Saturday, April 22, 2006

Natural selection... good

I like to visit old cemetaries; I don't think of cemetaries as morbid places of death, but more as local history books just waiting to be read. I like to walk around and look at the oldest graves, often finding all the names of surrounding townships. It is interesting to see what age people were dying. Many of the tombstones also give more information than name and span of existence.

A few weeks ago I found myself in a cemetary about 15 miles south of Columbia in a township called Sapp. Sapp is one of those places that just has the sign with a name, like they were too emabarrassed to post the actual population. For an establishment of population 60 (give or take), Sapp has a magnificent cemetary. For these parts, it is one of the older ones. Inside Nashville Cemetary (I don't fully understand the name, Nashville is a little community about 20 miles away, and Nashville cemetary is in the heart of Sapp) you can find, among others, this headstone.

If you can't read it it says:
John Edwards
Born in South Wales
Sept. 27, 1798
Nov 5, 1857

It is very possible Mr. Edwards made it out here only on horseback. Trains still weren't very popular when this guy was born, but they had changed the world by the time he died.

John Edwards died at 59. A ripe old age in those days. How do I know that 59 was a ripe old age? I've been to enough of these old graveyards to tell you that most people didn't kick past the age of 60 in 1860. This is where I'm constantly amazed at old cemetaries.

Old cemetaries have so many dead 40, 30 and even 20 year olds. How could so many people die in their 20s or 30s? You'd think if you made it that far you would keep rockin' for awhile. Even more amazing and some what discomforting is the number of dead children an infants you find. It's not suprising that in the days before good sanitization, doctors, and prenatal units alot of children died during or imeediately after birth. But what about all the kids who lived for 3 months to 10 years?

Son of
A.A. & E. E.
Mar. 9, 1894
Aged 5Ms. ~ 7Ds.

This headstone is by no means unique. These people had it rough.
Even in 1894 with a bustling commercial area, a growing university (of Missouri which was already 55 years old at the time), and some very good minds less than 20 miles to the north, they couldn't help this one, or the 20 or 30 other children in the cemetary.

So aside from the fact that life in general was physically a lot harder in the 1860s, you also had to deal with much more emotional stress in a shorter life span.

What I take from this:
1. Man I'm glad I live in the present
2. In 150 years people will be glad they didn't live today (that's quite optimistic, but if you look at history it sure makes sense, maybe the world isn't going to hell handbasket)
3. The people that survived, were fighters.

Pussies and whiners didn't hack it back then. If you were lazy, you didn't eat as much. If you couldn't hack it, you were much sooner left behind. Natural selection keeps the animal kingdom strong, and I often wish we had more of it in the hominus erectus species. If anything is the be the downfall of our society, I think it will be the fact that we all have it too easy.

For another view on the world's demise try here:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

natural selection will hopefully take hippies out of here pretty soon.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Leisha Jo said...

you're not very nice!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Brady Beckham said...

you're still surviving aren't you, andrew's hot sister?

11:37 PM  
Blogger Leisha Jo said...

well, yes, yes i am...

gosh, thanks for asking.

and, i agree with you on the penny. pennies seem pointless. i've never used anything like them in other countries and quick frankly, i don't ever want to. so why here?

--andrew's hot sister

11:45 PM  
Blogger Leisha Jo said...


apparently it's bed and i need to get to late.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Brady Beckham said...

I agree completely. I also think tax should be added into the price rather than at the register. It makes things so much easier!

12:10 PM  
Blogger Leisha Jo said...

mmhmm, true dat, true dat...

9:14 PM  
Blogger JimmyMc said...

Brady, do you realize that the state's smallest state park is a cemetary, and that it is in town and we pass by it on every big-tree loop? It's the Jewell cemetary at the top of Reactor hill and a number of dignitaries are buried there, including Missouri's first governor, William Jewell. And to anonymous--natural selection will get rednecks like you long before the hippies.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Brady Beckham said...

I didn't know that was the state's smallest state park, but I did know william jewell was buried there. I got bored in foxfire once and crossed the street to check it out and found his grave

12:15 PM  

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