Posts Tagged ‘Headstones’

In March, on our way home from visiting our grandson at his Coast Guard “A” School in Yorktown, Virginia, we decided to “visit” my great-grandfather in Warrenton, Virginia.  It was pouring rain, but we stopped anyway since I did not have a good picture of his headstone.  Once we saw the area it appeared we would not get a good picture that day as well.  Not only was it surrounded by wet, soggy, muddy ground but a bush now covered over half of the stone. I had not come prepared with my Cemetery Kit so there were no clippers to take care of the gardening chores.
Fast forward to Easter Weekend and another trip to Yorktown, this time for Grandson’s graduation from his “A” School. We prepared for the return trip with clippers and and a garbage bag so I could perform my gardening duties.The ground was still soggy since it had rained the night before, but I clipped anyway. I had come prepared with clippers and my “Cemetery Shoes” this time.

In order to get a different perspective of the site, I walked down hill and took this picture from there. His headstone is under that bush . . . now.  On the other side of the large memorial that says “NIESS” it says “KELLY,” my great-grandfather’s second wife’s maiden name.   Buried to the left of Edwin is his wife, Florence Marie Kelly Niess,and next to Florence is Edwin Alonza’s son, Edwin Mark Niessand next to “Uncle Eddy” is his wife, Lucy Marguerite Kelly Niess
Yes ~ Father and Son were married to sisters! So Eddy’s sister-in-law was also his step-mother and Lucy’s sister was also her mother-in-law! And let’s not forget both father and son were attorneys in Washington DC with the same first name of Edwin! So if anyone would distinguish which attorney they were looking for by saying it was Edwin who was married to the Kelly girl, they could flip a coin!Lucy and Marie’s parents are also buried in this plot and this is the reverse side of the “Niess” Stone with their information on it. The Kellys are scattered here and there in this cemetery, but for some reason these two girls are buried with their parents. (this picture was taken that rainy day in March ~ can you tell??)

Rest in Peace, Niess/Kelly family! I’ll keep checking on you and make sure the shrubs are trimmed and you are all remembered!

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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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Today was “Victorian Day” in the Lancaster Cemetery.  It is their annual fund raiser, with walking tours, Civil War re-enactors, Ladies of the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster and even “meeting” Mayor Sanderson who served the city from 1859 – 1869. 


 Our tour guide knew the Cemetery intimately.  His father had been the caretaker and he spent his childhood playing among the headstones.  We learned the first burial was on June 1, 1848 and was a child, Alice Louisa. In the picture above, Mr. Smoker is telling us about Second Lieut. Cornelius Van Camp who was shot through the heart with an arrow while leading a charge near Wichita in October of 1858.

drummerboyOne of our first stops was at the gravesite of George Brientnall, “the Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  While at the gravesite, we were read the poem about “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by our Tour Guide and then continued on to the gravesite of the first Revolutionary War patriot buried here.

RevWarVetMichael Kline (4 Aug 1744 – 21 Aug 1828) and five other members of his family are buried in this site.  He was a Revolutionary War veteran.


We learned the story of Elliot Eskridge Lane’s death.  Elliot was a nephew of President James Buchanan and had been the victim of food poisoning at the Inauguration dinner for his uncle.  He died days later! 

LongWe stopped and paid homage to the Longs.  Henry G. Long and his wife Catharine, donated the land that Long’s Park sits on today.  It is a large, beautiful park and utilized year around by various organizations and families.  Events are held there on an almost weekly basis!

KanekoI had often wondered why George Kinzo Kaneko was buried in the same area as Franklin and Marshall College dignitaries.  Today we found out why.  He was a student from Japan when he met his untimely death here.  Japan, as a gesture for the kindness shown to Mr. Kaneko, sent Ginko trees to both Lancaster Cemetery and to Franklin and Marshall College.  The College ended up giving the trees to the Cemetery and today they are scattered throughout the cemetery.  They are beautiful.

ladyWe walked to and stopped at one of the most beautiful sites in the cemetery.  Rumor has it that she has been seen walking in the cemetery.  Our guide assured us that in all his years at this cemetery, he has never seen her walk!  He did explain what the pillar next to her symbolized.  It appears to be broken and it symbolizes a life cut short.  If you will notice, Elliot Lane, above, has the same pillar for his headstone.


. . . and finally we got to meet Mayor Sanderson.  He told us about his various business ventures and how he became Mayor of our fair city.  If we were warm on this 85 degree day, I can only imagine how warm he must have been in his suit and top hat!


Esther Parker was James Buchanan’s housekeeper and is also buried in this cemetery.  No tour would be complete without seeing her headstone, as she was an integral part of the Buchanan’s househould.  

The $5 we each spent for our tour was well worth it!  We learned a lot about the “residents” in this piece of ground and would definitely recommend this to anybody next year.  

We’ll go the 8th Annual Victorian Days at Lancaster Cemetery in 2010, will you?


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