30 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Clark's Pink Granite

Well, I warned you that I was going to be searching for a theme, since I had run out of Newaygo County cemeteries.  I will probably be having a jumble of assorted pictures from in and out of the county, some family, and some not.  But this week, the focus is some of the pink granite in Clark Cemetery.
Perhaps it is naive of  me, but I always think of granite, especially pink granite as being a more modern material for use in grave stones.  These stones all impressed me because, while being made of pink granite, for the most part, they also either are older stones, or replacements modeled after older stones.  The above picture is to far away to read the dates on the stone, or even names so I can look it up in our transcript of the cemetery.  However, it is rather tall, and massive, appearing to be a couple fee across and at least a foot thick.  I can make out there in addition to the decorative carving along the top, that there is also several lines of inscriptions.  Not a typical modern stone.  But as I mentioned, perhaps a replacement.
 This stone is for George O. Mena, son of Samuel and Jean Mena and died in 18 September 1889, at just over the age of 20 years.  I am unable to determine if his is the only name on the stone, but on the right side, you can just make out that it appears shiny and unblemished.   If this was erected my his parents, then it must be a older stone.  But the carving is so crisp and clean, it makes me wonder if this is just due to the durability of granite.
 Here is another heavy obelisk style.  Very thick, very massive.  Notice that the urn on top is still in good shape.  It also has the drapery over the back of the urn.  And again, the granite holds up well and the carving appears crisp, as near as you can tell from a distance.  Notice the other big stone, just a bit down the lane.  It is also pink granite, and you can barely make out from the edge that is is fashioned like a log on top, held up by a stump on this side, and presumably another on the far side.
 These three nearly identical sit under a large maple tree.  The grass is thin in these areas, and they are a bit stained.  But, pink granite all the same.  These do show their age a bit more, perhaps just from the discoloring though.  The middle stone, for Henry L Becker appears to show a death date of 1888, but our transcript says his reads 1870 to 1897.  The nearer stone for Isabelle M. Becker is dated 1867 to 1957 according to our transcript.  And the farthest stone for Isabelle (without an M.) is dated 1840 to 1936.  I wonder if these are all from the 1930's or 50's, since they are so much alike with the same scroll effect on the top. 
This last stone is the family monument for the Skeels family.  The road named for their family ends just across the nearby intersection, on the boundary between Muskegon and Oceana counties.  One of my family stones is shaped similarly to this one with its stacked logs, although, typical of my family, ours has nothing is engraved on the large flat area of the scroll.  This has very clear engraving, and even the palm fronds are crisp.  I am fairly sure that this is a later addition to the family plot.  This same area has individual stones for Flora daughter of R. W. and L. Skeels, who died 21 June 1968, as well as one for Myrtie M Skeels, whose stone is dated 6 October 1882 to 12 August 1883.  The military flag and only other stone visible in this picture is apparently for Rufus W Skeels (father of Flora?).  Our transcript has the dates of 9 August 1836 to 1 July 1907, with a handwritten addition of Co. H, 3rd Michigan Infantry. 
Pink granite was the stone of choice for my mother (who loved everything pink.) and was also used for my great- and great-great-grandparents.  Maybe I'll move on to those next week. 

27 November 2010

Obituary--George Wheeler Packard

Oops, I almost posted a repeat obit.  
So after scrambling around I found this one of an "aged pioneer" that hadn't yet been posted.

From the 23 January 1913 Fremont TimesIndicator

George W. Packard Died at the Age of 82 Years--Had Been a Resident of Newaygo COunty Since 1866

George Wheeler Packard, an old resident of this community, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. E. E. Vannoy, in the northwest part of this city, Jan. 16 at the advanced age of 82 years.
Mr Packard was born in New York state, October 15, 1831.  When ten years old he moved with his parents to Ohio, then the far distance west, much of the way through virgin forests and thence to Wayne county in this state.  When 21 years of age he migrated to Hillsdale county, making the journey from Wayne county on foot.
In 1866 he came with his young wife to Newaygo county, having been advised to do so by physicians, by home he was thought to have contracted consumption.  He her purchased 160 acres of uncleared land, which he proceeded at once to turn into fields of growing grain, on which he built himself a home.
He was married in Litchfield, Hillsdale county to Mary Waldo, who died in the faith of the Christian 26 years ago, since which time Mr. Packard has found his richest companionships with his children, who loved him tenderly to the end, even more than men and women with families of their own are want to do with a parent, four of whom were present to minister to his comfort during his last illness, and three of whom were at his bedside when the end came.  Never being of robust health, he was the constant object of solicitude to his family, and they never wavered in their devotion to him.  He is survived by six daughters and one son: Carrie E. Woirrol, Ravenna; Dora A. Hardy, Holland; Lilie A. DeBow, Washington; Mertie E. Parker, Dayton;Anna A. Vannoy, Fremont; and Hubert E. pastor of the Free Methodist church at Woodville.  As also by two brothers, Otis, Toledo, Ohio; and Stary, Baldwin, Mich.
Mr Packard was converted when 18 years of age, and upon moving to Fremont, united with the Methodist church at this place, being at the time of his death the oldest member of the church.  A memorial window in the church bearing his name and that of his wife testifies the interest he maintained in the church of his choice.  He was a faithful and constant christian, loved by all who knew him, for he, like his Master, was "harmless and undefiled."  He early cultivated an even and loving temperment, which did not forsake him, when "feebleness extreme" incident to old age advanced.
In the enjoyment of consciousness to the last, supported by promises of the Scripture, which he quoted, and exhorting others to seek and find the same footsteps he had found, he closed his eyes to the world scenes to open them in glory.
The funeral took place from the Methodist church at 2 p.m., Saturday, Rev. W. J. Cross officiating.  The body was interred in Maple Grove cemetery.

As so typical of the time, much is made of his faith and church life.  One thing I find rather interesting is that his physicians would send him to what was then a forested, and rather swampy land of virgin timber and cold damp winters, to help cure his consumption.  But then, he did manage to survive 47 years after coming to this part of the state, so maybe hard work helped him.

24 November 2010

Obituary--George O. Baker

This obituary caught my eye as it demonstrates both the graphicness of reporting in earlier newspapers, as well as the attitude of invincibility that is still so present in young adults today.  (As the mother of 2 twenty-somethings, I feel I have the right to attest to that fact.)  While I checked my spreadsheet to make sure I hadn't posted this obituary before, I noticed the only other Baker noted had the same name as George's father.  Sure enough, on 4 January 2010, the obituary of David Baker was posted.  At that time it was of note as the fathers passing left only 12 members of the GAR still in the community.   This obituary is just an example of how quickly a friendly outing can turn tragic.

From the 15 October 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Tragedy is Climax of Sunday Outing Near Grand Haven--Was Son of David Baker
 A tragedy, which cost the life of George O. Baker, 350 Pine avenue NW served as the shocking climax to a Sunday outing taken by a party of local young men to Grand Haven Sunday. Charles Nagel, 360 Grandville Avenue, SW, a long time friend of the victim, fired the fatal shot from a 22-calibre rifle.  Standing in a launch, he was shooting at a turtle, when Nagel shifted his position just enough to come within range and the bullet plowed its way through his neck, lodging in the brain.  Death was almost instantaneous.
John DeKruif, drug store proprieter, 855 Caulfield Avenue, SW; Albert C. Nagel, 219 Wealthy Street, SW; James De Loof, 1501 Lake Drive SE; and the two principals in the shooting comprised a party Sunday that left for Spring Lake to return with a launch by way of Grand River.  Albert C. Nagel had taken along his little rifle.  The men had expressed a desire to shoot turtles on the return trip and just previous to the accident Charles Nagel had killed one turtle and was shooting at a second.
Shot at Turtle
According to James De Loof the marksman had shot once at a turtle basking on a log and had missed.  For this he received the laughs of his comrades.  "I'll get him this time," Nagel said as he took careful aim.  The launch was proceeding up the river rapidly and this lengthened the distance between marksman and turtle every moment.  Every one in the launch craned his neck to see what success Nagel would have.  Maker, seated in the rear of the boat, apparently was in a cramped position and desired to shift about just as Nagel pulled the trigger, De Loof states.  Baker arose and his head came into range as Nagel fired.
The party steered to shore and notified a physician.  Baker was dead ten minutes after the shooting, however and the Grand Haven coroner was later notified.  The body was removed to the J.J. Boer morgue at Grand Haven.  The accident took place at a point near Robinson resort about ten miles from Grand Haven.
Were Lifelong Friends.
Baker was employed as an engineer for the Pere Maarquette railroad.  He was a member of the Elks and of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, holding membership in the local division, No. 286. He is survived by the widow and two daughters, who had accompanied him to Grand Haven Junction Sunday on their way to Muskegon.  It was there that they were told of Baker's death. 
Nagel feels the death of his friend very keenly and cannot be consoled.  Since boyhood he and Baker had chummed together and an extremely close bond of friendship exists between them.  Grand Rapids Press.
George Baker was the son of Mr. and Mrs David baker of this city and formerly resided here.  Mr and Mrs Baker went to Grand Rapids Monday to attend the funeral which will be held today in Grand Rapids.

I had suspected that the article had been reprinted from a Grand Rapids paper, since all of the addresses given were from Grand Rapids.  Such a sad story.  However one other thing about this article is that no age was given, nor date of birth.  This is one of the many obituaries that, as we update our new database of obituaries, we will not be able to include.  At least until we can make the birth date optional.  Hopefully this will be changed soon and we can have our online obituary database working again.

23 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Woodville Cemetery

This week, our focus is the last remaining cemetery of Newaygo County, Woodville Cemetery.  Located, appropriately enough in the small community of Woodville, near the township line. 
One of our lovely rural cemeteries, it appears very roomy. with a mixture of both new and older stones.  The earliest grave listed in our transcript is from 1895--P. Johnson.  Many though are from the 1910's and through current times.  I found the above bench/urn combination rather unusual.  And from this view, I am unable to see if there is a regular memorial stone, of if the name and dates are carved onto the seat or somethings.  Very unique.
Woodville also has its share of smaller, more modest monuments.  I don't know if there is also a stone coming for Basil, or if these are the only markers for his grave.  Perhaps why that is why the cemetery looks so open, if others had wooden grave markers that may have since vanished.
I always remember riding through Woodville, when I was very young, that the rolling steep hills made me think they were buried dinosaurs, long ridges that made me think of a reclining brontosaurus.  Ok, so maybe my sense of size and natural history were flawed, at least back then, but you can see in the above picture a bit of the rolling land of the "dinosaur hills" found there.  also notice the variety stones, and the cement border, although it does appear to be more of a retaining wall in this circumstance.
This shot is apparently of the newer area of the cemetery.  Most of these stones, even in the background seem to be more modern granite with none of the carved limestone monuments visible.
 I mentioned that P. Johnson was the oldest grave in our transcript.  Here is the stone for this person.  It doesn't state if  "P" was male or female, but born on 4 July 1846 and died 16 September 1895.  The picture engraved on the top seems to be a flower of some kind, perhaps a rose.  I am not up to snuff on symbology, so I don't want to hazard a guess.
 This is an unusual marker,  the block in the background I mean.  A nice square chunk of marble or limestone with a large block B on it.  And nothing else.  Is that separate from the cross that is covered in flowers, or part of the same grave.  I'm confused and full of questions. 
Here is another shot across the cemetery.  It appears that this is looking at the back of many of the stones.  The upright one just past the drive in the foreground appears to have a military plaque visible from this side. 
One final wide angle view of the cemetery.  This appears to be the back section, since the driveway curves here.  But also I notice that all the graves around this area seem to be older ones.  So rather than older, perhaps this is just off to one side.  Hmmmmm. 
As I said, this is the last of our Newaygo county cemeteries.  Next Tuesday, I will have to start on a new topic for Tombstone Tuesday.  Maybe some of my family stones, some of which lay just outside the county.  Maybe just some other cemeteries.  Maybe some nifty stones I've seen here or there. 
I guess you and I will just have to wait and just see where the Diva's land.

19 November 2010

Obituary--Mrs, Cody (Etta) Maxson

I've mentioned before how sometimes a person will have a regular obituary, plus get mentioned in one or two different community gossip columns.  This is one such case.  It probably helped in this case that she apparently died over a week before the paper came out, probably just missing the deadline.  That way everyone had time to get the details and write it up for the next paper. 

All from the 7 May 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

First the regular obituary.
Mrs. Cody Maxson
Mrs. Cody Maxson died at her home five miles south of this city Tuesday, April 28, after a few days illness from pneumonia.  She was 32 years of age.
Mrs Maxson, whose maiden name was Etta Manning, was born in the state of New York April 9, 1882, and moved with her parents to Coldwater Mich., in early childhood.  She made that city her home until January 14, 1909, when she married Cody Maxson.  Since that time Mr. and Mrs. Maxson have made their home on their farm south of Fremont.
Four children were born to them, three of whom died in infancy.  The surviving child, Kenneth, three years old, has been taken to Coldwater to make his home with his grandmother, Mrs. Charles Maxson.
Besides the husband and son, Kenneth, the deceased is survived by one sister, Mrs. Emma Kent of Jackson, and two brothers, Wm. Manning, and Dorsey Manning, both of Detroit.
The funeral services were held last Thursday afternoon from the Schenck schoolhouse, conducted by Rev. R. W. Paul, pastor of the Congregational church.  Interment in Bridgeton cemetery.
Those attending the funeral from out of town were Mrs. Emma Kent, of Jackson; Wm. and Dorsey Manning of Detroit; and Mrs. Chas. Maxson of Coldwater.

So much for the official obituary.  Here is one of the community notices about her death. 

Mrs. Cody Maxson, who was ill for a short time with pneumonia, passed away at her home five miles south of Fremont Tuesday morning, April 29.  Her name before her marriage to Mr Maxson, was Etta Manning.  She was the mother of four children, three of whom died in infancy.  She is survived by her husband, a son three years old, two brothers and one sister.  she was a kind mother and a good neighbor.  The funeral services were held at the Schenck schoolhouse Thursday, conducted by Rev. Paul, of Fremont.  The body was laid to rest in the Bridgeton cemetery.

Pretty much the same information, except this one says that Tuesday was the 29th, and the first one says the 28th.  Here is the final notice.

The funeral of Mrs Cody Maxon who passed away at her home in South Sheridan, was held from the Schenck schoolhouse last Thursday, Rev. Paul officiating.  She was laid to rest in the Bridgeton cemetery beside her three babies.  She leaves to mourn a husband, little son, one sister, and two brothers.  Her casket was laden with beautiful flowers, a tribute from sorrowing friends and relatives.

I get the feeling that this last one was written by a sympathetic friend, even if they did misspell the name.  The flowers, the mention of her three babies, it all has a touch of someone close to her.  And it is just a little different angle.  Those community gossip columns can sometimes give extra flavor to a cut and dried death notice.

18 November 2010

Obituary--MIner Vanderheide

One of the rather explicit obituaries so common in the earlier years of the local papers.  It has plenty of details plus local color.  It not only gives the details of his death, but also included are hints of the size of the town, compared to today, and some of the businesses at this time.  What it doesn't give are many personal details of his life, like birth date, and where he was born.  

From the 29 April, Fremont Times Indicator:

Miner Vanderheide Meets Untimely End When Horses Become Frightened By Paper in Street
Miner Vanderheide, age 32 was thrown from his wagon and instantly killed, the result of a runaway accident which occurred in the west part of the city Monday afternoon.
Mr. Vanderheide was going to the warehouse of the Co-operative Produce Co. with several cases of eggs and had reached the P. M. tracks when his team became frightened by a piece of paper in the street.  As the horses plunged forward the tongue of the wagon dropped and the animals became uncontrollable and ran toward the building of the produce company, where the wagon struck the platform.  The team then turned toward the street, the wagon striking a telephone pole, throwing the driver headlong over the front of the wagon with terrific force and killing him instantly.  It was evident from the marks on the body that the wagon ran over the head and neck of the unfortunate man.
The body was removed to the undertaking rooms of Scott and Crandell and was taken to the home Monday evening.
Mr. Vanderheide was unmarried and lived with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Vanderheide, three miles south and a half mile west of the city.  He was the only child
The young man was one of the progressive farmers of this community and had a large number of friends who will mourn his untimely death.
The funeral services will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock from the First Christian Reformed church.

The strange thing was that as I read this obituary, I could picture the exact location, and see the exact buildings.  The Co-op is still there--even the platform. 

And so are the tracks, busy today with box cars being loaded with shelled corn from the Co-op.  While they no longer handle eggs there, it is still a striving business.  So too is the now renamed Crandell Funeral Home, although that was moved west of town a few years ago.  Life in a small town, some things change a lot, and other things change very little.

16 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--White Cloud Cemetery--Up Close

This week we look closer at White Cloud Cemetery.   While it is active cemetery, with both old and new stones, as always, it is the older ones that draw my attention.
Here is the stone for Mary, wife of O. Plemon.  She died so young at age 22 years, 28 days on June 2, 1882, according to the inscription easily read from the stone.  However our transcriber must have been having an off day.  The transcript says 22 years, 5 months, 20 days.  Shows you must always double check the original source.
This is an impressive little monument.  Lennie T. Fox apparently died young.  Or so the stone implies to me, but the date is hard to read.  I would say this son of John & Emma Fox died on March 1, 1882, which is what our transcript says.  The transcript does not give any more of the inscription, which you can tell by looking was quite detailed.  I believe that it possibly says he was age 13 years plus.  I like the separate lamb on a separate little stone, that are both joined on the same base stone.  I don't believe I have seen a stone similar in construction to this one before.
I didn't realize when I was grabbing interesting pictures to post that so many of them were of such young people.  Here is the stone for John E. Bechtol, who died January 29, 1882 at the age of 12 years, 1 month, 2 days.  John's stone states he was the son of  H. S. & L. E. Bechtol.  There is much more inscribed on the bottom of this stone.  Apparently the transcriber here also did not want to be bothered with the fine details. I'm not sure how high this stone is.  To me it doesn't appear very tall, but perhaps there was also a top finial that is missing.  
This stone caught my eye with the picture.  I knew it was for a child, with the poignant engraved picture of a mother holding her child in her arms.  Ida Labeck was born April 20 1880 and died August 3. 1883.  Such a touching and unique stone.  I haven't seen one before with that picture.
Mabel L Charboneau has a obelisk type stone, with a finial that is clearly in a bit of trouble.  And once again, when checking the details on the stone to share, she is just a child.  She was the daughter of C. E. & G. G.  Charboneau and died June 15, 1880.  She was, as near as I can make out on the photo, just over 2 years of age at her death.
Again, clearly one whose life was cut short.  You can tell by the small stump that it was a child.  James H. Merrill died July 23, 1893, at the age of 14 years, 4 months and 3 days.  The stone is slightly worn, but it is clearly one of the wonderful tree stump style stones.  But can anyone guess what that is laying draped against the base of the tree, above the plaque with his name.  It just can't be a dead dove, can it?  That's what my eyes think they see.
And just to prove that indeed, older people do die and are buried in the White Cloud Cemetery, here are Norma and Harry.  The flowers hide the last name, but at least we can see that Harry survived to age 66, and apparently at the time the picture was taken, Norma was still going strong.  And isn't the depth of the carving of the picture great?

14 November 2010

Obituary--Lucy Utley (Mrs William)

This obituary has a much more formal tone than that of the previous Mrs. Utley.  While the previous one could almost have been written my old favorite Mrs Robertson, this is much more to the point.  Lots of details and official information is to be found here.  
But I still wonder how they were related--not siblings, perhaps cousins who married siblings or cousins.  There is that cryptic little note about Mrs L. H. Utley of Newaygo, but our previous Lucy has already been dead for several months at the time of this death, and besides, that one lived closer to Hesperia. 
Ah, the mysteries of old obituaries.  (Sandy just told me that every generation there were a couple of Lucy Utleys.  Just to make life confusing, no doubt.)

From Newaygo Republican, dated 14 Jan 1915:

Mrs. W. S. Utley Is Gone, After a Short Illness
The Death of Mrs. William S. Utley at five o'clodk the afternoon of January 6 came as a shock to her long time county friends. A week before the old lady had a stroke of paralysis, but rallied sufficiently to ally the immediate fears of her relatives.  Mrs. Utley would have been eighty years old had she but lived till April 27.
Perhaps no woman in the county enjoyed a more general acquaintance than did this pioneer.  Strangers who hear of her passing may be among those who stopped at the Utley homestead in big  Prairie, were entertained and then went on, without charge, often without question, for no house was ever more hospitable than this one.  Under the same roof Mrs. Utley lived fifty-five years, and only a year or so ago did she make her abiding -place wherever she chose among her ten living children--she lost two children several years ago.
Although Mrs. Utley, whose maiden was Lucy Gooch, was born in Northville, she was brought up in Grand Rapids by Webber Gooch, an elder brother, and there she went to school.  Her membership in the Universalist church was never transferred.  she was married to W. S. Utley in Dewitt, Clinton county, May 14, 1854, and her wedded life endured even past the silver anniversary, each succeding celebration bringing loads of friends from different parts of the country.
Amember of the W.C.T.U., it is recalled that Mrs. Utley invariable wore the white ribbon.  As a matter of habit she never used either tea or coffee.
Funeral services were held early Saturday afternoon from the Big Prairie church, the Rev. Daniel Truman officiating.  The interment was in Big Prairie cemetery, where the late husband of the departed and his first wife, own sister to Mrs. Utley are buried.
Ten children survive their mother, and these are: Mrs. Bert Douglass, at whose home the old lady died, and Mesdames Ralph Evans and John Dayton of Newaygo and V. F. Payne of Ramona; also Messrs. C. W., Irving S., Will and Glen W. Utley of White Cloud neighborhood, John Utley of Grand Rapids and Postmaster Chas. Utley of Stanton.  One brother, Luther Gooch is living.  Twenty grandchildren and one great-grandchild must be included.  Mesdames W. H. Eastman and C.W. Galer of Grand Rapids are nieces and Mrs. L. H. Utley of Newaygo is a cousin by marriage and connected also on her mother's side.
Genuine regret is felt generally for the loss of the kind and capable pioneer mother and neighbor, companionable and clear in mind and memory almost to the last.

I only have one comment.  What kind of paper today would get away calling the deceased, not once, but twice an old lady in the obituary?

12 November 2010

Obituary--Lucy Ellen Gooch Utley (Mrs Ephriam Utley)

Today's obituary and the next one to be posted took some studying.  Both are for Lucy Utley, both Lucy's had a maiden name of Gooch.   Not the same person obviously, the second is listed as coming to the funeral of today's Lucy and died about half year later. 
Such was the peril of reusing popular names among family members.  Do you think the size of families contributed to it?  Favorite names were shared by cousins, and even siblings, after the first child with a particular name dies. (We will ignore the example of George Foreman and his children.)  Anyway, here we go with the first of the Tale of Two Lucys

From the 30 July 1914 Fremont TimesIndicator:

Lucy Ellen Utley, daughter of Mary and Stephen Gooch, was born at Farmington, West Virginia, May 8th, 1848.  At the tender age of six years she was left motherless.
She came to Clinton county, Mich., in 1854, making the trip on horseback with an uncle with whom she made her home.
She was married in Newaygo county on August 26th, 1866, to Ephriam Utley, who departed this life on October 4th, 1913.
The greater part of their married life was spent on their farm in Dayton.
They came to Fremont in 1898, which has been her home until her death, which occurred July 23, 1914.
Three sons, Ralph, Clarence, and Otto, one granddaughter, Mable Utley, one sister and one brother, Mrs. Wm. Leonard, of Fremont, and Raymer Gooch of Texas, with scores of friends she leaves to mourn their loss.
The funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at her home on Elm street.  Rev. R. A. Thibos, pastor of the Church of christ, conducted the services.  Interment took place in Maple Grove  cemetery.
The following from out of town attended the funeral: Mrs. Henry Barton, of Big Rapids; Mrs Lucy Utley and Mr Abe Hemiley, of Newaygo; Mr. and Mrs Walter Winters, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Utley, Mr. and Mrs. James Caldwell, Mrs. Addie Scott and son, Walter; Mrs. G. Eldridge and Mrs. Nellie Carlisle, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mills, all of Hesperia.

Not too flowery, with lots details.  I love obituaries with lots of names too.  Now if only it would have said how this other Lucy Utley is related. 

09 November 2010

Tombestone Tuesday--White Cloud Cemetery (AKA Prospect Hill Cemetery)

 I must admit that the first time I saw the name Prospect Hill Cemetery, my mind flashed back to to Old West and images of Boot Hill.  But if you look closely at the name over the door of the utility building, the alternate name for White Cloud Cemetery is indeed Prospect Hill Cemetery 
 White Cloud Cemetery is a large and well maintained cemetery on the western end of White Cloud, the county seat of Newaygo county.  It is near the high school and on the main road through and out of town if you area heading west.  Since it is a fairly large cemetery, (and since I only have one cemetery left in Newaygo County after this) I will do as I did with Maple Grove and split it into a couple weeks.  This week I will give more of an overview, with a look at specific stones next week.
White Cloud Cemetery is wide open, with a lovely rail fence and towering trees.  Oak mostly,
 The stones are also varied, both old and new, in neat rows: tall and short, massive and small.
 Some of the stones are very similar, as with these two above.  Nearly identical except for the names, both have a finger pointing to heaven.  They each have the same etching draped around the top of the symbol, but you can see the the longer name is in a curved section and the shorter one is in a small straight section.
You can see above the drive that separates the older section on the left with the large shady trees, from the newer section on the right.  Surprisingly though, there are still quite a few trees in the newer section.  And as you can see, not all the graves on the newer side are that new.  There is a fine obelisk shaped monument in the foreground, as well as some farther back.
Here is one more overview of the cemetery.  In the background by the sign and past the road, is St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery that extends up the hill.
Next week, I promise we will look at individual stones, and then after that, our last stop in the list of Newaygo County Cemeteries.

05 November 2010

Obituary--John Rynberg

These residents who were born in the Netherlands are just way too easy to find in our older books.  As may be surmised by the number of survivors, there are still many in this area who have that name. 

From the 9 November 1916 Fremont TimesIndicator:

John Rynberg was born in Berta, in the Province of Gronigien, Netherlands, on June 21 1842.
He was a member of a family of 13 children.  He remained in Holland until he was 19 years of age, when he came to America and was located at Drenthe, Michigan.  Here he was engaged in farming and carpenter work.  In 1868 he was married to Clara Mast.  To them were born 10 children, all of whom are living.
In 1892 he moved to the present farm home, four miles north of Holton.  Here he died on October 29, 1916, at the age of 74 years, four months and eight days.  He leaves a widow, six sons and four daughters who are: John Rynberg, of Grand Rapids, Bert Rynberg, of Reeman, Mrs Thayer Hill of Hesperia, and Jacob Rynberg, Joseph Rynberg, Peter Rynberg, Matthew Rynberg, Mrs Claude Markley, Mrs Will Nichols and Grace Rynberg, all of whom live near Holton, Mich.
The funeral services were held from the Holton Baptist church Thursday, Rev. Wm. Kuipers, of the Second Christian Reformed church, Fremont, officiating.

And from a gossip column in the same issue is this issue is this listing of some of the friends and  next of kin, who attended the funeral.

John Rynberg and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Bert Wynhoff, Mrs. G. Toppe and daughter, Kate, of Grand Rapids, were here last week to attend the funeral of John Rynberg, Sr.  Others here were, Mrs. Fred Heistje , of Holland; Mrs Herbert, of Dublin; Henry Dorncot, of Detroit; Peter Kok and wife, of Zeeland; Mrs Hilbert Kok, Garret and Albert Kok and K Mast, of Drenth, and Bert Hazekamp of Muskegon.

You gotta love those old community gossip columns in the old papers.  Where else can you get such information as this?  Sometimes they report who came to dinner, and other times, they talk about weddings and births and such that are not mentioned elsewhere.  A great source of information. 

03 November 2010

Obituary--Cornelius VanZomeren

Another of our area pioneers who, born in the Netherlands, settled eventually in the Fremont area.  So typical of those early pioneers, who were active in the Christian Reformed church, and in their farming community.

From the 27 January 1916, Fremont TimesIndicator:

Cornelius VanZomeren was born in the Netherlands December 7, 1847 and cam to America when a young man, settling in Kalamazoo, Mich.  In 1873 he was united in marriage to Betsy Vandewalker.  In the spring of 1883 he moved his family to Fremont, settling on a farm in Dayton township, one mile east and three miles north of this village.  He passed through all the hardships attendant on the clearing up of a large farm and the making of a home, but he was possessed of unfailing courage and indomitable will power and in time became one of the most prosperous and progressive farmers of Dayton.  In 1903 the farm was sold and a smaller one purchased in Sheridan, one mile south of the city.  This was sold in 1906 and he moved back to Kalamazoo, where he died January 21, 1916, at the age of 68 years, one month and 14 days. 
Mr. VanZomeren was the father of 11 children, eight of whom, with the widow, survive him, namely, Nellie, Dick, Abraham, Grace and Mrs. G Broekema, of Kalamazoo;  William of Detroit, and Mrs Steven Schreur and Lee of Fremont.  He also leaves six grandchildren, two brothers Leonard, of Kalamazoo, and Dirk, until recently residing in Fremont, now of Walker.
Mr. VanZomeren was a member of the Christian Reformed church and was always willing to give both time and money to the furtherance of the cause of the church.
Funeral services were held at the home, 136 Johnson St., Kalamazoo, on Monday Jan. 24, conducted by Rev. S. Eldersveld, paster of the First Christian REformed church.
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the remains were brought to Fremont and services were held at the First Christian Reformed church at 1:30 p.m., conducted by Rev. H. Keegstra.  Interment was made in Maple Grove cemetery.
Besides the members of the family from out of town who attended the funeral were Dirk VanZomeren and Mrs. Jennie Zuidyk of Walker and Rev. John VanZomeren, of Grand Rapids.

I like the bit this obituary tells about the early farming life and "the hardships attendant on the clearing up" of a large farm.  Nowadays with the open fields, and very large farms, with only smaller wood lots and marshes, it is easy to forget that when many of these settlers came, this area was a both tree covered and often marshy.  Without the heavy equipment used today, much work was needed to make the land suitable for farming.

02 November 2010

Tombstone Tuesday--Whipple Cemetery

 Whipple Cemetery is located in northern Newaygo County, in the northernmost tier of townships, and on the border of the two townships west of  of the county's center line, on a local gravel road.
 In spite of the rather remote location, it appears to be a very well maintained cemetery, and while there are many older stones, there are also many newer looking stones.
 And I like this picture.  Water is available, but not without some work.
Here you can see what must be a newer portion of the cemetery.  Most of the stones you can easily see are more modern granite.  Notice that there are many plots with borders.  Even that single grave in the foreground is bordered.
 The Moote family have five family members in their plot, although in this picture only one newer stone is visible.  You can clearly see the border that surrounds the plot in the front of the stone.  The Moote family graves date back to 1881, and are as recent as 1947.  And do you see the purplish haze above the stone, near the branch?  Perhaps one of the family members popped up to see what was going on.
I don't notice any signs of vandalism in any of our pictures.  Many of the pictures we have show stones in good repair.  This stone still has the fragile finial in the shape of an urn on the top.
Here is another group shot of graves. A substantial border for the back group, and a very large rectangular urn, still with geraniums blooming.  The main problem many of these graves face appear to be lichens.  Many are not readable, and in many cases, lichens and discolorations seem to be the problem.
This stone simply reads Clarence J. with the dates 1853 - 1909.  Who was this man?  What was his story?  Was he a logger with no family?  A stranger who came by, and passed away?  Or did his family stop, but not stay.  Apparently someone has maintaining this grave, as the died back plants and the little picket fence area attest to.
RIP Clarence, and all who rest here.