Posts Tagged ‘Headstone of the Week’

My headstone of the week this week belongs to “The Perfect Son-in Law,” Philip Kleiss Auxer. Philip is one of my 3rd great grandfathers, and one that I have a lot of respect for. Philip Kleiss Auxer was born in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County to Michael Auxer, Jr. and his wife, Catharine Kleiss Auxer on 6 April 1810. He was named after Catharine’s father who had died 10 years previously.  Philip died in Harrisburg, Dauphin County 75 years later on 27 January 1886 and is buried in Harrisburg Cemetery.

It’s the life between the dates that’s important, and Philip was important to a lot of people, mainly his wife, daughters, and mother in law. Mother in law?? Yup! and of course you’re going to find out why!

Before Philip had reached his 7th birthday, his mother was a widow with 5 children under 10 years of age. His father’s friend (and I use the term loosely) Philip Albert, was appointed guardian for the children and before the year had passed he had married his “friend’s” widow.

Michael had few specific wishes in his will. One of them in particular was mentioned in his obituary that appeared in The Church Advocate, a publication of the Church of God.

From Michael Auxer’s Will: Item, it is my will that my beloved wife, Catharine, shall keep my four children in her care, viz: Amelia Auxer, Philip Kleis Auxer, William Auxer and Adam Auxer, and provide for them, until each of them may have received education sufficient for them, and then direct my three sons to such trades as they may choose to learn . . . “

From “The Church Advocate”: . . . Losing his father at an early day, he was placed among strangers where he was trained to a life of honesty and industry. . .”

Philip Albert went on to to sell the various properties left by Michael to his widow to care for her children and it is unknown where the money went. What is known is the fact that the two youngest sons, William and Adam, were schooled as “Poor Children” and the County took the responsibility of paying for their education since their mother was no longer able to.

Philip was established as a wagonmaker by 1840, married with a young family in the Stackstown area of Lancaster County. By 1850 the family had sold their property and moved to Harrisburg with his wife, 2 daughters, a son and a granddaughter. Within 10 years his mother-in-law, Susannah Bischof Leader Kaylor, joined the family.

Susannah had married after the death of her first husband Samuel Leader. The marriage to George Kaylor did not work out and Susannah (the Woman’s Libber of her time!) had a prenup in place and sued George for divorce. Philip was her representative as her “Next Best Friend,” in the divorce, a common practice in 1854. With her monthly alimony and her sole and separate property firmly in place, she joined the Auxer family in Harrisburg. The house on Boas Street was full.

In 1873 the couples only son, Abraham, died and Mary followed him to the grave 4 years later. The two girls had left and taken the grand daughter with them. This left just two people living in that big house on Boas Street, Philip and his mother-in law, Susannah . . .Susannah who would live to the ripe old age of 94 years old.   And, just exactly who do you think took care of her in the waning years of her life?

Bingo! her son in law, Philip! This man had to be a candidate for Sainthood! Since I can’t even imagine my husband  in a million years taking care of my mother for 7 years after I leave this earth, I must pick Philip’s headstone in Harrisburg Cemetery as

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #10!

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Why, you ask, is such an ordinary headstone her “Headstone of the Week?”  You’ve seen hundreds just like it, and it is a common shape and just a plain old headstone, after all.

Well!  The thing that makes this my headstone of the week, is the fact that I stumbled across it accidentally while I was looking for another, and it happens to be my 6th great grandmother!  Not only is it my 6th great grandmother, but a grandson of hers that I never knew existed is buried with her!

I had been to this cemetery behind Elizabethtown’s Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on numerous occasions but had never seen this, until I started studying the ones that are very hard to read!  The ones written in German and worn from years and years of weather. . . .those are the ones I concentrated on this visit.

I cannot translate her information, word for word, but it basically says:

In Memory of Magadalena Axer
Wife of Michael Axer, Sr.
Died June 16, 1816

The bottom part of the stone gave me all kinds of information!

Michael Axer Smith departed this life on the
29th day of January AD 1832
Aged 8 months and 27 days

This three line blurb gave me another branch of the family. What this told me was:

  • Conrad Smith who married a Catharine Axer, was indeed, a member of my family.  I had found information on a marriage for the couple years before but wasn’t sure which “Catharine Axer” it referred to.
  • The stone also told me that Conrad and Catharine had a child that didn’t live to maturity and
  • the parents were either unprepared for a burial of one so young, or they couldn’t afford a stone for their only child.

Magdalena had never known this grandson and now he was her’s for eternity, and that is why Magdalena Wilhelm Axer’s headstone is my

Headstone of the Week for Week #7

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In keeping with the theme (and it wasn’t really a theme, it just kinda happened) my headstone of the week belongs to one of my great-great-grandfathers. Picking just one was the hard thing this week! I had a couple of great candidates to pick from! Which one should I pick? My great grandmother’s father? He has a great story and and had an obituary a column and a half long and accomplished a lot in his short 51 year life, or would I pick her father-in-law who was a common working man, just getting by in life? Well, after a lot of thought, I picked her father-in-law, Ephraim H. Niess, and for a very good reason, as you will soon see.

Ephraim, the oldest son of John and Elizabeth Hauenstein Niess, was born October 21, 1841 in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He  died on November 25, 1915 and is buried in Harrisburg Cemetery along with his wife and 5 of his children. His very devout wife’s diary had four short words to mark his passing: “He took my husband.”

During the Civil War, Ephraim enlisted in Pennsylvania Volunteers, 122nd Regiment, Company E in August of 1862. He was 21 years old. When he mustered out in May of 1863, as a Private, he had just seen the action in Chancellorsville and experienced the horrors of war. A year later he married Catharine L. Auxer, a marriage that lasted over 50 years and produced 10 children, 4 of which lived to adulthood.

Ephraim H. and Catharine L. Auxer Niess

Harrisburg City Directory lists his occupation as Laborer, Bricklayer, Furnace Maker, Furnace Builder, Fireman and finally, Foreman. Want to know what he really did for a living?

Each day he walked to his job at Bailey Iron Works, just across the tracks from his home. Since the huge brick furnaces were essential to their operation, letting a furnace cool down to change bricks that needed replacement was not an option.  Somebody had to put on 6 layers of clothing and go into that furnace to change the bricks, and that somebody was my great-great grandfather. Yet he kept going to work, day in and day out. He had a job, a commitment and an obligation.

Life was not easy for the family. Catharine’s diary tells of past due bills, family deaths, illnesses, and depression.

He had no fancy education, just the bare minimum to get by, but his children were all educated. His daughter got piano lessons along with her schooling and his son got a University education before furthering himself with a law degree.

A man’s position in life, be it owner of a business or the lowest paid worker is not the total of his worth. His experiences, his values, principles and stick-to-itness speak more of who he is than piles of money and/or degrees attached to his name.

My great-great grandfather went thru Hell and back, from Chancellorsville to the furnaces at Bailey Iron Works, but he didn’t give up. He raised a successful family, celebrated his 50th anniversary with the bride of his youth, and kept going into that furnace, changing those bricks, day after day after day.

. . . and that is why I selected his headstone for

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #3

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Arnold My headstone of the week was found on a recent visit to Riverside, California. The headstone of Rev. Arnold can be found at Evergreen Cemetery in that city.
I have always been attracted to the unusual, and this falls into that category. This doesn’t appear to have been stamped from a mold now does it? It’s almost as though the perfect rock was found and the scroll and wording was carved from that rock, and then the rock shaped into the perfect monument to honor Rev. Arnold.
I think it’s beautiful and that’s the reason it is
Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #46.

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BORN OCT. 25, 1852


DIED JULY 23, 1870

Emma Cornelia’s earthly remains were entombed at Woodward Hill Cemetery one short month after her marriage to B. Frank Saylor, a photographer in Lancaster.   Emma’s father was Rev. Dr. Emanual Greenwald, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster from 1867 until his death in 1885.  He probably performed both the marriage and burial of his daughter.  I find it strange that the stone has his name as “Greenwold” yet every other record shows him as “Greenwald.

Linda’s headstone of the week; Week #45

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My headstone of the week was found during our recent travels through the midwest. I found this headstone in Yocum Cemetery in Carroll County, Arkansas. This is indeed evidence that somebody misses their parents immensely! They miss them so much that they have even erected an iron rack to hold extra flowers! The rack is permanent and behind the headstone for James and Jennie DeLozier.

I had never seen anything quite like it and it is the reason it is

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #44.

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HOTWOn our way back from Arkansas and Missouri, we decided to take “The National Road,” Route 40, through part of Ohio.  This decision proved to be the right one when I found one of the nicest, best kept and well cared for cemeteries I had ever seen!  The morning was overcast and the grass was wet, but I didn’t care, I had headstones to photograph and was practically running trying to get as many as I could!

Polk Grove Cemetery is in Butler Township, Montgomery County and according to the sign it was established in 1825.  There are some very old headstones and very recent headstones.  It is a large cemetery, well manicured and it seems as though they care for each and every headstone.  The above stone is evidence of just that care.  As you can tell, David Randall’s headstone was broken at one time.  It appears that somebody, many years ago, placed it in some sort of headstone mold and cemented around it to keep it intact.  The back of it resembles an ordinary headstone.

The fact that it was preserved sometime between 1862, when David died, and 2009,  impressed me and the is the reason why it is

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #43.

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I found this headstone in Woodward Hill Cemetery, right around the corner from James Buchanan’s wonderful burial spot.  I was amazed that even though it was broken in four pieces, they all stayed together and I could actually read the name of WILLIAM MILLER on it.  The death date of  July 31, 1859 is another story.  For that date, I had to go to Find-a-Grave, and since I knew the section I found the stone in, the rest was easy!  The grass seems to be a bonding agent and has kept all these pieces together.   I was impressed and the reason it is

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #37

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This cute kid is standing next to his great-grandfather’s headstone in Hemet, California.  

The grave marker is for my ex-father-in-law, William H. Bowman, and I believe I’ve written about it before.  The birth year shows 1914 when it is actually 1909.  The family never knew his actual age!  It would have been impossible for him to have been born in 1914 since his father died in 1912.  It took his ex-daughter-in-law’s interest in genealogy to uncover this slight discrepancy.  

. . .  and you are probably wondering how I took this picture since I live in Pennsylvania.  Well, I didn’t!  My son, Blaine, took his son, Ellis, to Hemet on Memorial Day to bring flowers to the Bowmans’ final resting place. Bowmans Plural?  That’s right!  Both William Henry and Ruth Hall Bowman are buried here, but her name has never been added to the marker.

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #33

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