Posts Tagged ‘unsolved’

Miller (3)

I think this is an urn, but I’m not sure. Any suggestions?

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What does the blank space on this monument signify? At the time the memorial was commissioned, someone intended to sleep eternally next to Catherine Blazek. Was someone interred there but the monument never engraved? Is the person the plot was intended for still alive?  Or did he or she die elsewhere after moving into another stage of life that changed their burial plans?

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Branigan (4)


There really wasn’t any question I was going to photograph this monument, and I would probably use it in one of my symbolism posts or collections of statues. When I saw what exactly it said, I knew it would get its own post.

Branigan (3)

Arthur J. Branigan
Born May 13, 1901
Died Sept. 6, 1916
Erected by Aunt Kate

Monuments that provide clear information on who put up the monument are fairly uncommon. Usually, they are of the “to my loving husband” or “here lies my beloved wife” variety. Even more rare are monuments that, like this one, specify that detail and the person who put up the monument is not a member of the immediate family. But of course, every observation I make leads to another question. Why did Arthur’s Aunt Kate put up the monument to him in Calvary Cemetery and not his parents or grandparents? Was he an orphan? Was Aunt Kate much wealthier than the rest of the family? Was she his aunt by blood? (Aunt being a common appellation used for fictive kin – I am “Aunt Ashley” to a half dozen children even though a geneaologist would say I only have two nephews.) For now, I can’t answer those questions.

Branigan (2)

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Tennes (14)

Mighty God, be merciful to me to whom death “came like a thief in the night”…[for?]give those who caused my death, and may my sudden passing be a reminder to others, deign to hear the prayers of the ones whom I left behind…

This epitaph intrigues me, and makes me wonder what caused Charles’ death – the epitaph clearly states that it was a sudden, unexpected death that had a clear cause – was it murder? negligence? an accident? All I have been able to find out about him was that he was a billiards player in his own right who then managed other billards players.

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I’ve written before about being a part of the Collinwood-Nottingham Historical Society’s project to locate the graves of the children who perished in the Collinwood School Fire of 1908. Of the students for whom we have burial information, all but 4 were interred on the east side of Cleveland or in one of its eastern suburbs. One child, Dorothy Hart, is supposed to be buried at Spring Grove Cemetery in Medina, Ohio, and I have an email in to the cemetery sexton asking for assistance in locating her burial records and grave. There are also three boys (Norman, Max, and James Turner) whose bodies were sent back to Oswego, New York, to be buried with their grandmother. Unlike with Dorothy Hart, however, there is not a specific cemetery listed in the records. I’ve found some Collinwood victims in a completely haphazard manner – just going to a cemetery to do photography and finding them, but I can’t very well head to Oswego for the morning to do the same. Also, Oswego has a number of cemeteries listed as being in the city, and there are more in the county as a whole. I tried searching on Find a Grave to see if some kind soul had by chance already created a memorial for the Turners. I am taking any suggestions on where to start to narrow down my cemetery search and figure out which Oswego cemetery they rest in.

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I’ve never seen this symbol before – anyone recognize it?

Koren (2)


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I’ve written before about angel statues in cemeteries that looked like children rather than adults. When we visited St. Paul Cemetery, all of the angel statues were child-like.

Lesjak (2)

Fifolt (2)

Novak (2)

I’m not sure if this is fashion or a cultural preference – the cemetery burials are heavily eastern European (particularly Slovenian).

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Read this stone.


I had to take it up to its original size and inspect it to confirm that Naomi Dille was 46, not 16, years old when she died on September 16, 1830. It wouldn’t be impossible for a woman to die at 16 already married (I went to graduate school with a woman who first walked down the aisle at age 15), but it did seem unlikely. I can’t put my finger on a good citation right now, but my memory from various history classes is that the average age of marriage for late 18th and early 19th century women in the United States was somewhere in the early 20s, with men’s average age being just slightly higher.

That information aside, this stone is one of the older ones in this cemetery, and is the first one I came across trudging up the hill. Most of the rest are clustered above the road cut. I wonder if it accurately reflects where Naomi is buried (the concrete seems to indicate it has been reset) or whether her actual grave is further up the hill with the people who have lived near her in life.

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Unknown Soldier

According to Vicki Blum Vigil’s Northeast Ohio Cemeteries book, this replacement stone really does mark the burial of Bay Village’s own unknown soldier. One day, the residents of Bay Village were surprised to find a body washed up on the lakefront beach. The man was clad in a Union uniform. He was never identified.

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Thompson (3)

I originally snapped this photograph rather unthinkingly, as I do tend to photograph any stone that has a GAR marker next to it Someone else pointed out to me the date, so I walked around to the other side, expecting to find Alex’s father or uncle was of an age more likely to have served in the Civil War. Instead, I found what is more likely to be his son, who died in France during the First World War.

Thompson (2)

So was Alex Thompson, who was born in 1852 and therefore would have been only about 13 at the close of the war in 1865, really a veteran of the Grand Army of the Republic? He is buried, after all, only a stone’s throw from Charles Seebold, who was a drummer for the 1st United States Cavalry when he died at age 14 or 15 in 1864, and the National Civil War Museum displays stated that the youngest documented drummer boy was only 9.

Or, as sometimes happens, is the GAR marker there for an otherwise unmarked burial of a Civil War veteran?

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