Cemetery Paper

Submitted By Madeline-Bates
Words: 1416
Pages: 6

In recent days, I traveled to two of the local cemeteries, the White Odd Fellows and the Black Old Fellows of Starkville. One would believe that there is little variation in cemeteries and the cultures within them, but as I have learned and will convey to the reader, there are differences are prominent and undeniable. Along with said differences, I will also show similarities that have potential to tie together different cultures.
The White Odd Fellows is the final resting place of a great number of locals, most of which are white, thus “white” to differentiate between the two Odd Fellow cemeteries. A short drive away, the Black Odd Fellows Cemetery, which is named so for the same reason as the White Odd Fellows, holds a number of deceased blacks of the area. Just as the White Odd Fellows represents the culture of its residents, the Black Odd Fellows matches the representation, and possibly even exceeds it, but in a different sense. Because of the racial differences in the cemeteries, the trends and cultures are carried out uniquely to each race and it is made known in styles of family plots, tombstones, and epitaphs. Upon arrival at the White Odd Fellows, I noticed the softly rolling hills; and a few well-placed trees; how the plots conformed to the land; and how the land was kept clean of leaves, trash, and broken pieces of flower vases for offerings. In contrast, the Black Odd Fellows had sharp hills; many trees in close proximity to the graves; tombstones nearly perpendicular with the slop of the hills and their barriers long since fallen; and leaves, flower vases, and grave offerings littering the grounds where they fell or where the wind put them down. Even when driving past the cemeteries, it is evident that Black Odd Fellows is often neglected by grounds keepers and families of the deceased.
Aside from the grounds, there are significant differences in meat, or bones in this scenario, of the cemetery. In the White Odd Fellows, there are large family plots, such as the Crtiz families scattered throughout the grounds, or the Ames and Adams families with towering obelisks, on which are printed the members of the families and an epitaph or two for all buried in that plot. Nearly all plots I saw had perfectly placed engraved the family’s last initial into marble or granite cornerstones (whichever matches the tombstones) or a poured cement border to define the boundaries of the plot. Many of the family plots hold enough room for up to ten family members. Most commonly, I saw a man and his wife, any unwed daughters, any sons accompanied by their wives, and occasionally grandchildren. Most of White Odd Fellows cemetery consists of family plots, but not all are filled; the family plots also make up the south end of the cemetery and the individual and couple’s plots are more common on the south end.
While on the other side of town, the Black Odd Fellows had very few family plots, and the ones that are present, are small with about three family members within its borders, with none of the family plots having more room than the family needed. At Black Odd Fellows, the borders are poured cement that has sunken into the ground and been covered by grass, chain or thin metal railing, or unearthed and displaced, engraved granite cornerstone. The family plots are primarily located in the center of the cemetery with individual and couple’s plots surrounding to make up the cemetery.
In White Odd Fellows, the grass is cut, the weeds are pulled, and the tombstones are more elaborate. The older stones, and even some of the newer ones, tend to be made of marble, large, and have graven images of bibles or flowers. Even those made of granite rather than marble because it is less expensive, which seem to be more common in those deceased in the past 50 years, are larger with names and dates outlined with decorative lining. The majority of the stones in the Black Odd Fellows are granite or concrete, decoration such and