Archive for February, 2014

Off to the Graveyard, Part 3, Or Aluminum Foil in Laurel Grove

February 19, 2014

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We’re back at Laurel Grove with aluminum foil and stiff brushes.

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The light was better than last week, but still not enough to create enough shadowing to read the stone.

The light was better than last week, but still not enough to create enough shadowing to read the stone.

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The results are not optimal.  Sigh.

The results are not optimal. Sigh.

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You are not supposed to tape the foil to the stone, only taping foil to foil, which is not possible on a flat stone.

You are not supposed to tape the foil to the stone, only taping foil to foil, which is not possible on a flat stone.

Here's the first try with the aluminum foil.  The trick is to work the foil around the letters by tapping at it with a stiff brush.

Here’s the first try with the aluminum foil. The trick is to work the foil around the letters by tapping at it with a stiff brush.

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Maybe different brushes would be better. Less wind would definitely be better. We’ll try again. Just not today.

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Off to the Graveyard, Part 2

February 10, 2014

This finds us where we left off at Laurel Grove Cemetery. Right about here, we arrived at the Gilmer-Minis plot. I’ve written about J. F. Gilmer before regarding his map of Amelia County, Virginia, and his obituary.

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“And if there be no meeting past the grave,
If all is darkness, silence, yet ’tis rest;
Be not afraid, ye waiting hearts that weep,
For God still giveth His beloved, sleep,-
And if an endless sleep He wills, so best.”

Mary Haskell’s mother was Alice Alexander, the sister of Louisa Fredericka Alexander, so J. Florance Minis married cousins, although they were born about 21 years apart.  Mary Haskell also became affiliated with Khalil Gibran, and you can read more about that here.

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A close-up of one of the ceiling medallions.

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It appears that the columns once had fencing between them. See across the way where there is an image of an angel? We’re going there next.

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We walk across the lane to the next plot, and we find more Alexander and Cumming people.

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ALL YE THAT WERE ABOUT HIM
BEMOAN HIM AND ALL YE THAT
KNEW HIS NAME SAY
HOW IS THE STRONG STAFF
BROKEN.

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Sugar started a happy dance right about here.  His Lawton aunt married a Read, who is of course related to this family, and the Reads and Cabells were from Virginia.  He didn’t know the exact connection until he got home and checked his genealogy books.  O happy genealogy day.

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Y’all have surely heard of Sam Houston?  He’s pronouncing it wrong.  It’s “House-ton”.

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“HE DELIVERED THE POOR THAT CRIED AND HIM THAT HAD NONE TO HELP HIM.
THE BLESSING OF THEM THAT WERE READY TO PERISH CAME UPON HIM.”
(and on the opposite side)
“THOU SHALT LIE DOWN AND THY SLEEP SHALL BE SWEET
FOR HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER THEE.”

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Do you remember Wallace Cumming?  He died shortly after the death of Corinne Elliott Lawton, his niece.  You can refresh your memory here.  If you click on the link and read the previous post, you will also see Dr. Houston, Lou Gilmer (Louisa Alexander Gilmer), and dear Auntie (Louisa Alexander Porter) mentioned.

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THE GIFT OF GOD
IS ETERNAL LIFE
THROUGH JESUS
CHRIST OUR LORD

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And y’all know something sad?  We can’t read some of the tombstones.

So we’ll go back.  With tinfoil!

Who Was Mrs. Mary M. Densler, Or: Off to the Graveyard

February 5, 2014

Mrs. Mary M. Densler is the only non-Starr/Basinger listed in Thomas Elisha and Jane Susan Starr Basinger’s Family Bible.

So who is she?

I found a memorial listed for her on findagrave.com. She was married to Frederick Densler. That didn’t help at all, except that we learned that she was in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

Sugar found the true answer in his great-grandfather’s memoirs, “Personal Reminiscences” written by William Starr Basinger. He talks about his mother’s mother’s sister, Mary Marston Pearson Densler. They called her Aunt Polly. Frederick and Mary “Polly” had three children that I can find documented: Mary, Rebecca, and Edwin.

So off we go to Laurel Grove in spite of impending rain. I was able to figure out where the crypt was, in Lot 480, by using this website maintained by the city of Savannah. The original Starr/Basinger lot was at the opposite end of the lane, in Lot 451, before those people were moved to Bonaventure Cemetery. The McLaws have that plot now.

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Here are some close-ups.

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This is Thomas W. Bealle who married Rebecca A. Densler.

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Thomas and Rebecca had one daughter named Tallulah who died at age 12.

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Here’s son Edwin B. Densler, and his parents Frederick and Mary “Polly” Marston Pearson Densler.

According to the website for the city of Savannah, there are also the following Densler people in Laurel Grove North or in an unknown location:

Densler infants buried in this crypt at Lot 480.

Charles Pearson Densler who died at age 14 months in 1811 and buried in an unknown location.

Barbara Densler whose death/age/burial is unknown.

Edmond B. Densler, 11/26/1843, age 23 years.

Frederick Densler, 01/11/1849, age 72 years, buried in an unknown spot, although clearly he is buried here according to the marker.

Fredrick Densler, buried in Laurel Grove in Lot 480 on March 24, 1853.

John Densler who died in 1828 at age 16 years and is buried in an unknown spot.

Mary Densler, age 22, buried February 29, 1836.

Mary Densler, died on January 28, 1865, and buried January 30, 1865, age 44.

Sophia Densler, died and buried in Lot 296 on August 25, 1857, age 87.

Virginia Densler, buried September 9, 1816, in an unknown location, age 5 years, 10 months.

William Densler, buried in an unknown location on June 8, 1815.

*****

I walked around to the back of the vault to get photos at all angles, like usual for me, and was startled when I saw rings mounted in the ground like where you might tie a horse. Except maybe not.

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Sugar thinks these rings are to pull on, like to open a door, like a door into the vault. I wish I had a photo of my face when I realized what he was talking about.

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He pointed to another vault across the lane as confirmation of his conjecture, and yup, it’s a door to the grave.

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Is that a crack in the door?

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I’m sorry, Smets people. I couldn’t resist.

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We strolled along the lane, and I took some random shots of other mausoleums.

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Here’s Lot 451 which was the Starr/Basinger plot. All these folks were moved to the Starr Family Plot in Bonaventure. I notice on the city of Savannah website that Edwin Pearson Starr’s location is still noted in Laurel Grove Cemetery, even though I know he’s in Bonaventure. I’ve photographed his headstone several times, and he’s next to his aunt (Sugar’s great-great-grandmother) Jane Susan Starr Basinger.

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Across the way we saw the back of a grand memorial, and we thought that, if memory serves, that it was the Gilmer memorial, so we strolled over, and reacquainted ourselves. I’ve written about General Jeremy Francis Gilmer (his obituary is somewhere on this blog), and married Louisa Fredericka Alexander, who just happened to be the sister to Sarah “Sallie” Alexander Lawton, the mother of Corinne Elliott Lawton, who has stirred much ado on this blog.

Let’s just say that we also stepped across the lane to another plot with the beautiful angel, and made some remarkable discoveries.

And that, Dear Reader, is the subject for another blog. After all, I took 100 photos of the day, and we discovered more family connections.

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Thank you for the tour, Aunt Polly. And thank you to whoever it was that wrote of her death in the Family Bible of Thomas Elisha and Jane Susan Starr Basinger in 1857! We wouldn’t have started searching for Aunt Polly without you.