Friday, September 2, 2011

A Small Effect of the Earthquake

Here are some shots of a tombstone in the Brown’s Mill Cemetery in the village of Kauffman, PA, that I think was toppled by the earthquake last week.  This first shot is of the stone lying down to show the break; in the second (see below) I have propped it up to make it readable.

The break in this tombstone is fresh and clean, and there were no other newly tipped-over stones that might indicate vandalism.

The grave is that of John Zarger, son of Adam (1819-1882) and Matilda Zarger (1827-1864), whose graves are immediately adjacent.  John’s waist-high tombstone, the one that apparently toppled in the quake, is pretty illegible.  I picked it  up and positioned it against another tombstone so that the sun was on edge to it, trying to make shadows be cast into the carved letters to try to read them, but it’s quite worn.  The year of death appears to be 186x; I cannot make out the birth year.  I make out his age as having two digits, the first one being “1” and the second roundish but illegible (perhaps 0, 6, or 8), thus he’d have been 10, 16, or 18.  

Besides the parents, there are two other graves close by in the row, sister Elizabeth (again, birth and death years and age are illegible) and another presumed sibling, whose stone was broken off long ago and contains no readable info.  Thus this was a 5-person family who lived and died in the mid-1800s.

They were as real as you or me, with hopes and dreams and loves and fears, all of it, not some dusty historical family.  There was a mom and a dad, and at least 3 children, of which John seems to have died before reaching age 20.

When the earthquake hit on 23 August 2011, it is kind of strange, even unnerving, to imagine the dead under the ground being shaken.  It's easier to imagine above-the-ground effects: John's tall, relatively thin stone, swaying, breaking, and toppling.

Rest in peace, John Zarger.

NOTE: Brown's Mill Cemetery is in the village of Kauffman, 2 miles south of Marion, PA and 3 miles north of Greencastle, PA.  It's the cemetery adjacent to the Manito School admin building, not the cemetery beside the old one-room historic Brown's Mill School.  To find the grave, imagine a line from the small white maintenance shed in the middle of the cemetery to the southmost exit door of the Manito admin building.  John Zarger's grave is on that line, about 5 or 6 rows north of the maintenance shed.


No comments:

Post a Comment