Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Flanders Fields . . .

Sometimes you just don't have a gravestone.

"In Flanders Fields" was written by John McRae, a Canadian army officer after attending the funeral of a friend killed in World War 1. The poem has become a symbol for remembering those who were killed in the "War to End All Wars."

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery contains the remains of an unidentified American soldier who was killed in France in "The War to End All Wars." The inscription on the tomb is "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

While I have no evidence to prove it, it is possible that the body in the tomb is that of my great uncle, Robert Luther Cheek. He was born 02 November1894 in Buffington, GA and died somewhere in France on 29 September 1918. His body was never identified. Ironically, the day he was killed was the day Bulgaria, the first of the Central Powers to surrender, signed the armistice.

A few years after the war, a program began to allow the families of those who had been killed in France to travel to visit the cemeteries where their loved ones were buried. In the picture below, my great grandmother Carrie Savannah Cheek is picture beside a gravestone in France. I had always assumed that she was standing beside Luther's grave, but only recently learned that his body had never been identified and the inscription on the gravestone is "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD," the same inscription that is on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

Does the old "two's company three's a crowd" saying apply to gravestones?

The gravestone of my paternal great-grandparents and great-great aunt. Robert Bruce Cheek, his wife, Carrie Savannah Adams Cheek and his sister, Columbia Cheek were all born in Georgia. Robert and Carrie left Georgia to travel West in 1882. They got as far as Searcy, AR where my grandfather was born in 1883 then for some reason turned around and went back to Georgia. After several years and several more children they headed west again, stopping first in Gainesville, TX and finally in Greer Co. OK before 1903. They homesteaded land just north of Mangum. Several years later, Aunt Columbia joined them. The grave is in Riverside Cemetery in Mangum.