As we move back in time, especially in our genealogy, there is less of a chance to meet living people. While I was extremely fortunate to have 3 great-grandparents living until my teens, this rarely happens. One of the likeliest places to have an actual physical encounter with an ancestor is in a cemetery. Their tombstone may be the only 'touchable' thing we have left.
I eventually found that the Spencer family...MY Spencer family...were mostly buried in Rowley Cemetery, in Locke Township, Ingham County, Michigan. It is a rural farming area east of Lansing. And it is lovely.
I was living in Michigan when one of my great-aunts passed away. The services were held outside Lansing and my family was coming from Illinois to pay respects. I spent some time with one of my mother's cousins and learned the best directions to Rowley Cemetery. It was less than 30 minutes from where we were gathered. My parents left for home in Illinois and I left for my ancestral cemetery home in Locke.
Rowley Cemetery is, what I have come to learn, a typical farm community cemetery. It is located on a piece of land quartered out of a nearby farm, on the present-day corner of M-52 and Belle Oak roads. A paved single lane road divides it in half. The oldest burials, which date from the 1840's, are in front, nearest the county highway, and newer burials are in back. Almost all headstones face west, noting the sunset. This photograph I took from across the highway is also located at the top of the blog.
It didn't take long until I found them. My family.
Don't worry, I'll be back to visit :)