The media firestorm about the secret decoration each year of Lt Walsh’s grave in the Confederate section of Oakwood cemetery was a hoot to watch, since the “decorator” is a beloved private historian who has performed rituals in City Cemetery and performed last rites for bridges quite out in the open for all these many years. I certainly won’t tell you his name. But I joined a group of almost two dozen people at 4 pm on April 13 to listen to the history and context of this particular grave marker. We heard anecdotal history and a reading of the only eyewitness account from the time: the statement of Millie Henry, a ten year old servant girl. If Lt Walsh’s celebration reaches it’s twentieth year next year, and this blog reaches its first, I will post that text next April 13.
The Oakwood gathering segued into a wonderful party in Oakdale with freshly shelled black-eyed peas and barbeque, both cooked in cast iron over a fireplace made that day out of loose brick. There was some wonderful meeting and greeting, but rather than gossip about it I will share some more graveyard images – some favorites from City Cemetery, where my Walsh friend used to hold candlelight readings of Poe. Truly local and genuine rituals – one of the things that makes Raleigh what it is.