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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.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Harley Motorcade Request

A friend of mine is a nurse. She unfortunately sees many very ill people on a regular basis. Earlier this week one of her patients passed away from cancer. This story ends up at The Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. I did a post on this cemetery previously here.

Lawrence (Larry) DeMiguel died on January 1st, 2009 at the very young age of 45. He was the father of seven and a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the Alameda County Sherrif's Department. His oldest son is a marine Corporal who will soon be deployed to Iraq. Services were held Friday, January 9th, 2009.

One of his final requests was for a Harley Davidson motorcycle escort to his final resting place.

The Patriot Guard Riders along with the Fremont Harley Chapter represented the escort. The Patriot Guard's main mission~

"is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives:

1.Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
2.Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means."

The Fremont Harley Owners Group (which my nurse friend belongs to, as do I) "have at least one common interest, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. Being a Member means meeting new people, making new friends, riding and having fun."

These two groups joined and gave Lawrence (Larry) DeMiguel his escort to his final resting place at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Here are a couple pictures of some of the motorcylces.

Although this next picture is rather difficult to see, if you enlarge it, you can see the bagpiper who played at the cemetery.

And one final picture I will share with you~

Lawrence (Larry) DeMiguel, you received the Harley Davidson motorcycle escort you desired. May you rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Man, His Land And His Monument

William Meek was born in 1817 and died 1880. He was one of the first pioneer farmers in Alameda County. He grew up in Iowa and Ohio and traveled to Oregon after he lost his first wife. In Oregon he and Henderson Lewelling developed a nursery. In 1859 Meek sold his share of the nursery and moved to Alameda County.

About ten years later Meek bought at least 3000 acres of property, and his friend Lewelling also purchased land next to Meek. The area became known as "Cherryland" because Meek planted so many cherry trees. These trees came from Iowa by wagon train. They were the first grafted fruit trees to come to this coast.

In 1869 his estate was built. After he died, his sons cared for the home until 1940. By this time pieces of the land had been sold here and there. In 1940 Dr. William P. Ream purchased the home and ten acres that was left.

In 1964 the house was looking to be leveled and a new housing development put in. Citizens and H.A.R.D., Hayward Area Recreational Department, bought the estate and keep the bulldozers from having a field day on the property.

In 1973 the "Meek Estate" became a Historical Landmark. I remember when the Estate was open for wedding receptions. The grounds are very nicely kept and it has a beautiful setting. The estate was rented for parties also. I read that "over use" and the need for "greater supervision" were the reasons H.A.R.D. stopped renting the home. However, I also read that you still can get married on the property.

Meek was very involved in the community in many aspects, and was a councilman for four terms. He had many other fruit trees on his estate besides the cherry trees.
Meek and his estate are very well known in this area, as is Lewelling.

Meek is buried in the San Lorenzo Pioneer Cemetery, the one I showed you had been vandalized and is now being renovated by The Hayward Area Historical Society. As you can see from this picture, the Meek Tombstone is in great shape and looks like it had been spared from any vandalism.

Meek Estate, and Cherryland were part of my old stomping grounds.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Here is a link to "Names in Stone" - a cemetery mapping site.

It is a beautiful website! You can map a cemetery and preserve it's history! You can join the site and become a research assistant if you so desire. Decorating a grave with virtual flowers and banners is an option, and subscription memberships ($7.95 a month or $39.99 a year) receive emails about new or modified information that match their research. Subscription members can also save a list of the cemeteries they are interested in, and receive discounts.

There are only a few states that are covered so far on this site. California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New York are the ones I am aware of, with Utah having the most cemeteries listed. Not all cemeteries are covered in these areas. You can search by name, birth year, death year, site, or cemetery, the search is free! (Subscription memberships get the added extras)

When you go to this site, please be sure to read the "about us" information. It has a wonderful story! To entice you to go to the site and read this story, here is what NAMES IN STONE has to say directly after the story:

"We love this story. It confirms to us the value of cemeteries as a source of history and a source for answers. This is what NAMES IN STONE is all about
. . . preserving cemetery information and making it available in such a way that questions can be answered, and loved ones remembered."

You can encourage your local cemeteries to participate by sending photos and information. The public and cemeteries both, may update the information as often as may be needed. This site is set to benefit cemeteries, genealogists and the general public. Remember, this is a growing site, maybe you can help it grow!

Visit the cemeteries without leaving home!