Friday, June 18, 2010

Stone Footprints of the Past

Every year my Family meets at the cemetary of our Ancestors for a cleanup. Here is a newspaper article of our last visit:

Stone footprints of the past bond Turnbull descendants to the future Saturday

Published: June 4, 2010

A determined and excited group of the Turnbull Descendants Family Clan will gather at 9 a.m. Saturday as they have for 15 years, at the Horse Arena on the gravel road, which intersects Freeny Valley and Buffalo Hill Roads, deep inside the Stuart Ranch in Northern Bryan County, five miles east of Caddo.

It is the staging point of the group's annual trek through bois d'arc brush and across steep creek bottoms to the 140 year old Turnbull Cemetery. Their assignment:Resist and drive back nature's relentless assault on the cemetery one more year. When weather and logistics threaten a year's effort, the participants are reminded to rely upon their Choctaw character, a mixture of tenacity and patience.
Don't give up.

In addition to the maintenance work for the cemetery through a contact by Turnbull descendant Jim Power, Dr. Keith Strevett of the University of Oklahoma Engineering Department will join the group to do a GPS mapping survey of the cemetery in conjunction with his son's Eagle Scout project.
Also, when the workday concludes about 1:30 p.m.
the task force will reconvene at the Caddo Café for a well earned late lunch at the eatery known for its spareribs, owned and managed by Shelly Parker.
Parker says she is happy to put some extra slabs on the grill for the Cemetery Crew.
The Turnbull descendants are truly grateful to ranch general manager Terry Stuart Forst, Secretary Jana Lucas and local residents Donald Keel, also a Turnbull descendant, and former ranch employee Rick Bagby, for their cooperation and invaluable assistance above and beyond.
Hopefully Rick will be joined by his daughter Deavena and Rick's wonder dog Copper. Jana is especially vital for helping give our hopes wings.

Each year new participants are welcomed who undergo the rare experience that is like no other. This year the "cousins" will welcome new to the group, Sandy Van Der Linden.
Approximately five miles east of Caddo, the jumping off point leads the voyagers where it might appear no one has been before. As the annual event has grown into a wonderful tradition, the faithful come to honor their Turnbull ancestors and to reassure them they aren't forgotten and have not slipped unnoticed into the pages of history. At times many of these early Indian Territory ancestors were too busy living history to write about it. Some of it still remains to be written as more is learned; what is known must be preserved until it can be put into proper perspective by the present descendants.

Despite the group's annual visit to rebuff the rages of time and the challenge of changing seasons, some of the magnificent tombstones in the cemetery show the effects of more than 140 years of assault by the elements.
Moss filled inscriptions have blurred their readings.
The sandy soil invites some of the tombstones to turn, bow and sink as the years have accumulated since their setting. The earliest marked graves are dated 1874 and 1876.One hundred and twenty man hours of intense labor one day in June each year now sets the cemetery apart from the environment.

Same time next year, first Saturday in June, they will be there, God willing the creeks and springs cooperate.

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