24 August 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Sitka-Wilde Cemetery

Sitka-Wilde is not a formal or active cemetery any longer. It is located about a couple miles from my home and during the summer leafy months is not even visible, except as a patch of sumac in the middle of a hay field.
However in winter, something emerges.
Sitka-Wilde was never any thing more than a family burial ground, located in the south west portion of Newaygo County, near the crossroads known as Sitka. Once a thriving small community with store, church and post office, now only the little Methodist church is in use. But while so many other family burial plots are lost, Sitka-Wilde remains.
This stone is for Henry Wilde. His name rang a bell with me, and I found that we had used his obituary on our blog this past April. The name is spelled differently but the location, and this stone, and our 1880 and 1900 plat books put his name and family in this area. Those books show quite a bit of property in this area still in his name.
This second stone is hard to read from this angle. Our transcript of the stones list 6 Wildes, and one Miller. Only one listing: Wilde, Baby would seem to fit the writing we can see.
The transcript does have a different year for Henry however. Our obit for Henry came from the 1878 paper. The transcript lists 1877. Possible reasons for this: These stones all seem to be the same size and shape. They appear handmade of cement, with the names etched in with a nail. The one for Baby has lines etched in to write on. Perhaps there was an error made when Henry's stone was made. Perhaps there is an error on the transcription. I am fairly confident that the Henry of the obituary is in this cemetery, if that is not his stone.
I noticed from these pictures, taken from a closer angle than you can see from the nearby road, that in addition to the nearly identically shaped stones, there appears to be fairly tall cement corner posts. If you look close, you may be able to see two dark spots on the left back post, probably a signal of some rails of some kind that were once present.
So why did Sitka-Wilde remain when other family plots are lost in history? I dare say the lovingly made cement markers and the cement posts marking the corners of the plot. While untended and unmown, it survives intact, surrounded by hay field. The owner today carefully leaving the Wilde family at peace as his equipment farms around this little family plot.

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