A Pieceful Life

A Pieceful Life


I'm so glad that you stopped by, and hope that you enjoy your visit. Here you will find pieces of my life - quilting, cross-stitch, family, travel, friends.
My name is Peg - I am a 60ish wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend - and if we're not already related or friends, hope to become your friend too.
We live in the eastern end of the beautiful Fraser Valley, about 1.5 hours east of Vancouver, BC. Empty nesters, we have one son living just a few minutes away, our other son and daughter live in Alberta.
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Friday, September 28, 2012


I’m a taphophile – not a bad thing, just a person who loves to visit cemeteries.

On our cross-country trip, there were lots and lots to visit, but I only took time for a few.

First, near Hudson NY, this old cemetery looked like it honored veterans, and looked old enough to have civil war-era headstones, and sure enough:


Whenever I visit a cemetery, I wish I could learn the stories behind some of these folks.  I also ache for the loss of infants and children, one of the most heart-breaking aspects of life in the past.  And here, I had to wonder ‘whose mother and father?’


At Iona, Cape Breton Island, NS, we visited the cemetery where some of my ancestors are buried.  The last time we were here, we simply looked for the ones we knew about – this time, I searched a little further, looking for older generations, names from the family tree.  Sadly, I didn’t find what I was seeking.

But my great-grandparents, and two great uncles are buried together:


It’s sad to note that there were no immediate family members near-by to erect a headstone for Great-uncle Murdoch  - I think I want to talk to my family about rectifying that somehow.

While wandering through, I found a series of headstones, all alike, and one that told a little bit of the story:


Mother, aged 46 and six children aged 22, 14, 13, 11, 8 and 6 all died on the same day in 1958.  The father appears to have been the lone survivor and lived another43 years.  The family name is MacNeil, which is one of my ancestral names, so my curiosity is even more heightened.  In doing some vital statistics/genealogy searches, I found the death record of the mother – apparently her death was accidental, ‘car ran off dock’ resulting in drowning. 

In St. James ON, we came across this cemetery, at an old church that’s been converted to a funeral home.  Around the building, banks of old gravestones were set up – we wondered if they’d been moved from somewhere else, and if so for what reason.  No explanation was forthcoming from signage around the building:50.St. James, ON51

Also in Ontario, we came across an Amish cemetery, and were struck by the same-ness and simplicity of their headstones:


At Rushes cemetery not far away, the most intriguing story is told of a man who buried two wives, both very young, in 1865 and 1867, and engraved the headstone with a cryptic message:


It was 80 years before the message was deciphered, by two different people.  Dr. Samuel Bean went on to marry a third time, this marriage lasting 34 years, ending with his death at sea in 1904.

I’ll leave you to puzzle this out for a bit, if you’re so inclined and post the answer in a few days.

In Iowa, at Amana Colonies, the cemetery had some similarity to the Amish resting places.  A sign at the gate stated that there are no family plots, that burial is purely chronological by date:


At Bannack MT (ghost town) there were two cemeteries, both closed up so a real crawl wasn’t possible.  Near the town, a steep walk up the hill from the gallows:


And outside town a little drive:


It’s sad to see cemeteries so sadly neglected, no matter that there are no survivors remembering the deceased any longer.  As we looked at these gravestones, we talked about the adage ‘as long as somebody is alive who remembers me, I’m still here’.  It occurs to us that, at the time of death, the youngest person among family and friends who will probably have an active memory of the deceased will be about 5 years old – so that means that as long as that person lives, assuming they live an average life span, the deceased will be ‘here’ for probably 75 years or more after their actual death.  Kind of nice to think that we don’t just disappear when we die.

These crawls were just for you, sis, wish you could have been right along with me.  Maybe someday we’ll do another crawl together.

Happy crawls.                   Blessings, Peg


  1. I never knew there was a name for someone who likes to visit cemeteries. That's another thing I like to do on my vacations, but I haven't had much opportunity, and no one to go with me. :(. Interesting story about Dr. Bean.

  2. When we were visiting Nfld. we rented a charming wee cabin right across the gravel road from a cemetery in Blackhead. The oldest parts were quite overgrown and what covered in tiny snails. Like you, the stories of the lives behind the headstones intrigued me but also brought tears to my eyes - so much loss- so many broken hearts, so many dying very young. There was also a lovely old white church complete with a steeple. One evening as we sat with a glass of wine on the back deck I could hear music drifting in the wind so went to the front porch to see what was going on. The music came from the steeple and was obviously a scheduled recording of hymns. We stayed outside as I hummed along...it was one of the highlights of our trip.

  3. Now we're talking! I've been waiting for this post for weeks! Don't post the cipher answer just yet. I want to play with it for a bit. We'll do a crawl some day. And thank you for sharing these photos. My Mother/My Father? Wow. That is intriguing, isn't it?