Cemeteries, for me, offer a place of quiet contemplation. Sometimes, I know just enough of the people buried there to set my imagination running about lives, times and places.
This cemetery in Forsyth holds the remains of Nathaniel Kinney, who led a vigilante group, the Bald Knobbers, for five years before losing his life to vengeance. It also holds the remains of John Hilsabeck, who operated a hotel on the White River at the mouth of Swan Creek in the old Forsyth townsite. At this cemetery, in 1892, John Wesley Bright was hung after having been pulled out of the Taney County jail where he was held for the killing of his young wife.
Rueben Branson, Branson’s first postmaster, and his wife Mary lie here, in this green place in downtown Branson.
Over the past few years, I’ve been photographing the graves of my ancestors in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, trying to imagine the communities where they lived and died and the landscapes they encountered in the 1800s.
If you don’t know where your ancestors were buried, you can often find them on the internet.