Pine Hills Cemetery in Gowanda, New York. I was here a couple years ago. It is such a beautiful cemetery. There are other cemeteries nearby that I wished I had went to, but here is where many ancestors are buried. I got this postcard from the village historian, Phil Palen.
Here is an except from my journal:
Pine Hills Cemetery where the Bollers and Minekimes are buried. I was happy to see it. And it was lovely, many mature trees and birds chirping and singing and flying about. Also squirrels and chipmunks. After all, doesn’t every cemetery need a few squirrels and critters? The cemetery is so pretty. It sits on rolling hills just covered with trees. William and Barbara Boller have a very nice spot under a full tree. There is a Catholic section. Its center piece is a large crucifix over looking the graves. In one section you can see most the names are Polish, which is where Phil’s family is buried. He pointed out some of his family. The cemetery indicates that the whole town was, and is, very diverse. Italians, German, Poles, and Irish.
I really felt like we needed to have a picnic there. The cemetery has some open spaces that would be perfect to lay a blanket on and pull out McDonald hamburgers and a couple of large milkshakes! Of course in the Victorian times it was common to have picnics in the cemetery. They would have brought baskets of homemade foods such as breads, jellies, meats, cheese, fruit and homemade cookies.
To and from the cemetery Phil pointed out houses on the way. Some of the names were familiar. I have spent so much time looking in the census, and then the brief time in the museum and walking around the cemetery, they came to life in my heart! Phil said this guy was a doctor, or this person ran the glue factory or this person had a store.
Gowanda also has a cemetery walk. This year will be their second one. They hire buses to bring people up to the cemetery. They have actors, just like the members of Corona Historical Preservation Society do, to talk in the first person at the gravesite about their lives. Last year they had grave rubbings too. Phil said that would have been great, but the wind was blowing the tracing paper around and it rained a little. I told him if they ever decided to do the Bollers. I would fly out and portray them. Heck, I can be the real me and talk like their great granddaughter, because I am! But I love to get dressed up, so I would have to do that. After all I have all those costumes in my closet.