Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Take a Walk Through a Cemetery

I was on the road for work last week, working in the Montrose, Colorado area. They were long days working. We had most of one day off while at the location. During this time, some of my co-workers went skiing and some others went bar-hopping. Neither of these activities interested me so I relaxed in my hotel room for a while, working on my genealogy.

Eventually, the words of my wife came back to me. Get out for a walk! I definitely didn't want to be cooped up in my hotel room all day long and it was the first nice day since winter started. It was a perfect day for a walk. I walked around the outside of the hotel. It wasn't very pleasant with the sights being a parking lot, a grocery store and a highway through town. I needed to find a nicer place to walk. While finding a park would have worked, I figured why not get something accomplished while enjoying the outdoors? I brought up Google Maps and did a search for cemeteries near my location. Google provided me with Grand View Cemetery in Montrose. According to Find-A-Grave, it was about 44% photographed. It also had two photo requests. I drove to the cemetery with camera in hand and the names of the two photo requests in my memory.

It made for very nice scenery for a walk. I know many people think it's morbid to go to cemeteries if they're not visiting the grave of a loved one. Most of the time, a cemetery is in a tranquil, natural setting. Grand View was no different. It was on the top of a hill in the middle of town with a gorgeous view of the nearby mountains.

I started at the back of the cemetery and started taking photos of every grave. I kept the names of the gravestones with the photo requests in mind to be sure to note if I found them. Unfortunately, I did not find these graves. Even relatively small cemeteries in small towns have a surprisingly large number of headstones. I took just over 300 photos in about an hour and a half. According to Find-A-Grave's count of the number of burials in this cemetery, this is less than 10% of the stones. I'd have to be there all day long to hope to photograph them all.

Not long after I got there, a pickup drove to one particular grave. The driver got out and spent some time at the grave site. After several minutes, they got back in their vehicle and drove away. Not too long later, a woman rode in on her bicycle. She appeared to stop at the same grave site and spent some time there. A little while later, another vehicle pulled up to the same grave and just a couple of minutes after that, another car joined the first at the same location. This seemed to be an important day for someone in this cemetery.

I continued to take photos, working my way towards this grave site that had so many visitors that day. When no one was there, I walked to burial site. Now I understand why this site had so many visitors. This was a fresh grave. There was no grass over the actual burial site. The dirt was strewn with rose petals and there were several bouquets of flowers and small tokens of affection that obviously reflected the interests of the deceased. There was no stone yet set on the site. There was just a temporary metal tag stuck into the ground.

The deceased was someone who had died in January. The reason there were so many visitors had to be because this was the first nice day in this long cold winter since their death. I paused to pay my respects to the recently deceased and continued on, taking more photos.

The day allowed me a break from a very stressful period. It allowed me to work off some stress by walking but to also put life into perspective. Seeing all those that have already passed reminded me of the temporary nature of life and to enjoy it the best that you can.

Of the 300 photos I took, 60 of them were not already posted on Find-A-Grave. They are listed here. I'll create a link to those I found particularly interesting.

Bretherton, E J  102034893
b. 1844 d. 1914

Bretherton, Margaret J  102034891
b. 1847 d. 1936

Bretherton, Winifred E  102034890
b. 1880 d. 1922

Campbell, Infant  102020265
b. unknown d. unknown

Chaney, Charlie N  101986861
b. 1906 d. 1907

Chapel, Baby Boy  101995377
b. 1909 d. unknown

Chapel, Baby Girl  101995378
b. 1910 d. unknown

Chapel, Charles Cooper  101995373 - Charles' headstone is the headstone for the entire Chapel family.
b. 1876 d. 1940

Chapel, Darrel Dean  101995380
b. 1932 d. unknown

Chapel, Harriett Lilian  101995375
b. 1903 d. unknown

Chapel, Katherine Minnie  101995374
b. 1879 d. 1939

Chapel, Loy Edward  101995376
b. 1904 d. unknown

Chapel, Lulubel Agnes  101995379
b. 1913 d. unknown

Chapel, Mary Anne  101995381
b. 1936 d. unknown

Clair, William Thomas "Bill"  82478337
b. Jul. 9, 1936 d. Dec. 22, 2011

Coulombe, Esther Ives  50774657
b. Apr. 1, 1934 d. Mar. 1, 2006

Crepinsek, Bryan Eugene  16032590
b. Sep. 4, 1962 d. Oct. 3, 2006

Culbertson, Elizabeth D  102034939
b. 1852 d. 1914

Dillion, Lulu  104552934 - Her headstone is a very large sphere.
b. Oct. 23, 1882 d. Jan. 19, 1900

Dufur, Joyce  102020259 - Apparently a homemade headstone.
b. Jul. 19, 1934 d. unknown

Edmunds, Margaret P  101986635
b. Nov. 21, 1912 d. Apr. 17, 2000

Edmunds, Paul N  101986636
b. Aug. 10, 1911 d. Aug. 2, 1996

Foote, Alberta Mae  101986866
b. Aug. 24, 1904 d. Feb. 4, 1907

Foote, David M  101986862
b. May 11, 1856 d. Jan. 16, 1914

Foote, Lavina  101986867
b. Jul. 22, 1898 d. Apr. 23, 1907

Foote, Lilly B  101986863
b. unknown d. unknown

Gallegos, Clorinda  104884288
b. 1945 d. 1945

Gleason, Roger E  105087461
b. 1962 d. 1967

Grainger, Elsie Sullivan  102034809
b. Jan. 25, 1909 d. Jan. 12, 1990

Hayes, Lucretia  102020190
b. unknown d. Sep. 6, 1904

Heroux, Richard Leo  91711325
b. unknown d. Jun. 3, 2012

Hook, June Christine Frick  102020266
b. Jun. 25, 1876 d. Jan. 12, 1950

Hughes, Ruby J  101986775
b. 1899 d. 1995

Irwin, James  101987007
b. 1835 d. 1907

Krebs, Edward F  102020257
b. 1863 d. 1960

Lamb, Charles Auby  101986880 -
b. 1900 d. 1901

Lamb, Homer Allen  101986882 -
b. 1897 d. 1900

Charles and Homer were brothers. Their stone is in disrepair. I always make sure to photograph any stone that may not be there in the future.

Lamb, Kenneth A  101986878
b. 1902 d. 1968

Landry, Simon  96960733
b. Aug. 15, 1861 d. Dec. 15, 1940

Lucey, Laura  8110942
b. 1876 d. 1910

Miller, Jim, III  104884979
b. Nov. 18, 1970 d. Jun. 12, 1976

Neuner, Robert  75416160
b. 1887 d. 1969

Roatcap, Walter William  102073672
b. Feb. 3, 1892 d. Apr. 10, 1972

Schoonover, Bobbie Dale  124759592 - Bobbie's headstone appears to have been made by hand by someone close to the family, possibly his father?
b. Oct. 3, 1936 d. Oct. 5, 1936

Smart, James Lewis  101986763
b. 1919 d. 1921

Smith, John E  102020273
b. Oct. 30, 1878 d. Apr. 6, 1968

Smith, Mabel M  102020272
b. Jun. 4, 1895 d. Jun. 1, 1950

Smith, Myrtle Wallis  102020274
b. 1894 d. 1971

Somers, Rebecca Denee  105095755
b. Nov. 27, 1994 d. Mar. 30, 1998

Starns-Culbertson,  102034936
b. unknown d. unknown

Stephens, William A  102073671
b. Apr. 9, 1847 d. Apr. 10, 1920

Sullivan, Stella  102020357
b. Jul. 21, 1882 d. Nov. 15, 1918

Sullivan, Virginia  102020358
b. Nov. 11, 1918 d. Nov. 15, 1918

Thomas, Marian Foote  101986868
b. 1901 d. 1980

Thomsen, Ella June  101983749
b. 1923 d. 1924

Thomsen, Ethel N  101983771
b. 1894 d. 1962

Trace, Lola Belle  102020261
b. 1867 d. 1911

Williams, Harvey Lee  102073668
b. Dec. 15, 1933 d. unknown

Williams, William Arvil  101986773
b. 1885 d. 1918

Woods, Ramona Faye  101986789
b. Sep. 9, 1932 d. Aug. 5, 1998

These are a couple of the dozen or so wooden headstones. I wish we could read what was on them.

There were several other headstones that grabbed my attention that had already been posted to Find-A-Grave:
Samuel Earl - The headstone is crumbling

Ma and Pa Kettle

Fannie P. Kile - A homemade headstone

Juan N. Lucero - A homemade headstone
Lester Unrein - Another homemade headstone that appears to have been carved by hand.
These three photos are of one headstone.
It appears the person buried here wanted all of his descendants to have
their pertinent information carved into his headstone.

While I wouldn't expect someone to take time from their vacation or put off doing things with their family while away from home to do this, I encourage everyone, if you are on the road for work, with time to spare and nothing better to do in a town that otherwise doesn't interest you in exploring, bring up Find-A-Grave, find a nearby cemetery, take a walk and take some photos. Even if you're not on the road, find a cemetery near where you live that isn't 100% photographed and go on a photo walk there. Upload those photos to Find-A-Grave to get it closer to the point where all headstones have been photographed and put online. If everyone contributes a little, we'll get there before we know it!


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