Monday, December 21, 2009

in search of

It all began with a last name. It was a friend's last name, and that faint, tinkling bell of memory hinted at connection. Didn't I have an ancestor with the same last name as my friend? Might we be related?

In due time I pulled out my files, read and reread material once familiar and subsequently blurred by time. I felt again the itch, the tug of interest and curiosity of lives that came before and shaped the lives that in due time would shape my life. Ancestors.

I stumbled upon a couple of interesting items, one that when I first learned it held no meaning. Another was brilliantly new and wonderful. My first and middle names are Anne McKinne. It is my mother's name, and it was her mother's name, and by the time you count the generations back to the first Ann(e) McKinne it turns out that there are seven of us. Ann (without an 'e') Galphin married Barna McKinne in 1810. It turns out that Barna's mother, Elizabeth, is the one whose maiden name is the same as the friend mentioned above. It turns out that Elizabeth is buried in the church cemetery of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Augusta, and that an early incarnation of that church included a window given in her memory.

With those two items of interest tucked into my mind Ken and I ventured to St. Paul's on Sunday while we were in Augusta. The present church, shown here, was built after what is known as the great fire of Augusta in 1916. The interior of the church is beautiful--open and airy with gorgeous appointments and windows. We're told it is a close replica of its predecessor, but less dark. The structure before that was also lost to fire, as was the one before it. There was no chance of finding the window. The grave would be another matter. We learned that until 1820 when a cemetery was created, St. Paul's was the lone graveyard for the people of Augusta. It looks sparse now because bodies were relocated to the new Magnolia Cemetery after its opened.

Elizabeth McKinne died in 1809, and we had been told that many of the grave markers had deteriorated over time, and some were now illegible. I began my search among those, locating a chained off area with McKinne names that were discernible. Not there. I continued to move through the yard, finding at last the monument that marked the location of my great (x5) grandmother, Elizabeth. It is pictured here with one indicating the place of burial for one of her sons. Hers is the one to the right with the egg-shaped, finial sort of thing. Ahhh. Success. The inscription on the marker leads me to believe she rests in peace. A part of me rests knowing where she is remembered, and giving thanks to those who loved her then who make it possible for me all these years later.

Blessings upon you, Miss Elizabeth.

4 comments:

Mompriest said...

What an awesome experience...

Anonymous said...
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Jules said...

How wonderful that you would find the grave! I have tombstone etchings from my great grandparents and love them.

Donna Henderson said...

You may call yourself a priest and a Pampered Chef consultant, but you are a born writer. The comments you leave on my blog are stunning in their simplicity and depth. Your thoughtful posts, like this one, prove you are a master wordsmith. Reading your work is like downhill skiing in powder on a brisk, clear day: quick, clean and blow-you-away fun. There's nothing to stumble over, no reason to become irritated or wander away. Your words are brain candy to me. To think I know you, even slightly, is a source of pride and inspiration. To actually consider you my friend would be an enormous asset and a great priviledge.

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