So. One day this past summer, Andrew and I spent time in the countryside of the West Reserve, hunting for villages to explore. Which are not quite as hidden, nor as abandoned, as those in the East Reserve.
I really did love Chortitz… but when I posted about it last, I didn’t mention the cemetery. That’s because it’s so beautiful, I wanted to give it its own post.
From the main village street, I joyfully spotted one of the most welcoming cemetery entrances I’ve ever seen!
I want to say it’s “cemetery eye candy”… but I’m not sure if that’s appropriate.
I don’t know the history of this place at all… but there is a tremendous cairn here that helps.
With the golden fields beyond the cemetery, it looks super-dreamy. (To a weirdo like me, anyway.)
And, here is the cairn:
The top plaque says this:
“Chortitz Cemetery. We acknowledge and pay tribute to the pioneers who in search of freedom and opportunity endured much hardship. Through faith they trusted God to give them direction, strength, and courage to move to a new country filed with blessings, and to lay a foundation of their heritage for further generations to enjoy.”
Below that plaque, there are three more plaques, listing all of the people presumably buried in this cemetery. Far more names than there are headstones. I suppose most headstones have disintegrated. And so, this cemetery appears mostly devoid of headstones… but likely, it is not devoid of graves.
On the back of the cairn you’ll find this plaque, which names the settlers and illustrates where their homesteads were. The above plaque reads:
“Thirty-two homesteaders established this village in 1875.”
“The Chortitz Cemetery Cairn Project followed the Chortitz Homecoming Celebration in 1999 and was completed in 2002. A reminder of the past — a memory for the future.”
And of course, here is a large cottonwood to greet you hello… and goodbye.