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Friday, September 20, 2013

Hugh Duffy

When I went to St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery last week, the first gravestone that kind of struck me as interesting was the one for the Hugh Duffy family.  The cross had fallen and I wondered how long it had been that way.  Find-A-Grave shows that it was standing back in 2008.  Mystery solved.

But another mystery emerged when I sat down to find out more about the Hugh Duffy family.  I quickly learned that Hugh Duffy was murdered, but the details did not emerge until I did some research today.

Charles Wardrip, age 19, was burglarizing the home of Hugh Duffy's neighbor, when Mr. Duffy caught him in the act.  Wardrip shot Duffy and he died two days later on the afternoon of the 19th of February 1902.  After apprehending and questioning a few suspects, Charles Wardrip, who had adopted several aliases and had since fled to Salt Lake City , was brought back to Sacramento in May.  Wardrip originally refused counsel and entered a guilty plea, but the judged refused his plea and assigned two attorneys to represent him at trial.  On July 30th, a jury found Wardrip guilty of murder.  He was sent to San Quentin where he was hanged on February 26, 1904.

I don't know much about Hugh Duffy's ancestry.  He was born in Ireland and became a U.S. Citizen in 1873.  He was the brother of Patrick H. Duffy, and Mary Duffy-Lavelle, who supposedly was the daughter of Michael Duffy and Mary Lennon of County Roscommon, Ireland.  A James Duffy is also buried in St. Joseph's Cemetery.  He was also born in County Roscommon, Ireland.  A brother perhaps?

If you have any information, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with me. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

In The Line Of Duty

I am so behind on cemetery research, sigh....again!  I am having some issues with my foot and it makes walking around steep hills a bit of a pain.  I'll be heading out to a cemetery soon though.

But in the meantime, a comment under my last post asked about the tribute to the police officers and firefighters at Lone Tree.  I still have the picture I took from that day.

It's such a shame that this is in the rear of the cemetery.  I mean, I understand why.  That was where there was room!  So anyhow, please do not miss this touching tribute when you visit the cemetery.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lone Tree Cemetery

Mike is always so nice to take me to all of these cemeteries.  While I like to focus on specific plots and names of people who are buried there, he focuses more on the general area.  And Mike takes some great pictures!  Here are a few of my favorites that he took while we were at Lone Tree Cemetery.  Thank you for the pictures, honey. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cemeteries in Japan

The other day Mike and I went to Lone Tree Cemetery in Hayward, which I will write about in a upcoming post.  We weren't actually going to Hayward for the cemetery (yes, I do have a life outside of genealogy!), but rather to the Japanese gardens there.  We had a beautiful stroll, followed by a not-so-beautiful lunch in a restaurant downtown.  As my mind tried to escape the meal, I thought that perhaps it would be nice to write a bit about cemeteries in Japan.

It should be mentioned that though cremation is not mandatory in Japan, you'd be hard-pressed to find a cemetery that allows for burial.  This is not so much for religious reasons as for making room for the living.  There is not a whole lot of wide-open ranges in the country, which explains why the typical cemetery in Japan looks like this:

What is all of that?!?

In brief:

There generally are not individual graves in cemeteries, but family plots.  Like here, you will find engraved on the stone the names of the deceased.  In Japan, it is not uncommon to have a family crest, which too will be engraved on the stone.  Some have their family tree engraved on the stone.  I wish we'd do that here!

If you see your name in red on a gravestone, fear not, for this means that you are alive.  If your name is written in black, you may have something to worry about...

There is a place in front of the stone to offer flowers, incense and water...or a nice shot of shochu if the deceased was especially liked.   \(^ ^)/

Below each stone is a locked area for ashes.  The ashes of famous people are sometimes stolen.  Try not to be famous. 

Dying is expensive in Japan.  A grave site will set you back $20,000 to $40,000, which does not include the cost of the funeral.  Try not to die.  If that is not an option, having a high tech burial will save you about 80%.  For more info, watch the Reuters segment on card-activated crypts or the video below (which I highly recommend):

Sorry, but the weird voice of the lady's
deceased father is not included.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rio Vista

Yesterday I got a wild hair to go to a cemetery.  Hubby was willing to go along for an adventure.  He picked the city of Rio Vista, a small rural community in the Sacramento Delta. 

Both the Catholic cemetery and the Odd Fellows cemetery are located just as you enter town.  The entrances to both are very small.  I had to circle around the Catholic cemetery to find out exactly where to enter.  I wasn't even sure at first it was a Catholic cemetery.  I thought perhaps it was a second part of the Odd Fellows cemetery, a "spill over" of sorts.  The narrow entrance at Odd Fellows takes you straight up a small hill.  It was such a slope that I decided to exit through the church parking lot next door.

It was at the Catholic cemetery that I ran for my life from an attacking swarm of bees (be careful if you visit- the bees are on the right side of the fence, under the tree closest to the street).  At the Odd Fellows cemetery next to the parking lot, hubby pointed out a dead jackrabbit.  How very sad!!  That being said, both cemeteries are very well-maintained. 

To top off my bizarre day, my plumber's crack (ha!) got sunburned while I was bent over transcribing a gravestone.  Ouch!!  Normally a long inscription is from a passage of the Bible or a cherished poem.  After coming up empty on a Google search for a source of the inscription, I felt compelled to try my best at deciphering the old stone. 

The inscription is just beautiful!  It provokes images a young girl's spirit being alive and free of the burdens of nature and time:

She passed away at the early dawn of
a bright and intelligent womanhood.
Her form is mouldering here.
But her spirit is beyond the reach
of sin or earthly trouble.
No sorrow in store for her.
Untrammeled by flesh unchained
to earth. Free to roam through
the boundless expanse of this
glorious Universe forever.
The rain will fall the sun will shine. The flowers will bloom and droop again.
As in time past giant trees did ???
Where now is this small grave of ???
Sweet birds of song now fly about
Where in another age the sea
Will ??? and give a route
To sailors seeking ??? free
Thy home will be the spirit land
Untouched by time and in nature's hand.

Oh how I wish I could make out the entire inscription!   If you'd like to give it a try, you can visit Virginia Ewing's tribute at Find-A-Grave:

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Passing Of Time

Time goes by so quickly...personal issues have prevented me from doing any cemetery research for quite some time.  When I was finally able to continue, I forgot to update this blog.  It is not my intention to be so neglectful.  All I can say is that I will try harder in the future.

And so I will begin anew by admitting to a gravestone no-no that I actually did today.  I saw the fragmented pieces of a young child's marker, all but one piece separated by a few inches.  I carefully picked the three smaller pieces up and moved them to fit near the larger two.  Yes, I risked breaking the pieces even further, but I felt in this case it had to be done.  Chunks of the stone had slid down the hill.  Some had shattered; thankfully, the most important parts of the stone were still in tact.  I was careful to not move the pieces from the area where the child's name was found.  The name was next to a relative who I assume was the mother of the child.  As I bunched some grass up below the stones to help prevent them from sliding again, I imagined that the mother would have felt very sad to know that her young daughter's gravestone has almost been lost to time.

Here is the gravestone of young Violet M. Shouse (1910-1923)

Photography will remember what
mother nature will eventually destroy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Use of Shaving Cream

Life has been busy.  I apologize for not posting sooner....

So a couple of months back I was doing some work at Find A Grave, when I stumbled upon a biography of one of the volunteers there.  She was dead set against spraying shaving cream on tombstones.  Now I thought to myself, "Well, I am too!  That's just wrong to go around defacing tombstones with shaving cream", not realizing that this is not done as an act of vandalism but as a way of reading the inscription on decaying old tombstones.  In fact, it took me some time for this naive rabbit to find out that many people use shaving cream as a tool to help with transcription.

My initial reaction was, "Well, how silly.  Shaving cream isn't going to hurt anything", but then I got to thinking that I really don't know that for certain.  And so I began to do some online reading on the subject.

I have concluded that neither those for or against the use of shaving cream really have any kind of proof as to its effects. I like to err on caution though and so I will probably not pack shaving cream along on my next visit to a cemetery.

If you'd like to read up on the subject, here are two articles that represent both views:

Shaving Cream: Genealogist’s Friend or Cemetery Conservator’s Foe?
Shaving Cream on Tombstones

And a before and after photo of a gravestone that was cleaned with shaving cream (both pictures taken from