SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - "Grains" Of Remembrance In Bethlehem Cemetery

(05/30/2016)

By Bob Weaver 2004

Bethlehem Baptist Church first organized in 1833. Grantsville poet Nettie Stump wrote about the cemetery "Then when you life book is closed, And the last page is read, You will then go over this road - And live in the City of the Dead."

Perhaps the most moving play I ever attended was Pulitzer Prize winner Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," a simple and passionate glimpse of life in Grover's Corners, New Hampshire in 1903.

Walking around the 1,200 graves in Grantsville's Bethlehem Cemetery today, I recalled words and scenes from Wilder's play, with my memory and identity defined by those who are buried there, nearly all whose names or faces I recall from childhood.

In the old cemetery section reposes some of Calhoun's first families

Angel stands tall above the "grains" of life buried there

I cling to those memories, deserving or not, unable to change my beliefs except when assaulted by undeserving facts.

Wilder's characters were untainted by the Great Wars, making it easier to portray the warmth, civility and truths of life in rural America, but many of those reclining in Bethlehem were not as fortunate.

How many Emilys met how many Georges, the marriage proposal being made in the J & B or Thompson's Drug Store? How many Emilys died in childbirth to be taken on the hill to Bethlehem?

In the most moving scene in "Our Town," Emily is re-united with her townspeople and tells them she is not use to being dead. She chooses to look upon an important day in her life, her 12th birthday. She says that day "will be important enough."

Space still remains for a few

While those reposing in Bethlehem were not as famous as some - they too are important enough.

Buried here is Calhoun's single Vietnam victim Eddie Dean Starcher and Civil War Rebel James Bryan, with many others who gave their lives to America in those terrible wars, to virtually every new settler in the Calhoun wilderness, almost every Calhoun name.

Someone wrote "Wilder tried to find the universe in a grain of wheat."

The Bethlehem Baptist Church, among the first to be organized in 1833, will more likely be known for the "grains" who repose there, still a few spaces left for aging old-timers to join the caravan.

Barr family early Calhoun pioneers

Log monument recalls A. H. Stump 1843-1896

Spiral marker for Lillie Blizzard (1866-1893) wife of Judge Reese Blizzard

Levi Ball was early pioneer farmer

Claude and Bertha Osborne chose not to be buried in the earth.
Using a tomb

Claude Osborne was a teacher, Hope Gas employee and choir leader

Bertha Osborne was a "school teacher and devotee of music" Read poem "BETHLEMEM" By Nettie Stump, in her book TRAIL OF MY PEN


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