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Here Lies George Neve - Walcott Iowa
Photograph - Photography And Digital Art
I came across this weathered tombstone at the edge of a small cemetery in Walcott, Iowa. Partly dislodged from the earth and leaning against the rusted wire fence, it seemed to point at the miles of tilled earth dotted with farmsteads. It seemed to tell the story of many who came to the Midwest.
Written in German, the worn writing on the stone gives us clues to George's life. Born in 1862, he died in 1882 at the age of 20. He was most likely one of the many German immigrants who began arriving around 1857 to purchase farmland. By 1910, nearly nine-tenths of the farmland in Scott County was owned by German immigrants or their descendants.
Throughout the cemetery, the stones bore the names of German immigrant, the family plots told stories of long marriages, childhood deaths, sons in the military and lives in the new world. Some were simple, others carved with farm scenes that showed a pride in their accomplishments in life.
I was there to say goodbye to a great lady, the wife of a farmer, a mother to six children and grandmother to many; a woman who could grow a huge garden then can the produce to feed her family throughout the year, who taught her children to become self-reliant, strong, independent members of society. When I hear Garrison Kiellor's opening for Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, I think of her.
Ruhe in Frieden.
March 24th, 2013
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