When I went to Daniel Yates a couple of weeks ago, I mainly just wanted to find it. I really wasn't prepared. I didn't take water and my brush. I didn't take any kind of tool to cut back the vegetation, specifically briars and such. Last weekend it was too soggy to go back. It didn't actually rain Saturday, but it was still wet from Thursday and Friday. This morning I went back.
The weather was gorgeous. I stopped by Larry Lee's house when I got down there to make sure it was okay and to let him know I was back there. I decided it might not be a bad idea for someone to know where I was rather than just down around Utica. I got all my stuff together. I took my black five gallon bucket, my brush, a small folding saw that fits in my pocket, the hedge trimmers I bought this morning at Lowe's, and two gallons of water. One gallon of water will fit in the bucket with the other stuff, but I have to carry one gallon. I hopped the barbed wire fence where I did last time, and walked the field to the other barbed wire fence. I took a left at the fence, but I found out that where there was a big opening to walk through, brand new barbed wire covered the opening. So, I had a second fence to climb. Lovely. After I made it over the second fence unscathed and headed off to the cemetery.
There were several headstones that were in pretty good shape, but I had to cut down the briars and small saplings in order to get to them to clean and get pictures. There were three requests for the cemetery; Mary Yates, Daniel Yates, and James C. Lee. All three were born in the late 1700's. Mary was no problem, but it probably took thirty minutes or so to clear off the brush enough to get to James C. Lee's headstone. I'm afraid though that fresh water and a soft brush really didn't do much good.
I have to say though that after that much time in the elements, I think they still look pretty good. The hardest part to make out is the small inscription at the bottom of the headstone. Last week I was successful using aluminum foil and the brush to bring out the words. I hate to admit it, but I'm afraid my heart wasn't in it like it normally is. There's so much to do around the house, like cutting the yard, I got the best shots I could get of Mary Yates and James C. Lee's headstone plus several around the area and decided to call it a day.
After making it back to the car and getting ready to leave, I wondered if I'll be back. Sometimes I wonder about what I perceive as my responsibility. That may seem odd, but since I know where the cemetery is now, and I know what condition it's in, do I feel responsible for getting it completely cleaned up and all stones photographed, or do I leave it to a member of the families buried there who may or may not live in the area? I don't know. There are so many cemeteries that need work and need "rediscovering". I'll look for others and see what I feel called to do down the road.