Tag Archive | cemetery

Circus Trip 2018: John Adams

Day 58, Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, Massachusetts

Quincy, Massachusetts was the Adams’ family hometown for multiple generations.  As a result, there are multiple sites with Adams history, aside from the John Adams National Historical Park, where a history nerd like me can literally walk in the footsteps of two of our nation’s Presidents.

John and John Quincy Adams and their families both attended the United First Parish Church, a Unitarian church.  The church first gathered in 1636 as a branch of the Church of Boston, which was founded in 1633.  First Parish then became an independent church in 1639.  It was originally founded as a Puritan church, but became a Unitarian parish in 1750.

Both Adams were lifelong members of the congregation, and their tombs are beneath the church; they share a crypt with their wives Abigail and Louisa Catherine.  In addition, the Patriot John Hancock was baptized here.

I visited the church and the docents were happy to show me around.  I got to sit in the Adams pew, where John Adams and his family sat whenever they attended.  They also took me downstairs to the crypt to view John and John Quincy Adams’ tombs.  It was so humbling to sit where these Presidents sat and pay my respects at their graves.  I was all alone with the docent, and she was kind and knowledgeable, and even offered to take my picture in the pew!

Outside, the town cemetery contains the graves of many more Adams family members, including John Adams’ grandparents.  When I got on the road and headed out that day, I was happy to have spent some time with these important historical figures!

Oh, and just so you know, today – July 11 – is John Quincy Adams birthday! 

Circus Trip 2018: Grandview Cemetery

Day 38, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

I have long enjoyed a historic cemetery.  I get this from my mom, who enjoys taking me to find our departed ancestors and making me pose with the headstones…

This is Grandview Cemetery in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where most of the victims of the Johnstown Flood are buried.  It is a beautiful cemetery, with so many interesting stones.  I wandered around searching for people who died in the flood, and found several.  There was also a beautiful memorial to veterans.  They were certainly fans of obelisks!


Do you enjoy historic cemeteries?

Circus Trip 2018: Indiana’s Historic Cemeteries

Day 23 & 24, Tuesday & Wednesday, August 7 & 8, 2018

Vermillion County, Indiana

Marilyn knows about a million little roadside cemeteries and we checked out a number of them in those couple of days.  Some were tiny, some were larger, and they were in various states of being cared for.

The earliest graves we could read were from the 1830s.  We just don’t have that on the west coast, and I loved these little community plots.

Robert Highfill died on March 9.  Findagrave.com lists his death year as 1855, but the stone looks to me like it says 1835.  I’m sure the 1855 date is correct, as the census records show him marrying his wife in 1845.  Interestingly, he is buried in Highfill Cemetery, so apparently the cemetery was named after the family.

Here lies Frances Remley Johnson, the wife of Robert Johnson.  She died in October, 1837 at the age of 28.  The location of the grave has probably been lost, and that is why her stone is leaning against the tree.

Charlotte Allen’s husband had an unusual name.  Eliphalet means “God, his deliverance,” in Hebrew.  She died February 18, 1845, at the age of 31.  Her husband Eliphalet lived five more years, dying at the age of 54 in 1850.

William Malone was a Freemason; he had the Masonic compass on his grave.  William was born in 1785, and he died during the Civil War, but his death date is unknown and is unreadable.  If he did indeed die during the Civil War, he had a pretty long life…  He was married twice; his first wife Sarah died in 1851, and is buried nearby.

Tuesday evening we ate leftovers for dinner, went and got ice cream for dessert, and then decided to go find another cemetery in the back of a cornfield.  It seems weird writing that, but the Pisgah Burying Ground is an active cemetery, that is literally tucked in behind a cornfield.  It was getting dark when we visited, which made for some eerie photographs.

We went back to the Pisgah Burying Ground the next day in the daylight, and found a well tended graveyard that had none of the creepiness of the night before; the caretakers were there mowing the grass.

Here lies Sebert Pearman; Sebert is another unusual name, meaning “shining sea.”  He died on January 19, 1853.  He was born on January 16, 1793, which meant that he was 60 when he died.  According to information at Findagrave.com, “he was the son of Randolph Nelson (Randall or Randalf) and Judith Pearman. He was a millwright by trade. He was a veteran of the War of 1812 in the Kentucky Militia. He moved to Vermillion County, Indiana in 1829. He married Sarah Rose Nichols February 15, 1815 in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. They were the parents of: Malinda, John, Mary (Francis), Jane Weltha, Benjamin Franklin I, Samuel D., Elizabeth, Sarah Wright, Judah Ann, William II, Elisha, Martha, Sebert Jr., David and James.” He had 12 kids!  Well, perhaps better stated – She had 12 kids!  An urn on a grave is a symbol of the soul, immortality or penitence.

The next morning before I headed on my way, we tried to find another old family burial plot, this one on Marilyn’s land behind a soybean field.  Unfortunately, a few years ago, thieves stole the wrought-iron fence that surrounded the plot.  When we visited, we were unable to find the stones, but found the ground cover that had been planted marking the plot.  It would be sad if someone stole the headstones too.  The plot had been in that thicket of underbrush on the right side of the photo below; not exactly something you would stumble across.


The White Dove

In the past I have blogged about the grave of Sergeant Tuttle at Andersonville National Cemetery, site of the Civil War Confederate POW camp. I was reminded of it a few weeks ago in a conversation with a friend, and want to share it again here.


Tuttle’s grave is significant at Andersonville, for his gravestone is adorned with a white stone dove. It is the only grave in the cemetery that contains more than the simple, uniform marble markers that are placed at each burial. It is a mystery who placed the dove there, and nobody knows when, but it is clear that someone dearly loved this man.


Since I learned about it several years ago, it has always struck me as a timeless story of deep and enduring love. Someone so devoted to a kind and generous man; the kind of love that we all aspire to achieve. I know nothing of the man Tuttle was, but I imagine him to be selfless and kind, generous in heart and spirit, humble and loving. In my mind, he was a man who was deserving of someone’s undying love.


I hope you all, dear readers, give and receive that kind of love. The world would be a better place if we all lived with that in mind.


MI Road Trip: Cemeteries and Beer

Our first couple of days on our Michigan trip were really relaxing, as they were all about family. My grandmother is 97, so she isn’t really out partying, unless you count her semi-regular appearances at church. She lives in a very small town (population about 1500), so there’s limited opportunity to do much of anything. Her town consists of a bank, grocery store, hardware store, gas station, library, post office, coffee shop, second hand clothing shop, all in one pizza, hotdog, sandwich, ice cream restaurant and three antique stores. And that’s pretty much it – it is truly a one stop light town.

I wandered over to both cemeteries during those couple of days; the old cemetery with lots of Civil War Veterans (they stopped burying people here in the 50s or 60s, I believe), and the new cemetery with several Civil War Veterans and many other historical graves, but current burials as well.  Sadly, the old cemetery has deteriorated since I was there last, with somebody doing rubbings on the older gravestones that have left ugly marks.  Many of the stones have fallen over, and graves have sunken.  There are several stones stacked against a tree; their bases lost to time.

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

Jon reading the gravestones in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

A gravestone damaged by rubbing in the old cemetery

My grandfather is buried at the new cemetery, so I always like to go over and say hello. Plus, I find cemeteries to be very peaceful, so I’m always happy to go and wander among the graves.  I always explore the older graves; and this cemetery has several from the 1800s.  Many are in very good condition, and I enjoy reading the names and dates.  Some are in bad shape, having fallen over and sunk into the ground.

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

A Civil War Veteran’s grave in the new cemetery – with the Grand Army of the Republic star

I also got very familiar with the Panera Bread in nearby Kalamazoo, because it has Wi-Fi and Grandma’s internet service was on the fritz. I spent over 3 hours there working on a job application; I must have done well on it, because it was the application for the job I now have! Jon and I also visited Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo with my cousin – I considered it a treat after having wrapped up my application. I had been before with my cousin, but it was Jon’s first time. He was very impressed with the beer and the atmosphere. I love the quirky look of the bar, the collection of African masks, and of course, the beer.

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

The wall of beers at Bell’s Brewery

We tried a couple before we settled on our choices; I had the Thump Yer Pumpkin Ale, which was a light beer with a hint of sweetness and flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a seasonal ale, so it isn’t available all the time. Jon had a glass of the Oracle – a Double IPA; also a seasonal beer, available in the late summer, early fall. It is made with Pacific Northwest hops varieties, and has citrus flavors mixed with extreme bitterness.

We were there in the later afternoon, before the after work crowd showed up, and it was pretty quiet. It was certainly someplace we will head back to next time we are in Michigan!

 Have you been to Bell’s Brewery or had their beer?


Gold Beach and a Monster!

After we had an opportunity to settle down and relax, we did a bit of wandering around Gold Beach. On the internet, they advertise that Gold Beach has several art galleries and antique shops. We could only found 3 art galleries – one was part of a bookstore, one was the walls of a coffee shop and one was closed. So, that took up about 45 minutes. We didn’t find any antique stores – although the bookstore had a collection of antique and first edition books. So shopping didn’t quite work out as planned.

We did find the original cemetery for Gold Beach, with graves from the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s. It has been well maintained, and a lot of the headstones are in very good condition for having been exposed so long to the salty air. I enjoy walking around cemeteries; I find them to be quite peaceful, but Jon thinks it is weird. He wouldn’t let me stay as long as I wanted to…  We also found the Mary D. Hume, a ship that had a 97 (yes 97!) year career.  She was built in 1881, served as an ocean tug and as an Arctic Whaler, and was finally retired in 1978.  Pretty cool if you ask me, and I’m sure my father in law would appreciate it.

Gold Beach Whaler

Gold Beach Whaler

Next we hit the beach. It was a beautiful sunny day but the winds were very strong that day. My hair looked like a rat’s nest by the time we got back to the hotel. We walked for a long distance, talking about travel plans and future trips, fine wines, and careers. I took a lot of photos and even got Jon to pose for some. That is a rare occurrence. I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and got a lot of nice shots. We even managed to find the Gold Beach Monster. I know some of you will say this is simply a photograph of a fish head, but no really, it’s the Gold Beach Monster!

Gold Beach Monster

Gold Beach Monster

I also tried my hand at finding one of the painted glass balls that are supposed to be planted on the beaches of Gold Beach. I didn’t find any; but I did find three rocks that had been painted and left there. I suppose those are the consolation prizes for people who don’t find a glass ball. I took one and left the others for other glass ball hunters.

After dinner (which was snacks from the grocery store), we went back down to the beach and watched the sunset. It was a very enjoyable relaxing evening. The wind had died down by then, so it was actually warmer than it had been earlier in the day.

Gold Beach Sunset

Gold Beach Sunset

It was a relaxing end to a fun, but not always predictable vacation. But as always too short! The following morning, we were on the road at 5 am so we could get home at a reasonable time. Until next time!