Member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits

Monday, December 19, 2011

Calvary Cemetery Burial- The KELSEY Family

As Mike and I were about to return to the car after our visit to Calvary Cemetery, I spotted the grave marker for the KELSEY family.  I noted several things that were atypical of the grave marker:

1.  Four young people were listed on the marker.

2.  Three of the four decedents passed away in Nevada City, several hundred miles from this cemetery.

3.  The grave marker appears newer than the date of the last death craved on it (1904).

4.  On the left side of the marker was listed one Mr. Richard KELSEY, born in England in 1833 and having passed away in 1889.  He was likely the father of the children on the marker, but where is the mother?

And so my interest in the KELSEY family began.  I started my search with Nevada City by finding the KELSEY family in the 1870 Federal Census.  Richard, his wife, Mary, and two young children, Eddie and Richard Jr., were living in this popular mining community.  A decade, and several children later, the KELSEY family was located in the little township of Vallejo just a few miles south of Petaluma in Sonoma County (not to be confused with the city of Vallejo in nearby Solano County).  Instead of mining, Richard Sr. was now working a farm.  Research confirmed that Richard Sr. died in 1889. 

Having not been able to locate the Widow Mary after the 1900 Federal Census, I began to dig deeper into the KELSEY family history.  Fortunately, a couple of biographies had been written on the family.  The first biography told of Richard's youth and how he and his family had moved from England the state of Illinois when he was a young boy.  It also gave Richard's marriage date and the maiden name of Mary (MCCARTHY) as well as mentioned the seven children the couple had, including the two that had died.

The second biography was that of one Mr. John SKIFFINGTON, who married the Widow KELSEY.  This biography mentioned Mary's parents (Patrick and Honora MCCARTHY, nee CAIN).  The biography also discussed a bit about Richard KELSEY, telling how he had been a successful miner in Nevada City and that he owned 300 acres of good land in Sonoma County at the time of his death.

John SKIFFINGTON died in 1920.  Mary died two years later on March 17th.  I learned that both of them are also buried at Calvary Cemetery.

My guess is that the mysterious grave marker was erected by the children of Richard and Mary KELSEY between 1904 (the date of death on the marker for Daniel KELSEY) and 1922, when the youngest of the children, Alice, passed away in Sonoma County.  The family, wealthy from those early mining days in Nevada City, could afford such a beautiful tribute to their dearly departed family.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Calvary Cemetery- An Artistic View

While in Petaluma today for a day of Christmas shopping, Mike and I stopped by the Calvary Catholic Cemetery.  We found everything from Astro Turf to open [empty] tombs.  It was really a neat cemetery, and we were definitely not alone in thinking that.  There were lots of people visiting the cemetery today just having a look around.

Mike and I have two separate viewpoints of cemeteries- I am there to gather information, but Mike looks at the gravestones from an artistic point of view.  For my hubby, who is always so caring and patient and kind to me, I present his beautiful photography:

Mike took this creepy, but really cool picture
in the older part of the cemetery. 
I love it!

This cemetery sits in a lush green area of town,
but I really like how this picture looks as if 
the cemetery is in a desert.

Here is the real Calvary Cemetery.
Mike captured a spot which reminds me 
of pictures of Italy.

I'm just a point-and-click kind of gal so
I'm always impressed with how Mike
captures light in a photograph.

Mike is also really good at showing
the scale and grandeur of a grave.

Okay, so obviously Mike did not take this
picture since he is in it.  I just had to show
the great artist at work!

Thank you, honey, for being you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pacheco Cemetery

Pacheco Cemetery is small, and unfortunately, in a bit of sad shape.  Still, I did enjoy my quick trip there today.

I've never seen a cemetery in this area
with such few trees and greenery.

A glimmer of hope-
perhaps this cemetery is being restored.

There are a lot of unknown graves
of early Japanese Americans. 
This stone marks their passing.

Fortunately there are still some families not separated
by time and neglect, such as the Sherman family.
You can read about the unfortunate accident
that caused John Sherman's death here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saint Helena Cemetery

Turning left in Downtown Saint Helena onto Spring Street and traveling down a country road, Mike and I almost passed this quietly hidden cemetery. There seems to always be a soundless hush in cemeteries; this one had it even more so than most. Many of the departed have been resting for a very long time. We were extra careful not to disturb them.

In this small farming community, parents worked as one...

 ...and chose to spend an eternity together...

...with their children by their side.

Meticulously preserved, these gravestones seem
to stand proudly in tidy little rows.

Even wooden markers have been left undisturbed by time so 
the dearly departed can be remembered.*

 And those who were forgotten in life have
a place of remembrance. 

Gone from our sight, but not from our hearts. 

* I would love to be able to honor Mr. Thomas TOOMEY (aka TOOMY) by finding out more about him.  I thought perhaps he was the same Thomas who lived in Sonoma County, but he is not.  Did the little wooden marker originally belong to him, or perhaps a loved one is buried by his side?

Thank you, honey, for the wonderful pictures.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Silveyville Cemetery

Silveyville Cemetery, located right across the street from the fairgrounds in Dixon, is just so amazing!  It is obvious even from the road that an extraordinary amount of respect and care goes into maintaining its grounds.

As Mike and I walked the cemetery, I think I figured out why this cemetery is in such pristine condition:  though Dixon was originally a town that provided for the gold miners of the Sacramento valley, its people remained long after the gold ran out.  Many descendants of the town's original inhabitants live in Dixon today.  This city cemetery is really a "family cemetery".  In fact, as one drive through town to get to this cemetery, one gets the feeling that Dixon is still a family town (despite the Super Walmart that sits off the highway).

The ornate gravestones throughout the cemetery gave me the impression that Dixon's early settlers walked away with their fair share of gold.  And as you can see in this picture, the Masonic portion of the cemetery is divided into many family plots.  Yes, the people buried here were very much loved by their families and their community.

People like The Reverend Daniel King, minister of the Dixon Baptist Church from 1857 until his death, were cherished by the townspeople.  "This venerable servant of God was thus the leader of this church for more than twenty years, and was an example to them in faith, in preseverence, in well-doing, in sacrificing for Christ and his cause." - From "A History of Solano County, by J. P. Munro-Fraser, 1879."

Wives and mothers, like Mrs. Frances Mayes (nee Hood), were admired in life, and remembered in death.

"Not here, but risen; oh, angel song,
Still falling soft on hearts that weep!
This is the dead whose ashes long
Her Master's messengers shall keep,
Safe in Earth's last undreaming sleep.
But she who wore this mortal guise
Has fled beyond our tearful sight;
Joyful and strong, serene and wise,
She lives upon the hills of light,
And waits us on that heavenly height."

And hard working immigrant farmers, like Salvador Salaberry and his family, chose Dixon as their final home.  Their arduous labor helped create the thriving agriculture that exists in this community today.

The people here live on in the hearts of the many who remember them.

"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow."

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Elmira Cemetery


Elmira Cemetery in Vacaville is located just down the road from the Factory Outlets.  It is very easy to find.  If you're in the area, it's worth checking out.

If you walk the cemetery, do bring a big bottle of water.
I forgot just how hot it gets in Vacaville!

It is very neatly maintained and all of the stones are very easy to read. 


It is rather cramped though.
Mike and I were surprised to see graves right
along the roadside.

 It also turned out to be a good place
for viewing Jackrabbits.  
(Yes, they are real.)

This was the only cracked stone we saw.
It made me want to learn a little about Mr. Pasley...

Benjamin Franklin PASLEY was born 24 October 1890 in Pleasant Plains, Independence County, Arkansas.  The third son of Charles Lee Pasley and Mary Lou COZART, he was married to Mary Essie HAMMETT at the age of 22 years.  The couple had several children before moving to California.  Their descendants still live in the area.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Carquinez Cemetery

Even though I could not find a gravestone for Charlene's grandfather, Joseph Martins, I did enjoy my visit out to the cemetery.  My mom-in-law decided to go with me.  I hope she'll go with me on future trips.

That poor old cemetery is in sad shape, but there's still quite a charm to the little place.  It not only is a very old cemetery (the first burials date back to the 1840's), but it feels old as well.  Picture a few green trees and lots of brown overgrown weeds surrounding the tops of barely visible stones.  The cemetery probably looks much as it did in its early years.

Wrought iron is not often found in town anymore.

The McCarty family plot is one of the nicer areas in the 
front of the cemetery.

Originally from Scotland, Thomas Brownlee married Mary Lamont
in New York City before moving to Vallejo circa 1857. 

According to Charlene's description,
Joseph Martins is buried somewhere under these trees.

Thanks for coming out to the cemetery with me, Mom.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rolling Hills Cemetery

Rolling Hills Cemetery is a very spacious and serene cemetery that sits on top of the hill overlooking Richmond and the San Pablo Bay.  Although it lies next to the highway, it has a very peaceful feel to it.

As I was leaving the cemetery to return home, I noticed a portion of the grounds called "Innocence".  This area contains the final resting place of children who have died.  This post is dedicated to them.

 Karl S. Britt, Jr.

Michael Nelson Holye

 Ashley D. Brawley

Kenyetta E. Ridge

 Justin Seng Phanh

Angelique L. Jackson

 Kyana Delisha Payton

 Tori Shannae Nicks

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sunrise Memorial Cemetery

I was overdue for a post, and since someone actually requested MY help through RAOGK (I only get a handful of requests through them per year), I thought it was a good opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, to say.  Yeah, I know.  Bad joke!

Most people can't claim to have good memories about a cemetery.  Sunrise Memorial is unique for me in that way.  I lived near the cemetery for a while when I was very young.  I remember being spooked out of my mind by my older brother telling me that zombies from the cemetery were going to get me while I was asleep.  I really believed him too!  And although I know now that he was pulling a fast one, I still tip toe around when I go to that cemetery.

It's been a while since I've been out there, and I was quite stunned to find that like everything else, it too has been hit by the tough economy. It seems that even in death, there no escape from this economic downturn!!

The office was closed due to staffing issues.  Thankfully, a groundskeeper was there today, and the lady that send me her picture request had the exact location of the burial.  The groundskeeper was kind enough to show me the way AND to trim around the stone.  What a nice man!

The request was for the gravestone picture of Dr. Franklin Ernst, Jr.  You can find his obituary here.

"Mastery of the universe is proportional to the
symbols man has by which to represent his universe."
Sunrise is an interesting cemetery.  Long ago, it was outside of town.  Now, it's in the center of town.  It's an old cemetery, but there are a lot of recent burials there as well, such as Dr. Ernst.  The good doctor is actually buried next to a lot of pioneer families including:

John Lee came to the area with his family
and the family of his brother, William.

George and Rachel (nee Marshall) Olinger were early
pioneers who moved to the county in 1854.

Interesting...I may be related to James Fenton Chappell.
I'll have to get back to you on that one! 

Update:   James Fenton Chappell is not a relative of mine.  An one-time mayor of Vallejo, James was the son of former State Senator and Assemblyman James Nathan Chappell (1822-1885) and Arvilla Fenton (1836-1911), early settlers of Shasta county.  James was married to Mae Corbett, daughter of the James and Margaret that is also on the above gravestone.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Benicia City Cemetery

Against my better judgment, I visited Benicia City Cemetery today.  Don't get me wrong- it's a nice little cemetery.  It's just very steep in places, and I'm suffering from a sprained ankle.  We're expecting another storm tomorrow, and I thought it best to beat the rain.  Wet or dry, bring your hiking shoes to this place!

Every stone seemed to have a symbol.  Gravestone symbols are not my expertise. 
This one caught my eye because I do know the Freemasons mark.

This grave marker made me feel very sad.  
I'll research this family and get back to you on who they were.*

I counted six little headstones in this family plot. 
This family experienced a great loss.

Even stone does not last forever.

*Well, I didn't do too well on the Vickers family. I know that the father, Michael Vickers, died in 1893 and that his wife Annie (nee O'brien) probably died earlier.   I'll have to make a return trip to the cemetery to see if I can uncover any more Vickers buried there.