Yesterday my husband and I enjoyed a break in the wet weather and drove to the historical Tulocay Cemetery in the city of Napa. Founded in 1859, Tulocay was once a rural cemetery, but now sits in the heart of the city. My first experience with this cemetery was as a kid sitting on the bus looking at all of the stones as I went to school. My first experience actually visiting this cemetery was when a friend ran away from school and we later found him hiding behind one of the big headstones. I've never really had the chance to actually take a good look around the cemetery until yesterday.
If you are expecting affluence from Napa, then the cemetery does not disappoint. Elaborate tombs and grand pedestals stand throughout the meticulously kept grounds. I thought my husband said it best yesterday: "These people died better than we live."
I agree that Tulocay contains some of the most beautiful and ornate graves I have ever seen, but it was one rather simple gravestone that caught my eye.
"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."The inscription on this gravestone really touched me. A father so concerned about his family, offers words of consolation from beyond the grave.
I wanted to learn more about this man, and so when I returned home I did a little hunting. John Clift Simpkins was born in 1846 in Wiltshire, England, the son of Thomas Simpkins and Martha Clift, and part of the Simpkins family that can trace their roots in Wiltshire for generations. A farmer by trade, J. C. Simpkins married Miss Eva Burnell in 1871. The couple had a total of seven children; some of their descendants can still be found here in Northern California.