For decades, my family has known where this small family plot was located. My Great-Grandmother, Nellie Cox Beyersdoerfer, would always point it out to us, and when I was early into my genealogy journey, my Mother and I visited a few times. We knew this was the resting place of Samuel Cox (d.1857) and his first wife, Mary Dean Cox (d.1836), on their farm, Cox's Run. The stones were in terrible shape - hardly legible with lichens filling in the carvings. They were so bad that photographs did not help, and so I took notes about each stone. The plot only contained a few graves. Two upright, carved stones, and a couple of rocks sticking out of the ground with no markings/carvings. Per Kentucky law, the landowner had been faithful about keeping them from harm by placing his bales of hay around the plot each year. There was a small fence, but things were deteriorating, and they did sit dangerously close to the road.
|Samuel and Mary Cox Graves, taken in 1996|
So....with two sets of remains being found (one set was more complete than the other), this might suggest that our old family story related through many generations was just that - a story. Which, actually makes me feel better. I was hoping Grandpa Cox was resting peacefully in his grave, and not scattered to the wind without his family's knowledge or permission. This also exonerates poor Doc Thomas as Pearl accused so many years ago. Will this make me leave this story out of our family history? NO WAY!! I still love this story, and it serves as a valuable example of the oral grapevine that flourished in our family - even if the tale was wrong.
Plus....how do we know there wasn't some community truth to the story? In other words, maybe there wasn't a grave robbing going on....but maybe some other nefarious activity? Was someone sitting in a graveyard getting drunk and needed to be carted home? Was the person on the horse drunk and merely took a small detour late at night through the graveyard? Or, was Newton Humble drunk as a skunk that night, and telling a whopper only seen in his imagination? With any of these scenarios, it makes for a colorful addition to the family narrative! Besides, the conclusion they all made about the sight in the middle of the night proves the prolific nature of the grave robbing rumors in the area.
As for a small post script, their new stone has not been made just yet. That is a work in progress. Another cousin, Eric Peelman, has been hot on the trail of this story and is helping with the effort to replace the stone. They had hoped to re-incorporate the old stones into a new monument, but that might prove to be too cost prohibitive. However, Eric sent me these wonderful photos of the stones after they had been cleaned off - how beautiful they were under the years of lichen build-up!! We rarely get to see them in this state, so I was delighted with the end results. I can't wait to see what they have in store as a monument. Once that is up, I will travel to that cemetery for more photos!