By Jeremy Patton of London, Kentucky
After a long hike, if I am not too tired and have remaining daylight, I sometimes stroll down a random gated road. That is how I found the Grave of Jacob Bill.
From KY-80 in Laurel County, turn onto Pine Creek Church Road (gravel). Continue for about 2.5 miles then park at the gated road on your right. Do not block the gate. A nearly indecipherable sign attached to the gate probably says that foot travel is welcome, but motor vehicles are prohibited.
A 100-meter path leads to a windswept field with tall weeds. The road that snakes through it is clear thanks to a light dusting of gravel. The field is about half a mile long, probably the aftermath of logging and mining.
The road morphs into a forest trail. I am not sure how far I walked to its terminus, maybe 0.25 miles. That is where the grave resides. I examined some satellite photos and believe that it is in the vacinity of Big Branch and Sinking Creek.
It was enclosed by a four-foot high fence. I crouched, stepped inside and read the tombstone:
1837 – 1914
God in Love
I found a second, smaller tombstone inside the fence, but it had no inscription. Maybe it was the man’s child?
Judging by the maintenance of the area, his decendents care about him.
I think that he chose a perfect place for interrment. I wish to be buried in the forest too, perferrably near a gurling stream or waterfall. It is a silly sentiment, I know, because I will not be there to enjoy it; it is more for the rare visitor who might take in the sights and sounds of nature and contemplate their own existence.
I removed a snack from my pocket and listened to the rustling leaves. I pondered my life and those of my loved ones, then wished that I could ask Jacob about his time in the Pine Creek Area in the 19th Century.