Island’s past lures cemetery expert
When Keith Harper visited the island in May, he didn’t come for the beaches. He came for the gravestones.
Mr Harper, who grew up in Liverpool, England, said he had a fascination with cemeteries and history, which inspired him to create a cemetery website and make a series of video documentaries about the burial grounds he has visited.
He added: “This was my third trip to Bermuda. On each visit, I have rented a scooter and visited as many cemeteries as I can find.
“I’ve been interested in cemeteries most of my life. I remember, as a kid, being fascinated to read the inscriptions and look at the ornate carvings and symbology on gravestones in our local cemeteries. Cemeteries contain a lot of history.
“As an adult, I enjoy researching cemeteries and learning about notable people who are buried in their community cemeteries. It’s fascinating to me and I like being able to tell their stories.”
He said that his most recent visit took place because he was working on a delivery crew, taking a 62ft yacht from Tortola to Rhode Island.
During the voyage they decided to stop on the island to refuel and sit out some bad weather.
Mr Harper added the island’s gravestones were a stark reminder of its battle against yellow fever.
He said: “These yellow fever gravestones help tell the history of the towns that were touched by the tragedy.”
“I am also interested in finding unique gravestones.
“For example in St. Paul’s Church Cemetery, I found a zinc grave marker.
This is a metal grave marker known as a white bronze grave marker.
“These metal markers are quite common in the United States. However, they are quite rare outside the US.”
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