30 January 2010
I happened to notice this bust on the way out of the cemetery and stopped to take a closer look. I found it a little creepy as I do most busts. This one had green moss growing on it's eye which gave it an even creepier look. I often wonder how much likeness an artist captures when they do these carvings. Then I think of Mt. Rushmore or something and realize that I'm most likely looking at what they actual person looked like before death. I think that's what creeps me out the most....
28 January 2010
26 January 2010
Lately I've been obsessed with these mushrooms you see growing in the middle of the grass at some cemeteries. Many people probably have them growing on their lawns or on trees around their house as well. Note: do not put these in your spaghetti. This one had an interesting shape so I decided to take a picture. Found at Galt-Arno Cemetery in Galt, CA.
25 January 2010
23 January 2010
21 January 2010
20 January 2010
19 January 2010
17 January 2010
My name is Joe Dallmann and I wrote to you some 6 months ago regarding the state of the cemetery. Yesterday after many months of trying to obtain keys from the police department I was able to finally visit the cemetery itself. I'm not sure if you've personally had a chance to visit it. I was very sad when I visited. There has been a ton of vandalism there and it seems the dead branches and trees I saw them cleaning up on my last visit when I wrote my story on it have been piled at the back of the cemetery. I don't wish to take an accusatory tone as I did in previous emails without knowing the full details of what's going on there? Is there something preventing people from hauling this debris off? I will attach a couple pictures to show what I'm talking about. It seems the piles in the back actually cover some of the graves. No doubt vandalism has plagued this beautiful place. It troubles me to think that people are capable of such destruction in a cemetery. Last time we spoke I volunteered my assistance in helping out here and I can probably get a few others to assist as well. I would again like to extend that invitation and hope that someone will contact me regarding assistance. My company owns a truck and trailer and although it's small we can assist in clearing some of the wood piles and possibly the concrete debris in the back of the cemetery. Originally I intended to write a scathing article regarding the state. And yes I understand that most of these plots are purchased with the intent that the families will take care of cleaning. But what do we do when some of the plots are more than a hundred years old? I can't lift the stones by myself nor do I want to risk damaging them further. I am asking for your help in correcting this problem. Please look at the pictures in case you don't already know what's going on there. Here is the article I wrote 6 months ago... http://cemeteryexplorers..blogspot.com/2009/07/restoration-project-at-st-catherine-of.html
St. Catherine of Siena Parish
1125 Ferry St.
Martinez, CA 94553
16 January 2010
15 January 2010
I came across this memorial while walking through Galt-Arno Cemetery in Galt, CA. Where is Galt? It's just south of Sacramento and the only reason I've heard of it was because we have this crazy guy at work that's actually from there. Anyway I'm not usually affected when I go to cemeteries but the inscription on this stone was written by a husband to his wife of just 4 years. I could tell it was written straight from the heart by a husband that loved his wife more than anything in this world. I had to take some time and step away after reading it and couldn't even look in it's direction for a little while. It was all I could do to come back and take a picture of the front of it. As I stepped back to take a picture of the front it had a picture of the husband and wife on the front of it. There was no date of death for the husband and I thought to myself that if his love went that deep how he must still be grieving. I had to keep wiping my eyes because the flood of emotion was terrible. There were other people in the cemetery and I kept thinking they must think I know these people. The must have thought it was strange that after I was done that I got up and visited several more stones, dusted leaves off the one you couldn't see and stood fallen flowers upright. But I still couldn't shake the thought of the husband as he wrote this letter to his wife after death. It could use some cleaning and one day I hope to make the hour plus drive back to do just that...
13 January 2010
12 January 2010
You don't hear much about the Pennsylvania Dutch anymore. It's a shame. It's a way of life and a language that seems to be falling to the wayside. However, with my first trip to Solomon's in Macungie, PA, I got to see a real old tombstone that I just seem fascinated with. I saw Lydia Singmaster's grave and had flowers on it.
Of course, this made me wonder. Was it family or was it a famous person? So I did some google searching and I found out that one of her descendants was Elsie Singmaster Lewars. She is a Pennsylvania Dutch author.
Elsie was born in 1879 in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Rev. John Alden Singmaster and Caroline Hoopes Singmaster. She live in Macungie, PA (known as Millertown at the time) from 1882-1885 while her father was pastor of the Saint Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church. When she went to publich school in Macungie, her teacher spoke Pennsylvania German.
In 1887 her father left Macungie to minister in Brooklyn, NY and then in Allentown, PA. Of course, the family followed but Elsie and her brothers would return to Macungie, PA during the summer.
In 1900, the family moved to Gettysburg, PA, when Dr Singmaster became a professor at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. She returned to Macungie for many visits but Elsie's home was on the campus of the seminary. However, she did return to Macungie in 1959 for her burial in Fairview Cemetery on Route 100. She is buried with her husband, her infant son, and her mother and father.
11 January 2010
This Cemetery is one of those places everyone should visit. The art, architecture, history, combined with so many cultural influences, makes this a place anyone could appreciate. There are sections devoted to Military, Masons, Firemen, Politicians......Among their 25,000 plus residents, they have Civil War Veterans, the burials of hundreds of deaths due to the 1850 Cholera Epidemic, Donner Party Survivors and probably their most famous resident, John Sutter.
10 January 2010
Story by: Victoriana Lady Lisa Lewis
means Remember you will die, Remember you are mortal.
Funerals at the turn of the century were still held at home, in the front parlor, and were by invitation only. If you were invited you attended, it was simply rude and ill mannered to refuse a funeral invitation. Embalming was not practiced before the Civil War so funerals were quick affairs. Once President Abraham Lincoln was embalmed and lying in state did people then accept the practice. When funerals became a business early in the they were appropriately called Funeral Parlors. Urban growth and crowding made way for the growth of the funeral industry.
started the rituals of mourning when her beloved husband of 21 years died. She mourned him for over 40 years until her death. The year Albert died was 1861 and as was custom, black drapes hung over all of the mirrors in the home of the deceased. The Victorians were extremely superstitious, especially where death was concerned. They believed that if you looked into a mirror while a body lay dead in the same home you could be the next one to die.
The queen started wearing a widow cap with a veil covering her face. The tradition was adopted because the Victorians believed that a grieving widow should not allow the outside world to see her emotions of grief. These feelings were to be kept private, out of honor and respect for the deceased love one.
There were two strict years of mourning for Victorian women. For first year mourning it was mandatory that she wear all black. Most wore black crape, a silk material that is crimped in appearance, much like
, as we know it today. Bombazine, a wool blend, or broadcloth was also permissible. No jewelry or trim on clothing was allowed and a widow cap with veil was required. Handkerchiefs were white broadcloth trimmed with a black border and often a black monogram in the center. Even the petticoat had to be black. Heaven forbid if a woman slightly lifted her skirt to ascend the stairs and a white petticoat peeked out while she was in mourning! If she could afford them she would purchase her mourning clothing and undergarments. If she could not afford them she would dye her items black. Once her two years of mourning was up then she would have to bleach everything white again.
The pungent dye odor permeating the towns during the Civil War gave a distinct Smell of Death as so many women were in mourning. The horrific odor was the reason all of the clothes dying was done outside the home at that time. The dying process itself was tedious. An original account from 1887 describes the process. Garments to be dyed, black in this case, must first be clean, to prevent spotting. Steep items in soap lye overnight and rinsed out well. For silks, work items in bichromate of potash, just below boiling heat. Next dip garments in Logwood, wash in suds, then rinse and hang to line dry. For woolen goods, take six ounces of blue Vitriol, boil for a few minutes then dip the items for ¾ of an hour, airing them often. Next make a dye with 3 pounds of Longwood, and boil garments in this for a half hour. Start dipping items again for ¾ of an hour, air goods, then dip ¾ of an hour more. Finally wash all dyed garments in strong suds, rinse and line dry. This dye will not fade in the garments from sun exposure.
The black crape mourning pieces have an interesting story. Someone started a superstitious rumor, perhaps the crape manufacturers, that it was bad luck to have any crape in your home ay the end of the first year mourning. Everything crape was to be thrown away, lest someone else should die. How convenient for the crape industry, each time there was a death an entire years worth of crape had to be purchased again!
Second year mourning was not as strict. The veil no longer had to be worn over the face, and colors worn could be black with touches of mauve, gray or white. Jewelry was allowed, particularly a black coal like stone named Jet, a favorite of Queen Victoria. Photo brooches of the deceased and hair work jewelry were also very popular. In fact these pieces are quite an art form and very collectible today.
Gentlemen in mourning simply tied a black crape armband around their left arm to show that they were in mourning. Even in wealthy households the servants wore mourning. Babies and children alike wore mourning the duration depended on the relationship to the deceased.
Mourning jewelry was introduced in the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1850. Hair work jewelry was one type. In this craft women used the hair of a loved one to fashion brooches, bracelets, earrings and watch chains. Hair work jewelry symbolized the need for wanting the deceased one close by. An even greater dimension of this craft began when women assembled intricate designs of hair in large
and oval glass frames. The designs were mounted on silk in unique frames, made for the memorial pieces. Inscriptions to the loved one were also included in the framed piece. These are highly collectible and fetch a good price.In America, mourning jewelry was popular during the Civil War due to the death of so many soldiers. Often the soldier would leave a lock of hair in the event that he did not return. Materials such as gutta-percha, jet, black glass (French Jet), black enamel, hair work, pinchbeck, (a metal that looks and wears like gold but isn’t) and gold were commonly used in the creation of mourning jewelry.
The Relique by (1571-1631) an early reference to a hair bracelet:
"When my grave is broke up againe
Some second ghest to entertaine,
(For graves have learn'd that woman-head
To be to more than one a Bed)
And he that digs it, spies
A bracelet of bright haire about the bone,
Will he not let us alone,
And thinke that there a loving couple lies"
Some examples of mourning jewelry are Jet, a coal type
. Jet was a favorite of Queen Victoria for mourning jewelry and German Jet was especially coveted for its quality.French jet (shiny black glass) was of lesser quality than jet.
Stewart Crystals, from the Elizabethan age, was the first mourning jewelry. These pieces are extremely valuable and quite lovely, found in brooches, pendants and rings.
Vulcanite is a rubber like compound that was pressed and made into black mourning brooches.
Red Bohemian Garnet mourning jewelry is exquisite in how the deep red stones sparkle. These pieces are especially beautiful and elegant looking in brooches and drop earrings.
Gutta Percha comes from a tropical tree in South East Asia. The sap, a latex type of product, was used for mourning jewelry, especially in brooches.
Georgia Sepia Miniatures on Ivory are exquisite examples of mourning jewelry from the Georgian to mid-Victorian period. Many popular designs included weeping willow trees, a dove, urn, hearts, a wreath, ivy, angels and Georgian ladies.
Photo brooches of the deceased loved one were also popular. In 1839 there was the daguerreotype photo, in 1850’s to1880’s the ambro type and finally the tintype in 1850 to 1940. One unusual type of brooch was an eye miniature brooch. These were popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These are highly collectible pieces with an eye painted in the brooch.
Other items include mourning pins, used to hold ribbons and
of the loved one. These were commonly worn on the children of the deceased. In an 1849 mourning scrapbook we read this endearing poem:
This lock of hair
I once did wear
But now I trust it to your care.
Look oft at this
And think of me
When I am far away from thee.
Here is a not-so-subtle poem from 1851:
When I am dead
And in my grave
And all my bones are rotten,
Look at this
And think of me,
Lest I should be forgotten.
Another highly collectible Victorian mourning tradition was the post mortem photo. These are regarded by most people today to be morbid, yet they were quite common cherished sentimental pieces to the Victorians. This was especially true if an infant or child died. Often the post mortem photo was all that the family had to remember the child, so it was a precious keepsake. These photos helped keep the memory of the lost loved one alive. It was a symbol of comfort to the Victorians.
Believe it or not, in the coal mining regions of northeastern PA in the late 1800’s the coffin had to be checked before burial! It was necessary to make sure that the deceased was inside. Revelers would often remove the body in order to sleep off their inebriation in the comfort of the casket instead of on the floor! This is probably one of the strangest of the Victorian mourning traditions.
08 January 2010
I started doing genealogy years ago, and in doing so, found many wonderful websites that had whole cemeteries transcribed and photographed for people all around the world to see. It helped me immensely, and being able to view the resting spots of my ancestors was amazing. My Mom and I decided we should do the same thing for our area. The amount of history in Yuba County cemeteries is something to be recognized.
Peoria Cemetery, it was then decided, would be our first attempt at transcribing and photographing a whole cemetery. We picked a day, loaded up my car with cemetery supplies (broom, little shovel, flour, camera, notebook and pens) and took off. I started photographing, and Mom, with her ever quick writing skills, did the transcribing. When the batteries died, we went back to her house, opened Microsoft Excel, and started creating a transcription for use on the internet. We repeated this process until we had everyone accounted for. Then, we had the problem of putting them on the internet. A quick google search led me to Kathy, who was doing the same thing in Yuba County at other cemeteries. I decided to contact her and see if we could make this a group project, and using Kathy's favorite saying "why try to re-invent the wheel", we became fast friends, and started to transcribe and photograph as a group.
Kathy had already established a website on her own, Yubaroots.com, which she has dedicated to the history of Yuba County, transcribing every record she could get her hands on, down to voter registration books, biographies, marriage/birth/death records......you won't believe the amount of information she has on her site. And on her site, there is a section for cemeteries, with every cemetery in Yuba County documented and photographed, with the exception of two.
My Mom passed away in 2005, and her ashes were buried with her husband Joseph's in the same plot. Mom was the one who started this love of cemeteries that I have, so in turn, my first blog is dedicated to her.
07 January 2010
I was walking around in Egypt Cemetery, Egypt Pennsylvania trying to get some new pictures. That was a bit of a mistake with the snow. I did get some nice shots of the cemetery.
I didn't get anything that caught my eye. What did creepy me out a bit was when I got to the car to go to work, the church bells began to sing. I took a video of it. If you do play it, please be careful with the sound. It was very windy and it might take your ear drums out for a spin.
06 January 2010
05 January 2010
Variations on a French Cancan
Very Slow and Spooky French Cancan
Orchestral Music Made by Spirits
04 January 2010
Perhaps the most intriguing thing for me was their nicknames. Here you see Doug "The Thug" Orr. To me this was an awesome nickname. I mean if you're going to have a tough name I think "The Thug" pretty much sums it up. And after looking at his picture I figured Doug was not the one I'd want to meet in a dark alley. I had to remind myself that Doug probably had a family who he was probably really nice to. He was probably nice to his friends as well. But I wouldn't want to get on his bad side that's for sure...
Another one of my favorites was one Mr. "Mouldy" Marvin Gilbert. Not that I would like to have the name Mouldy myself. I again found myself staring at his picture and wondering what life must have been like for Mr. Mouldy. I would like to believe that the Hell's Angels just got a bum rap for a few members being involved in illegal activities and the rest of the guys were guilty by association. Sort of the way a Pitbull biting somebody makes the news whereas a German Shepard does not.
Another interesting figure I found was Lee Moran. He didn't have a nickname listed but at the bottom of his marker was a small plaque that read "81" Lee Moran Record 1003lbs Squat July 8t, 1984. Yes people I said 1003lbs. This man lifted just over half a ton. Here is an excerpt I found regarding Lee's Record attempt.
Lee wanted the 1003 on his third, a weight he's been priming for all year. One of the most spectacular event to ever occur in our sport began to unfold as Lee stood with this awesome load. The bar whipped terribly, and as Lee tried to steady himself for the signal, one collar popped off the bar, almost as if it were shot from a gun. Hundred pound plates flew off of that end, stressing the other collar, which popped loose as well, releasing plates in that direction and causing spotters and officials to run for cover. The bar, now overloaded to one side rocketed up off Moran's back and flew through the air, a deadly missile which splintered the stage as it landed. Miraculously no one seemed to be injured and Lee was more unaffected than anyone else there. I grabbed him and asked, "Are you okay?" "Ken, what the hell happened?" He was totally non-plussed, and mainly concerned that whatever had happened wasn't his fault and would he get another attempt at it. With another 3rd attempt granted as a matter of course, he asked "Can I do it?" "You can do it." "You're right coach, I can do it." Announcer Tony Carpino whipped the audience to a roar as the bar was again secured. Moran stood with the half a ton, and sunk it. I mean he hit the bottom with at least and inch to spare and shot it to the top. History was made as three white lights greeted the effort, setting off pandemonious celebration.
In all there are 9 total stones. On the back of a couple of them are the names of a few women but I wasn't sure if they were actually buried on the other side of the men or not. I attempted to get someone from the chapter to give me a story to no avail. Oh well maybe next time or maybe someone will read this one day and contact me with more information.