Last week, I shared a little of Monterey’s history and showed some of Whittaker Cemetery’s fascinating “tent” or “comb” graves. They are definitely different!

One of the reasons I chose Whittaker Cemetery to visit has to do with a historic connection. Does the last name Mudd ring a bell? If you’re a Civil War history buff, it probably went off loud and clear. Dr. Samuel Mudd treated the injured leg of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth after he fled Ford’s Theater.

The extent of Dr. Mudd’s role as a conspirator has never been completely clear. Some think he barely knew him while others feel they were quite close. However, when Booth arrived at Dr. Mudd’s Virginia home with a broken fibula, the doctor didn’t alert authorities right away. His later interviews concerning Booth were also riddled with inconsistencies. His name literally was “mud” in the eyes of many.

Dr. Samuel Mudd’s connection to Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth is not entirely clear.

Dr. Mudd went on trial for his role in the assassination plot in 1865. He was convicted and escaped the death penalty by only one vote, given a sentence of life in prison. This was commuted in 1869 by President Andrew Johnson, after which Dr. Mudd returned home to Maryland. He resumed his medical practice and slowly brought the family farm back to productivity. He died in 1883 at the age of 49.

One of Dr. Mudd’s cousins was actually a resident of Monterey for the last six years of his life. A native of Baltimore, George Whitefield Mudd was only 16 when President Lincoln was assassinated. I’m sure that his cousin’s actions had an impact on his life and reputation. From the 1880 Census until his death, George moved from West Virginia to Missouri to South Carolina to finally Monterey.

According to a web site I found, some of the Mudd family didn’t know where George was buried until they were contacted by someone in Monterey in the 1980s.

George Mudd was a master mechanic for the railroad and Monterey was a repair station for trains belonging to the Tennessee Central. He and his wife, Ida Zoe Walters Mudd, had three sons. They lived a quiet life. He died in 1928 and his wish was to be buried back in Maryland. His sons, however, chose to make his final resting place in Whitaker Cemetery.

Interestingly enough, I learned that when two men from the funeral home went to Whittaker Cemetery to dig a hole for George Mudd’s grave, there was a casket already in that spot! Apparently, they buried George there anyway and the identify of the person George was placed on top of was never learned.

From reading my blog, you know I post a lot of pictures of grand monuments. They are always exciting to see. But there’s also a special place in my heart for the humbler markers made by hand. The ones not carved by a master stonemason but the markers made by someone very close to the deceased.

These homemade concrete markers for Maude and Issac Riddle, studded with colorful stones, are two of my favorites. My great-great-grandmother Louisa Claar’s marker is also a simple concrete marker with her name scratched on it by hand.

Maud Riddle outlived her husband, Issac, by seven years.

Issac’s grave is much like his wife’s, studded with colorful stones.

Here’s another homemade grave marker, etched by hand. It looks like there’s a cross and some wheat sheaves or corn stalks across the top.

Someone hand carved this marker for Logan Waddle. He’s the only Waddle in the entire cemetery.

I share this marker for Tommy Hedgecouch because it’s a modern example of an incredibly old tradition that’s been around for centuries. Graves were often marked in the past with wooden markers or crosses. When you don’t have much money, you use what you have. Unfortunately, such markers are very susceptible to the elements and don’t last very long. Few make it beyond a decade or two.

Tommy Hedgecouch’s wooden marker is a modern example of a very old tradition. It may not last beyond another decade.

There were some small, very plain markers in the back of the cemetery. The grave of  Foster Wallace (1924-1938) is hand carved and plain. The cross on it told me someone still cared.

He only lived 14 years, but Foster Wallace was not forgotten.

Also among the shadows was this homemade marker for Venie Buckner.

Venie Buckner died at the age of 18.

I found a fieldstone with the last name of Bohannon scratched on it, no dates that I could find. There are 34 Bohannons at Whittaker Cemetery. I’m sure they know who it is and still visit often since silk flowers (in great condition) are beside it.

Someone is tending to this Bohannon grave.

If you look closely, you can see someone has written something on it.

“God, I love you all…”

I was intrigued by these three homemade brick monuments, each with a little alcove to place objects. Only a simple stone with the name “Forster’ indicates who they might be.

Beyond their last name, the identity of these three are unknown.

The Good Shepherd is nestled inside this marker.

I’m also intrigued by what people like to leave on graves to show their affection for a loved one. This one below was under a tree and I normally might have walked right on past it. But something nudged me to duck under the branches and have a look.

This marker was sheltered under a low tree. The necklace hanging from the urn on top of it made me smile.

This child’s grave also has a memento draped upon it.

Charles Toney’s grave has a little metal decoration on the lamb’s neck.

This child’s grave had a mother owl and her baby beside it.

A battered owl and its baby watches over this child’s grave.

In front of the grave was this little battered angel.

This colorful red ceramic figurine sits between two white cherubs. They made a sweet trio.

For some reason, I didn’t get a picture of the front of this marker. I believe it was a mother who died fairly young. But it was all the items resting against the back of it that got my attention.

Then there are always angels. I see them at every cemetery I visit. That’s not unusual. But for some reason, the light hit this one just right when I took a picture of it.

An angel watches over the grave of Mary Louise Pettit.

I hope you’ve enjoyed wandering through Whittaker Cemetery with me. It’s a peaceful place amid the mountains of the Cumberland Plateau, a perfect haven amid life’s chaos. If you’re ever in the area, stop by and get a look at the tend graves.