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Posts Tagged ‘cemetery’

While we were on vacation in Missouri, my father-in-law took us on a cemetery tour. We visited the graves of grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, grand uncles and aunts, and collateral relatives. Before we left to return home, I realized that we hadn’t been to the family cemetery in several years. This three person graveyard sits on land that used to belong to my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather, George Washington Littrell. After he died, it eventually ended up belonging to my husband’s paternal grandfather’s brother.  After he passed away, it ended up going into a bank sale and another resident of the rural community purchased that plot of land where the cemetery was located. Missouri statutes explain that even though a cemetery might sit on private land, and even if it doesn’t have a drive that takes it directly to the cemetery, family members are not to be blocked from gaining access during regular daylight hours. There really has never been an issue with us visiting the Littrell cemetery. The gravel road goes right up to the barn and corral areas and the cemetery sits just outside of that.  I wrote a blog post awhile back about our experience when we visited the graves a few years ago that you can read here.

As we pulled up, I looked in horror at the following scene.

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Someone – or several someones – had just placed whatever those things are (they look like steel sawhorse type of things) right inside the cemetery! I was mortified! And the steel cable “rope” that had cordoned off the graves was bent and pulled away from the corner posts. If the person who rents out the land knew about this, I know he would make sure the men who work for him would remove it and not ever do it again so I’m very hopeful that after my father-in-law speaks to him all will be taken care of. It’s just so sad that whoever did this, a) didn’t even realize this was a cemetery or b) didn’t care.  You may also notice that the stone on the right has been shifted as well.

And just to make a comparison – below is the picture of what it is supposed to look like.

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Let’s hope this sacred family cemetery – small as it is - where George W and Kitty O (Blakely) Littrell are buried along with their very young daughter, Annie Elizabeth – will soon be properly cleaned of the equipment and I can breathe a lot easier.

(Photos by Wendy Littrell)

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 9: “Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.”

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This is my paternal grandmother’s death certificate.  Ella Amore (nee House) was born on June 22, 1882 in Ohio. Her father is listed as James House and her mother is (incorrectly) listed as Fannie Ogden (correct name: Frances Virginia Ogan). Gramma was 64 years and 11 days of age when she passed away at 5 a.m. on July 3, 1946 at her home located at 684 John Street in Coshocton, Ohio. She died from breast cancer which she had been battling for 2 years. Even though my grampa, Lloyd Amore, was still living, my uncle Gail (William Gail Amore), oldest son of the family, was the informant. Gramma was buried three days later in the Prairie Chapel Cemetery in Coshocton.

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Gravestone in Prairie Chapel Cemetery for Lloyd W. and Ella M. Amore

(Photo of gravestone taken by Robert Shackelford – cousin – and a copy sent to Wendy Littrell)

(Image of Death Certificate downloaded from FamilySearch.org website)

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The photo above was taken by a friend of my grandparents pre-1920 in Anderson, Madison, Indiana. Glen R. Johnson (my maternal grandfather) is standing in between the two headstones and my grandmother, Vesta C. Wilt, is leaning on George Hefler’s headstone. The gal on the right, leaning on Sarah Boltin’s headstone, is a friend of the couple.

When I checked Find a Grave, I noticed that the current picture of George’s stone is very difficult to read. Time and weather has deteriorated the readability – at least via a photo. At the time of the above photo, Sarah Boltin (George’s second wife), was still living. Currently on Find a Grave, it shows that her tombstone has broken off at the base and is laying on the ground. I have cropped a picture of each stone in the above photo and added them to Find a Grave.

I do not believe that George Hefler nor Sarah Boltin are related in any way to my grandparents – the names have not come up in my research. The cemetery –  Grove Lawn in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana – is also the final resting place for many of my grandfather’s relatives – Johnson’s, Goul’s, and Blazer’s.

 

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On May 1, 2009 I lost my mother. Each year my sister and I have a beautiful silk arrangement placed in the vase on her grave. Since we are in Texas and the grave is in Ohio, I have to rely on the cemetery office to pick out the correct silk arrangement (made especially for the types of vases on the headstones) and make sure they are placed in the vase. I’ve requested a photo be taken and emailed to me so that I know it has been done. It’s also a way for me to see her grave since I’m so far away.

Mom was not a “pink” person – her signature color was red. So when I order the silk flowers, I make sure to stress that the flowers not be any shade of pink. They have to be mainly red.  I think she’d appreciate this arrangement that was placed in April.  These flowers will remain there until mid-November when the cemetery removes all flowers in the vases and puts the vases upside down so that way they don’t get water in them and freeze in the Ohio winter.

(Photo taken by staff at Glen Haven Cemetery, New Carlisle, Ohio on May 3, 2012 and emailed to Wendy Littrell, address held for private use).

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Last fall while I was looking at and for headstone photos and entries on Find A Grave, I decided to put in a request for photos of my great-grandparents’ graves in Pendleton, Indiana. A very kind lady answered my request immediately. Not only did she take photos of the graves of Melissa (Goul) and Frank Blazer but several of Melissa Goul’s family members. She also went to the library and dug up some information to send to me.

A Pendleton newspaper account from October 1873 mentioned that my 2nd g-grandfather, John Blazer (father of the Franklin Blazer from above), died on August 27, 1873 being between 69 and 70 years old. Remarks by family members that were overheard by John’s brother, Samuel Blazer, caused him to approach the coroner, G.W. Maynard, with his suspicions that John was poisoned. The newspaper did not reveal the first name of the Blazer who Samuel accused. That accusation led the coroner to request an exhumation of John’s remains. After which the contents of the stomach were sent away for testing. At some point later, another Pendleton newspaper account mentioned that no poison had been found. The officials did have a problem though – who was going to pay the $350 for the doctor’s bill?

Analysis: The information giving the name of Samuel as the brother of John Blazer was one more piece of corroboration that I had been researching the “correct” Blazer family.

Another Pendleton newspaper article dated September 25, 1903 reported that Franklin’s brother, George Blazer, committed suicide by ingesting poison.  (Note: the article has misspelled the surname as “Blazier” – however, even my maternal grandfather, whose mother’s maiden name was Blazer, often spelled her relatives’ names with an “i”.)  This article gave several pertinent pieces of information:

  • George’s residence: 610 West 12th Street in Pendleton, Indiana.
  • Past occupation: Drayman.
  • Character: he had taken to drinking “hard” and become despondent.
  • He was married and had “several” children.

Apparently, as reported, George had purchased 10 cents’ worth of carbolic acid from a drug store after he had gone to the meat market for steaks.  It was also mentioned that he had threatened suicide a number of times due to his despondency.  On the day of the suicide, he and his son had an argument while his wife went to cook the steaks.  It was during the disagreement that he took out the bottle and “threw the acid down his throat before he could be prevented.”  The dr. was called right away but George could not be saved.

Documented information about George:

  • George is 5 years old, living in his parents’ household (John and Mary Ann Blazer) in the 1850 US Census.  They are residing in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  The record shows that George attended school within the year.
  • In the 1860 US Census he is found at age 14 living in his parents’ household (John and Mary A. Blazer) in Fall Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana and had been in school within the past year.
  • The 1870 US Census shows G.W. Blazer living in Anderson Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  He is age 26, a Farmer, lists a value of real estate as $1200 but nothing for personal estate, born in Indiana, and a male citizen age 21 years or over.  Living in the household are wife Amanda, daughters E.J. and M.M., son J.W., and three other people (M. Judd, A.M. Judd, and Jas Webb).
  • Two headstones in Grovelawn Cemetery in Madison County, Indiana list sons of G.W. and Amanda Blazer.  One is for John W. Blazer who died on December 24, 1874 age 4 years, 10 months, 6 days.  The other is for James Albert Blazer who died on June 3, 1876.
  • The family is still residing in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana for the 1880 US Census.  George W. Blazer is 35 and married.  His listed occupation is Teamster.  Also in the household is wife, Amanda, daughters Estella and Margaret, and a boarder, William Caton. 
  • In the 1900 US Census, George Blazer continues to reside in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He is 55 years old and lists his birth as Sep 1844 in Indiana.  He has been married 37 years.  His occupation is Day Laborer but he has been unemployed for 2 months.  His wife Amanda lists her birth as March 1845, age 55, mother of 4 with only one surviving.  Also in their household is their grandson, Willie, age 15 born June 1884 in Indiana.  He is also a day laborer but had been unemployed for 3 months.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

A Pendleton newspaper (handwritten on the copy was 7-30-97) lists the account of the suicide of John Blazer.  He was the oldest son of Franklin and Melissa, born on September 17, 1859.  He married Sarah Manis on January 2, 1897 in Madison County, Indiana.  The newspaper account states that his wife sent a telegram from Knighstown, Indiana – where they resided – to a family named “Lawson” that “Johnny shot and killed himself” that morning.  The short article concludes with the information that he was “well known.  He was an erratic fellow” and had “considerable trouble in court.”

Documented evidence for John Blazer:

  • He was listed in the 1870 US Census living in his mother’s household (who was a widow by then), in Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana at age 11.  He was listed as born in Indiana.
  • At age 21 he is still living in Melissa’s household in the 1880 US Census in Stony Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana with his birth listed as Indiana.  His occupation is a farmer.
  • The index to the Marriage Record of Madison County for the years 1880-1920 lists the marriage of John F. Blazier (notice the “i” in the surname again) to Sarah E. Manis as January 2, 1897 on page 352 of book 6.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

Observation: John and Sarah were married not quite 7 months when he committed suicide.  No children were born of this union.

It is very sad that two members of this family chose to end their lives rather than face whatever caused them such turmoil and despair and a third member was thought to have been poisoned by another family member.  I often wonder what circumstances surrounded this branch of the Blazer family that created such suspicions and desperation.

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As I did further research on my BLAZER line this past weekend, I went to Find a Grave to check out any new submissions that might help. There weren’t any recent postings so I decided to submit a photo request for the grave of Malissa Goul Blazer, my maternal g-g-grandmother. On the request form, I also asked for pictures of other BLAZER or GOUL graves located close to her’s.

Imagine my surprise when I received a notice that someone had accepted the photo request and had already taken pictures of the graves!  Not only did this wonderful Find a Grave volunteer post Malissa’s – but also other Goul and Blazer stones.  She also found Malissa’s husband’s stone – Franklin Blazer – my g-g-grandfather!  I was very thrilled to actually be able to see that on Franklin’s stone, the inscription listed him of a child of J & M Blazer (John and Mary).  That is what I had discovered but it was great to have further confirmation of that!

A day or two passes when I received an email from the kind woman who had posted the photos.  She had gone to the library to see if she could find more information about Franklin for me.  Unfortunately, she didn’t find any but she did find some articles on the deaths of two of his family members.  She is mailing them to me so I am very excited. 

Have you performed a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness lately? Or at all?  How many people have offered to help you?  Have you sent an email or posted a message thanking those who have helped you? 

And to all those who have helped me – if I haven’t said it lately – thank you very much!

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The marker for my maternal grandparents – Glen and Vesta Johnson.  They are at rest at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens, New Carlisle, Clark County, Ohio.  I took this picture on May 13, 2009 after my mother’s graveside service.  It had rained on and off that morning – so the dark spots on the marker is rainwater.  The inscription reads:

   Vesta C.                                              Glen R.
1898-1984                                       1898-1985

                      Together Forever

                             JOHNSON

The symbols are for Eastern Star and the Masons.

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They are buried in the Veterans area.

At the edges of the family plot are markers with the initial “J”.

Next to my grandparents is their baby daughter, Lois Evelyn, who died at 6 weeks of age – due to being premature and not being able to gain weight.

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Also buried in the family plot are my mother’s brother and his wife.  The picture below is of my grandparents’ marker after I put flowers in their vase.

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Rest in peace, my family.

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This is the very small family plot for George Washington Littrell, his wife – Kitty O. Blakely – and their young daughter – Annie Elizabeth Littrell.  The plot is now located on privately owned land in Chariton County, Missouri outside the city limits of Mendon.  Luckily, the owners are aware this is a family plot and allow the family to visit the small burial ground.  George Washington Littrell is the 2nd great-grandfather of my husband.  He was born in 1828 and died just prior to turning 40 years old in 1868.  Kitty was born in 1837 and died at age 42 in 1875.  Little Annie was born in 1863 and died two years later in 1865.  They parented many children who went on to produce many descendents.

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The first time I visited this sacred place, weeds had grown tall and obstructed the stones and littered the ground.  My husband and I went back later to clear it all away.  Each summer when we visit, we try to make sure the cemetery is cleared of debris and weeds.

Most of my husband’s other ancestors, uncles, and grandparents are buried in Mendon City Cemetery located just next to his parents’ home.  My children have visited that cemetery each year and taken countless photos of all the headstones. 

Photographed by Wendy Littrell in July 2002.  Digital photo owned by Wendy Littrell (address for private use).

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Gravestone of Sarah C. Wilt born to Israel Isaac Wilt and Christena Nash on Oct. 16, 1859 in Indiana.  Married John Hofherr Aug. 16, 1894 in Delaware County, Indiana.  Mother of Bertha May Hofherr Pierce.  Died Aug. 27, 1928.  Buried at Hawk Cemetery near Yorktown, Indiana.  Survived by husband, two sisters, four brothers and three grandchildren.  Sarah was my great-grandfather’s sister.

Photographed by Glen R. Johnson (my grandfather).  Original owned by Wendy Littrell (address for private use).

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My 2nd great-grandparents, Israel and Christine (Nash) Wilt.  Buried in Miller’s Cemetery, Middletown, Indiana.  Israel Isaac Wilt was born 20 June 1823 in Rockingham County, Virginia and died 11 Sep 1919 in Henry County, Indiana.  He married Christine (also documented as Christena) Nash, daughter of Alexander and Elsy Nash, on 5 Feb 1857 in Prairie Township, Henry County, Indiana.  She was born in 1837 and died on 18 Aug 1876 in Henry County, Indiana.

Israel and Christena had ten children – 6 sons and 4 daughters (Jacob Marion, Sarah Christina, George A., Alice Jane, Clement V., William David, [my gr-grandfather] Joseph Napolean, Mary L., Ida Belle, and Charles H.).  George A. and Ida Belle both died close to 2 years old.  The others lived to adulthood.

Tombstone Inscription:

WILT
Israel
1823-1919
His Wife
Christine
1837-1876

(Photograph taken by my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, in September 1959.  Original owned by Wendy Littrell.)

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