Posts Tagged ‘Cemetery’

It’s our tradition. Every year we take a trip or two and visit relatives for Memorial Day. Well, actually we don’t visit live relatives, we visit my ancestors, take them flowers, pull a few weeds and take another picture of their headstones, as though the information changed since the last time we visited. It never changes, the information, that is, but the headstone, that’s another story!

We started on Saturday and drove north to Harrisburg to visit my great-great-grandparents in their home in Harrisburg Cemetery. There was a change in their headstone, but it wasn’t drastic. This was the headstone as I photographed it in 2009.2009

. . . and this is the way it appeared on Saturday, a little worse for the wear, but very readable and looking like it will last for quite a while.


Abraham Auxer, Catharine’s younger brother is another story. The stone was easily readable in 2009, not so Saturday.

On Saturday I was hardpressed to even find the stone, and when I did and cleared away the debris, I couldn’t remember if it was Abraham’s or his father (my great-great-great-grandfather!) Philip’s headstone.


I’m going to have to go thru a few photos and see if I can find the ones I took in the 1990’s to see what those were like. I know the ones laying flat were covered with debris so they were probably protected.

Perhaps we shouldn’t clean them up every year. What do you do? Clean them or leave them protected by the debris? It would be interesting to know what to do. . . .

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The further back I get in my family’s history, the harder it gets to find a headstone for an ancestor. This week I had a total of two to choose from for my headstone of the week. My 4th great grandfather, Samuel Leader is my choice this week.

Union Meeting House, Marietta, Pennsylvania

As you enter Marietta you see it. The Old Union Meeting House, a large brick building, surrounded by aging headstones, some you can read, some you can barely read and some you can’t read at all. And then there are those that are no longer where they once stood tall and proud. Samuel Leader’s is among those in the last category, with one exception. His is in pieces, some remain and other pieces have either vanished or are buried under sod, leaves, or whatever it is that blows through a cemetery, year after year, after year.

The person in the spotlight is the easiest person to research, but information on an ancestor who just gets by day to day, gets harder to find the further back you go. Samuel falls into the second category.

Samuel was the 1st of at least 9 children born to Ludwick (Lewis) Leader and his 1st wife, probably Catharine Miller. He was born the same year our country was, in York County, Pennsylvania. Since his father and family moved from York County to that new developing area of Marietta on the other side of the Susquehanna River by 1804, it is assumed that Samuel followed him shortly thereafter. He kept below the radar up until 1811 when he was listed as a Joiner (carpenter) on tax lists. The fact that he was a carpenter is no surprise since there were many Lumber Mills in Marietta. He and his wife, Susannah Bischoff (Bishop), had three children, his eldest and only daughter would become my ancestor. He signed petitions, was active in Marietta affairs and bought a house and then lost the house in foreclosure. 1839 is the first year he does not appear on the Tax Lists. This is Samuel’s life in a nutshell, that dash on a headstone between the dates . . . . which brings us back to those broken pieces of his headstone.

Next to the fence, far from Samuel’s original burial site is a neatly stacked pile of broken pieces of stones that once marked the passage of a life. I believe Samuel’s headstone to be in this pile, and I have several reasons why.

  • 1820 Census shows Samuel Leader in Marietta with one male 45 and over
  • 1830 Census shows Samuel Leader in Marietta with one male 40 -50.
  • When the Cemetery was transcribed in the 1950’s there was a broken stone transcribed right after Lewis and Sarah Leader.  It showed a  person aged 63 yrs, d. 4 ? 1839.  
  • Newspaper article found in “Marietta Scrapbook” at Lancaster County Historical Society, lists Samuel as eldest son of Lewis.
  • Bible in my possession belonging to Samuel’s widow, Susannah has a date of April 15, 1839.  Susannah was illiterate and had no reason for a Bible. (my theory is it was given to Susannah at Samuel’s funeral.)
  • 1839 is the first tax year Samuel does NOT appear on the tax list for Marietta Borough.  (falls right into line with the above Bible and headstone date)
  • Susannah purchases a home in a neighboring town taking possession in her name only in 1840.
Those stones are way too heavy for me to move, and Jim said he do almost anything in the world for me, but moving heavy pieces of rock is not one of those. Since I sincerely believe Samuel’s headstone is in that stack, I’ve decided to bestow him with the honor of being

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #5

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My selection for headstone of the week is Joseph Britton Carvell, my great-great-great grandfather.  He is buried in cemetery at Otterbein United Methodist Church in East Salem, Juniata County,  Pennsylvania, next to his 2nd wife, Mary Hile Carvell. Born on 1 February 1821 in Snyder County, Pennsylvania, he was the first son out of 14 children born to William Carvell and Mary Britton. He was named for his grandfather, Joseph Britton, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

When Joseph was 20 years old, he married Rebecca Mark who bore him at least 5 children, my great-great grandfather, Jeremiah Mark Carvell, being one of them. In November of 1847, Rebecca passed on to glory, leaving Joseph with 3 children under 5 years of age. It is of no surprise that he had remarried by the following September. The marriage to Mary Hyle lasted 44 years until Mary died in 1887. She had borne him at least 12 children.The picture is a copy of a copy, and therefore not a good one, but it shows the couple and shows Joseph as who he was – a hardworking man, doing his best to support his family. The work boots on his feet show he was just a working man.

Joseph and Mary Carvell lived in Thompsontown, Delaware Township in Juniata County. Delaware Township is just 29 square miles with under 2,000 residents today. During their life time the population was probably a lot less. Another researcher tells of two of his granddaughters who remember their grandfather living in a house directly off the square in Thompsontown. He made his living by making brooms and peddling them throughout the countryside. Although several things point to the couple owning property, nothing conclusive can be found, and it is doubtful the couple ever did.

My selection for Headstone of the Week is for a man I know little about. What I do know however makes me respect his values. The process of making a broom from growing, harvesting, and drying the broom straw thru the assembly on specially cut and finished wood handles and then peddling them yourself would make anyone worthy of being my choice for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #4.

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Finding a candidate for my “Headstone of the Week” isn’t hard for me. I have literally thousands of headstone pictures in my database. Narrowing it down to just one is what is hard! This week, I decided on another Grandfather ~ a Great-Grandfather, this time!William Adolphus George von Breyman was born in Harburg, Hanover, Germany in 1835 and died in Cortina, Colusa County, California in 1901. He is buried in a cemetery in the small town of Arbuckle, California.

Headstones tell a part of the story, a very small part! By the time my great-grandfather was 15 years old, he was in California. Family legend has it that his older sisters got him employed on a ship that was sailing to California where he jumped ship in San Francisco. For a short while he panned for gold, as many did, and then decided the real way to make money was to pack in supplies and sell them to the gold seekers. He became a naturalized citizen in 1859. References have been found to him being a packer, farmer, vet surgeon, postmaster and at one time even co-owned a Fence Company in Sacramento. He spoke his native German in addition to English and Spanish and could write in each language, as well.

In 1854 when he was in this country for about 4 years, Wilhemine Sophia “Minnie” Goda was born in New York. Their paths crossed in California and in 1877 they would marry and become the parents of 10 children, with the 9th one being my grandmother, Bertha Emma. She was six years old when her father died at the young age of 66.

With many thanks to his children and their children, his story has been preserved. His eldest son was a prolific letter writer. Copies of his letters with tales of W.A.G. von Breyman’s values, work ethic and exploits have been shared with me. My great-grandfather’s diary, written in English and at times, Spanish, has also been shared. Life offered him many opportunites and he grabbed them as he passed thru.

That is why his headstone is my choice for Headstone of the Week #2.

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Wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-at?   Yes, I attended an ongoing Funeral on Friday evening in the heart of Lancaster! There was a Hearse (one of those old fancy ones!) with a casket in it . . . that makes it a funeral, doesn’t it? Of course, I don’t know who (or what) was in that casket . . .I think this was just a small “Family Cemetery” since I couldn’t find a name anywhere and I did check Find A Grave, to no avail!. . . and right in the middle of the preparations, a train went whizzing by. Stopped those gravediggers and their backhoe momentarily, but the people didn’t seem to mind. It was as though they were just standing there in shock.

I bet I didn’t fool you, though! I bet you figured me out!

Last Friday night was “First Friday” in Lancaster. Amanda and I went out to see a couple of sights and have a bite to eat and were going to finish up the evening at LancasterHistory.Org for their first appearance “on the circuit,” so to speak. We, however, got side-tracked by a Model Railroad exhibit on the 2nd floor of the Citizens Bank building, right next door to the Historical Society, and we weren’t disappointed! Neither were a lot of little children, who just couldn’t move and stood there with their mouths wide open! It was wonderful – the display and the reaction of the children!

I know it’s been there several years and find it surprising that there is very little mention of it on the internet. It is free to the public and operates on donations. I was delighted to have a chance to donate so children (and adults like me!) can enjoy what these men and women seem to enjoy sharing with the community!

If you happen to be in the Penn Square area of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, be sure to stop by and see it! It is truly a work of art . . . and love!

But I still don’t know if there is anybody or anything in that casket!

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No trip to Warrenton Cemetery is complete without paying homage to the statue that rises above everything else in the cemetery. You can see it above everything else and if your curiousity doesn’t get the best of you, well then, you’re made of granite! Oh wait! That would be the statue that is made of granite!

The statue is located right next to the grave of the Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby ~ Mosby of “Mosby’s Rangers” or “Mosby Raiders” fame, “The Gray Ghost,” the hero of Northern Virginia.

The statue is dedicated to those 600 Confederates who died in the two Battles at Manassas. They were disinterred from their burial spots, which were unmarked, and are now resting beneath this monument. One account states that the soldiers had died in makeshift hospitals throughout the area and their grave markers were removed and used as firewood by Union soldiers.

The following inscription can be found on another side of the marble shaft of this majestic monument.

One of the first things you notice about the statue is what appears to be crushed rock around it’s base.  and that’s exactly what it is.  What outlines the rock is what counts!

In the border around that crushed rock are marble tablets with the name of the state each one of the men enlisted from. I’ve shown Virginia as an example since I was in their state at the time and it was at the front of the statue. After the name of the state are tablets with each man’s name, rank, regiment and date of death.

The back of the statue had two bronze plaques, one honoring the man who found the names of the soldiers buried in this spot and the other

honoring the benefactors who enabled this wall to be erected.

Once again, a community has come together to make sure that strangers, be it in life or death, have been acknowledged and thanked for their service to the cause.
It is an impressive “Thank You.”

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Seeing steam or smoke or something rise from the hood of our car while on the way home from the Williamsburg area on Saturday afternoon, we pulled over and called the Auto Club ~ my new favorite friend.  By the luck of the draw, we were taken to an auto shop in a fairly new shopping center in Centerville, Virginia.

At the corner of Linton Hill Road and U.S. 29, Located across from Virginia Tire and Auto of Gainesville and close to Subway and El Tio’s Mexican Grill, a small family cemetery has been preserved.  With nothing but time on my hands, I wandered over to photograph the cemetery and all of the headstones in it . . . all four of them!Scattered here and there are what appears to be worn markers or large rounded pieces of stone. Speculation leads me to believe they are worn markers.  Surrounded by a black iron fence, the cemetery has an unlocked gate on it. Faded and hard to read, the sign on the outside of the fence gives a little history of the cemetery.Evidently the Shirley family, Richard in particular, owned 400 acres in the area. He was a farmer and a Tavern Keeper. Richard, his wife and at least two of his children are buried in this plot.  When the land was developed the cemetery was preserved. The maintenance and upkeep of the site is now maintained by the developers as part of the property.

So many times you hear the opposite.  Developers buy the land and cemeteries and headstones are moved and/or are lost forever. Kudos to the developers!

My car? What about my car? Well, it appears there is enough unused space to bury it in that cemetery but, I’m sure that will never happen! We will wait out this holiday weekend in a motel room, biding our time until Monday morning when the above referenced Tire and Auto shop can order and replace the tiny little pressurized hose that cracked.

Happy Easter from the Hampton Inn in Gainesville, Virginia where we hope to find a restaurant within walking distance is open on Sunday. . . .

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It’s been a stressful week with real estate doings so I took Thursday off and headed to Woodward Hill Cemetery.  The weather was in the 60’s and a perfect fall day!WoodwardHill TreeThe first thing I noticed was somebody with a weedeater going around the monuments and headstones.  See him at the top of the hill?  Tiny little figure in front of the red tree?  That is something not usually seen there ~ a lone figure working!  Usually there are groups of them, kinda working, talking and not paying attention.  grassThe next thing I noticed was all the grass was cut!  Not just cut in certain areas, but cut throughout the entire Cemetery!  The Cemetery looked clean and groomed with just this one little (or probably BIG) thing!SnyderThe third thing I noticed, and this to me was the most impressive, is that somebody is trying to upright the fallen headstones and place them in the spots they belong in!  The Snyder stones are evidence of this.  I noticed this throughout the Cemetery!  My heart started singing!

I am writing this blog because I have written so many criticizing this Cemetery.  The neglience of the Board and/or staff in maintaining such a historic site in Lancaster has been a thorn in my side.  After all, our 16th President, James Buchanan, is buried there.  Whether you think he was a great President or a mediocre President, he was stilll the President of our Great Nation and his resting place attracts a lot of visitors.

It is time I write a blog praising somebody’s efforts!  Kudos to the responsible party(s)!   I realize you cannot stop vandalism, tipping over headstones and people walking through and throwing their trash as they walk.  This is a fact of life in this particular cemetery.  You can, however, make an effort, such as they are doing, to straighten up the mess.  AuxerMary

The only disappointment of the day, and it was a personal disappointment was Mary Auxer’s headstone.  Remember my blog, “Putting Mary in Her Place,” on our efforts to upright it?  It stayed up for 5 months before temptation got the best of somebody, and it’s tipped over again!  Sad, isn’t it?  I realize the maintenance staff and/or the Board has little control over this sort of thing and it’s going to continue, but never-the-less it is a sad commentary on our society today!

Overall, I was so tickled to see the improvements in Woodward Hill Cemetery!

If I can criticize, I can praise.  I owe Woodward Hill Cemetery this blog!!

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I recently challenged myself to post 500 pictures on Find-a-grave by Memorial Day.  You can read my blog about this and see what I’m doing.  While transcribing them I came across this one and had never seen an expression like this on a headstone.  Most headstones have something else in this spot, Sister, Brother, Mother, Father, At Rest, or something of that nature.  This just jumped out at me and made me smile.  I immediately thought of a chicken being plucked and then I realized it  was probably referring to a flower.

Quite a few of my photos are just like this one ~ weathered and hard to read, if not totally impossible.  I can only read the name and above referenced expression on this one, but I do know the headstone matched the one next to her’s .  They were both daughters of John and Elizabeth Druckemiller and are buried next to their parents who have a newer, much easier to read headstone..

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #27

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