Died Whilst On Duty

Serving with the police in 19th century England was not a good career choice if you were named James Kemp…

In 1868, James Kemp, an off duty Detective Sergeant with Northampton Borough Police, was called to deal with an armed man. He died on 29 December 1868, aged 31, as the result of a shotgun wound. He is memorialized as a British Officer who lost his life in the line of duty. A grave marker was erected in his memory in Billing Road Cemetery, Northampton, England, by the Municipal Council.

find a grave_kemp


On 25 May 1897, aged 31, Detective Constable William James Kemp died from an internal hemorrhage aggravated by chasing a prisoner. He is buried in Wandsworth Cemetery, London, England.

He shares a grave with his mother and father and his oldest brother who is memorialized on the stone having been interred in U.S.A. His mother was the first in the family to die and did not have to endure the loss of her sons. However, his father survived his wife and both of his sons.

I Will Be With Thee.

billion graves_kemp



Tree Stump Sculpture

Aging trees, diseased trees, and trees destroyed by storms are receiving a new lease on life which is ironic in a cemetery.

The majority of the carvings are done by chain saw with fine detail chiseled by hand. After completion the trees are coated with a protective sealant.

Most carvings are related to nature or belief in religion.

Evergreen Cemetery, Milton, ON, Canada

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Greenwood Cemetery, Orangeville, ON, Canada

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Streetsville Public Cemetery, Streetsville, ON, Canada

Carver,  Jim Menken
Carver, Jim Menken


Glenwood Cemetery, Washington DC

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Oak Knoll Memorial Park, Sterling, IL, USA


College park cemetery, Houston, TX, USA

Carver, Earl Jones
Carver, Earl Jones

Unknown location




The slave trade began as an exchange for British goods on the West Coast of Africa where African men, women and children were shipped directly to the colonies in the New World.

When slaves died, plantation owners refused to allow them to be buried on valuable land, and for that reason, black cemeteries are often found in marginal areas of fields or forests. Graves were randomly dug and marked with daily objects that the spirit might need. In the south, they were also decorated with seashells and pebbles.

In North Carolina there are over 60 graves located at the edge of the woods in the Edwards-Franklin Cemetery. It was restored and dedicated by the Surry County Historical Society on 26 Aug 2010. During the dedication the names of 60 slaves found in historical records of the estate were read out.

Source: http://cemeterycensus.com/nc/surr/cem421.htm
Source: http://cemeterycensus.com/nc/surr/cem421.htm

A white marble Monument in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia, honors descendants of Onesimus a runaway slave, whom the apostle Paul received to the faith of Christ. The Monument was placed near the slave graves in 1992 as a joint project of the Bean Creek Baptist Church and the Nacoochee Methodist Church to honor those buried and unknown.

Source: http://www.nacoocheeumc.org/numc/cemetery/slaveCemetery.php
Source: http://www.nacoocheeumc.org/numc/cemetery/slaveCemetery.php

In Woodcock Cemetery, North Attleboro, Massachusetts is the grave of a slave named Caesar.
In memory of Caesar
Here lies the best of slaves
Now turning into dust;
Caesar the Ethiopian craves
A place among the just.
His faithful soul has fled
To realms of heavenly light
And by the blood that Jesus shed
Is changed from Black to White

January 15 he quitted the stage
In the 77 year of his age.

Woodcock Cemetery, North Attleboro, Massachusetts
Woodcock Cemetery, North Attleboro, Massachusetts

In Foxworth, Mississippi, is the grave of the world’s oldest man and last living slave. Reported to be 130 years old when he died, Sylvester MaGee claimed to have been a slave who fought for both sides in the Civil War. Although his claims are unverified, the county historical society memorialized him in the small churchyard of Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church. 

Source: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/32745
Source: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/32745

Believed to have been the last surviving American Slave, MaGee was born in Carpet, North Carolina, and sold at Enterprise, Mississippi, at the age of nineteen. He is believed to have served in the Civil War at both the Siege of Vicksburg and Champion’s Hill. Few records exist to support his life’s claim, yet some have stated that the detail and clarity with which he recounted his life’s experiences would have been impossible without having experienced it first-hand. Though he did not like to recount the worst of his days gone by, he made it known that his faith helped him make it through.

This memorial is dedicated to Sylvester MaGee, perhaps the last citizen of the United States who possessed first-hand knowledge of both institutionalized Slavery and the Civil War.

Erected 2012 by the Marion County Historical Society
Southern Monument Company

In Mount Vernon, Virginia, near the tomb of George Washington there is a slave burial ground containing 150 graves. Originally enclosed within a fenced area there is now a marker of Georgia marble inscribed:
In Memory of the Many Faithful Colored Servants of the Washington Family, buried at Mount Vernon from 1760-1860. Their Unidentified Graves Surround This Spot 1929.

Source: http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/slave-burial-ground/
Source: http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/slave-burial-ground/
Source: http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/slave-burial-ground/
Source: http://www.mountvernon.org/research-collections/digital-encyclopedia/article/slave-burial-ground/

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in August, 2012, the Contrabands and Freedman Cemetery is located at 1001 S. Washington St. in Alexandria, Virginia. Escaped slaves who were still the legal property of their masters were labeled as contrabands during the American Civil War and the military occupation of Alexandria. This classification prevented them from being returned to their masters and allowed them to work within the military in a variety of roles including soldiers and sailors.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrabands_and_Freedmen_Cemetery
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrabands_and_Freedmen_Cemetery

Approximately 10,000 black slaves were routed to Britain to become servants to entitled society. Scipio Africanus became a servant to the seventh Earl of Suffolk. Loved by the young Earl and his wife he was treated like a son and was buried in St Mary’s churchyard, Henbury near Bristol, England when he died in 1720 at age 18 years. The gravesite is marked with a painted headstone and footstone with black winged effigies.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/a-flickr-of-interest/5135125068/
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/a-flickr-of-interest/5135125068/

The grave markers were restored on April 2007. The epitaph on the headstone reads:
Lieth the Body of
Negro Servant to the Right
Honourable Charles William
Earl of Suffolk and Bradon
Who died the 21st December
1729 Aged 18 Years.

The footstone is inscribed:
I who was Born a PAGAN and a SLAVE
Now Sweetly Sleep a CHRISTIAN in my Grave
What tho’ my hue was dark my SAVIORS sight
Shall Change this darkness into radiant light
Such grace to me my Lord on earth has given
To recommend me to my Lord in heaven
Whose glorious second coming here I wait
With saints and Angels Him to celebrate.

Some slaves did not survive the journey to new lands. This stone identifying Samboo is located near Glasson, Lancashire, England.

Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/960904
Source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/960904

Here lies
A faithful NEGRO who
(Attending his Master form the West Indies)
DIED on his Arrival at SUNDERLAND.

Full sixty Years the angry Winter’s wave
Has thundering dashed this bleak & barren Shore
Since SAMBO’s Head laid in this lonely GRAVE
Lies still & ne’er will hear their turmoil more.
Fully many a Sand bird chirps upon the Sod
And many a Moonlight Elfin round him trips
Fully many a Summer’s Sunbeam warms the Clod
And many a teeming Cloud upon him drips.
But still he sleeps – till the awakening Sounds
Of the Archangel’s Trump new Life impart
Then the GREAT JUDGE his Approbation found’s
Not on Man’s COLOUR but his – WORTH OF HEART.
James Watson Scr.                   H. Bell del. 1796


This unusual cross symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus is used in Orthodox Christian religions (Russian and Greek) and was most likely introduced by the apostle Andrew who introduced Christianity to Russia.

Cross EOrthodox

The upper horizontal bar represents the inscription over the head of Jesus. The Middle Bar is the board on which the Lord’s hands were nailed, and the slanting bar represents the footrest.


genealogy aboutCross EO flowers




In Canada, many cemeteries are owned and maintained by local government while others are owned by private corporations. In the case of privately owned or non profit corporations, the municipality may take over the care and maintenance of the abandoned property if it is deemed unsafe.

Bronte Pioneer Cemetery 1986

The term abandoned cemetery is universally accepted, yet the criteria differs within countries, provinces and states. If a cemetery has not been maintained for a period (number of years varies) an ordinance may be enacted to declare it abandoned.

newington moss newington toll

In North America, if cemetery land is purchased, the interred bodies must be removed and reburied elsewhere. A land transfer is required; the next of kin of the deceased must be contacted; there must be an orderly removal of remains and reburial in an appropriate location including all gravestones, tombs and other markers which must be re-erected.

trash pile open crypt

Section 60 of the Canadian Cemeteries Act states that once a cemetery has been declared abandoned and is registered as such with the appropriate land registry, the municipality becomes the owner of the property and is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the grounds and its assets.

Roslin Milton_Evergreen_hfstones Kilbride_Rainwater Kilbride_Linn


The Written Word

The sculpture of a hand writing symbolizes names being written in the Book of Life.


This image is also found on writers’ graves.

geograph_ccl ceridwen
Creative Commons License. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer’s_gravestone_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1123306.jpg

Come near my friends and cast an eye
Then go your way prepare to die
Learn here your doom, and know you must
One day like me be turned to dust
header_Webster verse

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flow’r
In paradise could bloom.   1814

She is not dead and only sleeps
In thee how sweet her sleep!
No more to shed the parting tear
Or speak the farewell word
But through eternity to live
Forever with the Lord.   1877
Oakville_verse (2)

My life was like the Autumn’s leaf
That trembles in the moon’s pale ray
Its hold was frail – its date was brief
Restless – and soon it pass’d away.   1853
Oakville_verse (3)

This stone is so eroded that the entire verse is difficult to read
… sleeps his memory doth live
And … comforts to his … give
He followed virtue as his … …
Died as a Christian … … …
Puslinch_Crown (3)

The following examples are clear and legible as is the message they relate.

Milton_Evergreen_indispensible Milton_Evergreen_Dust to Dust Oakville_words Oakville_verse DSC01891

Let’s Get Creepy

Polloe Cemetery, San Sebastian, Spain
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Durisdeer Churchyard, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

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Messina, Sicily

A cemetery monument dedicated to a mother and child who were found dead in an embrace under the rubble of the earthquake in Messina 1908.

Hill of Crosses, near the city of Šiauliai, in northern Lithuania.
Melaten-Friedhof, Cologne, Germany
Holocaust memorial, Pere Lachaise, Paris, France
Brugges cemetery, Belgium
Ingolstadt, Bavaria


Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain
Poblenou Cemetery, Barcelona, Spain

1930 sculpture titled Kiss of Death depicts death planting a kiss on a young man’s forehead.

Johannis Cemetery, Nürnberg, Germany


Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy
spain barcelona
Cementiri de Montjuïc, Barcelona, Spain


Port Charlotte Florida
Spanish moss on trees in Florida


Mors Ianua Vitae: Death is the gate of life