In Appalachia during the 1970s, it was common to see graveyards next to churches and homes. Often, several generations of a family would be buried next to each other on the family’s land. Land rarely changed hands from family to family, instead it was passed down from one generation to the next.

On one family’s burial plot I found this tombstone. It says, “In memory of Polly Roberts, consort of Samuel Roberts, who departed this life March 29th, A.D. 1831, Aged 43 years.” Life expectancy was much shorter then. Doctors were a rarity in rural areas. They remain a relative rarity in rural areas even today.

To give you some idea of the tradition behind these family burial plots, Polly Roberts would have been born sometime in 1788, when the constitution of the United States was less than one year old.