Friday, May 14, 2021

Renewed Remembrance in Stone

When I first visited the grave of my fourth great-grandfather Vachel Kirk (1805-1832), I was disappointed to discover that his original headstone was illegible. The marker, slanted skyward, was fully exposed to the elements. No doubt decades of snow and rain pounding at the surface completely eroded the inscription away. 

Vachel Kirk's original headstone, the inscription worn away

The only way to pinpoint the grave as Vachel's was the small footstone engraved with his initials "V.K." This marker was also beginning to succumb to damage. Pieces of the stone were flaking off around the delicate lettering.

Vachel Kirk's original footstone with the initials VK

My visit seemed fortuitous. I was able to confirm the burial location before the identifying memorials were completely destroyed. 

After having crowd-sourced a new headstone for Vachel's parents Thomas and Sarah (Bonar) Kirk (who are buried just feet away in the same cemetery on the other side of a walnut tree), I felt compelled to also preserve his memory for generations to come.

Last summer, I ordered a new headstone for Vachel. Cut from the same red Wausau granite as his parents', it was finally placed earlier this month. I took the liberty of adding some genealogical context, including his parentage, spouse and children.

Vachel Kirk's new headstone, placed in May 2021

"As long as there is one person on Earth who remembers you - it isn't over." -Oscar Hammerstein, Carousel

Have you placed a new headstone for an ancestor whose grave was unmarked or whose marker had seen better days?