Return to Nebraska: Visiting York’s Greenwood Cemetery, Part II

Today I’m going to wrap up this two-part series on York, Nebraska’s Greenwood Cemetery. We ended up spending quite a bit of time there because not only is it well cared for, there’s a surprising variety of things to see.

Like many cemeteries, Greenwood has 911 memorial, a sadly common addition in recent years.

Like many cemeteries, Greenwood has a 911 memorial. But this one has something many of them do not.

Like many cemeteries, Greenwood has a 911 memorial. But this one has something many of them do not.

Wyuka Cemetery (in Lincoln) also has a 911 memorial. Greenwood’s is different in one way. It features an actual piece of a metal girder that came from the World Trade Center wreckage. While Wyuka’s is much larger, the girders they used did not come from there.

Greenwood's 911 memorial features an actual piece of metal taken from the World Trade Center disaster.

Greenwood’s 911 memorial features an actual piece of metal taken from the World Trade Center disaster.

One monument I saw features a style I’ve seen in other cemeteries in other states. But it’s not one I see often. Cube-shaped monuments always puzzle me because they seem almost out of place in a cemetery due to their almost geometric coldness. The Tucker cube is fairly large and was carved from a colorful piece of stone. I can’t imagine how much it cost to purchase in 1924.

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It’s possible that James Tucker was a Mason, since they’ve always had a fascination with “sacred geometry” and its association with the Temple of Solomon.

One web site I consulted said the cube represents the earth and earthly existence.  Some monuments have a cube or square inverted to point the corners downward and upward. This illustrates earthly existence and the directions of earth and heaven.

A native of Illinois, James Tucker spent most of his life in that state. He served in the 11th Illinois Cavalry Volunteers, Company K, during the Civil War. This unit was organized in 1861 and was part of the action until the end of the war in 1865. The 11th took part in the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth, along with the Atlanta Campaign.

James Tucker enlisted in the 11th Illinois Cavalry Volunteers in the summer of 1861.

James Tucker enlisted in the 11th Illinois Cavalry Volunteers in the summer of 1861.

James returned to his father’s farm after the war. He didn’t marry Eva Nelson until he was 43 years old in 1887. Eva was 15 years his junior. By 1900, the Tuckers were living in York. They only had one child, Glenn. Eva died in 1909, only 11 years after he was born.

In 1910, James was stock farming while Glenn worked as a chauffeur for a local family. Glenn became a veterinary surgeon, serving in the U.S. Army during World War I in the Philippines and China. By 1920, James, Glenn and Glenn’s wife Lydia were living together in San Diego, Calif. James died in 1924. Glenn is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, Calif.

The type of cube-shaped monument you’ve probably seen that is much more common are ones like this. They don’t stand on their own but rest on a base or are part of the monument as a whole. It’s possible the same person who made the Tucker cube made this one as well.

The Fisher monument is a good example of what most cube-style markers look like.

The Fisher monument is a good example of what most cube-style markers look like.

One monument got my attention by the simple decoration of a small arrow. I thought it might just be an artistic flourish but I later found that it was much more than that.

Vinnie Harrison Cowell lived in York probably all of her life. She was the daughter of Kate Harrison. According to the 1885 Nebraska Census, Vinnie was living with her mother (a widow), a brother and a sister (who was listed as attending college). The Harrison name appears often in York’s history and I’m not sure how they’re all related.

Vinnie Harrison Cowell's monument could use some TLC. But the small arrow above her name is what got my attention.

Vinnie Harrison Cowell is buried among other Harrisons at Greenwood but how she is related to them is not known.

Sometime between 1885 and 1890, Vinnie married William Cowell. I could find nothing about him except that he contributed $250 toward the Methodist Episcopal College (also called Nebraska Methodist College in some texts) in York during the 1880s. Vinnie’s mother, Kate, contributed $500. From what I can tell, this seminary eventually became York College.

I believe Vinnie’s sister Anna may have attended the seminary but I’m not sure Vinnie herself did. The two were part of a group of women who unsuccessfully tried to start York’s first public library.

Vinnie, however, did have a small place in York history. She was among a group of ladies who were charter members of the Chi chapter of I.C. Sorosis, later known as Pi Beta Phi, founded at Nebraska Methodist College on July 5, 1884.

The small arrow under Vinnie's name has more significance than I first thought.

The mission of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women is to promote friendship, develop women of intellect and integrity, cultivate leadership potential and enrich lives through community service.

Pi Beta Phi was founded as a secret organization under the name of I.C. Sorosis in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois. It began to use Greek letters as its name in 1888. Pi Beta Phi is regarded as the first national women’s fraternity, starting when 12 female college students wanted to enjoy the benefits of a secret society similar to those formed by their male counterparts. Today, there are 208 chapters of Pi Beta Phi on college/university campuses across the country, with a membership of more than 300,000 women.

The arrow on Vinnie’s monument is the symbol of I.C. Sorosis. According to the Pi Beta Phi web page, the badge of I.C. Sorosis (chosen by founders in 1867) consisted of a golden arrow with the letters “IC” on its wings. Being a member must have been very important to her for it to be inscribed on her monument.

The arrow badge of I.C. Sorosis, the predecessor of the Phi Beta Phi women's fraternity. At the 1934 Yellowstone Convention, members voted to limit the links in the chain of the badge to 12 — one for each founder.

The badge of I.C. Sorosis, predecessor of the Phi Beta Phi women’s fraternity. At the 1934 Yellowstone Convention, members voted to limit the links in the chain of the badge to 12 — one for each founder. Photo source: Pi Beta Phi web page.

Sadly, Vinnie only lived to the age of 30. According to “The Arrow of Pi Beta Phi, Volumes 7-8”, she died of at her home of consumption (now known as tuberculosis). She is buried among other Harrisons at Greenwood, but I could not find a marker for her husband, William Cowell. Kate Harrison is listed as the plot’s owner but she is not buried there either.

The last monument I’d like to mention is not a traditional monument at all. It is more a tribute of a father’s love for his wife and two of his daughters. For years, its history was unknown until two students in the University of Nebraska School of Journalism became interested in the mystery in 1976.

According to Greenwood sexton Todd Gardner, the marker is maintained by a man who comes every year or so to visit the site and touch up the white paint that covers the tin.

According to Greenwood Cemetery sexton Todd Gardner, the marker is maintained by a man who comes every year or so to visit the site and touch up the white paint that covers the tin. At the bottom of the case you can see a small white picket fence on either side of the card.

Inside a tin and wood monument is a painting on tin of three women bearing a banner that says “We are waiting for Papa.” Beneath it, a small card reads: “This monument was made and placed here in 1898 by James Bauer, tinsmith, in memory of his wife, Theresa, and two daughters, Frances (Rice) and Rose (Marsden). Picture was painted by artist Mitchell Landusky, brother of Theresa Bauer.” Beneath that explanation, it reads “James Bauer—born Jan. 1, 1827, died—July 13, 1920.”

Theresa  Bauer, who is in the middle, died of gall bladder disease in 1895 (25 years before James). Her two daughters died before she did. Rose died as a result of appendicitis in Boston, Mass., leaving two children. Frances died after a miscarriage in Cozad, while still in her 20s, after bearing three children.

At some point after Theresa’s death, James asked his brother-in-law, Mitchell Landusky, to create the painting in memory of his Theresa, Frances and Rose.

For many years, no one knew the identity of the three women portrayed in this painting on tin.

For many years, no one knew the identity of the three women portrayed in this painting on tin.

A native of the Alsace region in France, James Bauer was born in 1827. Although Theresa was born in Alsace in 1832, the couple didn’t meet until they came to the U.S. James arrived in America in the 1850s. He worked as a tinsmith in Kentucky and fought in the Civil War as a second lieutenant with the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry.

According to relatives, Theresa was known in the York area as “Grandmother Bauer,” and was one of the few nurses in the area. She often traveled many miles to treat her patients.

James Bauer and his family moved several times before settling in Nebraska in 1871. Photo source: Wendy Redman Hudson, Find a Grave.

James Bauer and his family moved several times before settling in Nebraska in 1871. Photo source: Wendy Redman Hudson, Find a Grave.

Including Frances and Rose, James and Theresa had nine children. Birthplaces of the children, according to census records, indicate the family moved from Kentucky to Indiana, and back to Kentucky, before arriving in Nebraska around 1871. Homestead records show he signed for a claim on June 13, 1878.

After Theresa died, James lived in Benedict with the family of his daughter, Lulu. His granddaughters remembered him as a “rather crotchety man,” who still had a French accent although he had lived in the U.S. for more than 50 years.

Having spent several hours at Greenwood Cemetery (and at times being buffeted by very strong winds), Christi and I decided to head to our next destination of Grand Island. We did stop at one more cemetery along the road before we got there, but I’ll save that for next time.

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Return to Nebraska: Visiting York’s Greenwood Cemetery, Part I

Last April, I returned to Nebraska to visit my best friend, Christi, and we went on another road trip. You’ll remember we went on one the year before that resulted in some great posts for the blog. I’m just now digging into this more recent adventure.

Christi had a concert in Lincoln the night I was flying in, so I arranged to fly there instead of Omaha like I usually do. She picked me up around 10 p.m. and we drove west to York to stay overnight before hitting Greenwood Cemetery the next morning. FYI, this is different than the other Greenwood Cemetery I wrote about last year.

I often forget to photograph the cemetery sign but this time I remembered.

I often forget to photograph the cemetery sign but this time I remembered.

York is about 55 miles west of Lincoln (Nebraska’s capital). Greenwood Cemetery has over 10,000 burials. That’s about 3,000 more than York’s actual population. It is a very well maintained cemetery and even has a small covered area with a directory of names with grave locations, along with maps and brochures.

greenwooddirectoryA non-profit run cemetery, Greenwood is solely funded by plot sales and grave openings. It’s still an active cemetery. Currently, they’re raising money so they can replace the existing caretaker’s house, level some of the markers and remove then replace some dead/dying trees. They’ve almost met their $300,000 goal.

Despite the sunshine, it was an incredibly windy day. Here’s a picture of Christi fighting the gusts.

Even Christi struggled a little with the gusting winds that day.

Even Christi struggled a little with the gusting winds that day.

The first grave marker that got my attention was rather unusual. I don’t often see metal ones like this. It’s certainly different.

I think Gary is still alive and well at this time.

I think Gary is still alive and well at this time.

As far as I know, Gary is still among the living. There are no dates on the marker. I did Google his name and learned he works at an auto repair place in York. There are other Klundts buried at Greenwood. So it’s my guess Gary made this marker himself for his future burial.

Among the many things I noticed about Greenwood was the prevalence of organizational symbols, ranging from Korean War military service to the Woman’s Relief Corps. These symbols can tell you a little bit about the person buried next to it.

Here’s one I’ve seen a few other places but hadn’t taken the time to research. Back in 1895 when women couldn’t vote, couldn’t own property, and weren’t allowed to own life insurance, nine women founded Royal Neighbors of America (RNA). They were wives of men who were members of Modern Woodmen of the World (a popular fraternal organization).

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The Royal Neighbors of America was created by women to help women who (up until that time) could not get life insurance on their own.

The name Royal Neighbors of America was chosen because members adhered to the belief, “For better is a neighbor that is near than a brother that is far.” (Proverbs 27:10). They intended to be that helpful neighbor, combining the Biblical “neighbor” with the word “royal”, supporting their belief in the nobility of the work they would do.

One of the many Royal Neighbors of America members at a conference. This picture was taken of a group in Dorrance, KS in May 1910. (Photo source: Kristin Waitkus McDaniel)

One of the many Royal Neighbors of America camps. This picture was taken of a group in Dorrance, KS in May 1910. (Photo source: Kristin Waitkus McDaniel)

Like Woodman of the World, the RNA was a fraternal benefit society that offered life insurance to both women and children. RNA is still going strong today and in 2013, life insurance in force totaled over $2.7 billion. They also continue to help in times of need, such as during Hurricane Katrina, through its fraternal aid fund.

This double marker for a husband and wife looks pretty ordinary and I thought little of it when I photographed it. But the dates caught my eye months later. They both died in 1918 within a day of each other. It had to be the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Charles and Norma Mae Tharp died within one day of each other.

Charles and Norma Mae Tharp died within one day of each other.

A native of York, Charles Fay Tharp was an electrician (according to his World War I draft card). At the age of 27, Charles was among a large contingent of young men drafted to be soldiers in World War I. On Sept. 14, 1917, they left for Camp Funston, which was situated within Fort Riley, Kans.

Camp Funston is considered by many to be Ground Zero for the first wave of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. An Army cook is thought to be the first victim, becoming ill on March 11, 1918. Before the end of the month, 1,100 men had been hospitalized, and 20 percent of those men developed pneumonia. This first wave continued through the spring, sweeping through other Army camps. Many took it with them to Europe as they left to fight the war.

The flu subsided briefly that summer but then roared back full force in Boston in September 1918, sweeping both soldiers and civilians alike.

Photo of one of the influenza wards at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kans. Did Charles Tharp bring it home to his wife?

Photo of one of the influenza wards at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kans. Did Charles Tharp bring it home to his wife? In Omaha alone, there were 974 deaths between Oct. 5 and Dec. 31, 1918.

While I could find no death records for either Charles or Nora, I feel it was likely the cause of their deaths. Did Charles ever make it to Europe? Or did he unknowingly bring it home with him from Camp Funston?

I did learn that according to a report, York County had so many Spanish Flu patients in September 1918 (during the second wave) that it overwhelmed the local hospital’s resources. The Red Cross opened a hospital in the buildings of the York County Agricultural Society, which operated from October 13 to Nov. 20. Charles died on October 13. Was he one of this makeshift hospital’s first patients? Nora died the day before.

Charles and Nora didn’t have Find a Grave memorials so I added them some months later. Only this week did I realize what day it was that I posted them: October 13, 2016. That’s 98 years to the day of Charles’ death.

Of the three Walker children, Eddie lived the longest. He died at the age of nine.

Of the three Walker children, Eddie lived the longest. He died at the age of nine.

As usual, there were many markers for children’s graves. This one I have seen before but usually it is for only one or two children. This one represented the three children of J.W. and Francis Walker. Eddie, Lulu and James all died before their 10th birthday. The tree stump represents a life cut short while the dove often means resurrection. Their names are written on the other three sides.

I did encounter a marker I did not expect to see  in a rural Nebraska cemetery. A Confederate grave marker.

What is a Confederate grave marker doing in Nebraska?

What is a Confederate grave marker doing in Nebraska?

The son of a blacksmith, Robert J. McPherson was born in Talladega, Ala. in 1846. By 1860, the McPhersons were living on a farm. Robert enlisted as a private in the 62nd Alabama Infantry, Company C, on Dec. 19, 1863 and mustered out on August 31, 1864. One website claimed he “swam Mobile Bay rather than surrender at Spanish Fort to fight another day.” Since this battle took place in 1865, I’m not sure this is true.

In 1870, Robert was back at his family’s farm. By 1880, Robert had married Anna Bell (a native of Indiana) and lived in York. His occupation is listed as teamster on the census. An obituary posted on his Find a Grave memorial states that a poorly treated foot sore led to sepsis and the amputation of his leg below the knee. He died a few months later.

greenwoodmcpherson2

Confederate veteran Robert J. McPherson died of an infection started by a simple foot sore.

At the time of the Civil War, Nebraska was still a territory and not yet a state. But it did not favor slavery. About 400 known Confederate graves are scattered across Nebraska. I don’t know how Robert was treated by his York neighbors because of his Southern ties, but his grave is well taken care of today.

Next time, I’ll share more stories from Greenwood Cemetery.

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Christi examines one of the many children’s graves (with the lamb symbol) at Greenwood.

Road Trip: A Ramble Through Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery, Part IV

Magnolia Cemetery wouldn’t have been possible without the DeLaigle family. It used to be spelled De L’Aigle and you will see it on some of their family monuments. But much of the current family has Anglicized it to DeLaigle, so that’s how I’ll spell it for this blog post.

Born in Attancourt, Haute Marne, France in 1766, Nicolas DeLaigle fled in 1792 during the French Revolution and headed to St. Dominique (Haiti) in the Caribbean. By 1794, he was living in Savannah. Around 1800, Nicolas married widow Marie Marguerite Roullet LaGarde. A native of St. Dominque and of French ancestry, her first husband was Pierre Antoine Jacques LeGarde. Marguerite and Jacques had escaped from St. Dominque with their two daughters on the same ship as Nicolas.

Without Nicolas deLaigle's gift of land, Magnolia Cemetery would not exists today.

Without Nicolas DeLagile’s gift of land, Magnolia Cemetery might not exist where it does today.

After moving to Augusta and becoming an American citizen in 1803, Nicolas built a sizable fortune as a planter with a 14,000-acre plantation along the Savannah River. in 1808, he established brick yards that furnished Augusta with building bricks for 75 years. In March 1825, Nicolas was among the delegation that welcomed the Marquis de LaFayette to the city, greeting him in French. My own hometown of Fayetteville (in Fayette County, Ga.) was named after the Marquis.

Before Magnolia was established, Augustans were interred in church yards or family plots. The city fathers saw the need for a public cemetery, purchasing a tract of land in 1817, between present day 2nd Street in the cemetery and the North boundary wall, from the Academy of Richmond County for $800.

The DeLagile family plot at Magnolia Cemetery. To the far right is the marker for brothers Armand and Henry DeLaigle, sons of Charles DeLaigle. Armand served in the Confederacy, dying at the Battle of Savage Station in Virginia in 1862.

The DeLaigle family plot at Magnolia Cemetery. To the far left is the monument for brothers Armand and Henry DeLaigle, sons of Charles DeLaigle. Both served in the Confederacy. Armand died at the Battle of Savage Station in Virginia in 1862. Marguerite and Nicolas (their grandparents) are immediately to the right of them.

With this purchase, the cemetery of St. Paul’s Church was closed and City Cemetery burials were begun in 1818. Nicolas donated part of his plantation and brick yard to the city making a total of 60 acres for the cemetery that we know today.

Nicolas Delaigle is buried beside his wife, Marguerite, who died a few years before he did.

Nicolas DeLaigle is buried beside his wife, Marguerite, who died a few years before he did. Her name was Anglicized to Mary Margaret.

Charles DeLagile and his wife, Martha, had 15 children. Eight of them lived to adulthood. Martha died in 1852 after the birth of their last child, Catherine.

Charles DeLaigle and his wife, Martha, had 15 children. Eight of them lived to adulthood. Martha died in 1852 after the birth of their last child, Catherine.

Nicolas died in 1853 and Marguerite died in 1849. Both were buried in the family plot at Magnolia. Their only son, Charles, inherited the family lands and business. Many of his holdings were lost due to the Civil War and three years after he died in 1866, the brickyards were sold.    

In researching the DeLaigle family, I discovered that the last legal duel in Augusta took place in 1875. It was fought between Irishman Charles Dawson Tilley and George Radcliffe. The woman they were dueling over was a widow, Mary Clarke DeLaigle.

Mary was the wife of Charles and Martha DeLaigle’s eldest son, attorney Major Louis Nicolas DeLaigle. After Louis died in 1868 at the age of 38, Mary turned their large home on Green Street that she shared with her children into a boarding house. At 34, she was a young widow. One of the boarders was young, handsome Charles Tilley. Rumors stirred by George Ratcliffe were that Charles was having an improper relationship with Mary. 

In 1875, Irishman Charles Dawson Tilly fought a duel to defend the honor of Mary Clark DeLaigle. He paid with his life. The portrait hangs in the sexton's office at Magnolia Cemetery.

In 1875, Irishman Charles Dawson Tilley fought a duel to defend the honor of Mary Clark DeLaigle. He paid with his life. His portrait hangs in the sexton’s office at Magnolia Cemetery.

In response, Charles challenged George to a duel at Sand Bar Ferry (a popular dueling site) to defend Mary’s honor on Dec. 16, 1875. A wounded Charles was brought back to the Green Street House where he died the next day. He was only 30 years old. George walked away but was not heard from again. Mary never remarried. After that, duels were declared illegal in Georgia, although a number continued to take place.

In another DeLaigle plot, Mary is buried with her first husband, Louis. But in appreciation for his actions, the family provided a plot for Charles Dawson Tilley.

In order to not cast a shadow, I had to photograph this marker upside down and flip it. Here lie Major Louis DeLaigle, his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Marie Emma, who died in childhood. Charles Dawson Tilly is buried nearby.

To not cast a shadow, I had to photograph this marker upside down and flip it (my apologies). Here lie Major Louis DeLaigle, his wife, Mary, and their daughter, Marie Emma, who died in childhood. Charles Dawson Tilley is buried nearby.

While roaming about, I found a monument I couldn’t stop circling. The intricacy of the carving was different. The stones, the flowers, all were done with great detail. Whomever had done it went beyond what the average monument maker might do. My photos don’t do it justice.

Ella Camden Jackson Smith died at the young age of 24. Her husband contracted with Muldoon & Co. in Louisville, Ky. to create her monument.

Ella Camden Jackson Smith died at the young age of 24. Her husband Capt. Benjamin Harris Smith (a Confederate veteran) contracted with Muldoon & Co. in Louisville, Ky. to create her monument.

A side view enables you to see the detail of the angel's wings and the tree.

A side view enables you to see the detail of the angel’s wings and the tree. She’s missing a thumb on her left hand and missing a right hand.

To my delight, I found a signature on the base indicating it had been carved by Muldoon & Co. of Louisville, Ky. It’s rare to find such markings on a monument most of the time. I later learned Muldoon & Co. was one of the most prominent monument makers in the country at that time.

I almost got a little giddy when I saw the Muldoon & Co. marking on the Johnson monument, although it’s hard to see in this photo.

Michael Muldoon left Ireland around 1850 and came to America to learn the marble-cutting trade. He came to Louisville, Ky. in 1857 and opened his M. Muldoon and Company with George Doyle and French sculptor Charles Bullet. In 1863, they opened a studio and workshop in Carrara, Italy where much of the sculpting was done.

A 1951 photo of the Muldoon Monument Co. when it was located in the Smoketown-Jackson business district in Louisville. Photo source: "Louisville's Historic Black Neighborhoods" by Beatrice S. Brown.

A 1951 photo of the Muldoon Monument Co. when it was located in the Smoketown-Jackson business district in Louisville. Photo source: “Louisville’s Historic Black Neighborhoods” by Beatrice S. Brown

According to a Kentucky Educational Television (KET) program, Michael obtained much of his stone from quarries in Vermont and Tate, Ga. (still a major marble producer today). The firm also had offices in Chicago and Memphis, a rare thing for a monument company at that time.

After the Civil War, Muldoon & Co. made many of the Confederate monuments erected in cities across the South. Created in 1895 and funded by the local United Daughters of the Confederacy, the 70-foot Confederate Monument located on the University of Louisville’s Bellknap campus is one of the best known. In light of recent criticism that such monuments promote racism (I’m not going to weigh in on that here), the monument was dismantled in November 2016 for relocation 40 miles away in Brandenburg, Ky.

I had noticed another monument with similarly noticeable attention to detail and again found the Muldoon mark at its base.

George Adam had Muldoon & Co. make this monument after the death of his wife, .

George Adam had Muldoon & Co. make this monument after the death of his wife, Hattie. She was 40 years old when she died. Many familiar symbols are featured on it such as fern fronds, lilies and most prominently, the large wheat sheaf at the top.

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Lilies often represent resurrection and majesty. Muldoon took great care to carve these in exquisite detail.

You can find several symbols connected to death on this monument. Fern fronds indicate humility and sincerity. Lilies signify resurrection and majesty. Ivy often means friendship or faithfulness. But the most prominent symbol is at the top, the giant wheat sheaf and sickle represent the harvest when Christians are separated from the chaff. This is taken from Christ’s p\Parable of the wheat field in Matthew 13:25.

Now known as Muldoon Memorials, the company is going strong today. But the memory of Michael Muldoon’s skill can still be seen in the massive Celtic cross he erected at Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery for his beloved wife, Alice, after she died in 1899. You can also find Muldoon monuments in Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery and Macon’s Rose Hill Cemetery.

My last story is about the curse of the dead gambler. It starts with Wylly Barron, who managed the gambling at an Augusta hotel. In the 1860s, Wylly was cursed by a losing gambler who reportedly told him, “You have taken everything I have. When you die, may you not have even a grave to shelter you.”

I'm actually more impressed with the wrought iron fence that encircles Wylly Barron's mausoleum than the tomb itself.

I’m actually more impressed with the wrought iron fence that encircles Wylly Barron’s mausoleum than the building itself.

The curse led Wylly to construct (in 1870) a granite mausoleum at Magnolia. His will specified that after his body was placed in the vault, the door be sealed and the key thrown into the Savannah River. When he died 24 years later at age 88, his remains were bricked over inside the vault, the keyhole was sealed, and the key was thrown away.

The wrought iron fencing that surround the Barron mausoleum features anchors, which often mean hope or eternal life.

The wrought iron fencing that surrounds the Barron mausoleum features anchors within laurel wreaths, which often mean hope or eternal life. It’s possible he was a sailor earlier in his life.

To this series, I’m featuring some more of the monuments I saw and examples of the wrought iron work gently decaying around the cemetery.

This angel leaning on a cross stands over the grave of Ann Kinchley Austin.

This angel leaning on a cross stands over the grave of Ann Kinchley Austin.

I thought this simple cross spoke volumes with the single word "Safe" on it.

I thought this simple cross spoke volumes with the single word “Safe” on it.

The son of John and Julia Moore, Johnnie Armstrong Moore was only three when he died. The poem on his marker ends with the lines "We drop a tear on the bier, Where little Jonnie sleeps."

The son of John and Julia Moore, Johnnie Armstrong Moore was only three when he died. The poem on his marker ends with the lines “We drop a tear on the bier, Where little Johnnie sleeps.”

This unique monument featuring a fire hose and helmet honors the life of William Miller.

This unique monument featuring a fire hose and helmet honors the life of William Miller. He worked as a carpenter. An 1859 city directory lists him as an assistant pipeman for Augusta’s Vigilant Steam Fire Engine Hose Company. I don’t know if he died fighting a fire.

The leaf and grape design on this wrought iron fence is still intact.

The intricate leaf and grape design on this wrought iron fence is still intact despite years of wear and tear.

I like the detail of this ivy vine motif on the corner of a family plot.

I like the detail of this vine motif on the corner of a family plot, by which you can see the real thing.

This incredible cherub, complete with intact wings, is simply stunning. Made in 1852, I'm amazed that it's still in fairly good condition.

This incredible cherub, complete with intact wings, is simply stunning. Made in 1852, I’m amazed that it’s still in fairly good condition. I liked it so much, I made this picture my new banner photo for this blog’s Facebook page.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery. I wanted to write much more but that wouldn’t leave much for you to discover on your own when you visit someday. Because while Augusta will always be known as the home of the Master’s, it should also be remembered because of this beautiful cemetery.

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Road Trip: A Ramble Through Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery, Part III

After taking a few weeks off to celebrate the holidays with my family and friends, I’m back with Part III of my series on Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery.

A plot near the center of the cemetery contains the graves of two of the men who established the Augusta Orphan Asylum in 1852. The name was changed to the Tuttle-Newton Home in 1915 to honor its original founders Isaac Tuttle and his stepson, Dr. Benjamin Newton.

At the center of the Augusta Orphan Asylum plot is a monument honoring its founders, Isaac S. Tuttle and his stepson, Dr. Benjamin Newton.

At the center of the Augusta Orphan Asylum plot is a monument honoring its founders, Isaac S. Tuttle and his stepson, Dr. Benjamin Newton. Notice the upside down torch on its sides, a symbol of a life cut short.

Sometime after 1813, Isaac Tuttle married widow Harriet Bond Tuttle and became the stepfather of her young son, Benjamin Newton. Benjamin received his Bachelor’s of medicine degree from the Medical Academy of Georgia and Doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Augusta’s Medical College of Georgia’s (MCG) faculty in 1833. The Augusta Orphan Asylum started in the Tuttle home, where Isaac and Harriet took in orphans at 516 Walker St.

When Tuttle died in 1855 at the age of 71, he left the house to the Augusta Orphan Asylum. Dr. Newton continued his stepfather’s work as best he could.

Dr. George Newton shared his stepfather's passion for providing a home for orphans. His marriage to a free woman of color moved him to resign as a dean of the Medical College of Georgia.

Dr. George Newton shared his stepfather’s passion for providing a home for orphans. His marriage to a free woman of color led him to resign as a dean of the Medical College of Georgia.

In 1857, Dr. Newton married Mary Frances “Fanny” Butts, a free woman of color. He resigned his position at MCG despite the fact his students urged him strongly to stay. Sadly, Dr. Newton died only two years later of lockjaw caused by injuries received in a fall from a buggy. He left property worth about $200,000 to the Asylum.

Fanny would later give birth to John Hope, the founder of Morehouse College. She is buried in Augusta’s Cedar Grove Cemetery beside the son she had with Dr. Newton, Madison Joseph Newton.

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Now known as Tuttle-Newton, the institution began as an orphan asylum, then became a children’s home and temporary shelter before becoming a benevolence fund about 40 years ago. Its original motto was: “To access for unfortunate children programs to enable them to be successful.”

During the decades that followed, the institution relocated several times, occupying what became prime property in Augusta. MCG, Gracewood and Sweetheart Cup on Wrightsboro Road now stand on sites where Tuttle-Newton once operated its orphanage. In the early 1950s, Tuttle-Newton bought about 10 acres on Milledge Road and provided emergency and temporary care for about three years.

The Augusta Orphan Asylum operated out of this building until 1913 when it became part of the Medical College of Georgia (later Georgia Health Sciences University). Photo source: Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library, Special Collections, Georgia Health Sciences University

The Augusta Orphan Asylum operated out of this building until 1913 when it became part of the Medical College of Georgia (later Georgia Health Sciences University). The building was demolished n 1960. Photo source: Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library, Special Collections, Georgia Health Sciences University

In 1974, Tuttle-Newton moved to offices on Central Avenue. It remains on Central today, a few doors nearer downtown.  As the needs of families and children have changed and as the social services landscape evolved, Tuttle-Newton has adapted, addressing gaps in the social service delivery system. Last year, it served more than 500 families.

Isaac Tuttle, Dr. Newton and Harriet Bond Tuttle are buried in the plot. Surrounding the monument are small markers representing just a handful of the children who were left at the asylum.

These small marker represent a handful of children who were left at the Augusta Orphans Asylum that died young.

These small marker represent just a handful of children who were left at the Augusta Orphans Asylum that died young.

Records show that orphan Robert Austin Tinsley died at the age of four in 1865 of consumption (known now as tuberculosis).

Records show that orphan Robert Austin Tinsley died at the age of four in 1865 of consumption (now known as tuberculosis).

Against the back wall, you can find many Jewish graves of the B’Nai Israel Congregation. They are not fenced off and I saw little traditional Jewish iconography on them, such as the Star of David. This area was organized by the Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1861.

While a few Jews began settling in Augusta staring in the early 1800s, more German Jews came in the 1840s. In 1846, they established their own congregation, B’Nai Israel (Children of Israel). There were 20 charter members. More Jews began arriving from Charleston during the Civil War. B’Nai Israel evolved into a Reform congregation, building its first Temple on Telfair Street in 1870.

hebrewbenevolentsocietyI found very little about Augusta’s Hebrew Benevolent Society. Many large cities, such as Atlanta, Philadelphia and Sumter, S.C. have similar organizations.

One small broken marker in that area got my attention. When I started looking into the life of this Confederate soldier, I learned something I didn’t know about Augusta’s Jewish community. More than 10,000 Jews fought for the Confederacy.

Charleston Rabbi Bertram Korn said, “Nowhere else in America — certainly not in the Antebelum North — had Jews been accorded such an opportunity to be complete equals in the South.” Gen. Robert E. Lee allowed his Jewish soldiers to observe all holy days while Union Gens. Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman issued anti-Jewish orders.

The Levy brothers were two Jewish Confederate soldiers, both serving in Company A of Georgia’s 22nd Infantry. Nathan and Jake were the sons of Isaac Levy, a Charleston-born man who moved to Augusta. He married his wife, Angelica Hydenfelt, in 1841. Isaac served as Augusta’s sheriff for several years. Son Henry served under him as a deputy sheriff, according to the 1870 Census.

Isaac Levy served as Augusta's sheriff for many years.

Isaac Levy served as Augusta’s sheriff for many years.

Lieut. Nathan Elcan Levy’s broken marker notes that he died in July 1864 in the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg, Va. He was 21 at the time of his death. I’ve seen mentions that before he became a soldier he was studying to be a lawyer.

Lieutenant Nathaniel Levy was only 21 when he died at the Battle of the Crater in Petersburgh, Va. in 1864,

Lieutenant Nathan Levy was only 21 when he died at the Battle of the Crater in Petersburg, Va. in 1864.

Younger brother Jake died less than a year later in February 1865 at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, also near Petersburg, Va. He was 19 at the time. I did not get a photo of Jake’s grave. But both are inscribed with the words, “A mother’s tribute to her darling”.” I can’t imagine the sorrow of Isaac and Angelica Levy, losing both of their sons so young.

There are two small fenced Jewish sections further down but the Adas Yeshurun Congregation area on the far side of the cemetery is clearly the largest. Plots are still available in it and many recent burials have taken place there.

The Adas Yeshurun Congregation has the largest Jewish section at Magnolia Cemetery.

The Adas Yeshurun Congregation has the largest Jewish section at Magnolia Cemetery.

Close by both the B’nai Israel and Augusta Orphans Home areas is a large Confederate section containing the graves of approximately 337 Confederate soldiers.

Approximately 337 graves make up the Confederate section of Magnolia Cemetery.

Approximately 337 graves make up the Confederate section of Magnolia Cemetery. The Confederate flag still flies above them.

Just next door is a group of 16 markers for Union soldiers who died as prisoners of war in Augusta. I read in more than one source that nearly 200 Union graves were once at Magnolia but were eventually disinterred for removal to Marietta National Cemetery.

Oddly, two Confederate graves stand among the Union graves that remain. Corporal Alfred F. Mayo died in August 1864 as a soldier in Florida’s 11th Infantry, Co. K. Patrick B. Cannon died in 1863, serving as a volunteer in the 19th Ga. Volunteer Infantry. I have no idea why they are buried among Union soldiers.

I haven't figured out how two Confederate soldiers ended up among Union troops buried at Magnolia. If you look in the background, you can see seven markers representing Confederate generals buried throughout the cemetery.

How did two Confederate soldiers end up among Union troops buried at Magnolia? If you look in the background to the right, you can see seven markers representing Confederate generals buried throughout the cemetery.

Magnolia does have a small plot dedicated to veterans of the Spanish American War. I could only see a handful of markers but about 50 are said to be buried there. In 2004, the Sons of the Spanish American War Micah John Jenkins Camp No. 164 was founded to honor these men.

About 50 veterans of the Spanish American War are buried at Magnolia.

About 50 veterans of the Spanish American War are buried at Magnolia.

Like many large cemeteries, Magnolia does have a Pauper’s Field for the poor who could not afford burial. A handful of markers dot its landscape.

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Magnolia Cemetery’s pauper’s field has few markers.

I did not get pictures of the Masonic or Greek sections during my visit, unfortunately. There was so much to see, I found it difficult to photograph everything I wanted to.

Because of that fact, I’ll have a Part IV next time to detail the history of the De L’Aigle family, share how a talented sculptor’s work is still being carried out today and feature some lovely wrought iron work.

This sign hangs on the wrought iron fence surrounding the De L'Aigle family plot. They donated the land for Magnolia Cemetery.

This sign hangs on the wrought iron fence surrounding the De L’Aigle family plot. They donated the land for Magnolia Cemetery.

 

 

Road Trip: A Ramble Through Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery, Part II

Last week, we started our journey through Augusta’s historic Magnolia Cemetery. I shared some general history of Augusta and the cemetery. This week, we’ll jump right into learning more about Magnolia’s residents.

One of the most unique monuments I saw was for Dr. James D. Mackie.

Dr. Mackie was the son of William Mackie and Sarah Herbert Mackie. A native of Scotland, William Mackie arrived in America at the age of 19. He married Georgia native Sarah Herbert in 1815 and James was born in 1818.

A bachelor, Dr. Mackie graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1842 and lived with his parents in nearby Summerville. Augusta experienced yellow fever epidemics in 1839 and 1854. During the latter, the Catholic Church of the Most High Trinity served as a temporary hospital. Over 120 people died in a four-month period. Dr. Mackie was one of them.

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The marble monument commemorates the life of Dr. James D. Mackie, who died of the very disease he was trying to eradicate.

I found out only this week that while the monument at Magnolia was placed to honor him, Dr. Mackie is actually buried with his parents 13 miles away at Summerville Cemetery in a box grave. It features a heartfelt epitaph:

He was a good Samaritan: and freely devoted his best energies of his mind and body to the relief of the sick, until death removed him from the scene of his pious labors to commemorate, which a monument has been erected by his friends and a grateful community, in the city cemetery.

So why two monuments? My guess is that at the time, Dr. Mackie’s sacrifice so moved his friends that they wanted to erect a marker closer to the city where many more could see it. Since Dr. Mackie lived with his parents in Summerville, it makes sense that he (and later they) would be buried there.

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The words “Amicus Humani Generis” mean “Friend of the Human Race” in Latin.

Mackie’s Magnolia monument features the story of the Good Samaritan, recounted in the Bible in Luke 10:25-37. An injured man lies at the side of the road needing help while others pass him by. A Samaritan stops to not only give the man aid but takes him to an inn to recover, paying for his stay. In ancient times, Samaritans were considered the lowest class of people on the totem poll. This image makes me think that Dr. Mackie probably treated people from all walks of life, including the poorest of the poor. It’s a motif I have never seen on a monument before.

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Dr. Mackie’s memorial monument features the ancient Biblical story of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to treat a wounded stranger on the side of the road.

Not very far from Dr. Mackie’s monument is one that’s a bit of a mystery to me. But the monument for Anne Milledge Smith Bothwell made me stop and look.

Anne Milledge Smith Boswell died at the age of 38. The identity of the two children at her knees is unknown.

The exact identity of the two children at Anne Milledge Smith Bothwell is unknown, but they might represent a son and daughter.

A native of South Carolina, Anne Milledge Smith married James T. Bothwell. He is listed as an attorney on the 1850 Census but later records show he was a successful grocer. They had several children. Their eldest, Ebenezer, was nine when he died and daughter Julia died in infancy. It’s possible that the two children at her knee represent them.

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Anne was only 38 when she died.

Anne’s husband, James, remarried. He and his second wife, Sallie, both died in 1879 within three days of each other. Sallie is buried to the left of James while Anne’s monument is to his right.

Another monument I saw was for a young man cut down in the prime of his life. Many such markers dot the landscape of Magnolia but most are not this big.

The base of Frank Middleton Stovall's monument features the cross sword and scabbard draped with tassles, a motif often seen on Civil War markers.

The base of Frank Middleton Stovall’s monument features the crossed sword and scabbard draped with tassels, a motif often seen on Civil War markers. His grandfather was a Confederate Brigadier General.

The eldest son of Massilon Pleasant Stovall and Margaret Amelia Speer Stovall, Frank Middleton Stovall was a Georgia native. His grandfather, Marcellus Augustus Stovall, served with distinction in the Confederacy during the Civil War. Oddly enough, his grave (also at Magnolia) is quite humble compared to that of his grandson.

Brigadier General Marcellus Stovall surrendered his command with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army in North Carolina, in spring 1865.

Brigadier General Marcellus Stovall surrendered his command with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s army in North Carolina in spring 1865.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Marcellus Stovall was a captain of a militia artillery unit when appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the Third Georgia Infantry, serving under General Kirby Smith. In January 1863, he was promoted to Brigadier General in command of a brigade in General Breckenridge’s Division, which fought at Chickamauga and in the Atlanta Campaign. After the fall of Atlanta, Brig. General Stovall commanded a brigade in General Clayton’s Division that fought at Franklin, Nashville, and in the Carolinas.

His grandson, Frank, served as a humble private in the Confederacy in the Fifth Battalion, Florida Cavalry, Company A. The Fifth Battalion served in the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and took an active part in the battles of Olustee, Gainesville, Milton, and Braddock’s Farm.

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Frank Middleton Stovall’s obituary says, “Farewell, Frank; Your graceful form and handsome face now repose in a patriot’s grave.”

According to his obituary, Frank Stovall was acting as “drill master to the Infantry and Ordinance Sergeant at Marianna” when he died. I’m not sure how a private attained those responsibilities but it’s possible.

Frank Stovall died in March, just a few months before the unit surrendered at Tallahassee on May 10, 1865, about 40 miles west of Marianna, Fla. I looked at the roll for Company A. He is the only one listed as “killed in battle” among the three men who died in Company A during the war. His parents’ names are also on the base of his monument and they are buried beside him.

The two final stories I’m going to share involve the Barrett and Holt families. I knew nothing about them when I encountered their plots, but it was soon apparent both families had known much sorrow.

William Hale Barrett and his wife, Sarah Rhind Barrett, lived a comfortable life in Augusta. Together, they had seven children. Son William Hale Barrett, Jr. became a prominent attorney and later a U.S. District Court Judge. Daughter Harriett (Hattie) married noted Atlanta Journal editor and three-term state legislator Clarke Howell. By comparison, eldest son Glascock lived a quieter life as a much-respected druggist.

But William and Sarah experienced more than their fair share of tragedy. Their first three children (save for Hattie, who died at the age of 30) lived long lives. But over the span of six years, William and Sarah’s last four children would all die before reaching the age of two.

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Siblings James and Maggie share a marker, with a rose carved into the top of his and a lily adorning hers.

As seen on the Bridwell Monument last week, a hand reaches down from the clouds to indicate an unexpected death.

As seen on the Bridwell Monument last week, a hand reaches down from the clouds to indicate an unexpected death.

As I’ve pointed out in this blog before, the death of a child in infancy was almost expected in the centuries before antibiotics. It was a sad but accepted fact of life. But for a family to lose four children in six years must have been an especially hard blow to take.

Sisters Mary and Susie Barrett died within exactly a month of each other in 1873.

Sisters Mary and Susie Barrett died within exactly a month of each other in 1873.

Close to the entrance of the cemetery, you can find the graves of William White Holt and his wife, Mary Arminton Ware Holt. William was not only a commissioned officer in the War of 1812, he served as Judge of the Superior Court and was later Augusta’s mayor from 1825 to 1826.

The Holts had several children who lived to adulthood, including Dr. William James Holt, who received medals for his service as a physician during the Crimean War. Youngest son Lieutenant Benjamin Rice Holt served in the Fifth Georgia Infantry, Company A, during the Civil War. But like the Barretts, William and Mary felt the harsh hand of tragedy visit their home often.

William and Mary Holt lost at least four children in infancy and childhood. There may have been more.

William and Mary Holt lost at least four children in infancy and childhood. There may have been more.

A single monument beside their two box graves (along with Benjamin’s) commemorates the lives of the four children they lost in infancy and childhood. Edward Rowell lived to the age of 10, (1821-1831), Charles Briggs lived to the age of 12 (1831-1843), Robert Augustus lived a little over a year (1835-1836) and Lucy lived less than a year (1837-1838).

Next week, I’ll share some of the diverse history of some of Magnolia’s residents, including the Jewish sections and the Augusta Orphan Asylum plot.

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Road Trip: A Ramble Through Augusta’s Magnolia Cemetery

Two things come to mind when I think of Augusta, Ga.

The Masters and James Brown.

I don’t play golf, but my Dad did. We watched a lot of it on TV. Augusta National was almost sacred to him, and it’s special for me as well. When you walk those velvety green fairways and see the colorful azaleas in bloom, you know this place is different than any other golf course.

I’ve attended two practice rounds at the Masters. The first was in the late 1980s when Dad decided to go at the last minute. I skipped my college classes that day to tag along. It was the last year the practice round was free and open to the public. The late Payne Stewart and Davis Love III were two golfers I remember seeing.

I returned to the Masters in 2011, thanks to the generosity of my husband’s family, who managed to secure tickets. This time, I had a much greater appreciation for the experience. I crossed paths with the legendary Vijay Singh and British golfer Lee Westwood. I’ll never forget being there and hope I can go back someday.

My husband and me at the 2011 Masters practice round in Augusta, A.

My husband and me at the 2011 Masters practice round in Augusta, Ga. That’s part of legendary Amen Corner behind us.

Augusta is also known for Godfather of Soul James Brown. Although he was born in South Carolina, he spent much of his life in Augusta. His death in 2006 set in motion a number of legal actions between family members, including paternity tests and other head-scratching incidents too numerous to mention.

The current whereabouts of Brown’s remains are sketchy. According to his last widow (he was married six times), his body was moved 14 times before it came to rest at his daughter’s home where she had supposedly had it buried in her garden. The casket seen at the funeral was made of 24k gold. Michael Jackson was buried in the same kind in 2009, having admired it at Brown’s funeral.

Brown’s chauffeur William Murrell claimed in 2014, “They muminized [sic] his body so he would never rot, at $140,000 cost. Why? When you got almost 20 kids and six wives it’s hard to get you in the ground.”

During my August visit to Augusta (naturally), I stopped by to pay my respects to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. He considered Augusta his hometown.

During my visit to Augusta, I stopped by to pay my respects to the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. He considered Augusta his hometown. The current location of his actual remains is unclear.

It had been five years since my last visit to Augusta when my friend Amy invited me to join her for a weekend road trip. She was keen to do some hiking and I was eager to do some cemetery hopping. Neither of us was disappointed.

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha was 17 when she married England's Frederick of Wales. Her son, George III, would become one of England's most controversial kings.

Princess Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (Germany) was 17 when she married England’s Frederick of Wales.

Augusta is much older than Atlanta and was part of the original Georgia colony founded in 1736 by James Oglethorpe. The city was named after Princess Augusta of Wales, mother of England’s infamous King George III. After Savannah, it was the second city established in the colony. Today, it is the third-largest city in Georgia.

This sign details some of the origins of Magnolia Cemetery.

This sign details some of the origins of Magnolia Cemetery.

Magnolia is Augusta’s oldest large cemetery. The land was once part of the Nicolas de L’Aigle plantation and brick yard, with the first official burial in August 1818. A French refugee, de L’Aigle established the brick yard in 1808 and made his fortune by furnishing the city with bricks made of Savannah River clay. Money donated by Mrs. Louise de L’Aigle Reese built the present office building in the memory of her mother. You can see the de L’Aigle name throughout Magnolia Cemetery.

The cemetery covers more than 60 acres. In addition to five Jewish cemeteries and one Greek cemetery, Magnolia also has a Masonic Lodge section, several church sections, an area for Confederate veterans and a special space for orphans. This diversity makes it a unique cemetery amid many I’ve visited. The variety of funerary symbols and motif also sets it apart.

Along with several Augusta mayors and Georgia legislators, seven Confederate generals are buried at Magnolia. A handful of authors, poets and noted educators also rest there. But so are plenty of humble everyday folk, including a number of immigrants who left Europe to make Augusta their home.

Magnolia Cemetery is one of Georgia's oldest cemeteries, predating Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery by several decades.

Magnolia Cemetery is one of Georgia’s oldest cemeteries, predating Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery by several decades.

Amy took me on a drive through Magnolia on Friday afternoon so I could get the lay of the land. It’s a large cemetery but laid out well with actual street names to guide you. I spent most of my Saturday there while she hiked.

Like all of Georgia, Augusta in August is incredibly HOT and HUMID. Although I was drinking water throughout my trek, I was sweating it out just as fast. I’d never seen a sheen of salt on my skin before that day. Even the paint on my toenails cracked. But a cemetery hopper will do just about anything to visit a new burial ground, regardless of conditions.

The first grave that had me asking Amy to pull over was this one for little Louis Segal, whose family moved from New York to Augusta. I couldn’t find out anything about his family. He died in Memphis, Tenn. but was brought home to Augusta for burial.

Louis Segal did not live to see his 11th birthday when he died in Memphis, Tenn. in 1887.

Louis Segal did not live to see his 11th birthday when he died in Memphis, Tenn. in 1887.

I see a lot of lambs on children's graves but an actual child is more rare.

I see a lot of lambs on children’s graves but an actual child is more rare. Louis appears to be just sleeping after a time of hard play.

Across the road from Louis is the joint marker for Lucy Jane Bridwell and her husband, Samuel. She died at 44. Her husband’s name is not on the marker but it is inscribed under the epitaph he wrote for her. According to census records, he was a planter and later a blacksmith.

I’ve always been intrigued by the “hand of Heaven from the clouds” motif but this one is especially elaborate with the flowers so intricately carved. The finger pointing down doesn’t mean eternal damnation but signifies that the death was unexpected.

Samuel Bridwell's name is not on the marker but records indicate he died in 1921.

Samuel Bridwell’s name is not on his place on the marker but records indicate he died in 1921. Census records note that he was a planter and later a blacksmith.

Samuel and Lucy Jane had three sons and a daughter. Eldest son William Henry Walker Bridwell and his wife, Frances Brown Bridwell, are also buried at Magnolia.

Is the hand of God reaching down to pluck flowers at the height of their beauty?

The hand coming down from the clouds is a symbol of God reaching down for the deceased.

As I mentioned earlier, Samuel’s epitaph to Lucy Jane is poignant. I don’t often see one as lengthy and heartfelt as this written by a spouse.

The epitaph for Lucy Jane Phillips Bridwell is one of the longest, more heartfelt ones I've read.

The epitaph for Lucy Jane Phillips Bridwell is one of the longest, more heartfelt ones I’ve read. “I trust to meet my dear wife again, where parting and sorrow are now more.”

Interestingly, Samuel remarried seven months later to a woman 30 years his junior. He and Mamie had at least one child together, according to the 1900 Census. Records indicate Samuel and Mamie are both buried at Magnolia but his name is not next to Lucy Jane’s on the marker.

I’d never heard of poet Paul Hamilton Hayne until I found his monument at Magnolia. A native of Charleston, S.C., Hayne was born in 1830 and lost his father early in life. He was raised by his mother at the home of his uncle, Robert Hayne, prominent orator and politician who served in the U.S. Senate. Paul Hayne served in the Confederate Army but poor health made his military involvement a brief one of four months.

Born in Charleston, Paul Hamilton Hayne made the Augusta area his home in 1863.

Born in Charleston, Paul Hamilton Hayne made the Augusta area his home in 1863.

When Charleston was bombarded in 1862, Hayne lost everything. He moved his family to Grovetown, Ga., 16 miles from Augusta, and spent the rest of his life there. A prolific writer, Hayne wrote hundreds of sonnets, lyric poems, and essays. Despite poor health and financial woes, Hayne submitted poetry and essays to such magazines as Scribner’s Monthly, Southern Opinion, and The Atlantic Monthly. He served as editor and literary critic for newspapers across the South, from the Wilmington Star to the Atlanta Sun.

Hayne was also close with fellow Charleston native and writer William Gilmore Simms. Both men began their careers as lawyers but gave it up to concentrate on writing. Together, they founded Russell’s Magazine, which Hayne edited.

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Shortly before his death, the Paul Hayne School was opened in his honor, in Birmingham, Ala. On its dedication the school received an original poem by Hayne along with a commemorative book of verse.

Poems of Paul Hamilton Hayne secured his position as poet laureate of the South, a title bestowed on him by numerous critics because of his devotion to his native state, the South, and the men who fought and died in both the Mexican War and the Civil War.

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Paul Hamilton Hayne was only 56 when he died, having endured illness much of his life.

One of Hayne’s poems particularly caught my eye. I wonder if, as a man who knew sickness most of his life, death was on his mind more than most.

Life and Death

I fear thee not, O Death! nay, oft I pine
To clasp thy passionless bosom to mine own,
And on thy heart sob out my latest moan,
Ere lapped and lost in thy strange sleep divine;
But much I fear lest that chill breath of thine
Should freeze all tender memories into stone, —
Lest ruthless and malign Oblivion
Quench the last spark that lingers on love’s shrine:
O God! to moulder through dark, dateless years,
The while all loving ministries shall cease,
And time assuage the fondest mourner’s tears!
Here lies the sting!– this, this it is to die!
And yet great Nature rounds all strife with peace,
And Life or Death, each rests in mystery!

Next time, I’ll share more stories from Magnolia Cemetery. There’s plenty of ground I haven’t covered.

Just one of several tee-lined drives in Magnolia Cemetery.

Just one of several tree-lined drives in Magnolia Cemetery.

Rocky Mountain High: Touring Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, Part IV

I know you thought I’d never get around to Fairmount’s Mausoleum but today’s the day!

I was truly looking forward to seeing it because at other cemeteries, they often keep their mausoleums locked up and only grant access to family members. Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago is one of them and I was disappointed I couldn’t see it during my visit in 2015.

Fortunately, Fairmount’s Mausoleum is open every day during certain hours and anyone can wander its quiet halls.

Exterior view of the Fairmount Mausoleum entrance.

Exterior view of the Fairmount Mausoleum entrance.

Despite being in the early throes of the Great Depression, Fairmount’s Mausoleum was completed in 1930. The remains of more than 17,000 people are interred there, some in individual or family crypts, others in glass-fronted niches that house urns (which hold cremains).

One of the first things you see when you walk into the airy chapel area where funeral services are held. The stained glass window at the center of it is lovely.

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Many funeral services have been held in the chapel area of Fairmount’s Mausoleum.

Most of the glass was designed and crafted by the family-owned Watkins Stained Glass Studio, a third-generation Denver business. The firm dates back to 1761 London. Charles Watkins was the first to bring their family craft to the U.S. and eventually to Denver in 1868.

Among the pieces are a twin set of windows depicting Pikes Peak in both winter and summer with Colorado Springs’ Garden of the Gods (which I visited later that week). There is also a stained glass version of The Gleaners by Renoir, based on the book of Ruth in the Bible.

Sunlight coming through the stained glass windows on the upper floor turns rosy in color.

Sunlight coming through the stained glass windows on the upper floor turns rosy in color.

To the left and right of the chapel podium, you can see two large family crypts. One is for the Bonfils family, which played an important part in Denver history. Frederick Gilmer Bonfils purchased what was then the Evening Post, now known as the Denver Post, with Harry Heye Tammen in 1895.

The Bonfils family crypt contains several family members but one is conspicuously absent.

The Bonfils family crypt contains several family members but one is conspicuously absent.

Despite he and partner Harry Heye Tammen's flair for sensationalism, Frederick Gilmer Bonfils turned the Denver Post into an influential newspaper. Photo source: The Denver Post Historical Collection.

Despite he and partner Harry Heye Tammen’s flair for sensationalism, Frederick Gilmer Bonfils turned the Denver Post into an influential newspaper. Photo Source: The Denver Post Historical Collection.

Not unlike today, sensationalism was common in the newspaper business and the Denver Post was no exception. Bonfils and Tammen made a number of enemies as a result. In December 1899, both men were shot by W.W. Anderson, an attorney representing Alfred Packer after a Post article accused Anderson of taking Packer’s life savings as a retainer. Anderson was tried three times but never convicted while Tammen and Bonfils were convicted for jury tampering in the third trial.

In 1900, both Bonfils and Tammen were horsewhipped and hospitalized by a lawyer who disliked their thirst for yellow journalism. The men justified their style with the quote “a dogfight on a Denver street is more important than a war in Europe.” At the time of his death in 1933, Bonfiils was engaged in a libel suit against Roy W. Howard’s rival newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News.

One family member conspicuously absent from the Bonfils crypt is daughter Mary “May” Bonfils Stanton. But I’ll get to her (and her sister Helen) later.

This is just one of many exquisite examples of the stained glass at Fairmount's Mausoleum.

This is just one of many exquisite examples of the stained glass at Fairmount’s Mausoleum.

The abundance of natural light keeps Fairmount's Mausoleum from becoming dreary and dark.

The abundance of natural light keeps Fairmount’s Mausoleum from feeling dreary and dark.

Another view of Colorado Springs' Pike's Peak.

Another view of Colorado Springs’ Pike’s Peak.

I was excited to see the abundance of glass cabinetry housing a wide variety of urns and boxes containing cremains. This is something I’d only seen in pictures of the San Francisco Columbarium, owned and operated by the Neptune Society, which I featured in a previous blog post.

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Most colombarium niches I’ve seen don’t have glass doors but are enclosed with a stone front with the deceased person’s name/dates on it. Note the American flag on some of the urns.

If you look closely, some of the niches contain photos of the deceased.

If you look closely, some of the niches contain photos of the deceased.

After we left the Mausoleum, Michael and I rode to the back part of the cemetery. One of the special areas we passed was Fairmount’s Nisei Japanese American Memorial, which honors Air Force veterans of Japanese American descent who fought in Europe during World War II. They served while their families were incarcerated in prison camps (under Order 9066) in Colorado and California. Most were sent to the European theater to fight for the U.S., often in France and Italy.

Fairmount honors these veterans every Memorial Day, although as the years pass fewer are still alive to attend. I wish the picture I took of the Memorial was clearer.

“Many of them were serving their country and dying on foreign soil, while their families were incarcerated in concentration camps by order 9066,” said Calvin Hada, with the Nisei Veterans Heritage Foundation. Article source: KUSA 9News, Denver, May 30, 2016.

Many of the Nisei were serving their country and dying on foreign soil, while their families were incarcerated in concentration camps by Order 9066, according to Calvin Hada of the Nisei Veterans Heritage Foundation. Article Source: KUSA 9News, Denver, May 30, 2016.

Another area I noticed was Fairmount’s Spanish American War Memorial. It’s a war that doesn’t get the attention others do because it only lasted a handful of months in 1898. But it did affect many families who sent soldiers to Cuba, Guam and the Philippines.

The base of the Spanish American War Memorial's statue was dedicated in 1911 and the top in 1917.

The base of the Spanish American War Memorial’s statue was dedicated in 1911 and the top in 1917.

Colorado’s First Infantry fought in the Philippines and are remembered at Fairmount. The monument itself is gray granite with a bronze statue, but the grave markers around the monument are white marble. Most of these grave markers represent veterans of the Spanish American War, but some are for Civil War veterans.

Many Colorado First Infantry soldiers were present and fought in the Battle of Manila in May 1898.

Fairmount is one of the few cemeteries I’ve visited that has a monument dedicated specifically to Spanish American War veterans.

Earlier I promised to explain the absence of May Bonfils Stanton from the Bonfils family crypt in the Mausoleum. I think it’s a good way to wrap up this series.

Frederick Bonfils and his wife, Belle, had two daughters, May and Helen. Born in 1883, May was the eldest. A strict Catholic, Belle raised her daughters with a close hand while Frederick warned them of the dangers of a man marrying them only for their money. May attended school in New York City and Frederick took her to Europe to study French, art and music. She became an accomplished composer and pianist.

Portait of May Bonfils Stanton. Photo source: Bonfils-Stanton Foundation web page.

Portrait of May Bonfils Stanton. Photo source: Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Web page.

May incurred her father’s wrath by eloping in 1907 with a sheet music salesman (and a non-Catholic) named Clyde Berryman. Frederick was outraged and May’s relationship soured quickly. Helen, her younger sister (and considered her father’s favorite), is said to have further exacerbated the situation. Despite separating a few years after their marriage, May and Clyde did not actually divorce until 1947.

After Frederick died in 1933 (and Belle a few years later), May was given a $25,000 a year income while Helen inherited millions, along with her father’s Denver Post stock. May sued the Bonfils estate for her share of the inheritance. After a long trial, May was awarded half of Belle’s $10 million estate, 15 percent of the newspaper stock, some cash and property. Her relationship with Helen was damaged beyond repair after the trial.

Helen was not exactly a wallflower herself. A woman with the flair for the dramatic, she married actor George Sommes in 1936, although many say claim Sommes was gay. He died in 1956. Helen (then 69) later married her chauffeur, “Tiger” Mike Davis, who was only 28 years old at the time. They divorced in 1971 and Helen died a year later. Davis went on to become a wealthy oilman and died in September 2016.

Helen Bonfils had a love of the theater that lasted her entire life. In 1953, she opened the Bonfils Memorial Theater to honor her parents. After she died, much of her money went to open the Helen Bonfils Theater Complex.

Helen Bonfils had a love of the theater that lasted her entire life. In 1953, she opened the Bonfils Memorial Theater to honor her parents. After she died, much of her money went to open the Helen Bonfils Theater Complex.

Part of May’s inherited property was in the Lakewood area and she developed it into a 750-acre estate she named Belmar that included a mansion built to resemble a French palace. She married long-time friend and architect Charles Stanton in 1956. She was 73 and he was 46. A bit of a recluse, May continued her passion of collecting precious jewels. These included the famous Idol’s Eye Diamond, which she purchased in 1947 from Harry Winston.

Entrance to Belmar's mansion. After May Bonfils Stanton's death, her husband gave the house to the Catholic Archdiocese and they chose to tear it down. The front gates and some outbuildings, however, still exist.

Entrance to the Belmar mansion. After May Bonfils Stanton’s death, her husband gave the house to the Catholic Archdiocese, who chose to tear it down. The front gates and some outbuildings, however, still exist. Photo Source: Denver Public Library Digital Collections.

Both May and Helen gave generously to many philanthropic causes. Helen established the Belle Bonfils Blood Bank in 1943 to honor her mother. In addition to producing a number of Broadway plays and several productions in Denver, Helen was instrumental in establishing the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. The Helen Bonfils Theater Complex is named after her.

Lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theater Complex. Photo source: Architizer.

Lobby of the Helen Bonfils Theater Complex. Photo Source: Architizer.

May’s money helped established the Clinic of Opthalmology at the University of Denver Medical Center, the Bonfils wing at the Denver Museum of Natural History and the library and auditorium of Loretto Heights College (to name a few). After her death in 1962, half of May’s fortune went to her husband, Charles. He established the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, still in operation today.

May was strategically buried in the Bonfils-Stanton mausoleum by herself, which stands just opposite the large Fairmount Mausoleum. Helen is buried in the Bonfils family crypt with her parents and first husband, George Sommes. Even in death, the sisters had no desire to be entombed near each other.

The Bonfils-Stanton mausoleum contains only one person, May Bonfils. Her second husband, Charles, is buried in the Fairmount Mausoleum with his brother, Robert.

The Bonfils-Stanton mausoleum contains only one person, May Bonfils. Her second husband, Charles, is buried in the Fairmount Mausoleum with his brother, Robert.

It’s unusual for me to do a lengthy four-part series on one cemetery alone. But Fairmount proved to have too much history and beauty to limit to just a few posts. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about Fairmount as much as I did visiting there.

Fairmount's Rose Gazebo is a lovely spot to meditate. Fairmount boasts 59 different species of roses on its grounds.

Fairmount’s Rose Gazebo is a lovely spot to meditate. The cemetery boasts 59 different species of roses on its grounds.

 

Rocky Mountain High: Touring Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, Part III

As we dig into Part III of this series on Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, I’m going to feature some Coloradans who played an important role in making the city what it is today.

The story of John and Mary Elitch is a happy one for the most part. Together, they founded what began as a zoological garden that is now one of the country’s most successful amusement parks.

A native of Alabama, John Elitch Jr. operated restaurants in both San Francisco and Durango, Calif. with some success. He hoped to finance a vaudeville theater but failed more than once. In the early 1870s, he met 16-year-old Mary Lydia Hauck and was quickly smitten. Born in Philadelphia, Mary spent most of her childhood in California. Despite her parents’ misgivings, the couple eloped and spent their honeymoon in San Jose, Calif.

Young and attractive, John and Mary Elitch were considered the "golden couple" of Denver at that time.

Young and attractive, John and Mary Elitch were considered the “golden couple” of Denver at that time.

Eventually, the Elitches opened a restaurant in Denver in 1880 called the Elitch Palace that became popular with their theater friends, including showman P.T. Barnum. In hopes of supplying the restaurant with fresh produce, the Elitches purchased 16-acre Chillicot Farm on the outskirts of Denver in 1888.

The Elitches moved to the farm, planting vegetable gardens, and Mary added floral gardens. Barnum and Harry Tammen, new owner of the Sells-Floto Circus that wintered near the farm, gave Mary surplus baby animals to fill out her collection of strays. Before long, she was raising bears, lions cubs, monkeys, and an ostrich.

Elitch Zoological Gardens had something for everyone, from animals to theater to picnic grounds.

Elitch’s Zoological Gardens had something for everyone, from animals to a theater to picnic grounds.

In 1889, John and Mary thought that like Woodland Gardens in San Francisco, their farm could be just as attractive to Denver families. By spring 1890, with gardens, a zoo, picnic areas, a playground and a theater, they were ready to open Elitch Gardens to the public. It became a local favorite, often attracting 8,000 to 10,000 patrons on a Sunday.

When the couple made $35,000 during the first season, John used part of the windfall to form another theatrical company. Unfortunately, while traveling with the troupe, John became ill. On March 10, 1891, he died of pneumonia with Mary at his side. He was only 40 years old. He was buried at Fairmount Cemetery.

Despite the loss of her true love, Mary decided to continue managing Elitch Gardens on her own.

In 1904, Mary added the park's first ride, a small toboggan coaster with a figure 8 track layout. It remained until 1925. Photo source: National Amusement Park Historical Association.

In 1904, Mary added the park’s first ride, a small toboggan coaster with a figure 8 track layout. It remained until 1925. Photo source: National Amusement Park Historical Association.

Mary formed a summer stock company in 1897, choosing directors and actors that included James O’Neill, father of famous playwright Eugene O’Neill. Future Broadway and movie stars came, such as Edward G. Robinson, Frederic March and Cecil B. DeMille, who later dubbed Mary’s theater “the cradle of the American drama.”

Remarrying in 1899 to Thomas Long, Mary’s attention to Elitch Gardens began to wane. When Long died in 1906, she handed more of its management over to others. Businessman John Mulvihill purchased Elitch Gardens in 1916 under the proviso that it always keep the Elitch name in its title and that Mary would have a home on the grounds until her death. Both promises were kept. After she died in July 1936, she was buried beside John at Fairmount Cemetery.

Having devoted much of her life to the dream she and her first husband shared, Mary chose to be buried with him at Fairmount in 1936.

Having devoted much of her life to the dream she and her first husband shared, Mary was buried with him at Fairmount in 1936.

The Elitch Theater closed in 1991 but the original building still exists, currently being restored to its former glory. The amusement park, which was moved downtown in 1995, is still attracting families from far and wide.

Another businessman who made a still-existing mark on Denver was William Garrett Fisher. His monument is one I’ve seen in various forms at other cemeteries in the past, so I was especially intrigued by it. I’m posting them both here so you can see what I mean. Below is the monument I photographed at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Nashville, Tenn.

This is a monument at Nashville's Mt. Olivet Cemetery that I took a few years ago.

This is a monument at Nashville, Tenn.’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery that I took a few years ago.

Now look at the Fisher monument. They’re a lot alike but can you see the differences? Both angels have their right hand lifted up, but only one holds a trumpet to her lips. The Fisher monument’s angel also holds a palm frond in her left hand while the Mt. Olivet one does not. The kneeling figures are each holding different items.

fishermonument

I didn’t get as good of a photo of the Fisher monument but you can still see some notable differences between the two.

According to Annette Scott’s “Pioneer Cemeteries: Sculpture Gardens of the Old West”, this monument could be found in circulars produced by Bliss Brothers, photographers based in Buffalo, N.Y. The monument for Joseph Horne, founder of Horne’s Department Store in Pittsburgh, Pa., is exactly the same as the Fisher monument.

Merchant William B. Daniels came to Denver in 1864, where he began the dry goods business that later became Daniels and Fisher. William Garrett Fisher became his business partner in 1872. The company was so successful that by the 1890s it had become the largest retailer in the state, with a prominent store at the corner of Sixteenth and Lawrence Streets.

Photos of William Garrett Fisher and his wife, Mary Frances Cherry Fisher.

Photos of William Garrett Fisher and his wife, Mary Frances Cherry Fisher.

Daniels died in 1890 and Fisher died in 1897. Daniels’ son, William, reorganized the store before he hired friend Charles MacAllister Willcox as general manager. William then left for Europe, where he chose to spend his time at a rented castle in France.

While Fisher didn’t live to see it, the business he helped make a success spawned the 330-foot Daniels and Fisher Tower in Denver (375 feet if you included the flagpole). Designed by Frederick G. Sterner, it was based on St. Mark’s Campanile in Venice, which had collapsed in 1902. The Campanile was being rebuilt at the time, inspiring replicas around the world. The clock tower opened in 1911 as a way to draw shoppers to the adjacent Daniels and Fisher department store. At the time of its construction, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

Postcard of the Daniels & Fisher Tower when it was the tallest building in Denver.

Postcard of the Daniels & Fisher Tower when it was the tallest building in Denver. Photo source: Attic Postcards.

Although Daniels and Fisher eventually merged with another company and moved into a different building in the 1950s, the tower remained. Despite threats of demolition, the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission convinced the city council to declare the Daniels and Fisher Tower a landmark. Soon after that the tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

By the 1990s the tower’s exterior was looking forlorn. Tenants Richard Hentzell and Michael Urbana spearheaded an extensive renovation effort with the help of several State Historical Fund grants totaling more than $500,000. Nearly every part of the building was restored, including the Seth Thomas clock and observation deck. The $5 million effort was completed in 2006.

dftowertoday

While it faced a grim future in the 1970s, preservationists prevailed and the beloved Denver landmark continues to stand tall. Photo source: hweiming.

Today, the tower houses mostly office condominiums as well as an events venue on the upper floors. Visitors can access the tower’s observation deck in April as part of Doors Open Denver or arrange private tours through Clocktower Events. We walked by it several times during our stay in Denver.

I’m including the next person more for their monument than their history, although the life of Frederick Dearborn Wight was quite illustrious. A native of Maine, Wight served as First Lieutenant with Co. A, 1st Maine Sharpshooters, which participated in the siege of Petersburg, Va. Wight was present at Appomattox Court House, Va. for the surrender of General Robert E. Lee. Later, he moved to Colorado and was successful in ranching and banking.

Wight’s monument is quite something to behold.

Prominent stonemason Richard Swanson designed and executed "Remembrance" for Frederick D. Wight's grave.

Prominent stonemason Richard Swanson designed and executed “Remembrance” for Frederick D. Wight’s family plot.

Thanks to a Rocky Mountain News article someone posted on Find a Grave, I found out quite a bit about it. Called “Remembrance”, the total weight of the monument is 125,000 lbs., including the statue, base and settings. “One stone set back of the statue alone weighs 11 tons and required 10 horses to haul it to the cemetery,” notes the article.” It also claims the Wight monument to be the largest private monument in Colorado at that time.

Wight’s estate was noted to have been a little over $2 million dollars in 1911 when he died. So the $12,000 cost of the light gray granite monument (with a bronze statue) was a tiny drop in the bucket.

The Wight monument was touted as being the largest private memorial in Colorado at that time (1911).

The Wight monument was touted as being the largest private memorial in Colorado at that time (1911).

Richard Swanson, who also designed the Pinhorn and Smails mausoleums at Fairmount, designed and executed the Wight monument, and was well known in Denver for his work. A native of Iowa, he studied at the Chicago Art Institute and worked there for some years before moving to Denver for health reasons.

The final stop for today is the humble grave of Fairmount Cemetery’s original designer, Reinhard Schuetze. Born in Germany, he trained at Potsdam’s Royal Gardens and the Eberswalde forestry academy.

Schuetze arrived in America in 1889 with a wide knowledge of garden design and engineering. He designed and implemented a plan for Fairmount Cemetery, which resulted in a well-ordered and extensively engineered landscape inspired by his knowledge of European formal and picturesque prototypes.

The humble grave of German architect and horticultural designer Reinhard Schuetze and his wife, Anna. It is marked with a Woodman of the World seal, indicating he was a member.

The humble grave of German architect and horticultural designer Reinhard Schuetze and his wife, Anna. It is marked with a Woodman of the World seal, indicating he was a member.

Schuetze worked and lived at Fairmount until 1894, when the City of Denver hired him away to develop it parks system (including Washington and Cheesman). He was also
commissioned in 1895 to design the Colorado State Capitol grounds and zoological
garden.
Photo Source: Brian K. Thomason, 2014: The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

The City Park Esplanade extends from Colfax Avenue to Denver’s largest park. The quarter-mile long promenade exemplifies French landscape architecture principles. Attributed to Schuetze and George Kessler, the esplanade was designed in 1905 and planted in 1907 but not fully completed until 1918. Photo source: Brian K. Thomason, 2014: The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

I know I’ve disappointed you yet again by not getting to Fairmount’s Mausoleum. But it deserves an installment all its own to truly give it justice. Your patience will pay off next week.

Rocky Mountain High: Touring Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, Part II

Last week, I started my tour of Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery. This week, we’ll explore the lives of more of its occupants. Some were memorable role models but a few were unsavory characters, such as Dr. John Galen Locke.

The Locke mausoleum is within sight of the Iliff monument (which I talked about in my last post). Nothing on it indicates that inside are the remains of the man who almost single-handedly led the Klu Klux Klan’s brief hold on Denver’s government in the 1920s.

A native of New York, Dr. John Galen Locke wielded the power that enable the Ku Klux Klan to rule Denver's government in the early 1920s. You can see the Iliff monument and Little Ivy Chapel in the background.

A native of New York, Dr. John G. Locke wielded the power that enabled the Ku Klux Klan to rule Denver’s capitol the 1920s. You can see the Iliff monument and Little Ivy Chapel in the background.

Arriving in Denver in 1893, Dr. John Galen Locke was an early backer of the Ku Klux Klan’s arrival in Colorado. Short and obese, Locke was an unlikely looking man of influence. But when he became Denver’s Klan Grand Dragon in 1921, he was just that.

According to Robert Goldberg’s book “Hooded Empire, the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado”, Locke’s influence over the 1924 elections of Governor Clarence Morley, Mayor Benjamin Stapleton, and the state legislature were key. By Nov. 5 of that year, the Klan controlled the state Republican party, all but four counties east of the Rocky Mountains, the City of Denver, the state government, and made gains in the judiciary.

As a doctor with homeopathic leanings, Dr. John G. Locke dropped dead of a heart attack in 1935.

Dr. John G. Locke dropped dead of a heart attack in 1935 at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.

So how did the Klan become a major force in Colorado when the state’s African-American population was incredibly small? In the post-World War I era, anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant leanings were strong. Stapleton actually denounced the Klan when he ran for office while secretly being a member. But after the Klan swept through the Capitol, it became acceptable to openly identify one’s membership with the group.

Locke was not exactly a poster boy for the Klan. He had a Catholic wife at one point and employed two Catholic secretaries. He looked to Jews and Catholics for his legal advice. Some historians believe it was Locke’s thirst for power that drove his Klan allegiance rather than an ideological stance. But it made him no less dangerous.

The Klan marches down Denver's Larimer Street on May 31, 1926. Photo source: The Denver Public Library Western History Collection.

The Klan marches down Denver’s Larimer Street on May 31, 1926. Photo source: The Denver Public Library Western History Collection.

Eventually, Locke’s missteps sealed his fate when he started butting heads with Mayor Stapleton and other heavy hitters. He served jail time for multiple counts of income tax fraud. By 1925, he was asked to step down as the Klan’s Grand Wizard and the organization’s grip on Colorado (thankfully) began to shatter.

Locke died unexpectedly in 1935 when he dropped dead of a heart attack while at Denver’s famous Brown Palace Hotel. Ironically, a Catholic and a Jew were among his pallbearers. According to Goldberg, the night after his interment, a band of ex-Klansmen secretly entered the cemetery and lit a cross before his crypt.

Not far from the Locke mausoleum is the Bethell-Foster family plot featuring a monument of a mother, seated, with a young boy leaning against her.

This statue, originally called “Soar”, was created by the Carrarra, Italy firm of H.T. Dempster. In catalogues, it was renamed “Mother and Son” by some importers.

This monument, originally called “Soar”, was purchased by Captain William Decatur Bethell and his wife, Cynthia Saunders Pillow Bethell, to honor their two sons, Pinckney C. Bethell and J. Pillow Bethell. The young men died in the 1890s while still in their 20s. Their daughter, Bessie, married prominent doctor John McEwen Foster and lived to the age of 73.

A wealthy man, Captain Bethell moved his family from Memphis to Denver in 1890 to improve his health. He and Cynthia built an ornate home in the Capital Hill area and the couple quickly became part of Denver’s high society.

Here's a closer view of it.

Here’s a closer view of it.

The Bethells purchased the marble monument from Carrara, Italy firm H.T. Dempster (or someone who imported it from them). In 1895, the cost was around $350. Originally called “Soar”, it also came in Westerly granite at the cost of $918. Sadly, Captain Bethell died 11 years later, joining his sons in the family plot.

One of Denver’s most prominent education pioneers is buried at Fairmount. Her work enabled made many who would have never afforded to go to school to do so. Unfortunately, her life ended violently and the tragedy remains shrouded in mystery.

Born in Cincinnati in 1868, Emily Griffith grew up poor, leaving school after eighth grade to help support her family. At 17, she worked as a teacher in Nebraska. To reduce living expenses, she lived with her students’ families and realized many of them could not read, write, or do simple math. She felt that an education was the only way to lift people out of poverty, allowing parents to provide a better life for their children.

The Emily Griffith Opportunity School’s motto was “Public Opportunity — For All Who Wish to Learn.” Photo source: Denver Public Library Western History Collection

In 1894, Griffith’s family moved to Denver where she continued to teach. She was made Deputy State Superintendent of Schools in 1904. Serving six years, she left twice to return to working with students before returning to her post. Griffith also started teaching night classes for adults. She believed everyone deserved an education regardless of age, race, gender, or background.

The Emily Griffith Opportunity School (named that upon her retirement in 1933) is still part of the Denver Public School System operating as the Emily Griffith Technical College as an alternative high school.

The Emily Griffith Opportunity School (named that upon her retirement in 1933) is still part of the Denver Public School System, operating as Emily Griffith High School and Emily Griffith Technical College.

In 1916, Emily opened the Opportunity School. Dedicated to her students, she gave them food and money, and worked with police to help troubled children. She retired in 1933, after 100,000 students had attended her school. That same year, Emily’s name was added to the title of the school, which later split into the Emily Griffith High School as well as the Emily Griffith Technical College.

While both schools recently moved into a new state-of-the-art building, their mission remains the same today. It offers more than 45 programs and 500-plus classes in a variety of subjects, designed to prepare students for the workforce. Its English as a Second Language program is the oldest and largest in Colorado, with 3,000 students enrolled last year.

Unfortunately, Emily’s story does not end happily.

Emily Griffith and her sister, Florence, hoped to make this rustic cabin their retirement home. That dream ended in murder in 1947.

Emily Griffith and her sister, Florence, made this rustic cabin their retirement home. That dream ended in murder in 1947.

Having never married or had children, Emily moved to a rustic cabin in Pinecliffe with her invalid sister, Florence. The cabin’s builder was Fred Lundy, an old friend and former teacher at the school, who lived nearby. It was also quite isolated.

Emily and Florence were found dead on June 19, 1947. The two were shot in the back of the head, execution-style, with no signs of a struggle. In fact, the kitchen table was set for three diners with food prepared. Nothing appeared disturbed, and no money was missing.

A man who delivered groceries to the sisters earlier that day said he was greeted by the two sisters and Lundy. By the next morning, Lundy had disappeared. A witness claimed he’d seen Lundy getting on a Denver-bound freight train, and his car was found near Pinecliffe. When police broke the window to get inside, they found a suitcase filled with the $555 Lundy had withdrawn from his bank a week earlier, along with a note that read:

To the coroner: If and when I die, please ship my body to Roscoe, Illinois, to be buried in our family plot. No autopsy. Contact [cousin] Roy Cummings. No funeral here. Money in this briefcase can be used for immediate expenses. Thank you. P.S. Embalm in Boulder, Colorado.

Emily and Florence Griffith rest in peace beneath a tree in Fairmount Cemetery.

Emily and Florence Griffith rest in peace beneath a tree in Fairmount Cemetery.

In August of that year, a fisherman found Lundy’s remains in South Boulder Creek, wedged beneath a rock. By now, rumors had cropped up that Lundy had fallen in love with Emily, but she had spurned him. Others suggested Emily was sick and could no longer care for her sister, so Lundy had ended their lives as a mercy killing.

Regardless, the murders remains unsolved to this day. The sisters were cremated immediately so no autopsies were performed and what evidence remained was lost to storage changes and a fire. It’s a sad end to a life dedicated to helping others, one that is still impacting the world today.

This is a photo I took of a stained glass window of Emily Griffith at the Denver Capitol building. I saw it when we were taking a tour, before my visit to Fairmont, not knowing who she was.

This is a photo I took of a stained glass window of Emily Griffith at the Denver Capitol building. I saw it when we were taking a tour, before my visit to Fairmont, not knowing who she was. Pardon the lamp sticking into it.

As you can see, I haven’t gotten to the Fairmount Mausoleum yet. Just too many stories to share. Sorry! We’ll get there in Part III, I promise.

Rocky Mountain High: Touring Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery, Part I

When people travel, there are certain preparations everybody makes. Toothpaste? Check. Plane ticket? Check. Cemetery map? Check.

Well, maybe not everybody when it comes to that last one.

As I prepared for our family summer vacation to Denver this past summer, I hopped online to see what cemeteries were in the area. Denver has a number of cemeteries, but I kept going back to Fairmount. I didn’t know then that it had a tie to Georgia.

As the second oldest large cemetery in the city, Fairmount opened in 1890 when Denver was still quite young (established in 1858). At 280 acres, the cemetery was the largest developed landscape west of the Mississippi. The grounds were designed by German-born architect Reinhard Schuetze, who I’ll talk about more next week.

Photo of Denver from 1898, source: Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of Denver from 1898. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

denverskyline

The view from Denver’s capitol building dome this summer during a tour. It overlooks Civic Center Park and the Denver City and County Building. The Denver Post’s offices are in the white building on the right.

Fairmount is still a very active cemetery, has a funeral home, modern offices and a crematorium. Not long ago, they added space for meetings and events as well. They even hold popular movie nights on one of their greenspaces.

Fairmount Cemetery recently added movie nights to their event schedule. They were hosting a screening of

Fairmount Cemetery recently added movie nights to their event schedule. They were hosting a screening of “E.T.” (not shown here) the evening of the day I visited. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery web site.

A week before our trip, I took the risk of calling Fairmount’s office to find out if they gave tours. I use the word “risk” only because some cemeteries do not take kindly to crazy visitors like me who ask a lot of questions and want to write about their cemetery.

Fortunately, that was not the case at all with Fairmount (which is still blessedly independently owned and operated). I left a message and within a few days, Fairmount’s director of business development Michael Long called me back.

Entrance gate to Fairmount Cemetery. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery and Crematorium.

Entrance gate to Fairmount Cemetery. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery web site.

I did explain that I was coming from Atlanta so I wouldn’t be buying a plot because I didn’t want to take up his valuable time without disclosing that. Thankfully, this didn’t bother him in the least and he even offered to take me on a golf cart tour of Fairmount’s grounds. I nearly dropped the phone, I was so surprised and pleased.

After we’d been in Denver a few days, I dropped off my husband and son at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and headed over to Fairmount. Diane Kandt, who I later discovered is manager of first impressions, greeted me in the office. Whoever came up with that title had Diane in mind because she is excellent at her job, making me feel at ease while I waited for Michael.

Fairmount's Director of Business and Manager of First Impressions Diane Kandt were a pleasure to meet and talk to. Above them is an old panoramic photo of the cemetery with the Ivy Chapel featured.

Fairmount’s director of business Michael Long and manager of first impressions Diane Kandt were a pleasure to meet. Above them is an old panoramic photo of the cemetery with the Little Ivy Chapel featured.

It was already in the 90s with bright sunlight when our tour began, so I apologize for the quality of my photos. Some of the pictures I took with my phone came out blurry so I borrowed some from Fairmount’s web site.

The Little Ivy Chapel at Fairmount was built when the cemetery opened in 1890. It's a good example of 13th-century Ecclesiastical High French Gothic Revival style and was designated a landmark by the City of Denver. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

Fairmount’s Little Ivy Chapel (originally called the “Mortuary Chapel”) was built when the cemetery opened in 1890. It’s a lovely example of the 13th-century Ecclesiastical High French Gothic Revival style. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

Despite ongoing renovations, Michael showed me the inside of the chapel, designed by Henry Ten Eyck Wendell. A New York native and Cornell graduate, Wendell also designed Fairmount’s Gate Lodge and several Denver homes.

Henry T.E. Wendell also designed Fairmount's Gate Lodge in 1890. The building now serves as the office, archives, library, and meeting areas for the Fairmount Heritage Foundation. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery.

Henry T.E. Wendell also designed Fairmount’s Gate Lodge. The sandstone building now serves as the office, archives, library, and meeting area for the Fairmount Heritage Foundation. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery.

One of those homes was the Henry Treat Rogers house (since torn down) at 1739 E. 13th Ave. The house is said to be the inspiration for the 1980 film “The Changeling” starring George C. Scott. I watched it once and it scared the bejeebers out of me. The house was located near Cheesman Park, which was built over what was originally Denver City Cemetery (a story for an entire blog post).

Henry designed the new St. Paul's Episcopal Church after it had burned down in 1916. It was under construction when he died.

Wendell designed the new St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Augusta, Ga. after it burned down in 1916. It was under construction when he died. He is buried in Augusta’s Westover Cemetery.

Now here’s where the Georgia connection begins. Wendell arrived in Augusta, Ga. around 1908 during a building boom. He was soon busy designing homes for prominent families and the new St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, which had burned in 1916. It was halfway through construction when Wendell died at the age of 55.

Despite having a home in Augusta, Wendell was staying at the local Albion Hotel the night he was served a warrant for his arrest, the charge thought to be for a “moral indiscretion.” The bizarre story of his death, which involved him jumping over a stair railing, is worth reading.

This photo of the Little Ivy Chapel's interior comes from Fairmount's Web site.

The interior of the Little Ivy Chapel, which seats 70 to 80 people. It is used for funeral services, weddings, and concerts. Photo source: Fairmount Cemetery’s Web site.

Built in 1890 when Fairmount opened, the Little Ivy Chapel is a prime example of 13th-century Ecclesiastical French Gothic architecture and was designated a historical landmark by the City of Denver in 1976. Michael hosted a short video about it that you can watch here.

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About half of the Little Ivy Chapel’s organ pipes were built by A. R. Schoppe Sons of Alliance, Ohio, one of the pipe makers for the Trinity Methodist Church in Denver in 1888. The wood pipes came from Erie, Pa. and are a combination of cherry and white gum.

Dr. James Bratton, Professor Emeritus of Denver University, designed the chapel’s organ for Stephen E. Watson of the Watson Memorial Co. The pipes were custom made in Germany, Vermont, Pennsylvania and Ohio. It was built by Norman Lane, Denver’s first resident organ architect-builder since the late 19th century. Originally designed to be placed in Mr. Watson’s home, it was installed in the Little Ivy Chapel in 1977.

After seeing the chapel, we began our golf cart tour of the grounds. Nearby is the imposing but beautiful Iliff family monument. I found out later that it weights a whopping 65 tons!

The 65-ton Iliff monument was originally installed at Riverside Cemetery but was moved in 1920 when John Iliff's daughter Louise had his remains taken to Fairmount for re-interrment.

The 65-ton Iliff monument was originally installed at Denver’s Riverside Cemetery but was moved in 1920 when John Iliff’s daughter Louise had his remains taken to Fairmount for re-interment.

An Ohio native, John Wesley Iliff turned down an offer from his father for an interest in a local farm and headed west at the age of 21. In Kansas, he helped organize Ohio City Town Company in 1857 and built the first store there. He moved to Auroria (now Denver), Kansas Territory, in 1859 with a wagon load of goods and opened a successful general merchandise store amid the Colorado gold rush that brought fortune seekers from around the country.

While John Iliff joined the push of fortune seekers heading to Colorado, he chose to open a store instead of seeking wealth in gold. Photo source: iStockPhoto image © Duncan Walker.

John Iliff joined the rush of fortune seekers known as “Fifty-Niners” heading to Colorado (then Kansas Territory). But he opened a store instead of seeking wealth digging for gold. Photo source: iStockPhoto image © Duncan Walker.

In 1861, Iliff sold the store and bought cattle weakened after the long trek across the Plains. After nursing and fattening the cattle, he sold them for a substantial profit. He married his Ohio sweetheart Sarah Elizabeth “Sade” Smith in January 1864, but she died a few months after giving birth to their only child, William, in 1865.

A native of Ohio, John Iliff attended but did not graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University. He turned down his father's offer of an interest in an Ohio farm before heading west. Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

Known as the “Cattle King”, John W. Iliff attended but did not graduate from Ohio Wesleyan University.  Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.

In 1868, Iliff moved to Cheyenne, Wyo. to better manage his operations selling beef to railroads there. He owned 15,500 acres in 54 sections (always near water) throughout Colorado. Later, he returned to Denver where he had successfully invested in real estate and banks, as well as shares of Chicago’s Union Stockyards.

In 1877, Iliff become ill with a gall bladder obstruction created by his many years of drinking alkali water on the Colorado plains. He died in 1878. His second wife, Elizabeth Frazer Iliff, continued running his large business operations and raising their children. Eventually, she sold his ranch holdings and invested the proceeds. After marrying Bishop Henry White Warren in 1883, the couple later donated $100,000 to endow Iliff School of Theology (located by the University of Denver).

After John Iliff's death, his wife

Several years after John Iliff’s death, his remarried widow donated $100,000 to endow the Iliff School of Theology. Photo source: http://www.gradschools.com.

John Iliff was originally buried at Denver’s oldest cemetery, Riverside. But in 1920, his daughter Louise had his remains re-interred at Fairmount. The 65-ton Iliff monument was also moved. Elizabeth (whose second husband died in 1912) died in 1920 and was buried in the Iliff plot at Fairmount with her first husband, John.

Next week in Part II, I’ll continue my tour of Fairmount. It includes a visit to the  mausoleum, which has one of Denver’s finest stained glass collections.

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