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Graveyard Rabbit of South Alameda County by Cheryl Palmer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mountain View Cemetery

From the Mountain View Cemetery Webpage here ~

Annual Events and Festivals

Early February - Lincoln's Birthday/Civil War
Late March - Ching Ming
Late March - Tulip Festival
Early May - Mothers' Day weekend
Late May - Memorial Day celebrations
Early July - Oakland Historical Association Walking Tour
Late October - Pumpkin Festival
Early November - Fall Foliage celebrations
December - Holiday Remembrance Gathering & Tree Decoration, Holiday Circle of Lights

Mountain View Cemetery now offers free docent-led tours twice a month.

I will have to check into these tours and see about taking one!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fourth Annual Holiday Circle of Lights

From Mountain View Cemetery's website here:

December 1 through New Year's Day
Every day from 5 to 9 pm

Join a Mountain View tradition! Fun for your whole family, our festive Holiday Circle of Lights is a perfect way to celebrate the season.

Located near our beautifully landscaped front entrance, a giant Nutcracker soldier awaits your arrival. Then, enter our enchanting story land of lights and delight in our whimsical display of characters. Hundreds of tiny bright lights outlining our buildings and trees provide a captivating backdrop for this free exhibition. Make our tradition part of yours!

Mountain View Cemetery Second Annual Holiday Remembrance Gathering & Tree Decoration

From their website here:

Sunday, December 6, 3-5 pm

Remember family and friends who are no longer with us, whether they rest at Mountain View or elsewhere. Stop by from 3-5 p.m., choose and hang an ornament, and enjoy apple cider, cookies and holiday music. At 5 p.m. we'll host a special tree lighting ceremony.

If you plan to attend this free event and place an ornament, or if you'd like us to place an ornament for you, please call us at 510.658.2588 or email Clear ornaments have space for a photo or note; colored ornaments have space to draw or write a note.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Cemetery in Heredia, Costa Rica

Cemetery. Heredia, Costa Rica, Central America. April 2008. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl Palmer [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ From Costa Rica ~ Benavides Hernandez

I wanted to share with you a cemetery in Costa Rica. I actually did not take these pictures on this trip, but on the trip we made last year. I think it is always fun to see graves from other countries. This is the resting place for my husband's uncle in Heredia, Costa Rica.

It is the gravesite of the Benavides Hernandez family. In Costa Rica, the children are given the last name of the father and then the mother, hence "Benavides Hernandez." In Costa Rica my husbands last name was Benavides Benavides.

This inscription shows that Ricardo Benavides passed away on June 27, 1996. This was my husband's mother's brother. I met him once, roughly five years before he died.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vacation Time

I wanted to update you that I will be away for a few weeks on a little vacation to Costa Rica! Hope to have a post by the end of November! Thank you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Kolb

The sign posted in the Dublin Cemetery, Dublin, Alameda, California for the Kolb Family. It reads as follows:

"Kolb Family~The Kolb Family settled in Dublin in the 1870's. George Kolb operated the General Store and farmed. His sons Edwin and Harold also ranched and farmed. Harold (H.W. Kolb) was a trustee for the Murray School District for 17 years and was a noted authority of local history."

Below are the headstones for Edwin, Harold and William Kolb along with pertinent information regarding them.

I recently posted about Margaret Kolb (she was married into this family) who I unexpectedly ran across in this cemetery the day I came to visit and take pictures. I knew Margaret. The link to the post regarding that find is below.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy First Birthday to GYR of South Alameda Co!

It has come to my attention that today is the first birthday of this blog! A year? Really? Wow!

I have to admit that I have been rather busy and feel quite bad that there haven't been many posts here lately. Sometimes life just seems to get in the way, doesn't it? Even though I retired (basically) as of last January, I have found that my days have really filled up. The traditional "work week" Monday through Friday has been well filled for me again. Although I am not "officially" working, I am doing "jobs" now I truly enjoy.

Some of this has entailed quite a bit of learning and has been time consuming for me also. Progress has been made and I am looking forward to having more of a "set" schedule very soon, so I can spend more time blogging again!

I thank you for following this blog! I am anxious to start blogging for the second year!

Happy First Birthday to Graveyard Rabbit of South Alameda County!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Flanagan

This stone is in the Dublin Pioneer Cemetery. I like the scroll announcing the burials. Those buried here are:

Kate Flanagan - Died May 4, 1914
John Flanagan - Died June 2, 1915
Eva Mary Flanagan - Died October 10, 1951

There is a Flanagan Lane in Dublin and knowing that many of Dublin's early settlers are buried in this cemetery, we can be rest assured John and Kate were a part of Dublin's beginnings. I found there was a John Flanagan who was a trustee for the school district, with a wife known as Lizzie around the 1890 time frame.

The Flanagan Plot is in Section A, Row 6. It looks as if Mother, Father and another Eva are also buried there. I could not find their death dates.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 10 - The Secret

William Mendenhall was Gregg’s great-great-great-grandfather. Descending downward, there is an Asa V. Mendenhall, whose son was Gregg’s grandfather. One day, Gregg (who shared this story with me), his mother and grandmother attempted to visit the family grave sites at Roselawn Cemetery. The three drove several miles to get to the cemetery, not one of them lived in Livermore. So very disappointed were they to find the cemetery gates were locked. The grandmother, I am sure was reminiscing a bit while sitting in the car. She stated that when Asa passed away, they was very poor. The family did not have the money to bury him properly in the cemetery, and had to take care of things themselves. One night, in the middle of the night when no one would be able to see them, she and her husband, Asa’s son, went to the cemetery and buried Asa’s urn outside the cemetery fence!

So, somewhere outside the cemetery, a Mendenhall is buried. When Gregg first came to the cemetery and we met, he had stated to me that he wasn’t doing so well. The reason was because there has been a lot of construction done on two sides of the cemetery, which surprised and disappointed him. One day he hoped to try to find Asa’s urn. His mind told him that the two areas where there had been construction, was where Asa would have been buried. Although I hadn’t been in the car when this story was told, I felt that Asa might have been buried in a different area. If I were his family burying him, I would want to bury him as close as possible to the rest of the family, which would be one of the other two sides of the cemetery. One of those sides would be the main road, so someone could have seen the family digging around. The other side though was off the main road and closest to the family plot, and it has basically been untouched. What were the parameters of the cemetery when Asa was buried? Could they have changed?

Gregg is looking for permission to poke around a bit to see if Asa’s urn can be found. This is one of the main reasons for bringing this story forward. Can you imagine, a Mendenhall being secretly buried outside the cemetery in Livermore? The three of us had discussion on how to proceed, and Jeff was going to look into a few things.

Gregg and I spent the majority of the day together. Jeff invited us to an opening of the old historical garage which we attended and was quite fascinating. From there, I was able to show Gregg Mendenhall Middle School. We drove to the grounds of the Oak Knoll Cemetery and walked the area together. We had lunch. We talked and talked and talked. I have learned so much, and hope this fascinating story doesn’t end here.

I did my job, kept the secrets I was suppose to keep and introduced Gregg and Jeff. From here on out whatever procedures there are will be between Gregg and Jeff. I do hope I am kept in the loop with updates however!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - St. Michael's Cemetery

St. Michaels Cemetery. May 10, 2009. Livermore, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Kolb

One morning back in July of this year my husband and I went to breakfast in Dublin, California. The restaurant where we ate adorned old "town" maps on the wall. They were of Dublin and it's neighboring cities. It was quite interesting to see how the towns used to be. This led me to wondering, where the cemetery was in Dubin. I had not been there as of yet. I couldn't think of where it might be.

I asked my husband if he had any idea where to find the cemetery. He worked in Dublin and the neighboring cities in the field for years, but he couldn't recollect seeing the old cemetery. We asked some of the workers in the restaurant, but no one knew. My husband told me we could go find out, but I decided I would come back another day when I could take my time exploring the cemetery grounds and taking pictures without my husband impatiently waiting for me.

Suddenly I didn't have a clue where my husband was driving to. When I asked, he said it was a surprise. Guess where we pulled up? Yep, the Dublin Cemetery. It clicked and he remembered where it was! I would have never guessed where it was, even though I have lived in the valley for many years, I had never been by the cemetery. There was no logical reason to ever have a need go by it. It is situated in an area close to the freeway, hidden away, by an old church.

My husband was so patient as I walked and explored the cemetery for about an hour or so, on a very hot day. I took many pictures while I was there, however at the very beginning of my exploration I ran across this headstone, which stopped me quick.

I knew Margaret Kolb. She used to be a customer of mine about eight years ago. A very sweet, kind and gentle lady. She was a school teacher in her day. During the time I knew her, she was taking care of people, her husband and a very dear teacher friend of hers, who was also a customer of mine. She had a health issue or two, but always pushed forward. Oh, the memories that came flooding back when I saw this headstone. So unexpected to see a headstone of someone I knew...this was a first for me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part Nine - The Meeting

The day finally came when Jeff and Gregg and I were to meet. Jeff is the Livermore Heritage Guild president. Gregg is the descendant of William Mendenhall who contacted me online. Gregg was to unveil a story he was told by his grandmother, long ago.

Even I seemed a bit nervous on this bright sunshiny day of our meeting. It had been such a build up to this point, and the story was actually coming out on this day. The decision was to meet at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore early on a Sunday morning.

I arrived at the cemetery purposely earlier than the arranged meeting time. I wanted to explore the cemetery a bit and look at the Mendenhall grave site. Because I knew the story, I also wanted to check out the lay of the cemetery a bit too.

The cemetery was quiet and empty. I finally went to the meeting area, where I found someone leaning against his car. I pulled up and asked if he was waiting for someone, and he said "yeah, you." It had to be Gregg. I asked how he was as I got out of my truck and he replied “not so good.” When I asked why he told me the cemetery wasn't as he remembered it, it had changed. Indeed it had.

It wasn't long before Jeff Kaskey showed up and we all introduced ourselves to one another. Gregg explained to Jeff how he found me, and a bit of how he is related to the Mendenhall's. We talked about William Mendenhall's headstone being found, the background of the Mendenhall family and the origins starting from Oak Knoll Cemetery. Gregg knew so much of the Mendenhall history and explained he had tried to tell "his story" before, but there was a major lack of interest ten years earlier.

Eventually we all walked across the cemetery up to the Mendenhall burial site, talking all the way. Here, I took a couple of pictures of Jeff and Gregg. I don't know where the time went, but the conversation was non-stop for a good hour and a half. We eventually started heading back toward our cars and I am sure Jeff thought he had heard everything he was going to from Gregg and seemed anxious to move on to his next appointment.

Shortly before reaching our original meeting point, Gregg casually came out with what he wanted to tell Jeff. Jeff stopped dead in his tracks. I am not sure he knew what to say, or think. It caught him off guard.

(Remember where this leaves off and please watch for Part Ten of this series when the full story comes out! I just felt it was to much to put all in one post. I would love to share a picture with you of Gregg and Jeff, I feel I need to ask permission first though as I never told them I planned on posting any of the pictures.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell Headstone. October 23, 2008. Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery, Pleasanton, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 8 - Mendenhall Phone Conversation

Part seven in this series left off with phone numbers being exchanged between Gregg and I. We finally had that phone conversation a few weeks back. He called me one evening at about 9:30 and we spoke for three and a half hours. Can you believe it? I thought it was three hours but I have been corrected.

For me this was a most fascinating conversation. I learn more and more about the Mendenhall history and family all the time. It is amazing what one remembers when it involves your own family. Gregg remembered and shared so much with me. Everything was so exciting, it was difficult sometimes to believe I really wasn't part of the family. I have found history much more appealing these days compared to when I was in school and it was presented in such a dry manner. I really appreciate the stories I hear from family descendants, they aren't just dates and places, they are the meat and bones of the family.

We discussed what brought us together in the first place and why. I was given more explicit information regarding a story he wanted to share. He seemed content to have me present when the time comes that he meets the Historical Society President. What an honor, I was going to be present for this meeting!

I believe had it not been so very late when we ended the phone conversation we would have talked much longer. However, by the end our conversation Gregg was ready to meet with Jeff. Within a couple of days I was speaking with Jeff electronically. Jeff agreed to a meeting place and time. We were to meet on a Sunday morning at 9:00 and our meeting place was to be Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore.

Gregg had some doubts about the whole meeting. I totally understood. Maybe Jeff wouldn't be interested in what Gregg had to tell him. Several years ago, Gregg had tried to tell this story to someone else, but the person he spoke with wasn't interested. Why would this encounter be any different? One benefit he had this time was that he had me. I was interested. It would be a few short days and we would all finally be meeting. I sat and wondered...what if Jeff wasn't interested? It didn't matter to me. I knew the story and would be able to reveal it once this meeting took place, no matter the consequences. Gregg gave me permission.

Honoring the Young - Carmelita Mary Mello

Carmelita Mary Mello did not have a very long life. She was born December 12, 1955 and passed away on March 6, 1956. I took this photo on May 10, 2009. It is nice to see she is still being remembered. Carmelita is buried at St. Michael's Cemetery in Livermore, California.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 7 Mendenhall Descendant

It has been awhile since I have posted on this series. There has been a reason. I was contacted a few weeks ago by a descendant of William Mendenhall! Can you image my surprise? This descendant contacted me via email wondering if William Mendenhall's headstone had been returned to Livermore. At the time I was not certain, but let him know I would try to find out.

I contacted the president of the Heritage Guild, Jeff Kaskey, and found out that he was personally the one who had driven to Southern California to bring the headstone home. I posted a picture of the headstone and the story of it's return here. Gregg, the descendant of William's, was very happy to know that the headstone for his distant grandfather had been returned to Livermore.

Jeff was very interested when he found out I had contact with a Mendenhall descendant. He informed me that he would love to speak with any descendants of the Mendenhall's who may be contacting me. I emailed Gregg to let him know this. Gregg had stories on his mind and said he was willing to speak with Jeff, eventually.

Gregg, in his second e-mail to me, told me some of the family stories. Apparently, no one else outside the family had been told these stories. I was a bit shocked that they were told to me, and so soon after meeting me online. It was later explained to me that I showed interest in his family, doing the series of posts, and he felt who better to tell? Who else could possibly be as interested? After all he had gone a good percentage of his life with these stories, and up until this point, no one seemed interested.

Needless to say, I felt honored that he spoke so open and freely with me regarding his family and the stories. I was asked not to repeat any of it, which I didn't. Jeff in the meantime was not wanting to waste time meeting Gregg, but I told Jeff we needed to be patient until Gregg was ready for the meeting. Jeff also shared some information with me, again I was asked not to mention it to anyone, which I haven't. Now I really felt in the middle!

Gregg and I exchanged phone numbers. All of a sudden it seemed I knew more about the Mendenhall family than I did my own! Gregg suggested that we have a phone conversation before meeting with Jeff. That was fine, I let him know he was welcome to call at any time. I immediately let my husband know that at some point and time a man would be calling me and his name was Gregg.

Wordless Wednesday - Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery. August 8, 2009. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Caratti

Aquilino Paul Caratti is better known as Joe Caratti. He was born in Switzerland and came to the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after the 1906 earthquake. He used his last $100 to get there. Joe was a great stonemason and had no trouble finding work, that is the one thing the earthquake did do, supply many jobs to rebuild.

In 1914 Joe went to Livermore, California and opened a bakery. He was very poor and it is said that he only had one light bulb, so where ever he went in the store, he had to take that light bulb with him. He closed the shop when World War One started and he and his brothers were drafted.

Upon returning after the war, Joe had to start over. He ran restaurants and built places for the workers to stay that were in Livermore doing construction. He built several cabins and the area and the section became known as Joesville.

Joe eventually sent for his mother, sister and future wife, Josephine Gilardi. They were married in 1922. Joe continued to enjoy stone masonry and built a restaurant, "The Rock House" which stills stands in this town. Joe Caratti and his family were one of the early parish families of Saint Michaels Church.

People, Bricks and Timbers, was a book written for this church's centennial in 1978. The information here regarding Joe Caratti was taken from this book and posted on Saint Michaels web site. The picture of the Caratti family plot was taken by me on May 10, 2009.

Aguilino Caratti either died or was buried on November 20, 1980
Josephine (Gilardi) Caratti died or was buried on July 12, 1994

Hidden Memorial

There are four granite stones which are engraved with the names of many military veterans from San Lorenzo, Ca. and areas close by. These granite stones are under a tree next to the Heide House. The Heide House is a old Victorian building on Grant Ave. Military veterans are unhappy because the stones are actually hidden by a hedge. They would like to have the stones moved to an area which would make the monument more visible. There are approximately seven hundred names on these stones and it is an "all war" monument.

In 1999 the war memorial was built by Tom Clements. At the time he had an office in the Heide House and therefore placed the memorial close to his office. A couple of veterans, whose names are actually on the memorial, would like to see the stones moved to an area down the street which is owned by the county. They feel it would be a more prominent area to be seen. Veterans of the area would like to spruce up the memorial and place flags of each division of the armed services all around the memorial.

Tom Clements likes the memorial just where it is and doesn't want to see it moved. Tom's brother served in the Vietnam War. Tom's wife came up with the idea to do something to honor local veterans, hence the memorial. The Clements put a lot of time and energy into this. Eventually the hedge was placed along the memorial, which apparently makes the wall very difficult to be seen. The Home Owners Association's board members and the county supervisor would like to find a better home for it. The problem is, it belongs to the Clements! The Clements are afraid of vandalism, damage and the possibility of being stolen if they were to move it.

What a wonderful idea the Clements had making this memorial. This memorial reminds me of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The Clements wall is not as tall, the letters much larger and it is built with 4 stones. Such a beautiful, hidden monument. I am sure the money and effort involved, plus the emotion of building such a thing, says a lot for why Tom wants to keep the Memorial where it is. However, something this beautiful, sentimental and historical in nature should, in my eyes, be placed where the public can see it. Bottom line is, as I said before, the Clements own it and can do with it what they see fit. Maybe, one day it will be placed in an area where it will be protected, yet visible for everyone to see and appreciate.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Honoring the Young - Wilbert Joseph

When I first became interested in cemeteries, I was at a cemetery in Downieville, California. I enjoyed reading the dates of the headstones to see how long the person lived for whom the headstone was memorializing. That is until I came across the first headstone which belonged to an infant. I have a very soft spot for infants and when I came across this first headstone, it pulled at my heart. Since then of course I have seen many headstones for children. I thought I would honor these children who lived such short lives, by posting their headstones here on this blog. I plan to post photos of those who were 17 and younger, not adults yet. I hope to post "Honoring the Young" photos about once a week. May all of these children rest in peace.

Wilbert Joseph, born 1920 and died in 1923. A mere three years old...If you look closely you will see there is a picture of William in this headstone. Could Wilbert have been the victim of the West Nile Virus?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Simple to Contact Me!

Thank you to Thomas MacEntee for posting directions and information on the GeneaBloggers site about the contact button you see to the left. In the past week or two there have been a couple of people who wanted to contact me personally, but not in the comments area of my blog. These people did find an alternate way to make the connection, and thank goodness they did! One person found my email address worked for them and another person found me on Facebook. I am very happy these people contacted me!

The problem I saw for these people is that they should not have had to go looking so hard to find a "safe" place to contact me to begin with. It seems Thomas was reading my mind when he posted this new to me information. I now have the "Contact" button on the left side of this blog, in a bright color, a shade of red, so hopefully it can not be missed. Many times people want private or personal contact which I do understand.

I would strongly recommend those of you who have blogs and have not added this to yours, think about doing so. You never know when someone may be wanting to contact you.

I look forward to and hope my readers feel free to contact me through this button, it was set up for YOU!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Grave

Grave. May 10, 2009. St. Michaels Cemetery, Livermore, California. Digital image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #45

Graveyard Rabbit #45 is Gale Wall author of Digital Cemetery Walk. Gale has had a love for cemeteries for quite some time. You can find out more of her story here. Enjoy!

Meet a Rabbit #44

If you haven't read the post on our forty fourth Graveyard Rabbit you need to head on over and find out about Joshua Inayat, author of "Cemetery Seeker." Joshua unveils and gives us the real reason he visits cemeteries. It is a great read and you will find it here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Falvey

Falvey Monument. May 10, 2009. Saint Michaels Cemetery, Livermore, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday-My Tough Cemetery Experience

(This post is slightly adapted from a post I entered on my other blog. Some thoughts on how your cemetery day could end up...)

Last Saturday I was so very excited! Earlier in the week I found out that my great grandparents were buried not across the country as I had expected, but in the county I live in! Saturday was the day I was going to go to the cemetery and see their graves and take pictures.

The cemetery that my ggrandparents were buried in is Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. My husband decided to take the trip over there with me, which was a bit of a surprise. He has been to a few cemeteries with me for research, but he doesn't really care for it much. He also doesn't understand why people bring folding chairs and picnics to the grave sites.

Well, I was thinking in the back of my head that I had never been to this cemetery before, and when we drove up to it, I was all full of surprise as the Chapel of the Chimes is right next to the cemetery and I had no idea where in Oakland it was. So I immediately learned that!

I was disappointed there wasn't a plaque with the name of the cemetery posted at the entrance. Once we pulled in, I again was in amazement! This time by how large the cemetery was and how it took my breath away. I am finding more and more, most cemeteries take my breath away for one reason or another. I already knew I HAD to come back to this cemetery WITHOUT my husband one day, just to explore and take my time. He is patient, but not for all I would like to do, and I understand that.

First on the agenda was for me to head to the office to find out where my great grandparents were buried. As we pulled up to the office I had a deja vu moment! I realized this is where my grandfather from another line was buried also, I was pretty darn sure! Ok, have to ask about him also. After giving the pertinent information about my great grandparents, I was almost immediately given their plot numbers and information. Sooooo excited! It was explained to me that the rows and how the numbers work in that area was different from the norm. Instead of the numbers going left to right, the numbers work up and down. Ok, no problem on my end! Then I asked about my grandfather and had enough info, that yes, he was buried there, and his info was handed to me as well.

Off we went to the first area. I expected my ggrandparents (John and Gladys Miner) to be buried next to each other, so I figured if I could find one easily, the next one would be a drop in the bucket, right? I started at the bottom of the area, found the correct range of numbers and started walking up the hill. The numbering system made NO sense at all! It seemed there were two rows of correct numbers going up the hill. I checked them all. My family wasn't found. I rechecked and my husband also walked and looked for their site. We walked the whole section in fact, and I was so very disappointed as we found nothing.

I asked my husband to take us to the other area where I could see my grandfather's headstone. We found the area, but WOW, was it hugh! I almost accidentally found the general numbers and followed them, but then, no more plots and no grandfather. I was getting beat by this time, and it takes a lot to get me beat, I usually have major determination. I had my husband take me back to the office.

They were surprised to see me back in the office and even more surprised when I hadn't found any of the grave sites. Out came their maps. Copies of their maps, copies (large) taped together and given color coding. Wow, I should be able to find them now!

My grandfather, they understood why I couldn't find his, he was at the top of the hill, not the bottom, sort of out of sequence. After the numbers of his site there is an "A" which has to do with cremations. Anyway, I had a good idea now where he was, we were so close and yet so far at one point earlier.

Off we go, back to the first section we were in. I had in my mind exactly how to do this. Start from the side and find the correct names, count to the correct grave. Well, I started out trying this, but then my husband "knew better" so we eventually got messed up, and then I thought I knew better, at our already messed up stage and we got more messed up! I started over, and suggested my husband let me do it my way.

On the map, I found the first name and started counting my way past names to see where Gladys should be. Wow, I remember seeing that grave...right next to it was where my ggrandmother was suppose to be. I got it! I started my counting sideways, up and down and all of a sudden I found it! Here it is!

[There should be a picture here. If the picture was here, you would see dirt, and only dirt!]

Oh, disappointment struck, big time. No marker, nothing, nada, zip. To make matters worse, apparently this husband and wife weren't even buried next to each other! I need to find the other grave. Well, it looks like there should be four rows of these numbers going up and down the hill, not two. Looking at the map that was made for me, I realized some headstones were partially under dirt and the the reason you couldn't see the rows straight was because the headstones were missing or not there at all. I eventually finally found the grave site of my ggrandfather. Here is a picture of it:

[There should be a picture here. If the picture was here, you would see dirt again, and only dirt.]

Oh...I was so very disappointed, again. Neither if my ggrandparents had a headstone. I wanted to make sure there really wasn't any headstones, maybe they had been covered and buried, dirt has been creeping down the hillside. I could see no sign of headstones, not even buried. I felt so ill. No wonder we couldn't find them the first time we looked. I thought of the possibility there may not be a headstone, but in my heart I didn't want it to be so. This is the first time I have run across a burial site within my own family where there hasn't been a headstone, and now suddenly, there were two at once.

I needed to see my grandfather's, J.L. Fleming, resting place. I found his this time very quickly, and was able to take pictures at least of his marker, and clean the grave site. The marker also shows his wife and her dates. The picture-

[The picture should be here. The headstone of my grandfather and his wife]

Now, to make matters even worse, as I wrote this and looked to upload the pictures, I couldn't find them. I was sure I had downloaded them off my camera, but then I remembered I hadn't actually done that yet, so off I went for my camera. I can not find my camera, anywhere! My husband and I have looked all over for it. We have retraced our steps as best we could. I certainly hope it turns up, somewhere. At least I can go back and retake these photos, it wasn't like I was in another country or anything. The camera wasn't real expensive, but I love it. (It is not the new one I got for Christmas-thank goodness) I remember bringing the camera back to the car when we were done, and even took a few photos on the way out, so I know I had it then. Sure ruined my blog post though, I had it all figured out!

Now, it looks like I WILL have to go back to Mountain View Cemetery, if for no other reason than to replace the photos I took this past Saturday. I will also be checking into the proper procedure to eventually have headstones place for each of my great grandparents, John Clayton Miner and Gladys Amy [Richmond] Miner. It saddens me to think they aren't buried together and the family was so poor they couldn't buy them headstones. Was I not suppose to have pictures of their grave sites? Is this why it was so very difficult finding them and now having my camera disappear? I wonder, so much...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 6 - Mendenhall Headstone Back in Livermore!

I contacted the President of the Livermore Heritage Guild, Jeff Kaskey, earlier this week. People are curious, myself included, if William Mendenhalls headstone made it back to Livermore after being found down south. (William Mendenhall was the father of the founder of Livermore and he was originally buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery)

I thought I would have seen or heard something regarding this in the newspaper and was surprised when I didn't. I figured if anyone would know anything Mr. Kaskey was the one to ask, he could always direct me elsewhere if need be. Lo and behold, I contacted THE right person!

Mr. Kaskey responded promptly to my email, even though he was out of town on personal business. He informed me that he personally went down to El Monte, which is in Los Angeles County, to pick up the headstone. It has been about two weeks since the headstone has been returned to Livermore. When it came to town it was placed in the Historical Society's History Center for a few days. Oh, how I wish I had been aware of this!

Even though I wasn't aware of the news, the local newspaper was! Mr. Kaskey informed me that the town newspaper, "The Independent," posted an article and a picture on the front page of their newspaper. I hunted down the article online, which was in the Independent's August 6, 2009 Weekly Edition. I received permission from the Independent Newspaper to reprint the picture here. A newspaper photographer took this picture of the stone when it was at the Heritage Guild's History Center in the Carnegie building located in downtown Livermore.

The Heritage Guild has made contact with distant family members of William Mendenhall who will ultimately decide what will be done with this headstone.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #43

On to Rabbit #43, we have Jean Duncan, The Graveyard Rabbit of Aroostook County, Maine. Find out about Jean and how she loves the beauty of the cemeteries in Maine during the winter! My sister lives in Bath, Maine. I will have to do a look up to find out what county that is in! Such large monuments they have for tombstones back east! The article can be found here. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #42

Time for some catching up again! I need to lead you on over to meet the 42nd of our Graveyard Rabbits, Russ Worthington. He is the author of "My Tombstone Collection." Wait until you see how many photos of grave sites he has taken over the years! Hope on over to meet Russ here!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cross

In Mausoleum. May 10, 2009. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Mausoleum, Hayward, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - G. Johnston

I appreciate the beauty of this gravesite and thought I would share it with you. It sits on the hill at Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery. The cemetery itself is very "brown" in nature, so this view is one of the best, as it shows a bit of greenery with the trees in the back ground. The headstone of the G. Johnston gravesite is rather large so it stands out beautifully.

I found G. Johnston in the book "Fifty Years of Masonry in California, Volumne 1." It states that on October 14, 1871, G. Johnston entered apprenticeship with the Pleasanton Lodge #218. In 1873 the meeting place was moved to Livermore and the Lodge was then called the Mosaic Lodge, #218.

This link, Cal Data Nook SF Genealogy states that G. Johnston is George Johnston and he was a Master Mason.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Mausoleum

Mausoleum. May 10, 2009. Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Hayward California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #41

Let me introduce you to our next Graveyard Rabbit, Jolyn Daly who authors the Graveyard Rabbit of Mount Timpanogos. Read about her adventures growing up and where she is at today. She also tells a story of a meeting with another GYR! The post is here. Enjoy!

Meet A Rabbit #40

Be sure to click on the link and check out Graveyard Rabbit #40. This is Brian Zalewski, the Graveyard Rabbit of Southeastern Wisconsin. Interesting article, and to start out so young! You can find the article on Brian here. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery ~ Part 5

I know some of you thought I had reached the end of my reports on this cemetery, however I have a bit more to share with you, believe it or not!

This is the hill where Oak Knoll Cemetery once was. For many years this hill has been better known as "Boot Hill." Upon researching, I have found that this term was used for Wild West-era cemeteries. The men buried in these cemeteries were men "who died with their boots on" such as those men who may have died in gunfights. Livermore supposedly didn't have gunfights as you see in the movies though. Another story I have heard is that the students at the high school nicknamed it "Boot Hill."

This is the dirt path I went up to view the grounds of the old cemetery. When I reached the back of the hill, you could see the ball fields from the nearby high school. Hopefully now you have an idea how close the school actually is to the hill, where many students cut across every day of the school year.

I walked around the property, which isn't all that large. The top of the hill is an acre and a half. My most recent understanding is that the top of the hill is privately owned, although I have no idea who owns it. Apparently the city has never taken the time nor the effort to take title to the hill. Part of the land towards the lower area is owned by the city and some is owned by the school district.

As I proceeded around the property, oh wait, what is this hole...?

A closer look brought me to the following site. Surprising to say the least. I can't even imagine this hasn't been filled...especially with all the people going through here! What a field day this could be if someone were to be injured from this...and a reminder that remains of those buried here were never actually removed...

Here I am close to the top of the hill, and there is the road below.

There are some fenced areas, although the gate is open here, so a lot of good this one does!

And the brush needs tending to~

However, can you image back in the day? Before all the building, obstacles and such, what a view there must have been!

Photos - Boot Hill, July 19, 2009, Livermore, California. Digital Images. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009
Source - Livermore Heritage Guild,, Valley Times news clippings from March 7, 1999.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Someones grave. October 24, 2008. Pleasanton Pioneer Cemetery, Pleasanton, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Mendenhall

Can you believe it? The story of the Mendenhall's that I have been telling about on this blog, and now I have come across a tombstone of Mendenhall's! This tombstone is located at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore, California. I actually took the photo of this tombstone back on February 5th, 2009, long before I started the series of Oak Knoll Cemetery.

Here is a close up of the headstone. Mendenhall is listed towards the bottom of the monument, second block up.

William A.- 1823-1911
Mary A . - 1830-1903
William Jr. - 1860-1925

Do you think these people are related to the William Mendenhall that I wrote about? Could this William A. Mendenhall be the founder of Livermore? William Mendenhall senior, the father of the founder of Livermore died on January 12, 1873, at the age of 78 years, 11 months, and 23 days. So conceivably William A. could be his son.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meet a Rabbit #40

Graveyard Rabbit #40 is ready for an introduction! This rabbit is Brian Zalewski and his blog is "Graveyard Rabbit of Southeastern Wisconsin. Read how a young man got started in cemetery searching! He was only 19 when he started, a rarity in this field! I am sure many wondered what he was doing out in those cemeteries at such a young age. I know you will enjoy reading about Brian and his blog. You can find it here! Enjoy!

Meet A Rabbit #39

Now I introduce to you our Graveyard Rabbit #39! This rabbit is from Texas, her name is Robin Inge, she hosts "Graveyard Rabbit of Wichita County, Texas." She shares her story explaining how and why she decided to become a Graveyard Rabbit. You can read about her here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tombstone of John ? November 6, 2008. San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery. Digital image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

The New Look!

I need to thank "Mr. Deez " for designing another new header for me, this time for this blog! Earlier in the week he designed a header for my genealogy blog at Heritage Happens. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. When I asked him about doing a new header for this site, he asked if I had any ideas. I just threw out at him "How about a graveyard and a rabbit?" Viola, he couldn't have done it more perfectly! In fact, it is better than I could have ever imagined. Thank you, sir!

I will be updating information here, adding the links to other Graveyard Rabbit blogs. I also will still be trying to catch you up on the introductions of all our rabbits. So, be patient and I will have that updated ASAP.

Now, tell me, what do you think of the new look? I say WOWZA!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Meet a Rabbit #38

Introduction to Graveyard Rabbit #38 has been posted! You can read about Dorene Paul "The Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay" here.

Can you believe all of the Graveyard Rabbits there are? Hope you enjoy this introduction, there are more to come!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oak Knoll Cemetery ~ Part 4 ~ They found WHAT in their Backyard?

Last weekend there was an article printed in our local newspaper that just about blew me away! If you have been following this blog at all, you are aware that I have been writing a series of posts about the Oak Knoll Cemetery in Livermore, California. If you remember correctly, I spoke about the Mendenhall’s in these posts, that they were the founders of Livermore and owned the property where Oak Knoll Cemetery used to be? If you haven’t read this series of posts, I suggest you stop now, and read that series first before you continue on reading here. You can find the posts here. Start at the bottom with post number one and move up with each post.

Now that you are caught up on the series, I will continue with this article that was in the newspaper.

The story centers in El Monte, California, which is in L.A. County. A home on Crossvale Avenue had been occupied with new owners. A field deputy, Jorge Morales, receives an unusual email, requesting help in exhuming a 136 year old body from this property!

It appears that the new owners found a historic tombstone in the backyard of their new home, hidden behind a shed. Now, are you ready for who this historic tombstone belonged to? None other than William Mendenhall, the father of the founder (also William) of Livermore!

Mr. Morales found out through city officials that the county coroner can only exhume the body if there is a court order OR with permission from next of kin. In his attempt to find next of kin, he soon came to realize that the body of William Mendenhall was buried 350 miles away. They state they are not so sure how the headstone got so far away, but I can take a guess! I am sure you can also, if you have read the series I have been posting.

In the meantime, once Livermore found out about the tombstone of William Mendenhall, they stated that they wanted it back! This was an important piece of Livermore’s history and they would love to have it back.

The younger William Mendenhall established Livermore in 1869 in the hopes of capitalizing on construction of the final leg of the transcontinental railroad, according to this article. The article goes on to explain that his father died four years later, where he was buried and much of the same information about the flooding, Chinese immigrants, the 1906 earthquake, etc., which I have blogged about previously.

Remember earlier it was stated that it was unknown how the headstone got so far away from where William was buried? Well, later in the article it says, it is believed that when Oak Knoll was no longer a cemetery and the loose tombstones were taken to the city yard, a great grandson of Mendenhall, Chester Langan, picked up the headstone. Public records states that a Chester Langan lived at this particular address in El Monte in the 1990’s. This is exactly where my mind had gone. A relative must have picked it up from the city yard!

Efforts were made to reach the family of Chester to no avail. The Livermore Heritage Guild offered payment to have the tombstone shipped home. The tombstone is to be placed in the city’s historic center. It won’t be added back to Mendenhall’s plot, as the property is now a park and not a cemetery, but the tombstone will be in the correct town. It is believed that Mendenhall’s body is still buried somewhere on the hill where the cemetery once stood, but no one knows for sure. Remember, because of the poor records, not everyone who was buried there could be accounted for. Plus in those days bodies were buried in wooden boxes and after all of this time, the feeling is that the wooden box wouldn’t have held up so well.

Now, what are the odds of this coming to light as I am writing my series on Oak Knoll Cemetery and the Mendenhall’s? Timing was unbelievable!

The article is in the Tri Valley Herald Newspaper. Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin, California. Saturday June 20, 2009. Page A1, continued on page A11.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Thorn

William P. Thorn Tombstone. February 5, 2009. Roselawn Cemetery, Livermore, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Meet a Rabbit #36

Graveyard Rabbit #36 is here for you to meet! Her name is Jennifer Dyer and her posts can be found at "City of the Dead." She was a New Orleans resisdent, but after Katrina, she has moved on. Find out about Jennifer!

Meet Rabbit # 35

Have you met the 35th Graveyard Rabbit yet? She author's "The Graveyard Rabbit of Contra Costa County" and her name is Jennifer Regan. Contra Costa County is right next to Alameda County, so we are neighbors! I have had the opportunity to meet Jennifer in person, she is wonderful! You can meet her virtually through her post here! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Buchanan monument. October 27, 2008. Chapel of The Chimes, Hayward, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Plants

Plants. January 1, 2004. Chapel of the Chimes, Hayward, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009.

Chester Plants was born June 27, 1929. He passed away on March 23, 2003. Geraldine was born March 14, 1929 and passed away on June 10, 1999. Chester and Geraldine were my brother-in-law's parents.

I didn't have the opportunity to spent much time with Geraldine, so I never really got to know her. I found her living in Denver, Colorado when she was about a year old, so maybe she was born there.

Chester's Social Security was issued in West Virginia. I did have the opportunity to know Chester. He was a wonderful man and we got along very well. He loved to tell me stories about when he had motorcycles and how they would keep warm when riding, bundling up in newspapers!

May you both rest in peace!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Hayward

Several different markers. November 6, 2008. Lone Tree Cemetery, Hayward, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Story of Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 3

On April 14, 1956 visitors from San Francisco arrived and stated that the condition of the cemetery was appalling! The grass was as high as their waists, cattle were roaming all over the grounds and headstones had been broken and knocked over.

Mr. and Mrs. James W. Swent Jr. saw the cemetery in this condition. Mr. James Swent happened to be a descendant of William Mendenhall. While at the cemetery, the Swent's took inscriptions of the four Mendenhall headstones that could be found. Mrs. Swent wrote to another descendant of William "Phil" Mendenhall, Mr. Chester Langan, and to Mr. Maitland Henry to inform them of the condition in which they saw the cemetery.

Chester Langan went to Livermore and spoke with several people about the condition of the cemetery. Chester removed the headstone of William Mendenhall at that time because he didn't feel anything could be done about the conditions there.

From 1956 until 1962 the Swents visited this cemetery. Their last visit was on December 9, 1962. By this time all of the Mendenhall stones had been removed or broken into bits. There were no signs that Medenhall's had ever been buried here. More desecration had continued to take place. The cattle had disappeared by this time, the grass was lower, but there weren't many stones to be found in the cemetery.

At this point, it was hoped that something would be done by the citizens of the town. A new high school was planned to be built just below the knoll on which the cemetery had been located. It was believed that the pioneer cemetery area should have been kept as a memorial to the pioneers who had developed the valley, and not be kept in the state it was currently in.

In April 1963, Oak Knoll was formally abandoned as a public cemetery. The existing gravestones were removed. If family members could be found, the headstones were given to them to do with as they wished. If family members were not located, the headstones were taken to the city corporation yard.

Oak Knoll Cemetery was no more. The city built heavy wooden play structures and the land was dedicated as a public park. But all to soon the park became dilapidated and most of the structures were torn down.

[Parts of this information was probably written by Mr. and Mrs. James Swent Jr. of San Francisco sometime after December 1962. A copy held by Herb Hagemann, Jr.]
My thanks to the Livermore Heritage Guild and

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #34

I have been enjoying meeting all of our Graveyard Rabbits! I hope you have too!

Graveyard Rabbit #34 is Greta Kohl who blogs at two rabbit sites. Her graveyard sites are ~

The Graveyard Rabbit of Northern Virginia and The Graveyard Rabbit of Afield.

Enjoy reading about Greta's introduction here!

Meet A Rabbit #33

The "Meet A Rabbit" series has really been hopping along and I need to catch up!

Rabbit #33 is Dave Weller, and his blog is called, Standing Stones. Find out who first got Dave interested in family history and what his family name used to be! His article is posted here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Ronda

Memorial site. February 2, 2009. Roselawn Cemetery, Livermore. Digital Photo held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Meet A Rabbit # 32

I see Graveyard Rabbit Colleen McHugh has also been introduced! Colleen's blog is Graveyard Rabbit of R.I.P.P.E.R.S. Find out what she chose to focus her blog on. You can read about Colleen here! Enjoy!

Meet A Rabbit #31

It is past time (I am a little behind) to invite you to read about our Graveyard Rabbit, number 31, Cheryle Hoover Davis. Cheryle is ambitious as she has not one, not two, but three Graveyard Rabbit Blogs! They are~

The Graveyard Rabbit of Northern Arizona
The Graveyard Rabbit of the Runnells, Iowa Area
The Graveyard Rabbit of the Hoover Clan

You can read about Cheryle here! Enjoy!

Memorial Day Ceremony

On May 25 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm there will be a Memorial Day Ceremony at Pioneer Cemetery in Pleasanton, Ca. The address is 5780 Sunol Boulevard. There will be music given by the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, free. If you are interested and would like more information you can call 925-846-5897 or visit the website at Sounds like a great time!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meet Rabbit #30

My oh my... time has come to meet our next Graveyard Rabbit! This person tells a bit of her cemetery experience leading up to becoming a GYR. You can read about her here. This introduction gives me a little blush, as it is actually, ME! Do you see me blushing? What are the odds of my introduction being posted on my wedding anniversary? I have no idea what the odds would be, especially since no one knew it was my anniversary, but there it is! Do you think a print out of the article would suffice for an anniversary gift? ;) Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday ~ Mother

"Mother" Grave Marker. May 9, 2009. St. Michael's Cemetery, Livermore, California. Digital Image. Held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #29 - Janet Isles

The Graveyard Rabbit of Grey County, Ontario is next in line for you to meet. The author of this blog is Janet Isles. Janet is our 29th rabbit to be introduced. Find out more about Janet here! Enjoy!

Meet A Rabbit #28 - Craig Manson

More good news! Another Graveyard Rabbit has been profiled! Please meet Graveyard Rabbit Craig Manson. His blog is The Peripatetic Graveyard Rabbit. Find out what Peripatetic means and why Craig choose this name for his graveyard blog. You can read about it all here. Enjoy!

Tombstone Tuesday - Claude and Francis Fanzago

Claude and Francis headstone. May 12, 2009. Livermore, Ca. Digital image. Privately held by Cheryl [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2009

A few days ago, when my initial plans fell through, I decided to play around on I chose a few names from my tree that I hadn't done much, if any, research on. I searched to see if I could find where some of these people may be buried. Accidentally, I found the grave of Claude (Claudio) and his wife Francis. I didn't have a clue who these people were, but I instantly did some work to find out. You see, Fanzago is a very familiar name to me. My daughter's ggrandmother, Marie, was born Marie Fanzago.

I found out Claudio was Marie's brother, so he is my daughter's great grand uncle! I haven't researched this line at all yet, so when I found Claude it was a fantastic surprise! I have no idea how many Fanzago's there are, or have been in California, but it is an unusual name, so I hoped there would be a connection, and there was! The thing that surprised me the most though was the fact that he was buried in the town I live in.

Claudio and his sister Marie were both born somewhere in Italy. Marie was about three years older than Claudio. Their father, Carlo, and their mother, Leona also gave birth to Giuseppina. She was about five years younger than Claudio. I need to do more research to find out if there were any more siblings, and to find out where in Italy they stem from.

I am thrilled to have found this grave site and additional information for this line! And just think, it was all accidental!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #27

The GYR's are trying to get caught up with all of the Graveyard Rabbit introductions. As you have probably noticed, I have been posting these updates as close as possible from when they are updated. We now have the newest GYR update and that is Chuck Courtwright, the Graveyard Rabbit of Christian County, Illinois. Please take a moment to read about Chuck here! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #26

We have another Graveyard Rabbit for you to meet! From the blog "In the Dark of The Moon Graveyard Rabbit," please meet Bella Naufragio from the New England area. You can read about her here! Enjoy!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Graveyard Rabbits Carnival May 2009

The second carnival of the Graveyard Rabbits has been posted! The topic of this carnival's edition is cemetery preservation. There are five authors who have written six articles for this carnival. Please come along with me and see what this carnival brings! You can enter here! Let's go enjoy...

Meet A Rabbit #25

As you can see, we have several Graveyard Rabbits hopping around to give you information from many areas of our world. We now have the article posted on our 25th Graveyard Rabbit. Please meet Stephanie Lincecum whose GYR blog is Southern Graves. You can read about her here! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Story of Oak Knoll Cemetery - Part 2

Oak Knoll Cemetery was officially recognized as a cemetery when a plat map was filed in 1878 with the County of Alameda. The oak trees that were all around the hill, are what gave the cemetery it's name. These oak trees have long since disappeared. Most of the trees in this area now are eucalyptus.

During the summer of 1889 the Echo newspaper reported "Last Sunday afternoon as a lot of Chinese were burning joss-sticks (a type of incense) and performing their customary annual ceremony over the graves of their countrymen buried at Oak Knoll Cemetery, they carelessly set fire to the grass, and the entire cemetery was burned over, destroying all of the enclosures and doing a large amount of other damage."

About the turn of the century three new cemeteries were opened in Livermore. With this, there were fewer burials at Oak Knoll. Some family plots at this original Livermore cemetery were totally abandoned. Some families even went so far as to move their relatives' remains to one of the new burial sites.

One specific story of moving family remains lies with the Block family. It has been told that Walter Block had his father, Andrew, help him move the remains of a deceased uncle to one of the new cemeteries. "In the process the casket broke open. Walter Block never fully forgave his father for the incident."

In 1906, apparently the San Francisco earthquake caused damage to this cemetery. (Livermore to San Francisco is about 45 miles, with the roads we have today) Many of the headstones were knocked down. Then part of the hill was washed away in 1907 by floods. The Hearld newspaper reported in one of it's future articles - "It is suspected that a number of bodies went down with the heavy slide of a few weeks ago. A party of young people who visited the cemetery last week reported that a coffin was uncovered on the edge of the slide and that the bones of it's occupant were exposed."

As I explained in Part 1 of this story, the last sexton of the cemetery left inadequate records of the burials at this cemetery. When the sexton, Robert Adams, died in the early 1900's there were actually no records found in his papers of the grave plots. With the damage from fire, flooding and the earthquake, along with missing records from the sexton, it is quite understandable now why we may never know who every person was that was buried there.

(My appreciation and thanks to the Livermore Heritage Guild and the Livermore-Amador Genealogy Society for making this information available.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Meet a Rabbit #24

Another "Meet a Rabbit" has been posted! This time meet Lisa Burks from "Adventures in Gravehunting." What an interesting story she tells! You can read the post here. Enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #23

This time we have "The Graveyard Rabbit Travels Wright" hosted by Diane Wright. Follow the bunny trail here and read about how Diane was primed to love cemeteries! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meet A Rabbit #22

It is time to meet another of our wonderful Graveyard Rabbits! This time meet The Graveyard Rabbit of Cowtown, Ruth Stephens! Read about her journey here at the Association site and enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Story of Oak Knoll Cemetery in Livermore - Part 1

My husband introduced me to the fact that there once was a cemetery on the corner by where my children went to high school. I have lived in this city for over twenty years and was unaware of this fact. All I knew was that this area is currently known as “Boot Hill.” Very interesting indeed! With the assistance of my husband, some researching and reading, I have learned more about this cemetery that has disappeared. Let me tell you the story…

On the outskirts of Livermore there once was a cemetery named Oak Knoll. It was located on a small hill (knoll) of about 40 feet surrounded by otherwise flat land. The area was filled with oak trees, which makes it very clear how it received its name.

Many of the early pioneers to this valley were buried here. Reportedly, in the book “Centennial Year Book of Alameda County” by William Haley, the father of the founder of the city of Livermore was the first person buried here, William Mendenhall, Senior, on January 12, 1873. This book was published in 1876. (The statement can be found on page 349)

The wife of a descendant of William Mendenhall’s claims “This was evidently the first Mendenhall cemetery, for Mendenhall’s were buried there from November 1855, when Sophia, daughter of Martin Mendenhall (William’s brother) was buried there.” This was so stated by Mrs. James Swent. This statement is listed in a report in the Livermore Heritage Guild Newsletter on January 1988.

It has been said that William’s obituary notice refers to William as the first person to be buried in the “new cemetery at Oak Knoll.”

According to a copy of an 1874 map, the land surrounding the cemetery was owned by three Mendenhall brothers. They were William (Phil), Martin, and Absolom. I am not sure which of the brother’s donated some of their land for the cemetery. From what I have read it sounds like two of the brother's possibly donated the land, William "Phil" and Martin. The old map supposedly shows they would have been the ones who owned the property were the cemetery was located. This has not been verified with county records.

Accordingly then, Sophia was buried on the land when the brother’s owned it, “The Mendenhall Cemetery.” After they donated some of their land and it became “Oak Knoll Cemetery," William was the first person to be buried there.

Along with Mendenhall (we have a middle school named after this family) there were other important pioneers buried at Oak Knoll. Henry Clay Smith was considered the “Father of Alameda County.” He died in 1876. Henry C. Smith, the father of Emma C. Smith (there is an elementary school named after Emma) also had a final resting place at Oak Knoll. A physician in the area for 46 years by the name of Dr. William Stewart Taylor was also buried there in 1931. He was the last person to be buried at Oak Knoll.

Apparently there were at least 87 people buried in this cemetery, but there were many unmarked, broken and undecipherable markers. The last sexton of the cemetery left inadequate information. Because of these things, there has never been an accurate account of records, so it may never be known how many people were actually buried there, nor who they all were.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Aware! Safety Reminder!

There was a newscast last night which discussed an issue going on in Northern California cemeteries. I thought I would remind you all and give you a heads up about this, maybe it will save someone from some stress.

There has been a series of purse snatchings at a cemetery or cemeteries in Colma. Women would leave their purse in their unlocked car, thinking they were so close, and no one was around, so it shouldn't be a problem. Wrong! A car would come by, a man would get out, open the unsuspecting persons car door, snatch the purse, hop back in the car, and be gone in a flash. The get away driver would do the job he/she needed to in order not to be caught. It happened to one woman who was no more than a few feet from her car.

This seems like a common sense issue, but, do you lock the car door when you get out to wander or take pictures? I know I have left my purse in the car unlocked, and ended up wandering further away from my car than originally intended. Always be prepared! Make sure if there are any valuables in your car when you leave it, lock the door!

One of the women this happened to wouldn't let her face be seen on the news, she is afraid of retaliation. I am sure at country cemeteries especially, you feel pretty darn safe, I know I do in city cemeteries I attend most of the time. Usually they are so quiet and I can't see anyone else anywhere. But, maybe that is when we should be more aware! You never know when a car will suddenly pull out from somewhere and try to make you his victim.

With the economy the way it is, these robberies don't really surprise me. They are however, a good reminder for us Graveyard Rabbits and others, to pay attention to our surroundings and be safe. Really now, can't you imagine how easy it would be to get robbed at a quiet, lonely cemetery?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter, Rabbits, and Graves?

With the Easter Holiday coming up, and this being a "Graveyard Rabbit" blog, I thought I would blend the three and share some pictures of "rabbits" adorning headstones. These pictures were all taken at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore, California on February 6, 2009 by me. Enjoy and wishing you all a very Happy Easter!