwina makes me think they didn’t have many pictures to choose from.

James Ferguson was born in Scotland and died in New Braunfels in 1858. Do you know how RARE this was? In 1860 there were only SIXTY EIGHT people from England, Scotland, or Whales in ALL of Texas- with most of the English and Scots in San Antonio. Did he live in New Braunfels? Or just die here while trading? Either way it’s pretty interesting.

I sent the picture and text to my husband when I got out there:

Text read: “What’s the proper expression for a selfie in a graveyard? Think it’s: Don’t” But I wanted hm to know what I was up to.

Anyway, it was an interesting start to the day followed by breakfast tacos I ran out to eat with my parents, a stop at a garden center, and making lentil soup and a visit with my aunt and uncle.

It was a good day.

In other news I had our carpet and upholstery cleaned on Friday.

Hey look, the couch is blue, I almost forgot!

Told my brother about having everything cleaned and have now forbidden him from bringing drinkable yogurt for his kids when he comes to visit us in a few weeks for Thanksgiving by sending him this:

4 thoughts on “Its like a walk in a park…

  1. Very interesting trip through the cemetery, Lauren. It reminds us that they were real people who had loved ones they left behind. Some of the writing on the headstones is very sweet. Shows they were loved and missed.

    1. It is- I always get so excited when I see a long stream of text I get to translate! Some of the stones show real beauty- makes me sad about all the hohum commercial ones we have now!

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