What’s In Your Mailbox?

The morning after the Awesome Gloucester micro-grant presentation one of the presenters found this document in her mail box.

Click on the images to view them full size.

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Third Time Was Not the Charm.

Last night the Gloucester Cemetery Advisory Committee tried for the third time to get an Awesome Gloucester Micro-Grant.  Sadly, Clark’s Cemetery did not receive the grant.  This just means the presentation needs to be modified to better entice the foundation’s support. The $1000.00 would have gone towards a tripod strong enough to lift the 13 grave monuments that need to be put back into a position of respect, and Jahn to secure them in place.   Maybe it is time to explorer other funding options.

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Investigating Broken Grave Markers

Today, (9/5/2017) we investigated some of the broken grave markers to see if they were fixable.  We cleaned up around the stones and tried to piece them together.  Unfortunately at this time, there are too many missing pieces.  I say, “at this time” because there are chunks of marble laying around all over the cemetery.  Every now and then we spy a piece that fits somewhere. 

Nathaniel and Judith Sargent have a legible stone, but are missing bottom pieces. 

Henry Plummer is barely legible and the three big pieces have weathered so much that they won’t go together any more.

Alexander McKenzie, a recent find,  is in many pieces. 

We will leave them on the black fabric for now, hoping to find pieces, but the long term solution needs to be investigated.  Do they weather better laying flat or propped up vertically?  Some people recommend burying the pieces, but that seems kind of rude.  We just freed them from all that brush.

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Busy Days

Last few days have been busy.  We leveled the base for Sydney Woodbury.  Now I need to find someone with a tripod and a couple of straps to lift the monument in place.  I whacked a lot of Knotweed while Kathy worked to cleanup along the wall that separates Clark’s and First Parish.  Today I spent time searching for partially exposed headstones and cleared the weeds from around many that are in danger of being damaged by mowers.  I discovered Phebe C. Woodman and Martha Hyde today.


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One Nickel At A Time

Generating money for supplies is always a challenge.  We do get donations from time to time, and for that we are always grateful.  When the partiers don’t smash their bottles on the gravestones we collect them.  Every nickel helps…

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McKay Family and More

On Monday (8/28) I dug out the big knotweed clumps around the McKay grave markers.  These are very different from the other headstones and monuments in Clark’s.  They are flat and set in the ground like modern stones.  They appear to be granite and carved by an amateur hand.  They are difficult to read and therefore difficult to photograph.  I put flour on them and rubbed it into the letters and Ta Da, easy to read.  I will put the information in Find a Grave, but the photos will have to wait until tomorrow since my picky photographer wasn’t happy with his results.

The dates don’t agree with the town records.  I think they were carved after the 3rd person died in 1915, so memory might have been a bit faulty.

You can go to a website called Island Register.  It has genealogies for families connected to Prince Edward Island.  Many Gloucester families, including ours, have strong connections to Nova Scotia.

The McKays are descended from John McKay and Janet Anderson. Two sons, Robert Neil and Hugh, were born in Murray Harbor South on Prince Edward Island.  Robert married Elizabeth Armstrong in Liverpool.  She died, and he married her sister Margaret, moved to Gloucester and settled in with a large family. On February 14, 1876, while on a passage from Fortune Bay to Boston, aboard the Schooner “Alice Myrick”, he was swept overboard and drowned.  Rumor has it that the captain, who was later convicted of a murder, had a hand in his death and stole a large amount of gold that Robert had with him.

Margaret, his widow then married his brother Hugh. 

To recap…Robert married the two sisters and Margaret married the two brothers.

Hugh, a blacksmith, also drowned, although the circumstances are not clear.

Sunday (8/27) Carol cleaned six tombstones while Sandy, Kathy and I reset two headstones.  Baby Mary C Benson is straight and level, as is Robert N. McKay.  Kathy found and pieced together a monument that has caused her a bit of grief for some time.

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Connecting the Living With Long Gone Family Members

Today we met the great and great great granddaughters of Alexander M. Benson.  They were searching for information and found a link to the Clark’s Cemetery Facebook page with the recent information that was posted about this long lost ancestor.  Alexander M. Benson was one our latest projects, and until the other day, he wasn’t in Find A Grave.  Since they still live in New England they made a quick trip to Gloucester and were thrilled to see Alex’s very fine monument.  Connecting the living to the beloved family of the past is very thrilling for us.  We will continue to post stories about the “residents” of Clark’s Cemetery as we work on their tombstones. 

Now if someone in Missouri would find my great great grandmother for me, I would really appreciate it.  Her name was Mary Ann “Polly” Garrison, wife of Brown Garrison.

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Spotted our  first snake in the cemetery today.  I don’t know what kind it was, but he was relocated to First Parish.

One of the monuments that I have wanted to repair since starting this project is Sydney Woodbury. The top of the monument was leaning on the base and its center section was on the ground.  I checked the base and it was 22 degrees off plumb, so it has to be leveled before it can be reassembled.  Working in the cemetery and connecting with our roots is great.  Except when that root is several inches in diameter and requires an ax to remove it. 

I will be back on Thursday to prep the ground to put base back in place level. The main part of the monument has metal rods which are supposed to attach it to the center piece.  These are bent and will have to be drilled out.  Lots of work still ahead.

Sydney was the son of Amos Woodbury and Harriet Herrick.  He was born on August 25, 1836 and died on the same day as the Battle of Antietam.  I have sent a letter to NARA asking if he died there.  His father, Amos is in Clark’s, but I haven’t seen his marker.  His mother is probably there, but I can’t verify that.  There is a broken stone nearby that says Harriet.  This doesn’t match any of the other Harriet’s in Clark, so it is probably hers.

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Alexander M. Benson

Alexander was a mariner and died very young.  His baby daughter is buried next to him.  Little Mary C. died when she fell into a pan of boiling water.  Alex died two years later of a sudden hemorrhage of the lungs while fishing on the Schooner “Montrose” on George’s Bank.  His son John Alfred was born on June 4 1866 and died on February 9, 1895.  He died when the Schooner “Clara F. Friend” sank off the coast of Nova Scotia. John’s twin was Ann F.  Alexander Jr. was born on June 2, 1867.  Alexander Sr. was married to Bina Caroline Jacobs or Jacobson. Alex’s wife married Martin Bolin in Gloucester on November 3, 1870.  They were living in Gloucester in 1880.

Alexander’s tombstone was knocked over  by Japanese Knotweed.  The large root balls around the base were all connected with very large roots.  They were as hard a tree root and two inches in diameter.  I had to use an ax to remove them.  The base is level, but the monument is off kilter a bit either from being pushed over by the Knotweed or from a previous repair.  These projects are very rewarding.

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Douglass Family

We have visited the Douglass family in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in East Gloucester.  The lichens grow like crazy there.  We have worked on the main monument, and we also attended to several other individual tombstones.

I will be adding some names to Find A Grave.  I have searched and searched in Ancestry for two of the uncles’ death dates and burial location.  I just should have gone to the Douglass plot sooner.  There they are.


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