30 October 2012

Tombestone Tuesday: Cemetery Frustrations

One of things I find frustrating are buried and broken stones. 
Chief among these types of stones are my whole row of Gilbert family stones in Chase Cemetery, Lake County, Michigan.
Below is the second in line.  I have mentioned before, I think my frustrations with them.  To begin with, the stones for GGgrandpa Armenus and GGgranndma Adelia have no names.  Just dates with the inscription Mother (shown here--you will have to trust me.) and Father.  And as is the case through Ggrandpa Roy and Ggrandma Ada, and their oldest daughter Myrtle, they all have stones that a flush with the ground.  This picture shows what I have to contend with.  Being flush they get buried very easily.
Every year that I can get here, I have to brush back leaves, and try to trowel back the dirt that has started to bury the stones.  I skipped a year and the next year I was there, I couldn't find them.  So I must get there this spring and spend some time there digging them out.
This second stone is of the broken variety.
Very faintly it says wife of Oscar Averill.  The transcript for the cemetery says Oscar and leaves out the "wife of" part.  I was quite dismayed when I went looking for Oscar. 
 For a while I wondered if the stone for Minerva was the top half, but then I poked around the cemetery a little more.
 And there on this newer obelisk style stone for the Averill family was Minerva.
But on closer inspection....  No luck there either.  
Since Michael is, I believe Oscar's brother, I must continue to look.  And besides, I later found that Oscar's wife was Sarah, and no stone around there says Sarah.  
The search goes on.

26 October 2012

S(tuff) Happens

In current real life and in the past, s(tuff) happens.  Life here at our history center has been rather frantic, even since the Open House and Ribbon Cutting.
While those events went smoothly, we suddenly had to make sure some of the donations were scanned, as it turned out, they were not long term loans, but extremely temporary.   And that is where I have been, at the scanner, and away from the blog.  I truly hope that this will be the last hiatus for a long, long time. 
Donations continue to pour into the History Center, here in beautiful downtown Fremont Michigan.  Just yesterday, a member of Colonial Dames, who is cleaning house brought in a pile of magazines and books.  She is sorting and making sure when she is gone, things don't just get tossed, as the next generation is so prone to do.  So often we hear from visitors, when they come in to see what we do, say, "I just threw out a bunch of old (insert here: obituaries, clippings, newspapers, yearbooks, etc.) when cleaning out my mothers house after she died.
So why the picture of this stone for George Cunningham?  How does he fit the theme of this post?
George was the second (or third husband) of my 5th great-grandmother Mary Sitts, and their first born is my ancestor.  Mary let a wonderfully colorful life.  Captured by Indians from New York's Mohawk River Valley to Canada, she was raised by the family of the tribes medicine woman, possibly the chief's family.  She may have been paired with one of the tribe before being ransomed away by Colonel Nelles.  She was later married to his son, before running off with George.  See why I call her colorful?  After the death of George she remarried and lived a long full life as Granny Johnson, local medicine and herbal woman.  But I always considered the fact that she "ran off" with GGGGG-grandpa George rather romantic.  They were only married eight years before his death.  But such a tragic end.  He was helping at raising a building for a neighbor, when he apparently fell from the roof and died, leaving her with 3 small children.
Poor Mary.  As happens to so many people, now and then, when life seemed to be going along fine, s(tuff) happens.  But even when you think it is the end, life goes on.
And so it is here at the Wantz Historical Research Center.  Sandy and I never dreamed, when our funding was cut at the library, that we would continue on with this History Center being such a success.  We have been supported by the community and are thriving.  Even when things happen, sometimes you can still go along having a long full life, just like my GGGGG-granny Mary Sitts, (native), Nelles Cunningham Johnson.
So we also will continue here at the History Center.  Stop by and visit us.