Thursday, May 19, 2011

Final Resting Places along the Trace

We continued our leisurely way northeast up the Natchez Trace.  As we illustrated with our pictures, yesterday's learning was the awesome power of the recent tornadoes.
Today's travels reminded us that, since the beginning of history, every generation of humankind has faced life's final challenge of death.  The human desire to be remembered after death has been expressed in various ways in different cultures.

A short walk along a tree-shaded section of the Old Trace brought us to the final resting place of thirteen Confederate soldiers.
Were they wounded in the nearby battle of Shiloh?  Did they die of disease and discouragement?  No one knows because their original grave markers were destroyed by the weathering of age.  These simple stones, erected by the state legislature, simply read:
"Confederate Soldier
But long before the Civil War, near the Natchez Trace was the final resting place of the dead of a much earlier Native American civilization. 
In order to honor and remember their dead, they erected, not grave stones, bui huge mounds of earth within which they buried the cremated remains of the deceased.  Although they lived a nomadic lifestyle, once a year they returned to the site of these burial mounds to remember those who had died.
Our resting place for tonight is here in Mississippi on Haynes Lake in Tishomingo State Park.  It is named for a famous chief of the Chicasaw tribe and is located near the Alabama state line, thirty miles south of Tennessee.