March 3, 2010

Grace Episcopal Church, Genito, Powhatan Co., VA

What started out innocently enough as a small project to document the burials at this small church resulted in an extended project lasting some 5 or 6 months.

Grace Episcopal Church, Genito, Powhatan Co., VA
Photo ©John Taylor, 2009
The project was commissioned by my friend, John Taylor, an architect who lives in Midlothian but has his office in Powhatan, VA.  John wanted to do something to help his local Powhatan County Historical Society and, to assure that this church and cemetery did not become one of the thousands across the country that have been abandoned and forgotten.

Briefly, the concept was to record photographically each headstone and to present a brief overview of each person as they might connect to others in the cemetery.  As soon as that work began - my part - we quickly learned that almost everyone in the cemetery was related, some going back many generations.  It was impossible for me to write that someone born and deceased in the 1700's was related to someone who was born and died in the 1800's without explaining how they were related.

Many of the deceased had pre-Revolutionary links which included such names as Harvie, Wickham, Leigh, Dance, Randolph, Jefferson (yes, that Jefferson), Poythress, Bland, Bolling, Bannister, etc.

In the end, the presentation to the Historical Society was bound in 7 volumes, each containing a few hundred pages of ancestry for everyone in the cemetery and showing how they were related.  It was a fascinating project and an insight into how the people of early America lived, loved and died.  Many were short lived, dieing of various diseases, but during their lifetime they put down deep roots that have bound this country together.

The printing was limited and other than me and John, I believe the only other copies are with the Powhatan society.

The scan shown here is from the inside cover of each book.

Similar projects are in the early planning stage.

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