A few days ago my husband and I decided to take a little stroll in the Temple Anshe Chesed Cemetery. I know, not your typical mid-week, daytime, activity, but we’ve driven by this landmark many, many times and never taken the time to stop in and look around.
Why the Temple Anshe Chesed Cemetery you ask? I’ll tell you. You see we live in the Baer House, named after the founding family of the home, Lazarus and Leona Baer. Yes, as you probably surmised, they were Jewish. We’ve heard stories and rumors and tidbits of who the Baers were and how they lived, some of which may be true.
Anyway, we decided to take a stroll through the cemetery in search of their tombstones. You see, the Baer family was quite wealthy and of some distinction here in Vicksburg during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In fact, there was quite the Jewish community here in Vicksburg. Many of the grave markers in the cemetery bear the names of Vicksburgian ancestors still residing here today. Cool!
Not long into our adventure we happened on the Baer plots. Leona’s was quite large and elaborate compared to most of the marble monuments in this hallowed place.
After spending a few minutes visiting the Baer family plot we continued our exploration around the grounds. There is one main walking path that makes a loop, however, in order to read any of the markers one must leave the path and cross the grass. The soggy from recent rain grass.
In one of the lower areas of the cemetery, I ventured off the path to explore some of the newer stones belonging to a family name I recognized. Bad idea. After taking about 3 steps I started sinking – fast. One entire foot got sucked down. Despite my efforts to turn around and retrace my steps, I continued to sink. What an extraordinary feeling. Having one’s foot get sucked into the soil covering a grave. Yikes!
I managed to make it back to the path without losing my shoe, or my soul, but what a creepy sensation. I apologized to the poor corpse resting beneath me and vowed to stay on the walking path from that point forward.
Do you like exploring cemeteries? Ever wonder about the bodies lying beneath the ground; who they were, what they looked like, etc? If you’re a writer, this is an interesting pass time.
Word of the Day: Xerasia
Fun fact about me: I enjoy gambling, but not slot machines.
Original post by Jansen Schmidt, January 2017. Photos courtesy Google Images and Ancestry.com.