Sunday, December 27, 2009

Janet Gould, DAR Marker Dedication

This very unassuming stone belongs to Janet Williams Gould. If you walk past it at the cemetery it is just one of many graves, row after row. Under the ground rest a lady that is one of us. A historian, a researcher, and a genealogist.
Janet Gould was known as the “Duchess” in Corona. She came from an old eastern family who were prominent in Missouri’s history. She continued the history when she came to Corona as Mrs. Walter Dean in 1910. Mr. Dean died in the flu epidemic in 1918. Janet remarried to Chester Gould.
The Duchess did many years of research into the history of the area which is now Corona, CA. She studied the Luiseno Indians who first inhabitated the land. She marked historical events and drew attention to the landmarks. She spoke at many groups in Southern California. She wrote plays and articles for newspapers. When she passed away she donated her many years of work to the Corona Public Library. It is called The Janet Williams Gould Early California Collection. The scope of the collection is amazing.
She joined the Daughters of the American Revolution on January 6, 1903 in Missouri and continued her activity in the Aurantia Chapter when she moved to Corona.
On January 6, 2010 the Aurantia Chapter of the DAR will be marking her grave at 2:00 in the afternoon at Sunnyslope Cemetery. All members will be dressed in Colonial clothes to proudly honor this remarkable woman.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Final Resting Place

Henry Harrison Anderson died on the morning of his 52nd birthday at his home is Corona, which at the time was called South Riverside. It was January 20th, 1892. According to the obituary, “The service at the church being finished the casket was taken to the carriage and the funeral procession quietly formed and proceeded to the ten acre orange grove on Main Street owned by Mr. Anderson and there his body was deposited for the present until the new cemetery is laid out.”

The old cemetery had flooded so the people that died between cemeteries were buried wherever it was convenient. Many were reburied in the new cemetery as soon as possible. However Mr. Anderson seemed to be missing. Just before Memorial Day following his death there is a column in the paper that reads “After the services at the church the comrades will form a line and with the children and friends will proceed to the grave of Comrade Anderson and decorate it with flowers.”

From this it appears he wasn’t yet moved to the cemetery. I also could not find him anywhere else. Every time I passed the ten acre lot that he once owned I wondered if he got left there. I conjured up all sorts of scenarios. In the old handwritten log of residents at the cemetery there is one Anderson, a common name to be sure, with no first name, no death date, but the comment “removed to LA.” Could this be Henry H. Anderson? It does seem that he was moved to the cemetery and again from the cemetery.

In the course of another long search, conducted by Glen Roosevelt, who seems to always find his man, he was finally found in Los Angeles at Rosedale Cemetery along with his family. (The photo above was taken by Glen Roosevelt)

He was buried three times that I know of. In 1907 he went to his Final Resting Place.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mary Nasson...York, Maine

Her Epitaph

Here liest quite free from Lifes Distrefsing Care, A loving Wife A tender Parent dear Cut down in midst of days As you may see But - stop - my Grief I soon shall equal be when death shall stop my breath And end my Time God grant my Dust May mingle, then, with thine.
Sacred to the memory of Mrs. MARY NASSON, wife of Mr. SAMUEL NASSON, who departed this life Aug. 18th 1774, AEtat 29.

On a town corner in York, Maine is an ancient cemetery which simply beacons you in. I had a great desire to stand at each stone for several minutes and imagine what their life might have been like.
One grave is beautiful, but has been clouded with a terrible rumor. The grave of Mary Nasson is said to be haunted and that Mary was a witch. She was not a witch; she was a lovely lady whose family loved her very much. The rumor of her being a witch was thought to be started in order to bring tourists to York, Maine. Her grave is covered with “wolf stones” which is said to have been placed to keep her body from rising up and roaming the town. In actualilty wolf stones were probably placed on most of the graves in the Old Burying Ground at one time. A wolf stone is a large flat slab placed over the body between the head and foot stones to keep animals from digging at the graves. The term comes from Europe where they were used to keep the most common animal, wolves, from disturbing the graves.
Her husband must have loved her so much. The carving on her stone is of a beautiful woman, the folds of her dress form wings on her arms. Her husband placed the wolf stones on her grave because he was moving to Sanford, ME and couldn’t care for her grave. He wanted it to be protected forever.

Friday, October 16, 2009

14th Annuel Cemetery Stroll

Our 14th Cemetery Stroll is just a week away. We have had so many themes is the past. We portrayed people who lived on Grand Blvd. , shop keepers, churches in early Corona, and early trustees of the cemetery to name a few. This year we are portraying Civil War soldiers that are buried in Sunnyslope. Surprisingly some are from California.
Most people do not associate California with the Civil War, but the state played a very important part. Some regiments were assigned to protect the Overland Mail routes. Other regiments got gold to the East to keep the Union effort going.
Researching for the Stroll uses every genealogy skill I ever learned. From pouring through newspapers, searching census records, ordering military papers to interviewing knowledgeable people that can provide information to add life to the research. The history of our ancestors and our town can often be found in the cemeteries!

I have had so much fun with the research. Also I bought a real mourning bonnet from the civil war period, made a crocheted black purse and shawl that is period authentic. I can't wait to wear them.

If anyone is near Corona, California please come.
Information about citizens from past strolls can be found at

Sunnyslope Cemetery Stroll

Our 14th Cemetery Stroll is just a week away. We have had so many themes is the past. We portrayed people who lived on Grand Blvd. , shop keepers, churches in early Corona, and early trustees of the cemetery to name a few. This year we are portraying Civil War soldiers that are buried in Sunnyslope. Surprisingly some are from California.Most people do not associate California with the Civil War, but the state played a very important part. Some regiments were assigned to protect the Overland Mail routes. Other regiments got gold to the East to keep the Union effort going.Researching for the Stroll uses every genealogy skill I ever learned. From pouring through newspapers, searching census records, ordering military papers to interviewing knowledgeable people that can provide information to add life to the research. The history of our ancestors and our town can often be found in the cemeteries!
I have had so much fun with the research. Also I bought a real mourning bonnet from the civil war period, made a crocheted black purse and shawl that is period authentic. I can't wait to wear them.
If anyone is near Corona, California please come.Information about citizens from past strolls can be found at

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For Dog Lovers Only

At Green Mount Cemetery in Monpelier, Vt I found Ned the Dog. Ned was the only child of Fred and Hattie Stevens. He lived from 1875-1894. Ned was a lovely Spaniel.
Although it is now illegal to bury a dog in a people cemetery at one time it was not. My daughter in law did a research paper on War Dogs and found many buried with their masters.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Travel Log: Bennington, Vermont

More Smiley Faces!!!

Just love these faces. I read a story, although not at this cemetery, once about two engravers who engraved the faces determined on bets if the person was going to heaven or hell. Now I can never see a face without thinking of that. This was a great cemetery. The Old Church was opened with visitor guides, postcards and pamplets. That is what I call a perfect cemetery. There are many Revolutionary War soldiers, town founders, POWs, and Robert Frost are all buried there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Travel Log: York Village Burying Ground, York, Maine

The best graveyard. Old stones. Interesting stones. Ancient stones. You could get a collection of "smily faces" from this grave yard.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Gravelly Graveyard

The Gravelly Graveyard, also known as The Old Wooley Cemetery,or the Metedeconk Burying Ground is a 100 x 100 lot according to the sign posted before you get to the cemetery. I want to call it sweet, although that is not a good description of a cemetery. It is surrounded by a white picket fence. There is a gate that seems to welcome you in. You can read a marker that lists all the residents of the cemetery that can be identified. This is the oldest cemetery in Brick, New Jersey.

My brother in law told me that the local story is the first person buried there was a man that was found washed up on the river bank and his pockets were very heavy with gravel. They didn’t know who he was so they buried him right there where he was found. It was not meant to be a cemetery at first but about 75 people are buried there.

It is listed on Find A Grave , and

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Travel Log: Greenwood Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Gettysburg was wonderful. Very interesting. But I was most fascinated with the cemetery next to the Military Cemetery. It is called Greenwood and it was started in 1854, several years before the Civil War. The Thorn family were the caretakers and they lived in this house pictured. Peter Thorn signed up for the Civil War and went away to fight, leaving his very pregnant wife to take care of the cemetery. Little did they know the biggest battle was going to take place right near their own home. Elizabeth Thorn, her little son and elderly father were left to bury the soldiers that were dying by the hundreds.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Travel Log: Portageville Old Catholic Cemetery

Portageville, New York is where my great grandparents lived. This is the original Church of the Assumption Catholic Cemetery, now known as the Old Catholic Cemetery. The last time it was used was in 1903. The transcription done in the 1930s comments that it is a well tended cemetery. Now it is marked with stone leaning this way and that. Many are buried half in the earth. Many are toppled with inscriptions that face the ground.

This is the one cemetery I would be willing to restore if I was young and strong. I feel as though I know some of the people because I have read the church records and census so many times. I am pretty sure that my Great and GGreat Grandparents knew many of these people.

The cemetery is in a hollow. It goes down hill toward a forest of trees and appears dark because of the trees. It definitely could be in a picture representing a spooky story.

Hubby gave me a split second to run around and take pictures. I took a picture of every stone that was readable while the wind blew and the rain started. I will be posting them to Find A Grave later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Boys will be boys, even at the cemetery

In the 1950s boys were not playing video or computers games on a nice sunny day, or even an awful winter day, they were playing in the cemetery. What better place to run and hide, to taunt and tease and to tell secrets. But most of all to scare each other!

A crowd of boys in Johnstown, Pa always knew where to find one another….it would be at the cemetery. This was a very old one, especially to 10 year old boys. Very old, therefore the most scary. The stones marking the dead ones are all catawampus, many are very low in the ground, some are tumbled over, probably many are hidden underground along with the bodies.
There was a flood here in 1889, a very big flood, one that every school child knew about. It was at this cemetery that the landscape was washed over. This is at Sandyvale Cemetery, where many cemetery residents were also victims of the great flood.

From the Sandyvale Cemetery website the history is briefly told:

"Sandyvale is a pioneer cemetery that was developed by the Horner family and used by many first families when the City of Johnstown, Pennsylvania was established in 1800. The veteran's graves date from the Revolutionary War through World War II. Sandyvale has been a part of the fabric of the City and region for over two centuries. In the early years it provided a gathering place for many community civic and social events. It was a beautiful green spot in the pioneer days but with the industrial era and the development of the steel mills and plants and the birth of the railroad access to this industry, it came to be an area that was isolated and forgotten, sustaining extensive flood damage and neglect for many years."

This group of boys made memories here, ones that are remembered 60 years later and have been retold many times.

When new kids came to town they would be enticed to join the gang at the local cemetery. There they would be told ghost stories, chased and de-pantsed, Yes (is that a word?). As the new kids would be running someone would surely pull off their pants, toss the pants high into a tree, perhaps not to be found again. After all the scary stories, the new kid might not want to look for them.

The poor child would be left to either search for his pants or run home with no pants on. Once a kid had his pants torn off and he had no underwear on!!!

I learned of this story from a John, a man that I met at jury duty. When he was a kid the cemetery was neglected. Researching the cemetery today indicates that there are some great plans to make it a beautiful place!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Are The Chosen

My co-grandma sent this to me. I haven't seen it before but
I think it is beautiful and perfect.
We Are The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to
find the ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell
the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead,
breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers
of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!" So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood
before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the
ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us."
How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there
was love there for me?
I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. I goes to who am I and why do I
do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost
forever to weeds and indifference and saying,
"I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone
and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about
it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how
they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their
hardships and losses, their never giving in or up, their resoluteness to go on and
build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep
us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were
doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to
give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as
far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might
remember them. So we do.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence because we
are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell
the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to
answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and
old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we have
never known before.

Author Unknown

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Biking to the Cemetery

Today my husband rode his bike from our house in Corona to the Riverside National Cemetery. He said it was about 35 miles. There are lots of ups and downs on the road to get there.

It is funny that I keep coming across some type of transportation in cemeteries. On Friday a friend and I went to search some cemeteries around the Inland Empire. One of the workers told us that a fellow was buried with his motorcycle. The bike was set in the ground as though he would just get on it and ride. He took us over to the grave and it looked ordinary from the top. He told us that when he had to dig a grave nearby parts of the bike was rusty and fell into the next spot.

Not too long ago I found a interesting postcard with a car in the cemetery.
I have also seen tombstones with motorcycles engraved in them. In San Diego there is one with airplanes on it.
I have also seen pictures of a horse drawn buggy bringing the person in to the cemetery.
This is becoming a theme.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

People at the Cemetery

A cemetery with live people! There must be a story here. This is a private postcard, not a clue as to where. From the clothing it must be at the turn of the 1900s. Can anyone create a short story to go with this?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


When I'm dead and gone from you darling, When I'm laid away in my grave, When my spirit has gone to heaven above, To him who my soul will save; When you are happy and gay once more, Thinking of days that have been; This one little wish I ask of you, See that my grave's kept green. Oh, the days will come to you darling, When on earth no more I'll be seen; One sweet little wish darling grant me, See that my grave's kept green.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cemetery for Sale on EBay

Ebay item

The cemetery is registered as “Old Green River Union Cemetery”, but is known locally as the Woodsonville Cemetery. The cemetery is included in the deed with the other property. The buyer will be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery. It has always been understood that any resident of Woodsonville would be allowed to be buried free of charge. The cemetery is basically full; there is room for the few people who have made prior arrangements with us. The buyer must be willing to agree to allow those individuals to be buried free of charge.

At the entrance to the cemetery are a set of old church steps. This is the location where John Hunt Morgan was sworn in. See the following website for more information:
Note from Diane: I am Wordless.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Florence, Arizona

Cemetery Kit---NOT

Photo: Florence, Arizona. Looking at the grave of Margaret Truman, born and died 1900. Butte View Cemetery

I did it all wrong.

I am always talking about the cemetery kit. What should be in it to keep you safe and to make the best use of your time at an unfamiliar cemetery. But this one day, on a quick turn-around trip with a friend to Arizona, I had nothing with me but a water bottle, camera, and three friends. At least there was four of us in case anything happened and each of us had a cell phone.

There is no excuse for a Rabbit to be so unprepared. So I offer none. However, I learned a lesson. No matter where I am going I will bring my kit with me. There will always be a cemetery somewhere on the trip. (Note: Also look at the Graveyard Rabbit July Newsletter for kit information.)

Here is The Wright Kit
First aid kit, sunscreen
Water (to bring out the inscription) Dirt also works great, just rub it in. (Tip from Monica)
Towel (To sit on, to wipe off, to swat)
Soft brush
Cardboard (to shade from the sun)
Mirror or foil (to reflect the sun) Jean Hibben uses a cheap cookie sheet.
Bag for trash (make it better than when you arrived)
Clipboard/paper/pencil (to remember)
Old credit card (world’s best scrapper)
Hiking stick (to keep balanced, to push away branches, to poke at the ground)
Scissors (to trim grass)
Cell phone

Another confession: I had on sandels and a black short sleeve tshirt. But it was 115 degrees, I should have been naked! (Seriously, wear a long sleeve shirt and sturdy shoes)

I am happy to report that there is a Historical Cemetery Project to get this historic cemetery cleaned up.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Devils Diciples

As I took this picture it was 115 degrees in Coolidge, Arizona. Would it be reasonable to say that this is a good place for these guys to be buried?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cemeteries and Me!

..............And a note from my genie society..............

Greetings members and friends of the Corona Genealogical Society. Hard to believe that July is almost over! The first Monday of August is just a few days away, meaning that we are about to join together, again, to learn about researching our ancestors and discovering more about our family history. This coming Monday, 3 August, we will be hearing from our own Diane S. Wright, who has a rather extreme love of cemeteries, as you may well know. She has walked across cemeteries from one side of this country to the other! Her appreciation and respect for the graveyards is something I am very impressed with. Her program for us this time is titled "The Armchair Tombstone." I know that she will be giving us some valuable information about researching in graveyards, but I quite suspect we will have a few laughs along the way! Bring your friends to share in this unique "cemetery visit"!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lucy and the Ghost

The mailman delivered the military records for Joshua Countryman the other day. I was so excited that I got Lucy in the car and off we went to Sunnyslope Cemetery. She always goes with me on short rides. We went to Sunnyslope so I could talk with Joshua. I hoped maybe he would give me some inspiration on what to write about him for the upcoming Stroll.

Hank, my beloved boxer, use to go with me but after he passed away the torch went to Lucy. As she jumped out of my blue Volkswagen Beetle she ran right pass Joshua and went to the grave of Andrew Wheaton. She sat down, looking very alert and would NOT leave. Of course I could not get her to tell me what was going on. She looked at me like I was the one that didn’t understand. The dog can’t talk to me and the dead won’t talk to me. What is a girl to do?

After we got home I did some more research on Andrew Wheaton. He is a soldier that needs his story told! He was wounded in the second day of the battle at Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Since he was hospitalized in one of the many makeshift hospitals around Gettysburg, it is possible that he was there for Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

Oh! what Andrew could tell us.

Thanks Lucy.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Fort Leavenworth is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery was established in 1827 due to the deaths of the soldiers who died of maleria and other deseases while assigned to Cantonment Leavenworth. It was declared a National Cemetery by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
Buried there are seven Confederate prisoners, the Fort’s namesake Henry Leavenworth, thousands of soldiers, many civilians and my grandfather-in-law Luther Wright.
Luther Wright fought in the Spanish American War in the Phillipines under Teddy Roosevelt.There are two cemeteries. One is the National Cemetery and one is Fort Leavenworth. Luther is at Fort Leavenworth on the base. My husband, who is the one that went there for me, said he passed through gates that MPs guarded. It made the cemetery feel more like a military base than the other Veteran Cemeteries that are just opened. If it had been a stage set it would give the feeling of military ambiance.
Luther is buried among thousands of other veterans. Rows upon rows. Just looking at the pictures all the stones look alike, except Luther stands out to me because I know Luther’s story. Each veteran has a story to tell. Will we ever be able to tell all the stories??

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

Fort Leavenworth is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery was established in 1827 due to the deaths of the soldiers who died of maleria and other deseases while assigned to Cantonment Leavenworth. It was declared a National Cemetery by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
Buried there are seven Confederate prisoners, the Fort’s namesake Henry Leavenworth, thousands of soldiers, many civilians and my grandfather-in-law Luther Wright.
Luther Wright fought in the Spanish American War in the Phillipines under Teddy Roosevelt.There are two cemeteries. One is the National Cemetery and one is Fort Leavenworth. Luther is at Fort Leavenworth on the base. My husband, who is the one that went there for me, said he passed through gates that MPs guarded. It made the cemetery feel more like a military base than the other Veteran Cemeteries that are just opened. If it had been a stage set it would give the feeling of military ambiance.
Luther is buried among thousands of other veterans. Rows upon rows. Just looking at the pictures all the stones look alike, except Luther stands out to me because I know Luther’s story. Each veteran has a story to tell. Will we ever be able to tell all the stories??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

William Wright, Kerrville, Texas-- Carnival for August

The August Carival is themed "Favorite Cemetery Photo." My favorite picture is a favorite because it is so personal.

This is my husband, David, cleaning the grave of his great grandfather William Christopher Wright. Every year he rides his Harley across the country. He never fails to stop in Kerrville, Texas to say "Hello" to GGrandpa and put flowers on the grave. Until he started visiting I am pretty sure that William hadn't had a visit in a hundred years.

I have spent at least 20 years researching this Grandpa. He was living in Missouri when he became very sick with TB. At the time it was thought that Kerrville, Texas had the right combinations to improve TB. So he went with his wife to live there. There was a street called Cottage Street where most TB patients lived. Cottages lined the street. Each cottage had a outside sleeping porch where it was thought that sleeping outside would improve your health. In this case it didn't help and he passed away. Annie, his wife, buried him here then returned to Missouri.

It is so touching to me that my big, rough, tough, Harley husband is so sensitive to his family and ancestors.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wooden Headboard

This is a old wooden headboard from the Sacramento Cemetery. It is circa 1876. At one time wood headboards were plentiful in this cemetery.
This is the first time I have seen a real one. There were some in the Salt Lake Cemetery but they looked like reproductions. This is REAL.
It belongs to Sophie K. Meiss. Her death date is listed as June 30, 1876.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sacramento City Cemetery, General George Wright

Here I am with General George Wright. I was so hoping that we were related. We are not. He graduated from West Point and is from a weathly family in Vermont. He was the Military Commander of the Pacific Coast during the Civil War. He was drowned at sea in 1865 and his body was recovered 6 weeks later.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Travel Log July 11, 2009

One day to rest up. Nate wanted to stay in and do nothing; I wanted to see the town.
There was a sign that said Fort Dent. I wanted to see that. Ooh, a fort, I love to look around old Fort’s. Well I found out it is only a park. However there was a man named Frederick Dent who was a colonial in the Civil War and a brother in law of President Grant. The park was named after him. So I went to the Chamber of Commerce and asked about it. She didn’t know a thing except it was a park. Then I asked the magic question “Is there an interesting cemetery nearby?” She knew, and had a map of two famous graves nearby. Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendricks! I was on my way. Jimi was close by so I went there first. When I arrived there was a funeral service going on so there were lots of cars. But it was obvious where his monument was. It is big and handsome. I pulled over to it and parked. As I was gathering my camera and note pad another car came up. They got out of the car and ran over to the monument. . Hendricks picture is carved in the wall and some of his music that he wrote was carved on another wall. The other couple appeared to be an older hippie couple along with a teenage son. The mom said out loud that Jimi would be happy if she smoked a joint in his honor. The teen son seemed embarrassed and told mom to please don’t do it here. It was hard to get pictures because the sun was out and bright and there were people around. Then another group came, a couple of guys, and they started taking pictures. Apparently Jimi gets lots of visitors. Of course, I always think there are so many silent citizens are here and Jimi gets all the attention. Finally I got some pictures but when I looked at them there is a glare and my shadow in all of them. I never was a fan but of course I heard of him. I use to have a friend who had the hobby of taking pictures of celebrity’s gravesites. I thought that was very odd, but here I am taking pictures too. I wonder if he got to Jimi’s grave. This man is dead himself now. I think of him so often.
The gravesite was very nice but the cemetery was, well, just a cemetery. With two exceptions, Jimi Hendricks, of course, and there was a beautiful Chinese pagoda. Really nice. It was red, bright red, and there were streams of blue water around the pagoda. It was really blue, like food dye blue. Surrounding the Chinese monument were many graves, some didn’t look like they were used yet.
Next I left on my way to see Bruce Lee. I met him one time in the 60s or 70s at a karate tournament. At the time I didn’t appreciate the talent of the man. I just went to the tournament on a date and didn’t know a thing about karate back then. The gal at the Chamber of Commerce said it was just 17 miles away, but it seemed like forever. You know how that is; when you don’t know where you are going it seems so far. Here in Seattle every drive is beautiful so the distance doesn’t matter, there are trees everywhere.

I enjoyed driving though the area I had to get to. It was near W.U. so there were lots of college students walking around and lots of shops. It reminded me so much of New Orleans around Tulane U. If the streets were narrower and it was hotter and more humid, I could have been in New Orleans. The area is called Capital Hill. Finally I find the cemetery and I was wowed! What a cemetery. Not as wonderful as Sacramento but it was great. Again there was nobody to ask where Bruce Lee’s grave is. I walked around everywhere, looked at many graves and wondered, I am always wondering about the people that are there. But without my handy dandy laptop and the internet I can’t find out anything. There are so many stories here.
Around one grave were several people that I assumed were visiting their loved ones. Another young couple was walking around too so I asked them if they knew where Bruce was. They pointed over to where the group was. When the first group left we all walked to the grave and took pictures.
Bruce and his son Brandon are buried side by side. The stones are relatively simple in a very interesting cemetery. After I took pictures I had the most fun walking around. I took lots of pictures. At one time I remember hearing that Kurt Cobain, who is also from this area, was to be buried at the same cemetery but the cemetery refused him saying that they had enough on their hands with the Lees, they didn’t want another celebrity. So his ashes were spread over a river.
When I was done with my sad photo taking in the cemetery I decided to walk around the nearby neighborhood. Not only does this look a lot like to New Orleans but somewhat like San Diego. There are hills, going up and down. The walking was for a younger Diane but I loved every moment even if I was huffing and puffing. Each house was partially hidden by tall plants and trees and flowers. Each one was different. There were Victorians, one painted lady, some simple clapboard homes, some craftsman’s, many that I think of as a farm house in the city. The neighborhood was just as exciting as the cemetery. I want to rent a room in one of these houses and write the great American novel!!!

Travel Log July 10, 2009

We drove all day. Didn’t see one cemetery. If I was alone I would have stopped at all the historical sights and look outs but Nate wanted to keep on going.
I have to tell you that I thought we were going to Vancouver, Washington. So I figured we would get there early and have time to look around town, then make some phone calls and plans for seeing some friends from my childhood. But for a very long and stupid reason, I found out, as we were driving though Vancouver, that we were going to Seattle. Oh well, I am known for just rolling with the punches, so we kept on going.
Along the road we saw a couple riding their Harleys with a sidecar on it. Guess what was in the sidecar? A great looking, handsome Boxer dog!! He was so cute. I always wanted to do that...ride on a bike with my dog along my side. Husband rides a Harley by the likes going dogless. Anyway, I was so concerned for the dog because he didn’t have a helmet on or goggles or a jacket. It could be dangerous. I wanted to take a picture, but driving along I couldn’t even get to the camera fast enough. I thought if was an artist I could sketch a picture of the sight. But forever it will be a Kodak moment in my head.
We got to Seattle late and drive around to find a hotel that we could afford and a restaurant we wanted to eat at. Our arrival time was 9:51 pm and I was asleep by 10:30.

Travel Log, July 9, 2009, Sacramento Cemetery

‘Got to the Old Sacramento cemetery. I took a lot of pictures but forgot the cord to get them loaded in the computer.

We started off at 9am from Corona, Calif. We filled our ice chest with drinks and snacks (trying to go on the cheap) and headed up the I-15 to the 210, then to the I-5 which we stayed on all the way. Nate started off driving, he says my driving is scary (but who taught him to drive?) We didn’t see anything eventful along the freeway except along the road in Northern California we saw one big fire. It looked big to us but people were zipping by without batting an eye (although it was difficult to see peoples eyes going at 70 mph).Not one emergency vehicle in sight
I keep worrying that we wouldn’t make the cemetery before it closed. But we arrived at 4:00pm. There was nobody to get a map from. No opened front office. I told Nate to drive around, we can get a feel for the cemetery then walk it. I saw a man walking around and I asked him if he worked there. He said that he volunteered. Oh! My kind of man! Of course I talked his ear off and he didn’t care one bit but did get me to his co-volunteer and she helped me out. She let me in the museum which was closed and gave me a pamphlet walking tour and some brochures and I bought every booklet they had. They have really cute T-shirts, but not one in my size (everyone isn’t a small, ya know). I thought about buying a smaller one and losing weight, but I paused long enough to come to my senses.

Nate took charge. He read the walking tour then drove to number one. We got out of the car and as I oohed and ahhed and took pictures, he read the narrative to me and went looking for number two. He is very good at finding the tombstones. Along the way there were so many interesting ones to look at. I get distracted so easily. OK, I know it is no Disneyland and I need to have more respect but there are so many things to learn about in the cemetery. There was all the California History I learned about in college right under my feet. Railroad Magnets, Governors, John Sutter, Jr., Donner Party survivors, pioneers, son of a U.S. President. What I liked most were all the beautiful stones. I am sure there is certainly a story about each one but I don’t know what it is. Oh! And there is a section of just volunteer fireman on a small hill, maybe a plateau, but it made it attractive and I wanted to see it.

I had Minda’s (Minda Powers-Douglas) book Translating Tombstones with me because I can’t remember anything. I was glad I did. There was a marker for a little girl with a hand pointed down. Shouldn’t it be pointing up? I looked in the book and it said “God’s hand reaching down to take soul to Heaven.” Isn’t that sweet for a child? I can imagine God’s gentle arms carrying the child back through the clouds to His home.

One of the signs told that the cemetery grounds are maintained by the city, but each plot is maintained individually. They ask for people that will adopt a plot. You can see that some were once lovingly planted but somehow have been more recently neglected, others look like they haven’t had attention is years and a few are kept up ever so nice.

It was a wonderful cemetery that deserved more time on my part, but as Nate kept reminding me, we are on a time schedule.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I Wanna Go!!

Why am I obsessed with news articles about cemeteries? I just am. My sister in law sent me this news story from The Wichita Eagle by Beccy Tanner. This reporter says “Sounds strange, but some times the best places to explore in Kansas are the cemeteries along forgotten back roads.” I need to introduce her to some Graveyard Rabbits!

She talks about so many places I really want to see.
At the Lincoln cemetery she writes about a tombstone shaped like a suitcase. It belongs to a traveling salesman. The epitaph says “”Here is where he stopped last.” That would make any GYR get out the camera!!
You can check this travel news story out for yourself.

I love to take the news stories and see what else I can find about it. There is more information from Rootsweb about the suitcase tombstone. It says here that it is so detailed that the keyhole is even perfect. I have to get to this one!

One cemetery she didn’t mention, and how could she mention them all? is Sunnydale Cemetery on Emporia in Valley Center. As far as I know there are no Civil War soldiers laid there, it is not a historical cemetery in the state of Kansas. But it is important in the Wright Family History. Many inlaws and outlaws and friends are buried there. From a California girl’s point of view it is the typical Kansas cemetery. The rows are wide apart because at one time they used horse and cart to mow. Also there is still a water pump standing. It was used before they got city water out to the cemetery.

How come it is that a cemetery a great distance away is so much more fun than the one just down the road? Maybe that is why I like news stories so much.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cemetery Road

I am finally on the road again! Well, I will be in a couple days. My son is going to Washington State for a job interview and I begged to come along. I am sure he really doesn’t want Mommy, but Mommy is good at pleading her case.

I love to travel. The open road and no responsibilities except where to eat and where to sleep.

But….I have a secret goal. I really, really want to go to the Old Sacramento City Cemetery. I have heard it is just wonderful, and it so happens that we drive right through Sacramento.

I named this blog Travels Wright because I love to travel. I thought I would be moving about and across the country covering cemeteries as though I were a news reporter. Oh the fantasies!

I broke the news to my son today that there was one stop I wanted to make. I told him that members of the Donner party needed a visitor. He used to be amazed at the Donner story before he grew up. Of course he figured out that I was talking about a cemetery. Also some governors are buried there as well as Captain John Sutter. Thousands of early settlers are buried there too. Some of the first interments in the City Cemetery are over 600 victims of the Cholera Epidemic in 1850. They say that the cemetery is designed as a Victorian garden.
I can’t wait to go.

But the best is yet to come. In October my husband and I are going to the New England states for two weeks. I am trying to be discreet about wanting to go to the cemeteries. It is hard to keep my joy tame. I bought a couple new books about New England cemeteries and now there are more than I ever dreamed of to visit.

Traveling! Oh traveling! If I could sing I would burst into song.”On the road again…..”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Annie. E. Wright for July Carnival

This was a fun challenge! Here is Annie Elizabeth Wright, my husbands great grandmother.
The best part of the story is of how I got the cemetery picture. Grandma Annie is buried in Dallas, Texas. I planned to go to the cemetery when I got there from California, but nobody would go with me. I was a stranger so I wanted someone to go with me. Nobody would go. I called the cemetery and talked to the sexton, a very nice man, and he assured me she was there and he would take me to the grave. But still nobody that I knew would go with me. I called the local police to ask if it was safe to go there alone. This is what I was told after alot of hemming and hawing: :"A white girl in a late model car shouldn't go there." Well, now I am scared, but I still wanted a picture.
So this is what I did. I mailed a disposable camera and a self addressed stamped bubble envelope in another bubble envelope to the cemetery and enclosed a small donation and a note to please take photos of her grave. In a week or two I recieved it back. This darling man took the whole roll, every angle possible of the stone.
Now I always think of that story when I think of Annie E. Hockenberry Wright.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Look at this postcard carefully. Toward the right are two men standing by an old car. Why do they have the car in the cemetery? This postcard was mailed in 1907. On the back it says
"Dear Mother,
Thinking you would like this scene I sent to town by Jesse last night and got it.
Some postcard history: In the lower left it is written "Published by E.E.N.Corn, pharmacist" Often the drug stores in small towns, would go around and take photos, make postcards and sell them in their stores. In larger towns there might be a postcard store that would sell not only postcards with images of their towns on them, but postcard albums, photo corners, glue or anything that would have to do with postcards. They also would sponsored "card parties." People would meet at the store, perhaps in the basement or back room, and swap postcards and show off what they have collected. Naturally, they would end up in the store to buy more supplies.
Barnes, Kansas is a small town of 150 people. In spite of the small population there are 5 cemeteries, however, two are private family cemeteries. Find a Grave has 85 postings at this graveyard. There is also a couple of family genealogy sites that post Maplewood Cemetery as the final resting place. Kenneth Rigel has posted several pictures of this cemetery.This little town has put together a great website. There is also The Barnes Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Kansas Rabbit

My husband is from Kansas so we visit there often. I do like it there, it is a big contrast to California.

So...I am trying an experiment. Lets call it a virtual experiment. I wrote a new blog and titled it The Kansas Rabbit. I noticed that there wasn't a Kansas Rabbit so I am going to hop to Kansas via my current collection and the web, with a occasional visit to the Sunflower State.

Please visit me at I can't wait to tell you Kansas Stories.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sunnyslope Cemetery Stroll Report

The Mourning Lady, and yes, I know sunglasses are wrong!

Our 14th Cemetery Stroll is underway. We have had so many themes is the past. We portrayed people who lived on Grand Blvd., shop keepers, churches in early Corona, and early trustees of the cemetery to name a few. This year we are portraying Civil War soldiers that are buried in Sunnyslope. Surprisingly some are from California.

Most people do not associate California with the Civil War, but the state played a very important part. Some regiments were assigned to protect the Overland Mail routes. Other regiments got gold to the East to keep the Union effort going.

Our final five are................
Josiah Countyman, 2nd Cal Cav, Company C
John L. Merriman, 2nd Cal Cav, Company E
Daniel H. Kathan, 2nd Cal Cav, Company K
Barnabus E. Savery, 24th Mass
Ethan P. Kidder, Ill 139th, Company E

It is a coincidence that three are from California. We just keep collecting all the soldiers, then we have to figure out a logistical route through the cemetery, after all it is a stroll!

There are some guys that I really want to research in more depth more but they are too close together or too far apart. Maybe there will be a Part Two since there are so many soldiers from the Civil War.

Real Civil War Re Enactors will portray the soldiers. Except for one soldier who gets me as his mother. It is selfish but I have to be there right in the middle of it all.

I have the urge to tell you all about it but then you wouldn’t come to the 2009 Sunnyslope Cemetery Stroll.

To see stories of past Strolls go to:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Funeral Cookies

Often funeral tokens were given as a reminder of the departed loved one. Sometimes it was gloves, sometimes a printed hymn. More often than not it was a cookie. A Funeral Cookie. Old cookbooks referred to them as seed cookies.
Molds were used to press images on the cookies. The most common was the heart meaning love, faith and hope. It could also have been the rooster, symbolizing The Resurrection. The cookies were so common that they were not noted and forgotten after several generations. The molds were used often and traded from household to household as they were needed.
Some wood carvers specialized in making cookie molds. Molds were also made of metal or carved from marble.
Sometimes the cookies were sent as an invitation to homes of friends and family. They would be wrapped in black ribbon or black crepe. Most often they were passed out as a reminder at the funeral. The cookies tended to be hard because they were not intended to be eaten alone. They were usually saved as a memory token, but if they were eaten, they were eaten by dipping into wine, beer or tea.
So where is the recipe you ask. I am still trying some out. They were like shortbread or sugar cookies, I have been told. Does anyone know of a recipe?
For more funeral recipes see my website

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Real Daughter, A Pioneer, a Saved Grave

This is everything I love. A Real Daughter of the DAR. A Pioneer that sacrificed, suffered and died for her beliefs and a grave that was saved.
My brother, Wayne Shockey, took this photo while driving through Nebraska. Thanks Wayne!

The Flag to Honor Veterans, Flag Folds

These meanings, not part of the U.S. Flag Code, have been ascribed to the 13 folds of American flags at veterans burial services:
1. Symbol of life.
2. Symbol of our belief in the eternal life.
3. In honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of life for the defense of our country to attain a peace throughout the world.
4. Represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for His divine guidance.
5. A tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong."
6. Represents where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
7. A tribute to our armed forces.
8. A tribute to the one who entered in to the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
9. A tribute to womanhood.
10. A tribute to father.
11. In the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
12. In the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost.
13. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust."

Friday, June 5, 2009

Postcard Collection Rural Cemetery at Poughkeepsie, New York

Began in 1853

"Rural Cemeteries" replaced church yards and family plots as the burial place of choice, and the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery was part of this revolution. Even though they were nearly always located near growing urban areas, these cemeteries were called "rural" because their carefully landscaped grounds embodied a respect for nature, and provided a respite from the chaotic bustle of the city.
The cemetery committee finally decided on a fifty-four acre parcel of land belonging to the estate of Supreme Court Justice Smith Thompson. This land forms the nucleus of the present cemetery.
The purchase of the land was made possible by sixty citizens of Poughkeepsie who invested $300 each and were given the option of either being paid back once the cemetery began to sell plots, or using the investment to pay for a family plot. The grounds were laid out by landscape architect Howard Daniels, and the opening ceremony took place on November 2, 1853. The Poughkeepsie Eagle newspaper described the opening ceremony in the following manner: "The day was uncommonly fine, the air salubrious, the ground dry, and all nature seemed to smile on the praiseworthy undertaking of our citizens in planning, laying out and decorating such a beautiful spot for a burial place."
At the website of the Rural Cemetery is a virtual walking tour and a video of what it looked like in 1938.
Information taken from

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Searching For The Old Cemetery

Once I asked a professional genealogist what was her best tip. Without hesitating she said “maps.” I have thought of her often as I have used several maps trying to locate the old cemetery in town. Maps and lots of clues from any source.

Kathleen, a fellow researcher, and I have followed every clue available. We have scoured the newspaper, the maps, the obituaries, the deeds in both San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Some written histories mention the old burying grounds briefly. Each word is a clue to us. “North of the depot”. “North of the tracts”. “On the bank of the wash”. “On the north bank of the wash”. “North of town”. The only thing for sure is that it is north.

The new cemetery was started in 1892, that is agreed upon by all historians and we found the deed for verification. With that in mind I checked the several transcribed projects to find any grave before 1892 in the new and current cemetery. They must have been moved from the old cemetery. I looked for the obituaries and almost without fail they say “burial at the cemetery north of town.” Apparently there was no real name for the cemetery. I picture the carriage carrying a coffin down Main Street to the makeshift cemetery, but then what? This ground is very hard because it is packed clay. I would hate to leave someone I loved in a makeshift grave “north of town.” A cemetery is supposed to be pretty and peaceful, with a fence around it and a caretaker. Corona, known as South Riverside at the time, was all scrub and desert back then.

My research tells me there were only about a dozen burials at the old cemetery. Then the floods of the winter of 1891/92 came. It rained so hard it was impossible to get to the cemetery (another clue?). Since it was on the north bank of the (Temescal) Wash, did the cemetery wash out or could one just not get across the bank to the cemetery? A group of citizens decided at this point to relocate the cemetery and form a cemetery association. This part is well documented.

In trying to locate the old cemetery, the route of the creek/wash/river has been changed. This is one more minor complication. Thank Goodness for the old maps.

I was hoping to find some articles in the newspaper that would describe carriages bringing the old burials to the new cemetery. Not a one. Wouldn’t that be noteworthy? That would be in the paper today if something like that happened. An aside: it sure would be noteworthy if horses and carriages went through town hauling old coffins down Main Street in 2009! I went through the newspapers several times and Kathleen went through several more times to make sure we didn’t miss anything.

There were also people that died after the flood and before the new cemetery was formed; these bodies were buried wherever space was available. Usually they were buried on their own property. The newspaper would indicate the location, such as “on the property of H.H. Anderson on Main Street” and state “deposited for the present.”

Still another complication: some persons that died before the formation of the present Sunnyslope Cemetery on Rimpau in Corona are found in the then new Sunnyslope cemetery, while others can’t be found anywhere yet. They must have been moved somewhere else, or they have no marker, or they were forgotten.

We may never find the exact locations of these displaced loved ones, but I can point with confidence as I drive down Main Street, north of the depot and pass the Wash and say “It is in this area.”

Of course it is most important to locate the people; their stories continue and need to be told.

I feel like I am on a treasure hunt!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Decoration Day

This is from my postcard collection. There is no writing on the back. It looks like two little boys dressed for Decoration Day and honoring someone at the grave. I have many questions. Is this in a cemetery? Is the grave still there? Where is it? Who is it? When, Where How and Why?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sunnyslope Cemetery Stroll, 2009

The 14th annual cemetery stroll is coming up again. Well…uh….not until October, but we are thinking about it and collecting information. This year we will commemorate veterans from the Civil War.
It was a surprise that this little town had so many veterans from that war, how did they make it to Corona? It seems that once you know about something, suddenly, you see it everywhere. There are Civil War veterans buried everywhere!
I want to share my adventure of yesterday. There is a soldier buried at Sunnyslope named John M. Crooks. He is buried near the road so I pass him all the time. Years ago, 1997 to be exact, Corporal Crooks was considered for the Stroll but he was found boring. As I put my feet on the floor in the morning I had a powerful flash of inspiration. John Crooks and his wife Emma deserve some honor. They had no children of their own so who is going to remember them. ME!
I went to the library to search the newspapers. After several pass throughs I found Crook’s obit. Uninteresting. I looked from the time he arrived in Corona to the time he died. Nothing. So many other small articles about minor things. So and So motored to Riverside. Anywho planted 15 acres of barley. Mr. Body had company from Los Angeles. But did John Crooks have any mention about him? NO. I re-looked at least three times. From his pension papers and his death certificate I know he was very unwell, so I am guessing he didn’t get out much. However, the Mrs. was mentioned once in a while about entertaining at her small home when she was a widow. She lived in Corona for 25 years after her husband died.
After hours at the library I came home to my faithful computer. I spent many hours researching anything I could find on the internet. I was able to find out a few interesting stories, but they are really back stories. Late into the night I put together pieces and made a script that I can do at the Stroll.
The long and short of it is this. Corporal John Maxwell Crooks joined the fighting of the War Between the States at age 18, served his country well. He lived for many years with lung trouble, deciding to move west in hopes of improving his health. He lived here for only two years and two months then died, but he has been buried in the same spot for over 104 years. Who has been to visit him? He is my special project.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Armed Forces Day at Riverside National

Today is Armed Forces Day so my sister and I went to Riverside National Cemetery. She is not a graveyard lover, although I keep trying to turn her into one. We had planned to walk around the cemetery to get our exercise but it was so hot we drove around and just kept getting in and out of the car to take pictures.

We also went across the way to visit the March Airforce Base Museum. I always wanted to see the War Dog Memorial.

Then the real reason we went to the cemetery is I was reading the Roll Call. Starting today, every hour, twentyfour hours a day, they will read the names of veterans until Memorial Day. All I can say is what an honor!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Emily and Anna Niles, Boston, Mass

I have had this picture by John Thomas Grant on my screensaver for a long time. Of course I often stare at it while I am working on projects always wondering about the names. The names have stories and are not just names. Finally I took action. These are two unmarried sisters, Emily Hale Niles (1839-1908) and Anna Hale Niles (1840-1911), in the background is the stone for their mother Mary Ann Hale Niles. Mary Ann was born in Boston. She married William Jenkins Niles. He was a broker and the owner of a livery stable.

Before 1870 they moved to a house at 110 Beacon Street, Back Bay, Boston. William and Mary and their daughters all lived in this brownstone until their deaths.

Emily and Anna were both members of DAR. Their Patriots being Jeduthan Richardson and Ebenezer Niles.
There is so much more to learn about these ladies but for now I am just using my imagination to reconstruct their lives. They are buried under these beautiful gravestones in Cambridge, Mass.

A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits