Still processing last week’s afternoon at Mt Moriah Cemetery, here in West Philadelphia where this post is being composed, more thoughts are stirring. I put together 5 photographs from lasts week’s adventure. Cemeteries are interesting on so many levels, so many of us have some kind of relationship with them. Currently, as the global political climate is rapidly changing, there is a turbulent atmosphere of historical re-invention, where history is dangerously being buried and hidden away, dismissed and outright denied. A Society, having buried its mistakes and atrocities is doomed to repeat them, as the common wisdom demonstrates.
However many lies (and secrets) are buried in a cemetery, the intact and preserved cemetery still holds them truthfully. We as a society can go to the old cemetery and question and observe what has been saved.
Last week, on this day, I came upon this grave. Overgrown and forgotten lie the remains of a family. Reading the inscriptions on the granite tomb told a sad story: the couple had a son that died in the same year born (1916). I took interest in this cemetery plot and worked to uncover it from the overgrowth. I went home and did some internet sleuthing and came up with some information. The husband, Adam Sinclair was born in Ireland and came to Philadelphia. He worked as a trolley motorman for the Philadelphia Transit company and lived in North Philadelphia near Germantown Avenue with his wife Hannah. Adam was diagnosed with carcinoma of the stomach and died at the age of 51 on October 13th 1921. He was buried on October 17th on a beautiful fall sunny day with the high temperature of 72 degrees. Hannah lived for another 16 years and died at the age of 61 with no cause of death recorded. Interestingly enough, she was living in a rowhouse at the time of her death in Southwest Philadelphia, just blocks away from her family’s burial plot. Upon learning this interesting detail, my mind immediately wandered into speculation.
I imagined that Hannah wanted to be close to her tragically lost family and chose to live near the cemetery so she could visit and feel close and have some kind of connection. She had moved to a completely different part of the city from where she was living when her husband died. Wild speculation to be sure, but who knows the real story.
From what I could see on the raw physical data was that there were no direct descendants of this family and that their memory was lost. Only what remained was this abandoned plot. If anyone knows anymore It would be fantastic to hear from you! #hannahsinclair#adamsinclair.
Um, so basically what it looks like here, the big takeaway, is that once you’re gone, that’s it. You might have a tomb or a glamorous tombstone or even a big mausoleum etc etc, but so what, it could be overgrown or even removed to make room for housing. Philadelphia has a long sordid history of removing cemeteries for urban development.
On my bike ride today, I came across this protest against Putin’s genocidal war of aggression against the Ukrainian people today. We at the Sanguine Root 100% support Ukraine and believe everything possible should be done wholeheartedly to stop this genocide immediately. It should also be amplified, the global environmental destruction this war is creating, something that is rarely brought up in the news, but needs much more attention. The sooner this war is stopped, the less destruction to the environment.
The vigil was moving and they sang what I believe was the Ukrainian anthem beautifully. I was so glad to serendipitously arrive at this moment!