Charlotte and I attended a funeral for Charlotte’s Uncle Leon Roach this past week. Leon was a fine gentleman. I got to know him first before Charlotte and I were married. He and his wife, Anita, had an adopted child and several biological children. Talking with him was the first time I really thought about adopting children.
The funeral was at the Cane Creek Christian Church on a small country road in rural Orange County, Indiana. Although the building was not all that old, the church itself has existed since 1816. Like most small country churches, a relatively large cemetery surrounded most of the church perimeter. I took a few minutes walking around outside while Charlotte visited with her family. The first thing that you see when you step out the door is the neighbor’s barn! This church is really out in the middle of no-where!
I saw many tombstones, some old and some not-so-old. The dates went back into the early nineteenth-century. I took a few shots and wondered about these people and the lives they led over the years. Lauren Collins did not have much life to live by entering this world in a year and leaving this world in the next…
…Isaac McCune, on the other hand, was around much longer – born in 1817 and living for another sixty-eight years!
A few days later I told my Dad about visiting this old church. Dad will reach his ninety-second year in March. He grew up just north of where this church stands and mentioned that he knew about the church. This piqued my interest so I did some internet-searching for information. I found that Isaac McCune’s wife was Elizabeth Pinnick (1823-1891). One of Elizabeth’s sisters was Jeanetta Pinnick (1840-1921) who, as it turns out, is my great-great grandmother through my Dad’s mother! Small world, eh? My great-great grandfather, and Jeanetta’s husband, was John Jackson Collins (1838-1914). As I looked further I found that many of the Pinnick family and Collins family populated the Cane Creek Cemetery. I wish I had known that the day I was there!
So many people there acquaintances of members of my family tree. Again, as before, I wondered how their lives were lived. I know the stories my Dad has told about the generations between us and our great-great grandparents, but their memories are almost totally faded forever. In the case of little Lauren Collins, who could be related to me too, I found nothing in my search. But I know two parents had to bury a daughter who, born to them with such great hope, did not get to stay here for very long.
Mitch Albom once said “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” I would not know most of the Pinnicks or the Collinses if I could somehow meet them today. But they are all a piece of me; they are inside my DNA. And I would like to hear their stories.