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Alongside of Route 191 in Cooper, Maine, lies the family plot for the Creamers.

I'm not usually one to skulk around cemeteries with a camera unless the statuary is notable, as in the case of Cave Hill in Louisville. But every now and then, you can pass by an alluring small plot that commands attention. They are often near the road and off the side of a small farm, and they tease with a story that you'd likely never hear unless you know the family.

In this case, thanks to the resource of the Internet, we know that Otis, off to the left there, died in 1860 at the age of 22, almost 23, and was the son of Thomas Creamer. Winslow, also a son of Thomas, died a little over a year later at the age of 19. Poor Phinemas on the right didn't make it much past 6 years. A daughter of Thomas, Hannah, passed just short of 29 years old.

It caused me to wonder why these siblings all passed away at what we would consider today to be such an early age; how Thomas and Emily could possibly cope with having their children precede them, all in only four years time. Was it a rampant virus? Was it the long Maine winters? Something more nefarious, perhaps?

It was a family. Perhaps that's all we're entitled to know. But there is a story held in a few square feet at the side of a remote Maine road – a remembrance of people who were born into a time that was surely much more strenuous than we're accustomed to today.

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