This is the churchyard of the Mount Pisgah Presbyterian Church in Green Tree. The little cemetery itself straddles the line between Green Tree and the Westwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, and it is a curious fact that the section of the cemetery in Green Tree is neatly maintained, but the section in Pittsburgh is overgrown and forgotten—although some attempt had been made to clear some of the larger bushes from it when Father Pitt visited. Doubtless the true explanation of the phenomenon is that the overgrown section is not visible from the church, and thus can be allowed to go to ruin without making a spectacle of itself every Sunday.
Tombstones litter the forest in the overgrown section. Much of the ground cover is Vinca minor, which is often called Cemetery Vine because it was such a popular planting in old cemeteries.
In this section were some old family plots fenced with iron rails; we can still identify the Graham family plot, below:
Note, again, the luxuriant growth of Vinca minor.
There are tombstones here that go back to the 1840s at least, but most of the older ones are illegible, if they can be found at all. Here, however, is a legible tombstone from 1842 (forgive the strong backlighting):
to the memory
GEORGE P. RAMSEY
Who departed this life
July 27th 1842.
In the 54th year of his age.
Remember man as you pass by
As you are now so once was I;
Repent in time, make no delay,
For in a moment I was call’d away.
The epitaph begins as one well-known funerary poem and ends as another; the last line has five feet instead of four. But it is still a powerful sentiment.
In spite of the general neglect, someone cares enough to see that all the identifiable veterans have flags for their graves, so that little flashes of red, white, and blue light up the floor of the woods. Here is the grave of Corporal David Aston, a Civil War soldier whose birth and death dates are not mentioned: