21 September 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--St. Mary's Cemetery

St Mary's Catholic church was the first church built in Newaygo County, in 1851. A small cemetery is on the south side of the church yard. The church was abandoned in the 1940's as more people had cars and could travel farther to church. Later, St. Marys was turned over to the Newaygo County Society of History and Genealogy.
There have been burials more recently than that. I am not sure, however, if the cemetery is cared for by the historical society or by Croton township. At one time there was some disagreement over who had jurisdiction. I don't know how that was resolved.
This stone is for the Bruce family. Curiously, the transcript we have lists Donald, Donald, and Gallagher Bruce. Yet the only name clearly visible on the stone is Maggie. The smaller broken stones leaning around the base only have initials: JB, MB, and OB or DB. Due the rural setting of the cemetery and the age of the cemetery, there are many stones that have broken and/or been vandalized.
This stone is so sad. All the pieces there, the edges sharp and crisp. Clearly this was vandalism and not deterioration. The name here is Mighan. According to our "oh so accurate" transcript it is for Robert (1821-1873) and the epitaph is simply "Native of Kekenny in Ireland."
Another example of the damage of some of the stones. Broken in two, but preserved as best as possible, laid flat, and pieced together.
Here is another probable vandalized stone. In this case, the middle section leans against the back of the base and cap. I rotated the picture, zoomed way in and was able to read that the stone marks the grave of Annie G, wife of Robert J Herron 1836-1872. I first saw a picture of the other side of the stone, and remarked that it looked strange. If this stone was inserted, I believe the proportions would be much better.
Here again is another stone laid over, not broken, words still showing on the side and top. And the small stone leaning against the side looks so small against the base of the larger stone. Names here though I cannot make out.
This stone gives the name Harriet, wife of J S Ryan has Gorman on the smaller base. The small stone next to it has no name visible. Set in a well cared for, pastoral setting. In spite of vandalism, it is still a beautiful historic cemetery of Newaygo county.

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