Visit the Eastern Shore just once, and you shall know that here is a sense of history. Here you see crops budding or ripening or ready for harvest in the very fields our ancestors tilled, squish the same marsh mud between your toes that generations of Eastern Shore children squished, hear the voices and stories of the oystermen and other workers of the sea, and see and touch the handwritten court records from centuries ago. At almost every turn, you recognize the solid shapes that mark the resting places of Stiths and Wilkinses, Burtons and Badgers, Goffigons, Belotes, Upshurs, Tankards, Littletons, Bibbinses, Trowers, Barneses, Nottinghams, Downings, Sturgises, Marshalls, Evanses, Parkses, Crocketts, Churns, and oh so many of those names long familiar on the Eastern Shore.
Sadly, many of the Shore's grave stones are deteriorating from age and weather. More are in danger of being plowed over or crumbled under the weight of the developer's bulldozer. Others need rescuing from vine and brush.
Thanks to the seemingly tireless work of Jean M. Mihalyka, Faye Downing Wilson, Mary Frances Carey, Moody K. Miles III, and Barry W. Miles, we have records of the inscriptions of these stones available in print. (See our bibliography.) Now, under the able and truly dedicated leadership of Olde Ghote Wayne Stith, we have the strong beginnings of a visual record of these markers. At the time I am writing this, Wayne has placed photographs of well over 3,000 stones for you to see here in these pages of our "GHOTES Virtual Cemetery." Many of these photos were taken by Wayne himself, with his then-new digital camera during the GHOTES conference of June, 2000. Others he has taken, sometimes in the company of GHOTE Denis Wood, on subsequent trips to the Eastern Shore.
Tammy Belote Elvenia spent many hours over many months in Belle Haven Cemetery, sometimes in the height of bug season, capturing the images there. Denis Wood sent a file with so many wonderful images that it clogged Wayne's email. Sandy Perkins sent Wayne a whole boxful of photos, many of them taken 50 and more years ago, of Eastern Shore stones. (Just as Wayne finished scanning them and preparing them to upload (whew!), another boxful arrived in the mail.) When the Dr. David Scott family got a new digital camera for Christmas, he was inspired to put it to good use, and sent Wayne four megs of digital photos. ("I had to practice.") Will Brown sent wonderfully crafted images, art really, which he had taken over the years. Aren't we the lucky onesóWill is a professional photographer. Gordon Brickhouse sent us his Brickhouse and other photos, and Connie Pruitt, Moody Miles, Barbara Whitehead, and many others sent us theirs. We are indeed blessed. (See a list of contributors later in this page.)
The project, begun as Wayne's brainchild during GHOTES 2000, has proved inspirational. People who live on the Eastern Shore and people in far away places have sent photos for placement here. Among the goals of this virtual creation are the following:
Thank goodness Wayne Stith raises bunniesóhe's accustomed to fast and vast proliferation. So please, send your digital or scanned photographs, your comments, suggestions and corrections, to Wayne Stith at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have photos and no scanner, please send us an email and we'll reply with the information about where to send the photos or copies of the photos. All photos will be handled with great care and will be returned promptly.
We are indebted to Thom and Irene Henderson of esva.net who have so generously allowed us to add all these photos to their server. Thank you!
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