Adventures in Geocaching: HMGT #14 Dils Cemetery aka McCoy Gravesite


Dils Cemetery is our stop in this installment of the Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail Adventure.

Dils-Cemetery-McCoy-Family-Gravesite-HMGT

McCoy Gravesite Sign

Dils-Cemetery-stairs-climb-HMGT

See our white van way down there?

I had read about the uphill, mountainous hikes to the graves; I was a bit concerned.

Rightfully so, as it turns out. Good gracious—turns out all these mountain folks are buried, of all places, on mountains. Imagine that.

Dils-Cemetery-HMGT-stairs

Dils/McCoy Gravesite

Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. In Alabama, we have nice, flat cemeteries. Drive up. Get out of your car. Stroll to grave. Easy. No fitness required.

Not so in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Dils Cemetery was our first introduction to vertical burials. This uphill climb graveyard visit took us to the graves of Randal and Sarah McCoy, their daughter Roseanna of the Johnse romance fame, and various McCoy and Hatfield graves.

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McCoy Headstone

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Original Headstones

Also of interest is that Dils Cemetery is the first integrated cemetery in Eastern Kentucky.  Seems Colonel John Dils wasn’t a big fan of slavery, so he employed freed slaves and later provided burial spaces for them and their descendents.

Dils-Cemetery-Markers-HMGTFreed Slaves’ Graves

We walked about the graveyard, found the cache, and steeply descended the stairs to our car.

On a side note, when we arrived and got out of the car, a fireman and his daughter stopped us because we are from Alabama—I guess the Alabama plates and the Back-to-Back Championship magnet on the car tipped them off. His daughter wants to play softball at The University of Alabama, so we told them that would be a great choice. Roll Tide!

He also said that before the documentary came on TV, hardly anybody ever went “to that old man’s grave.” Now he said there are days he sees as many as 70 go see him in a day.

He helped an old woman go up there one day and spent “the most interesting three hours of my life with her.” She told him that Perry Cline could not have been involved as the lawyer because he was only 13 years old at the time. She also told him that Randal McCoy died after getting drunk and falling into a burning fire in the fireplace of a house that then burned down.

We heard various stories, and who knows what is fact or fiction at this point. All I know is that the whole deal is fascinating.

Dils-Cemetery-Sarah-Syck-HMGT

Sarah Syck’s Grave—what an interesting name.

Ready to go yet?

You can find more info here:

http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC3QE8B_hmgt-14-dils-cemetery?guid=3919e2b3-65d0-472b-873a-07e99cf3c077

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Grave Robber by Petra


Lots of people I love are going though hard, hard times right now. This song helped me through the death of a dear friend many years ago.

You can listen to the song here:

http://youtu.be/9i8rXXupc88

Here are the lyrics:

There’s a step that we all take alone
An appointment we have with the great unknown
Like a vapor this life is just waiting to pass
Like the flowers that fade, like the withering grass

But life seems so long and death so complete
And the grave an impossible potion to cheat
But there’s One who has been there and still lives to tell
There is One who has been through both heaven and hell

And the grave will come up empty-handed that day
Jesus will come and steal us away

Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite?
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night
Where is the victory, where is the prize?
When the grave robber comes and death finally dies

Many still mourn, many still weep
For those that they love who have fallen asleep
But we have this hope though our hearts may still ache
Just one shout from above and they all will awake

And in the reunion of joy we will see
Death will be swallowed in sweet victory

Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite?
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night
Where is the victory, where is the prize?
When the grave robber comes and death finally dies

When the last enemy is done, from the dust will come a song
Those asleep will be awakened, not a one will be forsakened
He shall wipe away our tears, He will steal away our fears
There will be no sad tomorrow, there will be no pain and sorrow

Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite?
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night
Where is the victory, where is the prize?
When the grave robber comes and death finally

Where is the sting, tell me where is the bite?
When the grave robber comes like a thief in the night
Where is the victory, where is the prize?
When the grave robber comes and death finally dies
Finally dies