Sunday, June 13, 2010

mccall cemetery and history

another quote from “the king’s pines of idaho” by grace edington jordan:

In the cemetery, where each year a few of Ida’s and Carl’s friends come to rest under the pines on the south-sloping hill, small bushes have their way and rocks crop up when they like. Graves are not sowed with lawn grass. Instead the original native grass riffles in the breeze. Some graves do have iris, or the energetic succulents like hen-and-chickens that like to cover peaceful earth. After Decoration Day there are artificial flowers and a sociable assortment of coffee cans and pickle jar vases, but even these come to seem indigenous.

The graves are rather widely separated, as if even in death McCallites enjoy elbow room and their own thoughts. Most of the upright stones make no effort to impress, and if there are fences around the plots, no two are alike. Some are wrought iron, some chains, some low white pickets, hand-hewn. These are not at all pathetic, just individual. Many of the plaques placed by the Progressive club are for infants. Baby Hernden and Baby Horton lie side by side on a fine sunny slope. Baby Litle lies at the foot of a yellow pine four feet in diameter, its singing top brushing the sky. Many markers indicate military service, and an unusual number are for men who died in early manhood. Perhaps this suggests the dangers of trapping, mining, and the treachery of the long, long winter trail.

One stone is for “Our Pal.”

Near the entrance to the cemetery stands a big pine blasted half way up by lightening and divided into a candelabrum. Still living, it could be thought of as a symbol.

the cemetery looks a bit different from jordan’s 1961 description, many of the fences now missing and the native grasses mostly replaced by lawn grass, but the lightening-split tree still stands. maybe next time i go i’ll find the specific graves she mentions and photograph them.

graves of the original homesteaders:

from wikipedia:

The settlement of McCall was established by Thomas and Louisa McCall circa 1889-91. For a cabin and assumed rights to the 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land, they traded a team of horses with Sam Dever, who held the squatter rights. Tom, his wife, four sons and a daughter lived in the cabin located on the shore of the lake, near present-day Hotel McCall. He established a school, hotel, saloon, and post office, and named himself postmaster. McCall purchased a sawmill from the Warren Dredging company and later sold it to the Hoff & Brown Lumber Company, which would become a major employer until its closure in 1977.

these white bleeding hearts were growing out of the center of a grave. i’d never seen them in white before.

i wonder what happened to the left half of the photo here...maybe anita decided she no longer wants to be buried with her former husband and chipped her photo from the stone? maybe she was creeped out seeing a picture of herself on a gravestone...i would be. or possibly her new partner chipped it off out of jealousy. whatever the reason, it looks intentional and not professionally executed.

who names their dog “stripper”? a guy named “catfish willy,” that’s who.

i wonder if stripper is really buried there too. how egyptian.


Tammi Thiele said...

Great post! and even better pictures ;-)

GoneferalinID said...

Wonderful post. As an archaeologist and a death investigator, I love old cemeteries. I guess I am a bit of a goth on the inside. Nope, I know it. Not in the trendy sort of way, but the in the way people should be interested in the life cycle.

Emily said...

that sounds like such a cool job. i'm pretty interested in death too, and i love exploring cemeteries. have you been to the one in idaho city? that one's my favorite.