06 November 2010

She Led a Colorful Life

I photographed this tombstone in the Ferncliff Cemetery located in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio, on 11 September 2010.

The 21 December 2003 obituary (Springfield News-Sun, page 11D) of Martha Ellen Ringwald Downey Patterson states she was born 12 March 1914 in Anderson, Indiana, to Clarence and Corrine (Thompson) Ringwald.

She attended the Dayton Art Institute and had previously owned and operated Park Ave. Gallery in Dayton, Ohio.  Martha was a member of the Dayton and Springfield Museums of Art, American Water Color Society, Dayton Society of Painters and Sculptors, and Art League of Manatee County, Florida.  She had painted for President Richard Nixon, comedian Paul Lynde, talk show hostess Virginia Graham, and others.

I think this is a very appropriate memorial for someone who loved to paint.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

08 October 2010

The Presley Family

I have a long weekend between my Hampton classes. My sister flew in from Georgia yesterday evening and we are doing some sightseeing in Memphis and surrounding areas. We made a trip to Graceland today and took the tour.

There is a memorial to the twin brother of Elvis in the Mediation Garden, but Jessie is buried in an unmmarked grave in Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

03 October 2010

Life Among the Dead

This is Howard the cat. He is a resident of the 80-acre Elmwood Cemetery located in Memphis, Tennessee. I met him this morning while visiting the cemetery.

This cemetery is huge and I spent a couple of hours walking it and looking for interesting stones. There were a lot of them and some of my favorites are posted below.

Although Howard has lived in the cemetery for less than a year, I am sure he has seen a lot.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

20 September 2010

46 Tombstones

Located in Bethel Township, Clark County, Ohio, is the Clark County Home (or Infirmary) Cemetery. I photographed 46 stones that were marked with only an initial, surname, and year of death. There are a number of unmarked graves.
Using the FamilySearch Beta site, I was able to locate the death certificates for all the individuals that have a tombstone.
The youngest person buried there is a John Scanlon who had the alias of John Shannon. He died at the age of 24 due to a "fractured skull caused in a manner to me unknown," per the coroner.

The oldest person with a tombstone is a Jerry Morgan whose cause of death was listed as cirrhosis, hepatitis, and valvular heart disease.
Unknown was a man about 70 years of age who died of traumatism, shock, internal hemorrhage, broken left jaw, broken and dislocated left hip, and other injuries. His death was listed as a probable homicide.

I wonder how many of these individuals had family somewhere who never knew what happened to them? There is not much additional information on their death certificates (no dates of births or names of parents), but I am going to try to find out more about them.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

19 September 2010

Signature Stones

I came across these headstones recently in the Ferncliff Cemetery located in Springfield, Clark County, Ohio.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

10 September 2010

Founder of the Village of Jefferson, Madison County, Ohio

A small cemetery located not too far off U.S. Route 40 in Madison County, Ohio.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

14 May 2010

Gone and Almost Forgotten

Maybe it is because I am a genealogist, but I believe if there is a cemetery located on your property, you have a responsibility for its upkeep. It does not matter if they are your family or not. Unfortunately I recently visited several cemeteries located on land where the owners do not share my views.

The Huff Cemetery is located in Fairfield Township, Highland County, Ohio. According to my GPS coordinates, it was located off Bridges Road. As we were closing in on the location, we saw a barn and it looked like the cemetery should have been located somewhere behind it.

My companions for the day and I approached the house by the barn and spotted a lady in the yard. I asked her if she knew of a nearby cemetery. She asked me my name and why I wanted to know about the cemetery. I gave her my business card and told her why I was interested in the cemetery. She said her husband had wanted some farm land so they had purchased this farm and the farm behind it in 1983. She knew about the cemetery and said she had even done some research on it. I thought this was my lucky day.

She was caring for her 2 young grandchildren so the 6 of us went on a hike to the cemetery. She pointed out the area where it was located. The closer we got, the more discouraged I became.
We arrived at our destination. So, this was the cemetery. After a short prayer that I would not encounter any snakes, spiders, ticks, or any other undesirable critters, I made my way through the tall grass and weeds, being careful not to trip over fallen branches.
All of the stones we found were illegible except for one. This was the one for Eleazar Huff who died 15 April 1836.

As we headed back to the house, the lady pointed to a house in the distance and said that was the old farmhouse. It did not look old enough to belong to Eleazar. They had not done any maintenance there either.
After we returned to the house, the lady offered to show me her research. Another disappointment. She had a transcription from the Highland County cemetery book that I own plus a listing of the 1850 census showing the people who lived around her farm.

We thanked her for her time and I guess she noticed my enthusiasm had waned. She said maybe they should have kept the cemetery up a little better. Yes, they should have and hopefully it will be on their to-do list for the near future.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

09 May 2010

A Life Reconstructed from a Photo

On my recent trip to Ohio, I spent a day with my brother browsing antique malls in Springfield. He was looking for sports memorabilia while I was hunting for old photos and books. I found a number of photos that were labeled with names. One especially caught my eye as it had an address with a familiar street name, Belmont Avenue. Some of my Allen and Campbell lines either lived on that road or nearby.

The photo was of a Robert Gordon. It was dated 15 Nov 1894. I did a search for his death certificate on familysearchlabs.com and found that he died 16 Feb 1939 at the age of 80 years, 5 months, 26 days, and was buried in Newcomers Cemetery. This is the same cemetery where my grandparents, a great-grandfather, and many collateral relatives rest.

My next stop was the library where his obituary gave me more details about his life. He spent 61 years of his life employed, 31 years at International Harvester and an addition 30 years as a custodian at Lagonda Elementary School. Many of my relatives worked at International Harvestor and my dad attended Lagonda Elementary. Mr. Gordon was a member of the same church my family attended.
I visited the cemetery and found his tombstone. He is not buried very far from my grandparents. I wonder if my family knew his? If so, did my grandmother send one of her wonderful chocolate cakes to the family? He was survived by 4 children so my final step is to find a living descendant so I may send them his photo.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.

11 February 2010

Wild Horses, Ruins, and a Revolutionary War Soldier

Cumberland Island. Georgia’s largest barrier island. Dungeness Ruins. Thomas Carnegie Family. Marriage site of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jr. and Carolyn Bessette.

Last week, my daughter Kimberly and I boarded the ferry in St. Marys, Georgia, for a 45 minute ride to Cumberland Island. I had 2 goals to accomplish on this trip. First, I wanted to see some of the 150 or so feral horses that live on the island. Second, there was a cemetery located on the southern portion of the island I wanted to visit.

Just a short distance from the dock, we saw the first horse. Unfortunately this was the only horse we saw during our 4 hour visit.

A short distance from the Dungeness Ruins, I saw a wooden sign pointing to the direction of the cemetery. The Greene-Miller Cemetery is probably one of the smallest cemeteries I have ever visited.

I found a stone for a Charles Jackson. The inscription stated he was born in Newton, Massechusetts (sic) 23 April 1767. He was educated at Harvard College and was a Commissioned Officer in the American Revolutionary War. And for several years was a Counsellor at Law who died on the 25th Oct 1801 at the Mansion of Phineas Miller EsqR Cumberland Island.

Hmm, born in 1767 and a commissioned officer in the Revolutionary War. Even if he participated in the war toward the end, I thought he still was a little too young to be an officer. A little research needed to be done.

Charles Jackson was the fifth son of Michael and Ruth (Parker) Jackson. He was a fifer in Captain John Wiley’s Company(at age 10). Like his brothers, he served in his father’s regiment from 1777-1783 (8th Regiment, Massachusetts Line). He was commissioned as an ensign on 4 February 1783.

He graduated from Harvard in 1788 with his AB and his A.M. in 1796.

After the Revolutionary War, Charles served as the U.S. District Attorney for Georgia from 1797 until his death in 1801.

The Massachusetts Historical Society has 3 cartons of the Jackson family papers. Carton 2 contains information about Charles, mostly concerning his service as the District Attorney. He supposedly had a lengthy obituary published in The Columbian Centennial. I will have to obtain a copy of it as I am curious about his cause of death.

General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee also died on Cumberland Island and was originally buried in the Greene-Miller Cemetery, but that is another story.

@ 2010, copyright Yolanda Campbell Lifter.  All rights reserved.