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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.

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.