Ecclesiastes 7.2The other day I was riding my bike to work from Downtown Abilene rather than from my house. This route led me by a different part of the Abilene Municipal Cemetery. I pass this cemetery everyday on the way to work but the cemetery is bisected by North 10th street. Daily I pedal by the part of the cemetery that is north of 10th. But this day I was pedaling by the part of the cemetery which is south of 10th.
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
The part of the Abilene Municipal Cemetery which is south of North 10th is, I believe, the oldest cemetery in Abilene. The town was settled in 1881 and that's the date of the oldest burial in the cemetery. Many of the city founders are buried here.
I turned my bike into the cemetery and was looking around. And as I looked I came across a unique arrangement. Two matching obelisks with two matching crosses with a small iron fence in front. It's pictured above.
I got off the bike and approached. Looking at the crosses this is what I saw:
Buried here were two Texas Rangers.
I examined the obelisk on the left and read this:
In fond remembrance of our darling brother
Aged 28 years
Jan. 8, 1884
On the side of Walter's obelisk were the words of this short poem:
Dear Walter, sweet brotherWalter was, I believe, a younger brother who was buried and mourned by his older brother.
How we miss thee now
save God can tell.
A brother who was also a Texas Ranger.
Why do I think that? Well, when I turned to look at the obelisk on the right I read this inscription:
In loving memory of my precious husband
JOEL FRANK COLLINS
Aged 32 years
Mar. 14, 1884
Walter Collins and Joel Collins. Two brothers. Two Texas Rangers. Buried side by side. In January of 1884 it looks like Joel buried his younger brother Walter. And then, three months later, another tragedy struck the Collins family with the death of Joel. Joel left behind a family. A wife and children.
Husband dear take thy rest,
The summer flowers will bloom.
While you my dearest and my best,
Doth wither in the tomb.
Fast my tears are falling,
O'er thy memory sweet,
While I catch the echo,
Of thy passing feet.
But thro' summer starlight,
And thro' wintry rain,
Never oh, my babies,
Will he come again.