Visit just about any cemetery in the USA and you’ll see the reach of its military might. You’ll find those who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam and other far flung times and places. You’ll find people who served in the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. Most will have a veteran’s marker. But it was in Balaton, MN, at Lakeside Cemetery, that I stumbled across my first Fire brigade marker. Read more
Smiling to myself at the thought of living in a town called Sleepy Eye, I had to stop by the roadside Golden Gate Cemetery for no other reason than the mental comparison I was making with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco was too ludicrous for words. Read more
We stopped by South Green Lake Cemetery in Chisago City, MN, to pay our respects to a man I’d loved to have met. From all I’ve heard, Jerry Jacobs was quite the character, much loved and often spoken about. I’m not quite sure what, if anything, I was expecting, but I experienced a palpable sense of community and a narrative of strength and happiness. Read more
Greenwood Cemetery in Astoria, Oregon, is home to early pioneers to this, the first American settlement west of the Rockies. It opened in the late 1800s, quite a number of years after the city of Astoria was founded. Sitting on a sloping hill looking out over Young’s Bay, it’s a beautiful spot to visit. Were I living locally, I think I’d be a fixture on the swing seat. Read more
Graveyards and their gravestones offer some great history lessons and serve as prompts to explore more. At Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldier Memorial Cemetery, recently, I had three lessons worth mentioning. Read more
In my innocence, I thought the only requirement for burial in a cemetery was that you had to be dead. I thought anyone could buy a plot anywhere they fancied and be buried there. Granted, I had factored in that to be buried in say, a Jewish cemetery, I’d have to be Jewish. Or in a Catholic cemetery, I’d have to be Catholic. And after I sat and thought about it for a while, I went even further and reckoned that some cemeteries might even be reserved for residents of the parish or village, town, or city in which they sat. I’d simply assumed that to be buried in a military cemetery, I’d have to have served. But hey, I’ve been wrong before, as I learned on a trip to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
Given the history of Irish immigration to the USA, it shouldn’t have surprised me to find old graves of Irish immigrants in El Campo Santo, a tiny cemetery in the heart of San Diego’s Old Town. What did surprise me though was that they hailed from the lesser known counties of Cavan and Longford. I don’t think I ever met anyone from Cavan until I went to Alaska. Established back in 1849, this physical history book is a rarity in that beside some of the graves it gives a short bio of some of those interred.
Driving down Peart Road in Casa Grande, we spotted a sign marking Weaver Pioneer Cemetery. It was surrounded by a wire fence, and the main gate was locked. Apparently, the local Historical Society has the key and is only too happy to loan it out, if you want to visit. But we weren’t organised. We made do with peeping through the chinks in the fence.
The old family cemetery was deeded to the city of Casa Grande by the Weaver family back in 2006 to make sure it was preserved. Each grave is numbered, and unlike larger cemeteries like Evergreen Memorial Park in LA, it is well mapped. That said, there’s only a handful of graves to navigate, so it was a much easier job.
Arthur Leslie Elliott was the first Anglo baby born in the city back in 1883. He lived to be 90 years old. Three-year-old Jessie D. Philips seems to be the longest resident. He died in 1896. Diane Loy has catalogued Weaver Pioneer Cemetery for the United States Cemetery Project.
Worth a visit if you’re in the area. I’ve forgiven the typo…
110 West Florence Boulevard, Casa Grande, Arizona 85122
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