Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Speaking of Cemeteries

I draw the line at looking for tombstones for people who aren't dead yet. One old couple we know arranged for the their burial plots to the extent that they already have the headstone in place ready for the burial. Unfortunately (?) they aren't yet occupying the site. There graves are planned for cemetery in a small town in Utah and as we drove by, my wife suggested that we visit their graves. I balked. I said it is only proper to at least wait until they are dead.

I was doing a scanning project at the Mesa City Cemetery and noticed a new grave site right next to the Cemetery office. I commented to the Cemetery workers about the new grave and was told that they had to dig up the person that was there so they could have the new burial. Apparently the newly deceased either had a more prominent position in the City or more money, but they threw out the former inhabitant of the grave.

One time we were on a rather long hike, looking for a mine in the mountains near Mesa, Arizona and found evidence of a small cemetery. The place we found probably had a name, but none of the graves were identified and only one or two were marked. I wonder how many of us are descendants of these poor unfortunates who lacked any kind of burial remembrance?

Sometimes looking for gravemarkers turns up more than we have bargained for. I was once wandering around in a cemetery looking for relatives when we ran into one of the groundskeepers. He not only told us where the graves were located, he showed us a list of everyone buried in the cemetery and told us to visit the cemetery's sexton, in an office in the town. We went to the sexton's office and he had a copy of a book containing all of the early births and deaths in the community. No one, outside of his office, would even know of the existence of this book.

After searching in a very large municipal cemetery for relatives, I found the grave marker for one of my Great-great-greatgrandfathers. When we checked in the cemetery office, we found that the date of his burial was nearly fifty years after he died. We subsequently found that he and his wife had been dug up two times previously and moved, first from a cemetery in the middle of the town and a later one that had been gobbled up by development in the big city nearby.

Some of my relatives are buried in a small cemetery in a town called Joseph City, Arizona. This town is in the middle of a vast desert called the Colorado Plateau where the wind blows almost every day of the year and the temperature is over 100 degrees in the summer and 20 degrees below zero in the winter. Every time I go there, I always ask the same question. Why on earth did they stop here? The story is told that my Great-grandfather and his wife upon arriving at the spot now called Joseph City, just kept driving in their wagon until forced bad by a snowstorm. They stayed there for the rest of their lives.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that’s intriguing. But, I find it impressive that the cemetery has a long list of those records about not just your grandpa but, all the people who were buried there. Because of those records, you were able to learn about your grandma and grandpa’s death and the story of their burial. Nice! It’s really interesting.

    Loria Schleiff