June 22, 2022 - Last week I took a trip with my wife and two of my granddaughters to New England. We saw many beautiful and historic sites along the way. One of the places we visited was Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
It was the second time I had been there but it was a first for the others, and the stop was a last-minute decision on our way back home.
As sunset was approaching, we made our way to the top of the stairs leading to the cemetery on Burial Hill.
Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts
Seated on the ground were three teenage boys.
My guess is they were between 13-15 years old. I acknowledged them with a nod and a “how’s it going?” as we ascended the stairs. One of the group asked if we were from around there, and if we were tourists. I sensed my wife’s discomfort as I answered.
To our utter surprise and amazement, this young man started telling us about the cemetery; stating that it was “rich in history” and “the oldest cemetery in the United States”, and how many of the Pilgrims who made the trip on the Mayflower that perished during the first year (1620-1621) were buried there.
I don’t know where that knowledge and pride in the local history that had been instilled in those young men came from, but I am sure glad that someone had taken the time to do it and that they were receptive to the knowledge.
That exchange immediately made me think of the Hoskins Cemetery on Island Creek Hill in Clay County, Kentucky.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the local educators and community leaders in Clay County encouraged this sort of pride in local history and actually used the cemetery to tell the story of the early settlers of the region and their families rather than trying to destroy it? What a missed opportunity to not only teach history that young folks can relate to, but to learn to respect the sanctity of the final resting places of our departed family members.
If we show today’s youth that we don’t care and that these things are not important or worth saving and learning about, that is exactly what they will think too. What a shame…
Blaine K. Price 6-22-22
About Blaine Price
Blaine grew up and resides in Paris, in Bourbon County, and has family ties to Eastern Kentucky. He has had a lifelong interest in Kentucky & American history, with an emphasis on Appalachian and Native American culture. He spends most of his free time these days on genealogy and cemetery preservation, and enjoying antique and classic automobiles.