|INFANTS & CHILDRENS'
Unlike many other graveyards that I’ve visited, Haynie Chapel cemetery
doesn’t have a specific area set aside for infants and small children.
I’ve selected a few child graves to focus on in this section. Out
of all of the graves I saw, I found these to be the most disturbing.
Although many of the babies I saw died a hundred years ago, I also saw
a couple of babies who had died recently. In all of our centuries
of science and learning, some things still cannot be mended and some diseases
still cannot be cured. In every contest, death eventually beats even
the best and strongest of us all. I don’t know how these children
died, but because of their age, I’m guessing that their deaths were from
unusual disease or some unexpected, unforeseeable tragedy.
The caption etched on the grave of Kenneth Johnson (July 8th, 1910- September
28th, 1911), the son of L.J. and Lizzie Johnson reads: "He carries the
lamb in his bosom." Kenneth was only a year old when he died.
His parents and some of Kenneth’s other family members are buried a few
feet away. Even though this child died nearly a hundred years ago,
someone still leaves flowers on his grave as well as the other sites nearby.
This marker for Dillon Chase Schobey (December 5th, 1996) was one of the
first sites that I photographed. In addition to the formal marker, two
homemade crosses have been constructed and the grave has been decorated
with a bouquet of silk flowers. I'm not sure if the color is significant,
but light blue is often associated with baby boys. The image of a
smiling teddy bear icon on a swing with the phrase "Playing in God's Playground"
adorns the top of this marker and at the bottom is the caption: "Our
beloved son and brother". Because Dillon's death occurred in December,
Christmas and Thanksgiving might be especially difficult holidays for the
Schobey family. Though there are several infant graves in this cemetery
where the babies died the same day that they were born, Dillon is youngest
and the most recent infant death that I observed on my visit.
This baby only was five days old (July 13th, 1898-July 18th, 1898) when
he died. During his lifetime, he lived a Texas very different than
the Texas that we live in today. He was the infant son of W.T. and
N.T. Hunt. This baby was probably born into a farming or a ranching
family and in the era that he lived in, it was much more common for young
children to die, especially from diseases and infections that most babies
today are vaccinated for. On this grave, the stone itself is extremely
weathered, but the caption "Sweet Rest" is still discernible at the bottom
of the stone. Several of the tombstones in this area of the cemetery
have been neglected and have fallen or are leaning and will fall someday
just as this tombstone has. The white area on the bottom of this
stone is less battered, presumably because it was underground for several
years and was protected from the erosion that the top portion of the stone
This effeminate little stone cherub solemnly watches over the grave of
the infant daughter or Mr. and Mrs. Lee Boatright. Carved into the
actual marker is the image of a second little angel. This infant
died on the same day that she was born, May 23rd of 1913. This child
is one of several Boatrights that I saw on my visit to the cemetery.
A family who lives down the road from me has the last name of Boatright
and the grave you see here is probably a great aunt or cousin of theirs
that they never got a chance to meet because she died in infancy.
These blue flags designate that a grave is about to be dug, though I don't
know whom is to occupy it. The headstones immediately surrounding
this site are for the Gattis family, so unfortunately, that family may
have had a recent death. In the background of this photograph, you
can see the well-worn dirt path that winds through the cemetery as well
as bright clusters of flowers dotting other graves.
Though no date has been carved into the headstone yet, there is a fresh
mound of earth. James Scotty Childress, Jr. (January 25th, 1905-June
19th, 1973) was buried here almost thirty years ago and now it appears
that his wife, Irene S. Childress (September 7th, 1919- ?) has recently
joined him here in Haynie Chapel cemetery.