I love all things genealogical. This (in my opinion) includes old newspaper articles, family trees, memoirs, histories, cemeteries and last (but not least) obituaries. For a lot of us who aren’t particularly religious, death is scary in its finality. I can only hope to live on in my good deeds, my offspring, or the occasional joke I’ve told. Or even better, the ridiculous things I have done. More people are remembered by their mishaps than the good they bestowed upon their fellow man. Poor Bill Clinton — will be remembered by an anecdote involving a cigar.
Enough said. Below is a collection of obituaries that I culled today from online sources, including “Google” and http://www.genealogybank.com
If you google “humerous gravestones” or “funny headstones”, or something similar, you will see that a lot of people planned on leaving one last joke behind when they died. I applaud them! Might as well add some levity to a sad occasion. I have taken the liberty of copying some of the best ones and posting them.
I had guessed that George W. Engle’s father was Louis and that his mother was Philipine, but couldn’t prove it. Yesterday I received George’s death certificate, and even though it is hard to read, it definitely lists Louis as his father. His son, Peter, was the informant. Peter didn’t know his father’s birthday so he lists his age as about 60. His date of death was September 3, 1915.
You can learn so much from a death certificate. I had no idea where George Engle might have been buried, but his death certificate lists Washburn Cemetery, Scranton, Pennsylvania as the site.
I also received his wife’s death certificate at the same time. Her name was Martha Carey Engle. Martha lived longer than George and died on May 25, 1928. Their son Peter was also the informant on her death certificate. And she was buried in Washburn Cemetery also.
http://www.findagrave.com had no record of their burials, so I added their names as being buried at Washburn Cemetery. I did some fact finding about Washburn Cemetery. Washburn Cemetery is the site for the burials of some of the victims of the Avondale Mine Disaster. The cemetery has fallen into terrible disrepair and neglect. The Genealogical Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania has been working on doing much needed repairs. I applaud their efforts!
I copied the text below from the Genealogical Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s site —
The Avondale Mine disaster of September 6, 1869 united a region that consisted of anthracite coal mining cities and towns. Although there were most likely remembrances held subsequent to 1869, the first two in recent memory to honor the 110 men and boys took place in 1994 and 2005.
The 1994 remembrance was conducted by various Welsh organizations and included placement of a memorial plaque honoring the men and boys inside the entrance to Washburn Street Cemetery in West Scranton. This event was followed by a two-day remembrance on September 10 and 11, 2005 at the Avondale Mine site in Plymouth and at Washburn Street Cemetery.
From 2005 to the present much has been accomplished. At Washburn, grave markers were restored and a remembrance plaque was installed near the men’s and boys’ graves where spring bulbs were planted. Near the mine site in Plymouth a Commonwealth roadside marker reminds visitors and commuters of the disaster that occurred nearby.
Our most recent endeavor involved raising funds for the removal of two dead trees located near the men’s and boys’ Washburn resting places. The trees were removed on April 22, 2013.
As part of our continuing efforts to improve conditions around the gravesites, projects include, but are not limited to, placement of a memorial bench, installation of a Civil War remembrance in honor of the Avondale men who fought in that war and are interred at Washburn, as well as purchase of summer flowers and additional spring bulbs that will enhance the Avondale section of Washburn.
Contributions to help cover the costs of these and other projects are being sought. Any amount is greatly appreciated. Checks and/or money orders can be made payable to Avondale Restoration Project and sent to:
Avondale Restoration Project
c/o Linda Scott
514 Old Colony Rd
South Abington Twp., PA 18411
I googled to find out who has the Washburn Cemetery Records and found the answer at rootsweb. The records are held by the offices of the Rader Insurance Co., in Scranton.
Among the early interments on this plot were 69 victims of the Sept. 9, 1869, Avondale disaster, a mine breaker which caught fire just south of Plymouth, PA; 17 of these names are identified in the source one LDS list. Up until the 1930’s an entrance existed on the east side of the cemetery from Filmore street. As with many other cemeteries, ownership has changed hands several times, additional land purchased for expansion, and problems have resulted from some of these changes – lack of maintenance is but one. Official records are held by the offices of the Rader Insurance Co., Scranton, and are organized by plot owner. This office also handles Abington Hills and Shady Lane cemeteries.
Below are some photographs I found on the internet showing the condition of Washburn Cemetery. The photos are from the Facebook page titled “Clean Up the Washburn Street Cemetery”. If you are on Facebook, you can see more photos. Thank you to the person or persons who took these photos.
Reading old newspapers online is what I call great entertainment. Our newspapers now are very cautious about what they print due to our litigious society. The old newspapers were more like our modern day “Globe” or “Enquirer”, with the exception that Photo Shop hadn’t been invented yet.
The article below wouldn’t have made the newspaper now because no coroner would want to be labeled this inept.
Below is a bizarre rhyming obituary for a baby. Would any newspaper now print that little Jerry died from dysentery? Or old man Fancher died from cancer? There have been some improvements in the press.
The following would be a cheery addition to the “Weddings” section of the paper.
Below is An Honest Obituary from 1916.
And finally, some very unusual causes of death found in various old newspapers.
I can’t say enough about how much fun it is to read the obituaries. I am not talking about the euphemistic ones that say that “grandpa is now resting in the arms of Jesus”, but the brutally honest ones. The ones that you can’t believe were really published.
I’ve taken the liberty of copying some great obits off of the internet . . .
My Granny Kelley (Mary Romick Kelley) had three sisters. Granny was the only sister who married. Granny (Mary) married Forrest Aaron Kelley in 1909. Nell, Lida and Edna chose to remain single and were “old maid school teachers” as they were called back then.
I have been working on putting together a “Page” family tree to include all of the family I gained through being adopted into a wonderful “Leave it to Beaver” type of family. Mom was never up making breakfast without being nicely dressed like June Cleaver. I was one lucky little “orphan” or “gutter snipe” in the words of the Willows Maternity Home. Ray & Harriett Page picked me up from The Willows on May 11, 1951.
Back to the Romick sisters — Nell (1874-1939), Lida (1887-1959), Edna (1889-1977) and Mary (1878-1963) were all trained as school teachers. There weren’t a lot of other choices back when they were young women.
The story from my mother (Harriett Kelley Page) was that Samuel B. Romick wasn’t an easy person. (By the way, my mom Harriett was named for her grandmother). Harriett Kenworthy Romick (Samuel’s wife) waited on him & he always took the best pieces of food first. Whether or not this had anything to do with his daughters deciding not to marry, we’ll never know. And perhaps that sister Nell preferred fishing & other male activities over crocheting or embroidery — who knows what those times were like for women who refused to fit the girly mode. Women had so few options. Or perhaps men shuddered at the other three sisters’ names. Mary is definitely a nicer name than Nell, Lida or Edna.
But I did find some interesting information about him today. If you have read any of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of http://www.findagrave.com. I was searching for Samuel B. Romick and found that the volunteer who photographed the Romick grave site in Wheat Ridge, CO (a suburb of Denver) also went to the trouble of finding his obituary. That is so way beyond just being a volunteer. Thank you Wednesday, whoever you are.
Birth: Dec. 21, 1841
Death: Mar. 15, 1924, USA
Beaver City Times, Mar. 24, 1924 Samuel B. Romick, for fourteen years a resident and merchant of Beaver City, died at his home, 2205 ———————— 17, 1924. A man of good habits and strong ———— meaning of sickness until four years ago, when hardening of the arteries began sapping a life already extended well beyond the allotted span of “three score years and ten.”
He was born December 21, 1841 in Harrisville, Ohio. At the very beginning of the Civil War he enlisted serving in the army of the Potomac. Being captured at the battle of Stone River, he experienced and endured for several months the terrors, hardships and scanty food of Libby prison. He was in the famous March of the sea under General Sherman, and could fully appreciate the battle song, “Marching Through Georgia.” In his last days he seemed to live over again the scenes, struggles, and victoires of that testing period and when he could no longer speak he frequently gave the soldiers countersign.
He was in active business life for about fifty years, first in Iowa, and later in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, retiring four years ago at Onadarko, Okla.
He was married in September 1873, to Miss Harriet Kenworthy of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who survives him, and is joined in mourning by four daughters: Misses Nell, Lida, and Edna, of Denver, who are popular and efficient teachers in the city schools, and Mrs. Mary Kelley, wife of Dr. Forrest A. Kelley of Winfield, Kans. His only living brother, Philip A. Romick, of Onadarko, Okla., could not be present at the funeral.
He had long been a member of the Masonic order, and it was especially fitting that he should be laid to rest in the section of Crown Hill Burial Park reserved for Masons, where every new grave is an added consecration to a spot already made sacred by the “broken columns” of many of the brethren. Honor to his memory.
Yesterday I received an email from a Kenneth Schaeffer, a volunteer at http://www.findagrave.com He found my birth mother’s gravestone & posted a photo of it on the findagrave site.
Kenneth Schaeffer has added 3,876 memorials to findagrave and has taken 580 volunteer photos in the Pennsylvania area.
What is Find A Grave?
Find a Grave’s mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience.
If you haven’t taken a look at this site, I urge you to do so. It is a great genealogical resource. Plus, if you have photos to add, it will help the future generations with their research. Anyone with a digital camera can check out the photo requests in their area and post a picture.
Thank you Kenneth!
Find a Grave is a wonderful resource for finding family memorials & photos. You can use the link below to do your own search. Also, if you have a digital camera & wish to participate in a volunteer activity, you can upload memorials & photos yourself. As of this date, I’ve uploaded 26 memorials & 7 photos.
Please do a search for your family members! If they aren’t there, you may want to take some photos & add them.