Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Remembering Patrick Drennen

Grave of Patrick Drennen

Stone for Patrick Drennen

Patrick Drennen was my gr. gr. grandfather. He was enslaved in Crawford County Arkansas by John Drennen the founder of the city of Van Buren.  He courted my gr. gr. grandmother Lydia Walters, and they lived and loved each other when with permission, of John Drennen, Patrick could go and spend time with her in Dripping Springs.

He was described as a light skinned mulatto man, and was said to have traveled quite often with his master John Drennen.  He became ill in the early spring of 1858, died and was buried in the Drennen family plot in Fairview cemetery. Lydia later remarried John Talkington, and she lived till the 1890s and was buried in the same cemetery in 1898.

I learned more about the life of Lydia, when I located her second husband's pension file.  She spoke of her first love Patrick and how they had courted, but had not been allowed to marry.

With the help of researcher Tonia Holleman, I located Lydia's burial site marked only by a field stone.  Since she was in a family plots I obtained a small marker for her. I also learned that Patrick her first love, was buried about 75 yards away in the Drennen Family plot.  Resting in the same cemetery, but still separated by enslavement.  When I went into the Drennan plot, I noticed that his grave was outlined by bricks, but no marker was placed there.  No name, just bricks outlining his body. His burial was noted in the sexton's record simply as "Negro man belonging to Mrs. Drennen."   But he did have a name----his name was Patrick!  I wanted his name to be there.

When I had decided to obtain a small marker for Lydia, I realized---he deserved a marker as well. His short life, spent entirely in sevitude, deserved to be remembered and his name deserved to be said.  So, I obtained a marker also for Patrick. Since I did not have permission to access the Drennen plot to place his name there I had no idea who to ask.

But where Lydia was buried---that was a family plot---and since the marker was small, I would put his name down where it should have been---next to the woman, the only woman he had loved.  Their names are now side by side, though his body rests "up the hill", their names are together where, had times been different, they would have been all along.

I visited Fairview cemetery this winter, and noticed that some of the bricks that outlined Patrick's grave had been overgrown with grass.  My Patrick was disappearing!  As a recent snow was melting, there were many pine cones on the ground, so I took some of the pine cones and outlined his grave over the bricks that I was able to see.  I wanted his burial site to still be visible in the Drennen family plot.

Patrick Drennen was my gr. gr. grandfather, and I want to say his name and I want the world to know that he lived.

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