A Cemetery Photo From 1901: Or Do My Eyes Deceive Me

Clever reader Leo found a photo of Bonaventure Cemetery online.


We wondered where this was exactly. Bonaventure is made up of many long, sandy lanes. When I enlarged the photo, I saw a tall statue, like a woman holding a torch in her right hand.

While taking Sugar’s Canadian cousins on a tour yesterday, I said, “Stop the car.”

I thought I knew where I was. Not sure, not precisely sure, but something felt right. I didn’t have a copy of the photo with me, except on the smartphone, so I winged it. I took a lot of photos to see if something matched up.

Bonaventure 1901


I took the original, and added an oval outline around the torch-bearer and an obelisk to the left of it.

Bonaventure 1901 (2)


I loaded my photos onto the computer to compare the new to the old.




IMG_7747 (2)




Minna Holcombe, wife of D.C. Bacon, born January 27, 1818, and died February 18, 1878.

Since she died in 1878, the marker was probably placed by 1901, so it will be in the photo.

Her hand and torch, if indeed she was holding a torch, are missing, so the silhouette doesn’t exactly match the 1901 photo.

If she had been cleaned recently, she would be gleaming white like the 1901 photo.





Sugar, at first glance, didn’t think my photos match the 1901 photo.

But he respects the blog’s opinion, so opine away…

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8 Responses to “A Cemetery Photo From 1901: Or Do My Eyes Deceive Me”

  1. Mom Says:

    Umm, pardon the pun but…Dead Ringer!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. coastalcrone Says:


    Liked by 1 person

    • ruthrawls Says:

      Yay! I think I have to go back and get the dates on the obelisk to PROVE it to myself a bit more.
      Thank you for reading the blog!


  3. Aquila Says:

    Looks like a match to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ruthrawls Says:

      If I had applied some common sense in the first place, I should have thought as a photographer would have thought one hundred years ago. This is at the intersection of two more widely traveled lanes, and shows the live oak trees. The photographer would have been using a tripod and would have needed room to set up to avoid the tree roots and undergrowth. Of course, the opposite end of this lane opens onto Wilmington River. See the bright spot at the end of the lane? Sunshine over the river, a bright light at the end of the tunnel.
      There are many smaller lanes. Interestingly, to me, is that the Starr family plot is a few plots farther on the same side as the monuments that I circled, and of course, the Basinger plot is directly across the lane from the Starrs.


  4. Batesons United by Death: On to Bonaventure! | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] this trip that I thought I had found the spot where a photo was taken in the early 1900s. I wrote about that here. I’m pretty sure I’m right, and blog readers confirm that my eyes don’t deceive […]


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