To the Memory of Panthea

I have a weird love of cemeteries. Most people find them creepy; I find them almost peaceful, hushed and bittersweet. When the birds sing in the trees above the gravestones, their songs seem almost melancholy. Yet I love to read the inscriptions, get to know the meanings of the different engravings, wonder who these people were and what they were like. It makes me feel a little sad at times, but it’s a good kind of sad. A reflective kind of sad that makes me think about my own life and what people will say about me after I’m gone. Anyway, enough of the eloquent musings.

One memorial stone that I have never been able to get out of my head is that of Panthea Adams Carter, laid to rest in an iron fence within the Bethsalem Cemetery on the top of a lonely hill just outside of Wartrace, Tennessee. I think about her, but mostly I think about her husband Charley. And the tears come to my eyes as I imagine his pain, but I know that he too is long ago passed and mourned and reunited with his beloved Panthea and their son, whom he had with him for far too short a time. In the poem he wrote to be engraved on her tombstone, you can hear the bittersweet aching of his heart as he struggled to find words that conveyed his grief mingled with the fond memories of the woman he loved.


Erected to the memory of Panthea and the little infant, Charles Murat, that sleeps in her arms. She was the wife of C.C. Carter and the youngest daughter of Daucey and Martha Adams: Born in Halifax Co., N.C., Dec. 28, 1828.  Married Dec. 22, 1851 and died March 23, 1856.  Aged 27 years, 2 months, and 21 days.

I loved her when the bloom of health / Was fresh upon her cheek / I loved her when her kindly voice / In gentle tones would speak / I loved her when her sunny smile / Was lighting up her brow / Her voice is hushed, Panthea’s gone / I love her memory now.

I loved her when I saw the rose / Upon her cheek decay / I loved her yet I knew that she / Must shortly pass away / I loved her when beneath life’s storm / I saw her meekly bow / The storm is passed and she is gone / I love her memory now.

One hundred and fifty-five years later, as the world rushes madly by in their vain pursuits of wealth and pleasure, unaware of this dearly loved woman sleeping beneath the last poem her husband wrote her, she will not be forgotten. For I see the stone and read the inscription and remember Panthea – and now I’m sharing the memory with you.

Published in: on December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading! 🙂

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