Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dying thirsty

when we were in las vegas, i wanted to go see a cemetery there. i found one relatively close to the strip that has been listed on the national register of historic places since 2006. it opened in 1914. but, when we arrived there we both find it a rather sad and ugly cemetery, with lots of fake flowers... i didnt even want to take a picture...
instead, i show you the grave of sergeant clark, born in canada in 1844. in 1862, he joined the new york infantry, actively serving in, and surviving, the civil war. after being shot in the hand and contracting typhoid fever, he was honorably discharged on march 6, 1863 as a sergeant of the new york calvary. he then emigrated to southern california. years later, while traveling from bakersfield to salt lake city on a buckboard (a carriage), he stopped in the valley of fire, tied his horse to the back of the wagon and wandered around, possibly looking for water.  eventually, he crawled under his buckboard and died, presumably from thirst, several days before his body was found on june 30, 1915. his grave is at the spot where his body was found, and simply says "clark". i got the information from the marker that is on the parking spot next to the road. to be honest, i did not walk up to his grave. it was so immensely hot, we had gotten out of the car for various photo opportunities already and at this point i was just too lazy....! but just imagine, we crossed the desert in an air conditioned car, with 2 gallons of water and even some ice (from the ice machine in the hotel), on a paved road. with enough food, directions and whatnot.... while sergeant clark survived war, being shot and typhoid, was brave enough to cross the desert without any of that and then died of dehydration....
for other taphophiles, go here!

11 comments:

Wibbo said...

An extraordinary story and a great photograph.

Manon said...

Wonderful photo, the rugged red desert mountains with the solitary white headstone.

Kate said...

Such a barren landscape! How brave and hearty were our early settlers and soldiers!

hamilton said...

I cannot imagine.
your photo really shows the bleakness of his situation.

Kay said...

Many have met Clark's fate, without gravestones. Even today people head out far less prepared than you - usually without enough water. But he did live to 70 or 71, not bad for the hard living he had!

Tim Berendsen said...

he did have a nice view right up until the end.... if only he could have made it a little further, to one of las vegas' resorts..

Nicola Carpenter said...

Wow what an amazing story. Poor Clark, who lived through so much only to die from lack of water.

Makes you realise how lucky we really are.

Herding Cats

Julie said...

It is a great story you have told for us this week, CaT. I like how you weave your own story in with Clark's story, the nowadays with the back then days.

It does not really surprise that the cemetery associated with Las Vegas is too garish for you to even bother with. The sad think is, that over here, some of the more modern cemeteries bore me to tears.

I do like the photograph you show us today. How the hills appear to continue to stretch on back back back as far as one can see. the colour of the earth reminds me very much of the centre of Australia.

It makes me smile that even while on holiday, you two still visit cemeteries. I am very much like that, too.

VioletSky said...

I have now started to follow your blog - I need to see more of your posts other than just the TT ones!
This grave and scenery makes me feel very melancholic. and thirsty.

NixBlog said...

Poor Clark... It makes for stunning photo, though.

P.S. as far as the fenced graves go in Melbourne Cemetery, I think of it as extreme territorialism, even after death! "This plot is mine, all mine, for eternity, so there!" :-)

biebkriebels said...

Poor man, but at least they made him a nice grave with a marked stone.