Archive for April 27th, 2010

Lakeside Cemetery

Lakeside Cemetery

Recently I took a drive out to Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio. As the name implies, Lakeside sits directly on the shore of Lake Erie, surrounded by a little iron fence and tucked neatly in between two private homes. The entire cemetery is only about half of an acre, with a single unpaved lane looping through it. And you know what? It’s beautiful. Even for someone who finds cemeteries in general to be lovely places to spend an afternoon, Lakeside is special.

Lakeside Cemetery

The first burial in the cemetery was in 1814, when Rebecca Porter and her infant son Dennis drowned in the lake. The Porter graves have a shiny, newer granite monument to mark them, but their original headstones still stand.
Asahel and Rebecca Porter


Asahel Porter, a War of 1812 veteran, was the brother-in-law of Reuben Osborn, another early settler who owned the land that became the cemetery.
Reuben Osborn

Reuben’s wife Sarah was the sister of the unfortunate Rebecca, commemorated forever as the first to be buried there.
Sarah Osborn

The Cahoons, Joseph and Lydia, have a new monument as well, honoring them as the first setters in the township. A park not far down the road bears the Cahoon name and is the site where the family originally settled.

There are also plenty of older tombstones, chronicling the sorrows now forgotten that people here experienced.
Richard Foot

Joel Cahoon, drowned

William Scholl

The only statue in the cemetery is on another Cahoon family monument, but the cemetery is so tiny that the mourner atop the pedestal can easily be imagined to be looking over all the graves in this tiny patch of waterfront.
Cahoon monument


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I did not grow up in a cemetery-visiting family.  I remember one trip to my Great Uncle Lou’s burial where I actually entered a cemetery as a child.  Even though I know we drove by them often enough, my grandmother never took me to visit her parents’ graves.  Some of my family chose an alternative to burial or even cremation with a marker in a memorial garden.  So the idea of walking into a cemetery, let alone with a camera, was foreign to me.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I had the unique opportunity to take a road trip course on the History of the American West.  For approximately 3 1/2 weeks, the professor and students traveled in two university vans in a loop around a significant swath of the western states and visited places that were significant in history.  And in the course of that trip, we visited famous graves.

At that time, I wasn’t quite sure it was “ok” to photograph tombstones, which explains the dearth of photographs in this post.  We visited Lincoln’s Boyhood Home, which includes a pioneer cemetery with the grave of Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln. I bought a postcard with a professional photograph of her tombstone – something I never imagined existed – but I felt a little embarrassed and strange about buying it. The postcard is now lost. The closest thing to a tombstone photo is a picture of the metal marker across from the visitors’ center.
Lincoln Boyhood Home marker

A bit later in the trip, we ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, in Mount Moriah Cemetery. I could kick myself now for all the photographs I didn’t take. Mount Moriah’s most famous residents are “Wild Bill” Hickock and “Calamity Jane” Martha Cannary Burke. The only photos I have from this historic site is one of David clowning around with the sign pointing to the “David” section…
…and one of the sign indicating the location of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane’s graves. But not the graves themselves. I could go back and smack my 20 year old self.
Mt. Moriah Cemetery - Deadwood, South Dakota

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