Old Kernville Cemetery

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I visited the Old Kernville Cemetery in Wofford Heights, California in late April 2015. According to http://billiongraves.com/pages/cemeteries/Kern-River-Valley-Cemetery/12171#cemetery_id=12171&lim=0&num=25&order=asc&action=browse

This cemetery was used between 1863 and present by the residents of “Old Kernville” a town which was relocated in 1953 because of the creation of Isabella Lake which flooded the old town site. The old cemetery is located above high water.

Monument at the entrance to the Old Kernville Cemetery.

Monument at the entrance to the Old Kernville Cemetery.  The plague says Kernville was once called Whiskey Flat.

 

The monument was moved from Old Kernville and rededicated  in 1953. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernville_%28former_town%29,_California,

Kernville (also, Whiskey Flat, Rogersville and Williamsburg) is a former settlement in Kern County, California.[1] It lay at an elevation of 2,575 feet (785 m).[1] Kernville was established in 1858 as a gold camp, and was inundated by the Lake Isabella reservoir in 1954.[1]

I enjoy walking in cemeteries, especially really old cemeteries. I spent at least an hour walking around this one and looking at all the old grave sites.

I liked the inscription "Pioneer Teacher" on this tombstone.

I like the inscription “Pioneer Teacher” on this tombstone.

The next two photos go together. The first is a far shot of the grave site. The second is a close up of the tombstone. Someone planted a tree on Francis’ grave, and the tree has flourished. The words on the tombstone (which is actually made of wood,  not stone) must be repainted every so often. I don’t think paint from 1899 would still be readable.

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Many of the headstones in the cemetery are small wooden boards covered in varying amounts of peeling white paint. If names or dates were ever painted on these markers, such information is no longer there. A few grave sites were fenced off, but not very many. In New Mexico cemeteries I’ve visited, many grave sites have been fenced off. I’ve been told it’s to keep cattle off the graves.

 

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The Kern River is visible from the cemetery, which is on higher ground above the river basin. I could hear the river flowing as I walked around and read headstones. It is a lovely location.

Flag and beer. I guess a comrade left an offering.

Flag and beer. A comrade must have left an offering.

The man in the photo was 19 when he died. His grave site was right next to the other one with a Bud Light left as an offering.

Phillip Miranda was 19 when he died. His grave was next to the other one where a Bud Light was left as an offering. This was the first time I’d ever seen beer left on a grave site. I know about pouring alcohol out in memory of one’s homies, but I never heard of leaving an unopen can of beer. Life–and death–is different in California.

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White Blanket got a very plain marker. Something about the simplicity of this one, as well as the uncertainty of when when she was born, really got to me.

Baby graves always get to me.

Baby graves always get to me.

Below are two views of the same tombstone, apparently marking the graves of two children from the same family. Sigh. That dead bird is intense.

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The simplicity of this one got to me too. I love the way John C. Howe’s information was scratched into the wet concrete. I love that he was “a hunter and prospector.” I imagine he was a simple man with a simple death.

 

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Here’s one more view of the cemetery. I was sitting on a memorial bench under a tree, in the shade, when I took this one. I like memorial benches. It’s nice to sit in a cemetery and contemplate mortality. I don’t necessarily want a fancy tombstone, but I wonder how else anyone will remember me.

I took all the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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