In my innocence, I thought the only requirement for burial in a cemetery was that you had to be dead. I thought anyone could buy a plot anywhere they fancied and be buried there. Granted, I had factored in that to be buried in say, a Jewish cemetery, I’d have to be Jewish. Or in a Catholic cemetery, I’d have to be Catholic. And after I sat and thought about it for a while, I went even further and reckoned that some cemeteries might even be reserved for residents of the parish or village, town, or city in which they sat. I’d simply assumed that to be buried in a military cemetery, I’d have to have served. But hey, I’ve been wrong before, as I learned on a trip to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
Arizona has been having unseasonable weather. It’s been raining. A lot. Which seriously interfered with my cemetery walk around Williams Cemetery in Williams AZ. The red clay had turned to muck and it was impossible to avoid being sucked into the mush. Perhaps though, it was the town’s way of making sure I’d come back.
I was so taken with the town of Williams AZ that I nearly forgot to check the cemeteries. Patty Williams, wife of the lovely Buck, set me straight. And I’m glad she did.
Williams Cemetery lies just outside the main drag. It used to extend down to 9th street, where most of the Chinese railway workers were buried, but that land was reclaimed and they’ve all been moved. Somewhere.
The cemetery is not maintained by the city. Each family is responsible for their plots. The city, as a courtesy, will plough snow. This explained the mud. That’s it. It’s supposed to be haunted and many of those commenting on a Haunted Places website say they’ve experienced strange things.
We stayed at a hotel next to the cemetery. That night our lights were off and flickered on, and the next day we heard a man very clearly say hey you girl.we instantly packed our stuff and left! On the way out I noticed we were next to a cemetery and thought it was strange so I decide to take a picture to show people it was next to a cemetery. Mind you the cemetery was seen from where I was standing and no people were in the cemetery but when I looked at the photo later you could clearly see a man standing in the photo looking down at a grave.
It has its fair share of quirky, too, a far cry from traditional European cemeteries that are manicured to within an inch of their lives. But it added to the rustic feel, the sense that we were on Route 66 and back in the day when life was less ordered, less precise. Too late, I found a full list of residents.
There are quite a few former service men buried from any number of wars. Other headstones are hand carved and the borned threw me for a bit. It’s a historical place home to the only serviceman in the USA who got both a medal of honour and was court-martialed in the same war. But the mud proved too much. We never found him, despite directions that said he was close to the war memorial.
If you want to get the most out of your visit, pick a dry time. Or bring wellies. Take the time to read and wander and get a feel for days gone by. It’s a lovely spot.