27 September 2008

Cemetery Thefts Net Five Years in Prison

Five years in prison. That's a long time. Is it wrong of me to support this sentence? A lack of respect and violation was put upon so many individuals -- living as well as dead. A message should be sent.

"Cemetery Thefts Net Five Years in Prison
Chalmette man, 22, stole vases off graves.

A Chalmette man has been sentenced to five years in prison for stealing brass flower vases from a cemetery and selling them as scrap metal for pennies on the dollar.

Patrick Centorbi, 22, pleaded guilty to theft this week and was sentenced to five years in prison by state District Judge Wayne Cresap, the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office said in a news release.

Centorbi and three other men were arrested in April, charged with stealing about 200 brass vases from graves at St. Bernard Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Chalmette." READ MORE.

Southern Graves Home

Good Things Happening at Hilltop Cemetery; Cocoa, Florida

It's a shame it had to get so bad before anything was done, but it seems repairs have begun!

Open, Cracked Graves Repaired At Cemetery
Many Black Pioneers Buried At Site

Neglected Cemetery Getting Long-Awaited Repairs

Repairs Underway at Historical Cemetery

Hilltop Cemetery Needs More Work
More grave covers found cracked open.

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Burial Plots for UGA Lettermen Available Near Stadium

Now I really believe this is a new trend. It was recently reported that a European futbol team was starting their own cemetery. Not long after, a cemetery decided to devote a section to Chicago Cubs fans. Now this:

"Burial Plots for UGA Lettermen Available Near Stadium.
Lettermen’s association to unveil "Bulldog Haven," an area within cemetery next to stadium.
By Chip Towers
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Athens — Georgia football lettermen have always said, "once a Bulldog, a Bulldog for life." Now, it seems, that distinction can extend even into death.

The Georgia Football Lettermen’s Club is doing something that, insofar as anybody can tell, has never been done before even in the football-crazed Deep South. It will unveil to its membership Saturday the opening of “Bulldog Haven,” a designated area of burial plots within famous Oconee Hill Cemetery next to Sanford Stadium reserved in death only for those who have worn the uniform, their coaches and their families." READ MORE.

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Oconee Hill Cemetery Website

25 September 2008

White Oak Flats Cemetery; Gatlinburg, Tennessee

About a year ago, we took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I always like to find an old cemetery when I travel to different places. A good bit of history of an area can be learned with one local cemetery walk. The following is a bit of information I found out about Gatlinburg and one of its old cemeteries. It was late in the day when I visted, so the photos and video below were taken about dusk.

A little known fact: Gatlinburg, located in Sevier County, Tennessee, was originally known as White Oak Flats.

Edgefield, South Carolina native William Ogle (1751-1803) was the first to decide to permanently settle in the Gatlinburg area. With the help of local Cherokee, he readied logs to build a cabin. He went back to South Carolina to retrieve his family, but died of malaria before he was able to bring them back to Tennessee. William's widow, Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, moved her family near relatives in Virginia. Around 1806, Martha and her brother Peter Huskey journeyed to the (now) Gatlinburg area to complete her husband's dream. They found the waiting logs and built a cabin. It still stands today in the heart of Gatlinburg.

Following the arrival of the Ogles and Huskeys, a steady stream of settlers moved into the area known as White Oak Flats. Most of these settlers were veterans of the American Revolution or War of 1812. Among them was Timothy Reagan.

The White Oak Flats Cemetery was established and many of the pioneering settlers were buried there, including Timothy Reagan. A memorial stone for Martha Jane Huskey Ogle is there, but I do not know for sure if she is buried there. Wiley Oakley, the "Roamin' Man of the Mountains," is also buried in this cemetery.

Martha's memorial stone transcription and a photo of Timothy Reagan's gravestone:

In Memory of
Martha J. Ogle
1756 - 1827
Mother of 5 Sons
& 2 Daughters

Below is a video of White Oak Flats Cemetery at dusk.

Here is a photo of a couple of Reagan crosses:

That's what I learned about White Oak Flats Cemetery!

24 September 2008

Veterans Cemetery Coming to Dublin, Virginia

"Veterans cemetery soon comes to Dublin.

Southwest Virginia will soon have its first veterans cemetery in Dublin.

Dozens gathered at the Dublin Lions Club Monday for a deed to be transferred for the new cemetery.

The U.S. Army handed over nearly 80 acres to Governor Tim Kaine. The Virginia General Assembly has set aside $11 million for construction, which will be reimbursed by federal grants.

The cemetery should be ready to open at the end of 2010.

Veterans who want to be buried there can submit a pre-application."

© 2008 WorldNow and WDBJ7.

22 September 2008

Elko Cemetery Online Update

I recently made another visit to Elko Cemetery in Houston County, Georgia and took some more photos. It was really too bright out for me to get great photos, but I didn't want to waste the opportunity. I revamped the whole Elko Cemetery page for the Houston County, GA American History & Genealogy Project and moved it to Southern Graves. I added more photos and transcriptions, a bit more history about the town of Elko, and a link to more photos and transcriptions from this cemetery.

Willow Grove Community Cemetery; Texas

The Willow Grove Community Cemetery in central Texas was designated by the Texas Historical Commission as a Historic Texas Cemetery:

Area Cemetery to Get Texas Historical Marker

Community Celebrates Willow Grove Cemetery's Historical Designation

Cemetery Historical Marker

Natchitoches, Louisiana Jewish Cemetery

Schelly Talalay Dardashti at Tracing the Tribe wrote a nice post entitled "Louisiana: Natchitoches Jewish Cemetery, Video." It links you to a video the Natchitoches Preservation Network prepared, as well as more information about the cemetery and a listing of burials.

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19 September 2008

Family Cemetery Destroyed in West Virginia

Be sure to watch the video.

Family Cemetery Destroyed: Loved ones still waiting for answers. More than four years after a bulldozer plowed through a family cemetery in Logan County the families of the people buried there say justice still hasn't been served...

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Grave Dispute in North Carolina

I hope everyone has the proper paperwork in order!

Grave Dispute: A battle over burial plots has two families at odds in Madison County...

Marshall Seeks Solution to Cemetery Confusion: 2 families claim same plot in town-run burial ground...

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17 September 2008

St. Andrew's Cemetery; Darien, Georgia

The Historical Marker Database recently uploaded a page for St. Andrew's Church Cemetery in Darien, McIntosh County, Georgia.

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16 September 2008

Love Cemetery

I have not yet read this book, but the story sounded so interesting. I thought I'd go ahead and post it:

Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves
"By the eve of the Civil War, there were four million slaves in North America, and Harrison County was the largest slave-owning county in Texas. So when China Galland returned to research her family history there, it should not have surprised her to learn of unmarked cemeteries for slaves. ''My daddy never let anybody plow this end of the field,'' a local matron told a startled Galland during a visit to her antebellum mansion. ''The slaves are buried there.'' Galland's subsequent effort to help restore just one of these cemeteries—Love Cemetery—unearths a quintessential American story of prejudice, land theft, and environmental destruction, uncovering racial wounds that are slow to heal. Galland gathers an interracial group of local religious leaders and laypeople to work on restoring Love Cemetery, securing community access to it, and rededicating it to the memories of those buried there. In her attempt to help reconsecrate Love Cemetery, Galland unearths the ghosts of slavery that still haunt us today. Research into county historical records and interviews with local residents uncover two versions of history—one black, one white. Galland unpacks these tangled narratives to reveal a history of shame—of slavery and lynching, Jim Crow laws and land takings (the theft of land from African-Americans), and ongoing exploitation of the land surrounding the cemetery by oil and gas drilling. With dread she even discovers how her own ancestors benefited from the racial imbalance. She also encounters some remarkable, inspiring characters in local history. Surprisingly, the original deed for the cemetery's land was granted not by a white plantation owner, but by Della Love Walker, the niece of the famous African-American cowboy Deadwood Dick. Through another member of the Love Cemetery committee, Galland discovers a connection to Marshall's native son, James L. Farmer, a founder of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and organizer of the 1961 Freedom Riders. In researching local history, Galland also learns of the Colored Farmers' Alliance, a statewide group formed in the 19th century that took up issues ranging from low wages paid to cotton pickers to emigration to Liberia. By telling this one story of ultimate interracial and intergenerational cooperation, Galland provides a model of the kind of communal remembering and reconciliation that can begin to heal the deep racial scars of an entire nation."

15 September 2008

Magnolia Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina

I just finished creating a new page for Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston County, South Carolina at Southern Graves. Magnolia Cemetery is the final resting place for all crew members that perished aboard the H. L. Hunley Confederate submarine. I have uploaded a couple videos, as well as several photos and transcriptions.

I also made some contributions to FindAGrave for Magnolia Cemetery. All total, Find A Grave has more than 3,000 listings for this cemetery. You can also search them from the Magnolia Cemetery page at Southern Graves.

Fallen Oak in Louisiana Cemetery Held Casket

It crumbled into dust! -- Interesting article:

"Gustav-fallen oak in La. cemetery held casket.
DENHAM SPRINGS, La. -- When the ancient oak fell in the cemetery at a 167-year-old church, its roots yanked an old coffin out of the ground. When the pastor and others tried to free it for reburial, it crumbled into dust." READ MORE

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14 September 2008

Cemetery for Cubs Fans

Chicago is not exactly a "southern" city, but I'm sure there are Cubs (you know, the baseball team) fans all over the U.S. I wonder if this could start a trend or fad? Read on for a few articles about the ground-breaking for a cemetery for fans of the Chicago Cubs.

"At last, a burial option for fans who live and die with the Cubs.
Cubs fans hoping for a World Series title before they die at least can be buried in a place that looks like Wrigley Field when they do.

Ground-breaking for "Beyond the Vines," an internment area that will be built to look something like the ballpark's ivy-covered brick center field wall, is scheduled for Friday morning at Bohemian National Cemetery on Chicago's Northwest Side, said Dennis Mascari, who purchased the plots to carry out the concept.

Mascari said several people already have contacted him about placing their loved ones in urns in what he calls the "eternal skyboxes" that will be available at the cemetery, 5255 N. Pulaski Rd.

"I'm trying to help with the bereavement process, because going through a cemetery -- cemeteries are beautiful, but they're still kind of gloomy," Mascari said. "I'm trying to change that process." READ MORE at Chicago Tribune

"Pushing Ivy?
By Benjy Lipsman
Marriage may be til death do us part, but apparently allegiances to one's baseball team last even longer. Which, we guess makes sense—how often does one hear of anybody abandoning their team for another? Even those Cubs fans who've lived close to a century without ever seeing a World Series title on the north side of town remain loyal forever to their Cubbies.

So perhaps we shouldn't find it so surprising that some have decided they need to be interred in a virtual replica of the "friendly confines." Dennis Mascari broke ground on Friday for his Beyond the Vines. He purchased a number of burial plots in Bohemian National Cemetery on the city's Northwest Side in order to construct what he calls "eternal skyboxes." The 35-foot-long, 14-foot-high brick memorial wall will be covered in ivy reminiscent of Wrigley's outfield wall and will include a stained glass window to evoke the park's scoreboard." READ MORE

"Cemetery Gives Cubs Fans Burial Site
© United Press International
Ground was broken Friday for a burial site at a Chicago cemetery modeled after a portion of landmark Wrigley Field to accommodate die-hard Chicago Cubs fans."

Dennis Mascari said he chose to create "Beyond the Vines" at Bohemian National Cemetery for extremely loyal fans of the National League baseball team, whose stadium has an ivy-covered brick center field wall, the Chicago Tribune said Friday.

"I'm trying to help with the bereavement process, because going through a cemetery -- cemeteries are beautiful, but they're still kind of gloomy," Mascari said. "I'm trying to change that process." READ MORE

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11 September 2008

Facebook for the Dead?

From the Footnote Press Room:

"Footnote.com Takes Social Networking into the Past
10 Sep 2008
Where: Lindon, UT

San Francisco -- September 10, 2008 - Losing a loved one can result in a range of emotions, from the grief and sorrow to comfort, which often comes from reminiscing stories and memories with family and friends. The challenge arises when there is no single place where all of these stories can easily come together to be shared, enriched and preserved.

Now at Footnote.com, anyone can find or create Footnote Pages where users connect and share stories, photos, and information about the people important to them.

To kick-off the new Footnote Pages, Footnote.com today released over 80 million of these pages created from data from the Social Security Death Index. Most visitors will find existing pages about several deceased friends and family members already on the site.

Footnote.com was selected from over 1,000 applicants to launch Footnote Pages at this year’s TechCrunch50 held in San Francisco. Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote, demonstrated Footnote Pages to an audience of over 1,500 investors, bloggers, and major media outlets.

“We encourage people to upload their personal shoeboxes of photos and documents to Footnote.com,” explains Wilding. “Now with Footnote Pages, friends and family can come together to share stories and memories about the people they care about.”

Described as Facebook for the Deceased, these pages feature a photo gallery, an interactive timeline and map, and other tools that bring people together to create a more colorful and rich picture of the past. “Social networking is not only for the younger generations any more,” explains Wilding. “We are seeing Baby Boomers contribute and connect online in increasing numbers. Footnote Pages are an easy way for this audience to interact with each other and learn things they would not otherwise know about deceased friends and family.”

Beyond profiling people, Footnote Pages can also be used to document and discuss historical events or places including: the Vietnam War, the Assassination of JFK and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Unlike other social networking sites, Footnote.com provides content that enables users to tell and share stories from the past. Through its partnership with the National Archives, Footnote has digitized over 43 million documents including historical newspapers, military records, photos and more. Footnote adds about 2 million new records to the site every month.

Visit Footnote.com to learn more about Footnote Pages and get a new perspective on the lives of your own friends and family who have passed away."

For more information, visit the Footnote Blog.

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Social Security Death Index Free on Genealogy Bank

The Social Security Death Index is now available FREE at Genealogy Bank. From their blog:

"GenealogyBank has the most comprehensive; the most complete version of the SSDI online and now it is free online for genealogists to search...

GenealogyBank has not only the most complete SSDI online – it has expanded & enhanced the data – adding the day of the week when the person’s birth or death occurred and the GPS coordinates that many genealogists like to have for their records.

No other site updates the SSDI weekly..."

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06 September 2008

Louis Behrens, Famous Fireman

Louise Behrens (1860-1932), also buried in Bethany Cemetery; Charleston County, South Carolina, was an organizer and first president (1905-1932) of the South Carolina State Firemans Association. Here's an obituary for Mr. Behrens from the 13 October 1932 New York Times:


Charleston (S.C.) Man Had the Longest Service Record of Any Fire Chief in Nation.


Friend of Kenlon and "Smoky Joe" Martin a Hero During Earthquake in Southern City in 1886.

Special to The New York Times.
CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 12 -- Fire Chief Louis Behrens, with a service record of fifty-six years, longer than any other fire chief in the United States, was found dead this morning in his bed in fire headquarters. He had retired the night before in unusually fine spirits and his clothing was found as usual arranged in a position to be put on quickly in case of an alarm.

Chief Behrens, a familiar figure at national fire conventions and for twenty-eight years president of the State Association, once was a member of the New York department and was a friend of Chief John Kenlon and Smoky Joe Martin. He was 72 years old last July 21.

As a youth his parents opposed his ambition to become a fireman, as his uncle had been killed fighting fires during the Federal bombardment of Charleston during the Civil War. He became a cabinet maker at first, but sneaked off to help fight fires with the volunteers.

During the earthquake here in 1886 the firemen were the heroes of the day in extricating injured from the ruins and young Behrens did his share. Soon after the World War he directed fire fighting on a submarine chaser here when the boat blew up. He was disabled for five months.

Chief Behrens was a remarkable man physically, being slim, supple and erect despite his age. Until the day of his death he performed vigorous calisthenics, to which he ascribed his fine health, and could put both feet behind his head with ease."

04 September 2008

George A. Wagener, Grocery Wholesaler & Phosphate Industrialist

Now for some interesting graves/interments from Bethany Cemetery in Charleston County, South Carolina. My first subject is George A. Wagener. Immediately upon researching Mr. Wagener, I find a discrepancy regarding his date of birth. A couple of websites on the Internet have his birth date as 25 December 1845. According to his gravestone in Bethany Cemetery, George was born 15 December 1846:

George Wagener was born in Charleston, South Carolina to General Johann Andreas and Marie Eliese Wagener.

During the Civil War, George and his brother Julius were soldiers in Company A, First Regiment, South Carolina Militia - German Artillery. A captain of their company was their uncle Frederich Wilhelm Wagener. [Note: George's father and uncle are also buried in Bethany Cemetery. All are in or near the German Artillery section, signified by a very tall monument, with a soldier standing lookout on top.]

George married Eleanor Keys 1870 in Anderson, South Carolina. She was born September 4, 1849 and died July 16, 1907. She is buried next to her husband, who died one year later.

After the Civil War, George was a grocery merchant and phosphate industrialist. He was president of Wagener & Co., a large mercantile establishment.

George and Eleanor owned a home at 179 Rutledge Avenue in Charleston. Construction was begun in 1876 (under a previous owner) and took eleven years to complete (under the Wagener ownership). It was later the home of Wagener's daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Harrison Randolph, President of the College of Charleston. You can see a photo of the home here.

George was very much involved in his local community. About 1888, George was the Board of Directors for the Bank of Charleston. He was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Waring Historical Library from 1891 to 1909. This is the special collections and rare book library for the Medical University of South Carolina.

In addition, Mr. Wagener was on the Board of Directors for the Charleston Consolidated Railway, Gas & Electric Co. This corporation, founded 1899, controlled all the lighting and transportation facilities in the city.

George Wagener was a big strong supporter of the Southern Railroad and pushed for its line that ran through a small town in Aiken County, South Carolina. Consequently, this town became known as Wagener... What a legacy to leave behind!

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Additional Sources:
- South Carolina State Militia, State Troops & Other Independent Units
- The Manuel of Statistics Stock Exchange Hand-Book, pub. 1903
- The Charleston City Directory Together with a Compendium of Governments, Institutions & Trades of the City, pub. 1888
- South Carolina College of Arts & Sciences Institute for Southern Studies

Dale County, Alabama Cemetery Placed on Historic Register

"By Ebony Horton

Published: September 3, 2008

NEWTON, Ala.—Stories Altha Newman’s family had passed down about slaves buried in Newton’s Klondyke Community were transformed into reality after an unexpected discovery in the late 20th century." READ MORE.

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03 September 2008

Bethany Cemetery; Charleston, South Carolina

Bethany Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina is a 50+ acre cemetery owned by St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. It was founded in 1856. A large amount of the individuals interred are German. The landscape is picturesque and there are many beautiful stones.


Search for cemetery records in Bethany Cemetery, SC at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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Search all my contributions here:

Search Stephanie Lincecum's cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search:

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Go here for even more Southern Graves cemetery transcriptions.

Auf Wiedersehen!

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