Time Capsule at Oakwood Cemetery
Taken from an article in a 1976 Edition of the Macon Chronicle-Herald
EDITOR'S NOTE: Did you know that Macon County
has a buried time capsule? Neither did anyone else until Jack Lee ran across
the following information, found in an article in the October 17, 1906 issue of the Macon Republican!
This week John Cook deposited - in the heart of a
concrete burial vault erected by Thomas E. Wardell at Oakwood
Cemetery - a jar containing articles that illustrate the development of the world up
to our present time.
Mr. Cook has prepared this jar so that it will keep the records inside it
intact for 10,000 years to come. The vault it was placed in is strongly reinforced
with iron and after all four members of the Wardell family have been placed within,
it will then be sealed for all time.
The jar contains an almanac describing our system of
reckoning so that archaeologists of the far distant future will be able to locate
this period with accuracy by determining the position of the heavenly bodies. There are also
engravings of: the latest types of battleships; the largest locomotive in the world;
the most powerful electric dynamo; the Wright airships; wireless telegraph
stations, with an explanation of the system; and the tallest buildings in the
The President of the United States is included, together
with his cabinet and the present officers of Missouri. There is also a concise
description of the present campaign between Taft and Bryan.
The jar was closed with a glass stopper and was made air
tight with parafin. A piece of oil cloth was tied tightly over that to ward off
moisture while the concrete is drying. The precautions taken ought to preserve
the illustrations, the printing and the writing for all time, according to Mr.
"The saddest misfortune that could happen to men and
nations," said Mr. Cook, "is to be forgotten. The strongest of human impulses is
to leave something behind us by which we will be remembered. This vault may
not be disturbed for thousands of years. I cannot conceive of any necessity
demanding its demolishing short of a thousand years at least. Those who follow
us 200 or 300 years hence will have a pretty fair knowledge of our generation, but
this record we are burying is intended for those who come thousands of years
hence. It may not be discovered by them but the chances are that it will be. Think
how interesting it would be to the people of our day to run across something
buried in a jar or vase containing specimens of the handicrafts of the time of Noah
and the generation following. The Egyptians have to some extent preserved the
appearance of their kings and their customs by carving on their granite tombs
and pyramids, but these give one only a vague idea of their life. But still they
illustrate the immortal yearning in the human breast to be remembered by our
posterity. Those who come after us may regard what we are doing now as crude
and almost childish, just as we regard the ox wagons and the plows of the
ancients. But to know what we are doing and what we have done will certainly
be of the most intense interest. When the bottle is opened by the learned men of
the far future it will illustrate their mighty leap in progress. It will not be like
comparing the inventions of this century with the last but instead over the vast
chasm of a thousand years or more. No matter how smart the people who come
after us are, we are not ashamed to submit to them our development and our
progress, because they will know that we have traveled far."
The scheme of Mr. Cook differs from the ordinary records
made at the placing of a corner stone in a building. In the ordinary course of
events a building is torn down within 50 or 100 years and a new structure
erected. Then the box containing the files of old newspapers and such things is
found and removed. This record of Mr. Cook is not expected to be disturbed until
a time when this country shall be more densely populated than China is now.
The vault is practically indestructible, and after the four bodies are laid therein it
will be sealed - never to be disturbed until such a time as the land becomes too
valuable for use as a cemetery. At the ordinary rate of development that is not
likely to happen short of a thousand years at least.