28 July 2009

Mt Carmel Cemetery Hillside, IL

I spent Friday evening scouring Mt Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois for the final resting place of a few notorious Chicago Gangsters. I will post about them hopefully by the end of the week. I thought that I would put up of the few odd surnames we came across.

Sorry this one is a bit blurry, still wanted to post. For the name is Sandman. One last visit before he began his eternal sleep.

Enough said the name is Porn and it was engraved on both sides of the stone.

They will never be Tardy again.

Tombstone Tuesday

This picture was taken at Mission San Francisco De Asis. Obviously it is of Don Francisco De Haro who was the first alcalde of San Francisco. Wiki has an excellent article on the alcalde. There is not much left as far as burial and I can only assume that buildings surrounding the mission have covered much of the graveyard. I can say that within the walls is a beautiful church and of course a ton of history. It was founded in 1772 by Father Francisco Palou and is located at 3321 16th Street San Francisco, CA 94114. Click for directions

25 July 2009

GYR Carnival Favorite Photo

I figure it was only fitting that my submission of my favorite photo to the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival come from my favorite cemetery. This is the marker of Daniel and Mary Martin located in the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, CA. It was taken on my first trip to this cemetery and also marks the day I fell in love with the cemetery itself. I have taken thousands of pictures of various cemeteries and every time I come across this picture I get a smile on my face. The berries on the bush are only there a certain time of the year. This photo was taken in December of 2008. I went back at the beginning of July 2009 only to find the bush had been cut back and that another photo like this would not be possible.

Restoration Project at St. Catherine of Siena Cemetery

When I first visited this cemetery a few months ago I was disappointed to find out that the gates were closed and I could not gain access. The cemetery initially had the appearance of neglect which could partly be attributed to my disappointment and lack of access. I decided I would email the St. Catherine of Siena Parish which is associated with the cemetery. I would like to take this time to apologize publicly to the parish for the accusatory tone I took with my initial email where I stated that I saw the cemetery in a state of disrepair and dilapidation. I was quickly corrected by Deacon Albert Dizon who has been a wonderful help in my research despite my initial accusations. So in light of the information provided by Deacon Albert I decided I would visit the cemetery again and correct my errors in judgement. On my second visit I was glad to see people hard at work clearing dead branches and brush from the cemetery grounds. This is just one of a few measures the parish has taken to assist with the upkeep of the cemetery grounds. They have also hired a number of goats and sheep to assist with weed abatement and it was even covered in the Oakland Tribune. They are currently working E’Clampus Vitas to repair markers as well as organizing volunteer clean up days open to people of all ages to assist with clean up and maintenance of the cemetery grounds. This is a beautiful cemetery which has unfortunately experienced some vandalism no doubt from people with little or no regard for the deceased. I hope to fully explore soon and has a rich history of pioneers, beautiful architecture and that old world feel that attracts me to most of these places. It is said that Don Juan Salvio Pacheco co-founder of Concord is buried here as well as Sam (Simon) Rodia who designed and built the famous Watts Towers in Los Angeles to name a couple. The cemetery gates remain closed, however, access is available anytime by borrowing a key from the Martinez Police Department or from St. Catherine parish office at 1125 Ferry St. between 8:30am and 5pm - Monday to Friday, except holidays. The St. Catherine of Siena Parish itself also shares a rich history in our area and in 1999 their 125th Anniversary. This cemetery is a must visit for any cemetery enthusiast or just anyone wanting to take themselves back to a time long ago. I applaud the efforts of the parish and hope to be able to contribute personally to their restoration project. Again I would like to thank Deacon Albert Dizon for his time and effort contributed to this article. Without his assistance this article would have been nothing more than speculation. So thank you Deacon Albert for providing the facts on this project.

24 July 2009

Aha...word verification problem

So I was wondering why nobody has said anything on the blog for my last few posts. Cheryl brought to my attention that the word verification wasn't showing. I'm not sure if any of you are having the same problem. I had to set up a test account to see if it was just Cheryl or if it was everyone. It appears it must have been everyone. So anyway it's fixed and word verification has been turned off. I welcome all comments and appreciate any feedback I can get on this stuff. I'd like to know that I'm not the only one reading it...lol. Take care everyone...

Freaky Friday

I have several pictures with either the heads fully missing or partially missing. I'm told it's because it's really difficult to find a piece of stone that isn't flawed. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with vandalism as well.

21 July 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Ok so it's not really a tombstone but it is a rather large family plot located in Pleasant Hill, CA. We were just driving through to see if we thought anything was interesting as this is a mostly flat cemetery. When up on the hill we came across this family plot. As far as I can tell there is only a gold urn that sits inside and nobody else has been laid to rest as of yet. I felt it would be disrespectful to climb the observation deck so I just snapped a few shots and left. I have no idea who the owners are but this was beautiful. It probably costs as much as a house.

19 July 2009

Sacramento Historic Cemetery (Old City Cemetery)

Sacramento Historic Cemetery also known as The Old City Cemetery was established in 1849 with it's first 10 acres being donated by Captain John Sutter. Among the first burials were some 600 victims of the 1850 cholera epidemic. This epidemic was sparked by a passenger on a ship called the "New World", a ship docked at the wharf, when he emerged and suddenly collapsed. In less than 3 weeks cholera took the lives of close to 1000 people and eventually over 3000 people. Many of them were buried in mass graves at what was once called Helvetia Cemetery, however due to heavy flooding many of the burials were reinterred at Old City Cemetery and are now believed to be under the military graves. In all 40 doctors worked on cholera victims during this crisis and 17 gave their lives as a result. In 1957 a plaque was erected in their honor by the Sacramento El Dorado Medical Society Historical Committee. Today the cemetery spans some 44 acres and houses some 25000 burials. It is known for it's historic rose garden and for being home to several California pioneers. Found within you can also the Odd Fellows Cemetery and the Masonic Lawn Cemetery. The grounds are well kept and tours can be arranged or you can take the self tour. After having been there I'd say planning your trip and sections you'd like to visit is advisable. There is no way you can cover this cemetery with just one day so I'll have to take another trip out to gather more information. I would like to close this post with the anomalous mushroom I found growing on the spikes of an iron gate. At first I thought somebody had placed it there on purpose. But after taking a closer look I noticed it had been there for quite some time and the surrounding plants had begin to grow through it. Definitely an interesting find.

17 July 2009

Freaky Friday

This is from Saint Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Oakland, CA. This has to be the scariest kid statue I've seen so far. Sometimes I feel like these statues are looking back at me. I snapped a quick pic and left this one in a hurry.

13 July 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

I have a long day tomorrow so I wanted to get this up in case I didn't have time in the morning. Yes I realize it's only Monday. This is from Franklin Cemetery again. I find wooden markers interesting. Most of the time they don't stand up to the years upon years of rain and sun. But still there stands a reminder of someone that once was...

12 July 2009

Franklin Cemetery Franklin, CA

Franklin California? We have one? Really? I had never heard of Franklin, CA until yesterday. I was going to take a trip to Sacramento's Historic Cemetery, which I did. So I decided to do a little research before I left and this cemetery caught my eye. I love those little hole in the wall places which is why I decided I would pay it a visit on my way home. Franklin, CA is located just south of the city of Elk Grove on a country road...well as country as we get in California anyway. Upon arrival I thought to myself, no biggie, it looks like this is going to be uneventful. Boy was I wrong.After walking around taking random pictures and looking for something out of the ordinary. I came across the grave of Alexander Hamilton Willard. Willard is said to be the last surviving member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Around 1800 he was recruited to the Corps of Discovery by Captain Amos Stoddart's artillery company. He served as a blacksmith, hunter and gunsmith. On July 12, 1804 Willard received the worst punishment ever given to anyone of the Corps of Discovery the Courts Martial on the Trail. Together with John Colter and George Shannon, Willard was assigned to look for Baker Bay, some whites at a trading post or with a ship. After finding nothing, Willard and Shannon decided to allow Colter to return with news to the main camp. As they slept, a group of Native Americans stole their rifles. As the main party returned the Native Americans were frightened and immediately returned the rifles. For this offense Willard was charged with "lying down and sleeping on his post whilst a sentinel". A capital crime under the "rules and articles of war" punishable by death. Willard agreed that he had laid down while on post but disagreed that he was sleeping. The judge saw otherwise, and luckily for Willard he was not sentenced to death but to 100 lashes divided up into 4 consecutive nights. This was a way of increasing his punishment. Six months after returning home from the expedition, Willard married Eleanor McDonald and went on to father 12 children with her. And through Clark, Willard was able to find work as a blacksmith serving several Native American tribes. He also served Clark in the War of 1812 acting as a courier. In 1852 Willard made the trip from Missouri to California. This trip was difficult for people half his age. A testament to a tough pioneer. Willard settled in Franklin a stagecoach stop en route to Stockton, CA where he was believed to still be a blacksmith. Willard lived to the ripe old age of 87 and finally breathed his last breath March 6, 1865.

10 July 2009

Freaky Friday

So I decided I'm going to create my own thing for Fridays and call it "Freaky Friday". I seem to come across some strange statues now and then. This gem was found at Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose, CA. I'm sure the hand used to point up and the bird just happened to land there just as I took the picture.

08 July 2009

New Author...

In case you guys were wondering...I built this blog so that many people could add their observations and their own cemetery pictures...I'd like to introduce you to Terri who will be writing for Cemetery Explorers periodically. She has just done her first post below and I'm glad to have her aboard. She runs her own blog as well. I suggest you check it out. www.researchingoconnells.wordpress.com ...she's also a member of GYR and Geneabloggers. Everybody say hello...

Mobster Style Burials

Lester J. Gillis, aka "George Nelson" or "Baby Face Nelson" was born Dec 6 1908 in Chicago to Joseph and Mary (Douget) Gillis. 

Baby Face's criminal career started early in his teen years. He was arrested for theft and joyriding at 13 and was sent to the penal school several times. 

It has been said that he worked with the Capone organization.  This has been dismissed by his biographers Steven Nickel and William J. Helmer, due to lack of evidence. 

His career came to a short end in 1931 when he was arrested and sentenced to 1 year in state prison.  During transport, he overpowered his guard and escaped.

On 18 August 1933, he robbed his first bank in Grand Haven, MI with Eddie Bentz. This robbery is said to have been a near disaster though most made a clean getaway.

 Nelson was part of the newly formed gang that financed and helped Dillenger escape from jail in Crown Point, IN. 

Nelson was said to be a devoted husband and father, bringing his family with him while on the run.  According to the 1930 Federal Census, Helen and Lester had 1 son.

On 27 November 1937, the Battle of Barrington started when Nelson, his wife Gillis and John Paul Chase where driving in a car and spotted by the FBI. After a few U turns by both vehicles, Nelson wound up being the chased. During this battle, he killed two agents. 

Telling his wife to flea into an open field, she turned briefly to see her husband had been shot and would later prove to be fatal. After the fight was over, the three fled the scene in the agents Hudson. While fleaing the scene, Nelson told his wife "I'm done for," as he continued to give directions to Chase to get them to the safe house. He died later that evening in his wife's arms. 

An anonymous tip provided the whereabouts of Nelson's body on 28 November, 1937. He was wrapped in a blanket and thrown in a ditch in front of St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois.

Nelson and his wife are both buried in St Joseph's Cemetery, River Grove, Illinois.

Nelson was responsible for the deaths of:
W. Carter Baum - during the Little Bohemia Shoot out
Herman Hollis - Barrington, IL
Samuel Cowley - Barrington, IL

Wordless Wednesday

07 July 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

This pic was taken at Cypress Lawn in Colma, CA. I found it interesting because it reminded me of Han Solo being frozen in Star Wars. Uh oh...my nerdiness shows.

05 July 2009

What's in a name?

These are just a few names I've found interesting while on my adventures through various cemeteries...

I was going to save this one for Wordless Wednesday but couldn't resist putting it in this post. The internet is said to have been created in 1989 (depending on who you talk to) The term LOL is now used and recognized worldwide. I believe it should have been laid to rest in 1981 like the person resting here...LOL. ;)

Who doesn't love a Sugar Cohn (Cone)

This picture would have been better if his middle initial was an S.

How would you pronounce this? Probably not what I think it says...

04 July 2009

Happy Independence Day

A big thanks to all those who have fought for our country's independence and still continue to fight today. Although I respect what our soldiers do for our country. The price for our independence has been great. The families left without husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers is disheartening. I respect anyone who has a belief and is willing to give their life not only for themselves, but so I can also enjoy the same freedoms he or she fights for.

"When the power of love is as great as the love of power. The world will know peace" ~Jimi Hendrix

02 July 2009

Mystery Solved...

The other day I did a post on pyramids and realized that I was missing some information as well as a decent picture of one of them. So it bothered me until today when I could get to Oakland for more information. Basically all I needed was a name. It turned out there were 2 names that I needed. Lewis Leonard Bradbury November 1823 - July 1892 and Simona Martinez Bradbury September 1845 - December 1902. Since UC Davis has an entire web exhibit (Click Here) dedicated to the Bradbury family I won't be doing a full bio on this family. Instead I'd like to talk a little about the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles which is named for Lewis Bradbury. (Photo Credit About.com)
Bradbury had a grand vision for this building and actually fired the first architect (Sumner Hunt) that he hired because he didn't see Bradbury's vision. He then proceeded to hire a man by the name of George Wyman who at first declined to do the work. It wasn't until Wyman had a talk with his dead brother Mark through the use of an Ouija board that he finally agreed. The original estimate for the building at the time was $175,000 and by the time it was finished Bradbury spent more than $500,000. Bradbury spared no expense during construction and in 1977 the city of Los Angeles deemed the Bradbury Building a historic landmark. Many movies and tv shows have been filmed in the Bradbury Building as well. It was prominently featured in the movie Blade Runner. Today the building is home to the Los Angeles Police Departments Internal Affairs among others. Tourists can visit but are limited to the first landing and not beyond. Sadly Lewis Bradbury died in 1892 before seeing the official opening of this building which was completed in 1893. (Credit photo of interior to Wiki)


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