Archive for May 3rd, 2010

I received part of my order today from Amazon.com, including Douglas Keister’s Stories in Stone and Marilyn Yalom’s The American Resting Place: 400 Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds. I’ve only gotten to page through them briefly so far, but I’m pretty excited. I’ll given some reviews and commentary as I’m reading them.

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Edith A. Perry

I almost didn’t spot this marker, lying flush with the ground in Lake View Cemetery, to a woman and child lost in Galveston, Texas, in the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. The deadliest natural disaster, not just hurricane, in US history (which predated our modern tropical storm/hurricane naming system) crashed into an unprepared city on September 8, 1900. The technology of the time simply didn’t provide the necessary warning of the danger in time for much to be done. By the time the waters were rising on the island, it was too late to evacuate, and the city was at the mercy of the wind and water.

After the winds and storm surge had done their work, much of Galveston and its population on that fateful day were simply eradicated. At least 6,000 people died. The number of dead rendered burials impossible, and bodies were dumped into the sea, only to have them wash back ashore. Many of the bodies were ultimately burned.

I haven’t been able to find much about Edith and her son Clayton. I have found them on this transcribed list, where she appears as Mrs. Harry M. Perry. On another list, they are identified as residents of Houston. I don’t know what cruel stroke of fate placed Edith and her son in Galveston on that day. I don’t know if her husband was with her and survived the storm, or if he was back in Houston, worrying and hoping against hope that his wife and son would be among the survivors. I must assume that Edith Perry had family in Cleveland who placed a marker for her here, over 1,000 miles away from where she and Clayton became two more names on a seemingly endless list of victims of the power of nature.

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James Weakly
One of the things that struck me about the Old Carlisle Cemetery was the sheer number of Revolutionary War veterans. Leaving aside the cemetery’s most famous resident who participated in the American Revolution, Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, there are over 50 veterans of the conflict buried here.

American Revolution Soldiers

A monument erected by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution lists the veterans “located and verified” in the cemetery.

Revolutionary War Soldiers

I was just awed by this fact. I guess this is one of the ways that I am turning into a midwesterner. In this part of the midwest, if a cemetery has even one Revolutionary War veteran, it’s notable. I think the most I’ve seen in one cemetery in northeastern Ohio is five.
James Walker

A number of the stones denoted with the Revolutionary War marker aren’t really readable or are even broken…
In Memory of a Revolutionary War soldier...

…but others are quite legible after all this time.
Joseph Collier

One even had a new stone placed next to the old.
James Ramsey

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do some further research on at least some of these soldiers.
Aleccander Gordon

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The one place on the History of the American West that I took photographs that look like tombstones, they technically weren’t…at least they aren’t supposed to be anymore.  We went Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, sometimes referred to as Custer’s Last Stand, where Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors overwhelmed and killed General George Armstrong Custer and an estimated 267 soldiers in the 7th Cavalry.  All the soldiers that were directly under Custer’s command during the battle were killed on June 25, 1876. The Native Americans won this particular battle, but they, in a manner of speaking, lost the war, so there was a distinct slant towards the white USA-ian view of the battle at the time we visited.  It was something the National Park Service was working on, as evidenced by the name of the park (changed from Custer Battlefield National Park to its current name in 1991), but the monuments on site were largely to the 7th Cavalry. Reading about the National Park, there is now an Indian Memorial and markers have been placed for some of the fallen Native American warriors.

Fallen soldier markers

The markers make the park look very much like a cemetery, albeit a haphazard one. And what interesting little monuments they were – after the battle, the soldiers were first hastily buried in relatively shallow graves with identifying information and relative location of body recorded. (It was, after all, June.) A year later, a number of the officers’ bodies were shipped home for burial. Over the next few years, there were numerous attempts to bury the enlisted men in permanent graves, made more difficult by the conditions on the battlefield. In 1881, the 7th Cavalry monument was created on Custer Hill, where all the soldiers are supposed to be buried.
Cathy at Little Bighorn
Marble markers placed in 1890 show where bodies were found. Of course, archaeological work has indicated that not all bones were successfully reinterred, so for some soldiers, that marker indicating where they fell may still indicate where some part of them lies.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/elizabethe/2273493432/&#8221; title=”Little Bighorn Monument by nuclearmse, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2311/2273493432_fdba97e26c.jpg&#8221; width=”500″ height=”349″ alt=”Little Bighorn Monument” /></a>

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